Tuesday, May 31, 2011

On The Road Again...

And here we go. With busy work..comes work road trips. Not that I'm ungrateful for the work. We have been slow for so long, I'm more than ready for it. For times to get back to normal. But with any building going up anywhere, there are going to be problems. Some minor, some not. Some merely hiccups. But either way, all of those instances call for a road trip. To prove our point, to soothe General Contractors, job site Erectors, and to make basic good use of our customer service promises. As the Quality Assurance Manager, that's where my husband comes in....W.D. Mims at your service.

Now maybe you're wondering what on earth any of that has to do with me. I'm only the Purchasing Manager. I just buy the steel.  I'm not responsible for fabricating it. I am in no way responsible for the correct measurements, length or camber in the joist. Nor am I responsible for any back rubbing or customer schmoozing.  But as the wife, not the employee, I am the one left responsible for everything on the home front. But mostly, when it's all said and done, all I'm going to be held responsible for, is the higher light bill that is certainly to come with these road trips. 

Yes, I will be burning extra lights. Inside and out. I don't do well when Mims isn't home. How I ever lived alone with two children for the better of nine years, I will never know. And for those of you thinking to yourselves, isn't Zach still going to be home? Wouldn't he provide some kind of solace and comfort? Bluntly put, NO. That big ole' brute of a boy provides NOTHING. He's barely here, day or night. And come bedtime, he doesn't know anything but sleep and the back of his eyelids. He doesn't know anything, hear anything, or see anything.

When I ask him to leave his door open, so he could hear me, should I need him, I am greeted with grumbling, mumbling, "you need to toughen up" words. These words from the mouth on the body I struggled for nine months to give birth. The child I stayed up nights for, lost sleep for, and have fought for, every step of his life. Tells his sweet, scared like a girl Mama, to toughen up. So, I have to stay awake until HE falls asleep, then I get BACK up and open his door. I'm not really sure why this brings me comfort. He sleeps like the dead, and I feel positive, should someone could come inside our home and take everything inside, including me, he would never hear it. It's a mind thing for me. The door is open. Whether it helps or not.

So besides the no account security guard I have staying with me, I will burn lights. Inside and out. We have three security lights set up strategically in our front, side and back yards. When I moved in with Mims in 05' he had one security light in the side yard. Because of his travels, and my wild imagination, we have added two more. It has slowed down my calls to the local police for "preventive drive-by requests", and increased our monthly light bill.  And should you chuckle to yourself, and think I haven't ever really called the local police...you'd be wrong. I have. And if I hear anything that I cannot identify or see, I will do so again. They get paid to listen and respond to people like me. I'm not ashamed to admit to anyone when I am scared. I refuse to be a hostage of fear in my own home.

And I have enough sense to know, the BB guns we keep by our front door will do no damage. They will only look scary until I have to pick one up to cock it. Anyone who knows guns/rifles, will know immediately they are dealing with an amateur. An amateur that has nothing but a squirrel shooter in her hands. And an amateur that barely knows how to use that! If you have to holler out, "hold on, let me get this baby pumped", it somewhat loses its fear factor.

And my neighbors, well, some of you already know that sad story.  The ones on the right side of us, I dearly love, but they are in the process of moving. They spend more time at their new home than this one. And the ones on the left side of us, I dearly dislike. And by the time I got across the street to my other neighbors house, whatever I was running from, would have me.

So between a son who sleeps like a stone, and no neighbors to speak of for comfort, I am on my own.  I will use my tax dollars to "borrow" the city police should I need to do so, and I will burn these lights at free will. And when the electric bill comes in, I will sprint to the mailbox to get to it first, hide it, and hope Mims doesn't remember to ask for it. And I will pray the next few days go by quickly, that the office has plenty of coffee, and that the inventory I must reconcile for the next three days goes smoothly. Because somehow, I already know, I am very likely to not have all my cylinders firing.  My Daisy Red Ryder BB gun yes, my brains however are questionable.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fast Cars and Freedom

I never see him anymore. I've lost him to fishing, swimming in ponds, out-swimming gators, working, running with the boys, seeing his gal, and summer. He's as brown as dirt. His hair is turning lighter. He's lost his Winter weight. The extra pounds he strenuously tried to gain for Spring Football. If you can call ten pounds or so, Winter weight. He no sooner got his license to drive alone in March, and then he was gone.

School has been out less than a week. Once that count down began...it was on. Yesterday, in passing, (and I do not use that term lightly) I told him I was off this Tuesday. "Off!!!!" , he exclaimed. As he could already see visions of someone rearranging his plans. "WHY??!", he exclaimed again. I told him, not to worry, I had already planned to spend that day to myself. No need to panic. He nor his services/company would be required.

While he mows lawns for a living, I have to make an appointment to have my own lawn tended. It's hard to remember when the last time was he took out the trash. He never seems to be here when it's full. His room smells almost fresh again. He's never in it. I walk by, and it's just a dark, lifeless room anymore. A room that used to stay full of boys, Xbox game playing, guitar rifting, and unimaginable smells. He hates the smell of air fresheners. Which I would hide in various places in his room. Only for him to find them, and one by one, close them up. I went in his room yesterday, to place some clean clothes on his bed, and all those fresheners were where I left them and open. Our game of "hide the smell good" seems to be over. He's not here enough to care.

His shed that stayed closed up for most of Winter has been re-opened for business. The A/C in the window has been activated and the little refrigerator re-stocked.  I have seen some boys in and out of there. I heard remnants of music blasting one night last week. How sweet those loud drums and electric guitar sounded.  Zach and two of his friends stayed overnight in the shed. Lying air mattresses on a wooden floor as the hum of the A/C finally rocked them to sleep. At 2am, he said. My job of being head cook may soon be coming to an end. He's talking about buying a mini-grill for him, and his buds to cook food on. To save me some trouble.

He must not understand how this Mama stuff works. I like the trouble. I like the constant company and noise. Because I know, in a few years, it may be gone for good. I refuse to think about that right now. Refuse to rush time any faster than it is already speeding out of control on it's own.

My oldest son, who first moved away almost two years ago, calls two or three times a week now. He used to call almost every day. And while there were times, I found, I had nothing to discuss every single day, I miss not having anything to say now. His life is full of school, his friends, his boyfriend, and teaching.

I think I am entering the first phase of the empty nest. It feels like it. It feels like I heard it would be. The last one home. Turns sixteen and begins to drive. I think that's when it begins. It's just started, and the past few days I have felt a lot older than my 47 years of age. I'm homesick for my home the way it used to be. Busy, noisy and unkempt. It's sad to say, but as much as these kids love summer, I dread it. With school comes, classes, homework, regular sleeping hours, and my child, at home.

He spent the night off last night with plans of getting up early and going fishing/swimming this morning. I'm expecting him home within the next few hours. Starving to death and broke down tired. And I'll be glad to see him. He'll shower up, digging into the hamburgers I'll have ready and waiting, and fall asleep with a full stomach on the couch. His seat reclined, head back, and not a sound will come from him for several hours. But he'll be here with me. And that's all that matters.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Where Were You When....

That particular night, I was alternating between hysterical crying, gut wrenching pain, and anger. Earlier that day my oldest son had sent me a life altering email.  Now this may seem silly to a lot of you, but the email he sent was regarding Facebook, and our communication on such, that he was requesting to have ceased. It was one complete page of an email, because my son cannot say anything without complete detail.

By the time he was done, there was nothing left unsaid. No stone unturned. No doubt in my mind, how much our/my communication embarrassed him, and that it was to stop. Immediately. Josh and I have always been very, very close. Can and do talk about anything and everything. So that now, I was being told he was a professional adult, and my existence was an embarrassment to him, in his world, amongst his peers, was more than I could take. Every word was like a strike to my mid-section. I hadn't cried such a heart wrenching cry since I found out (without prior preparation) that my Daddy had to have open heart surgery. Joshua had already, the year before, moved away from home to go to Graduate school. Ripping my life and my heart apart. Now, I was being told, I could not communicate with him, because my "chitter chatter" was unworthy in his new world.

I gathered my humiliated pride and emailed him back. Advising that I completely understood his position on the matter and his request. And that his email and it's content were never to be discussed again. It would not be necessary. Because it would be a long time before his words would stop ringing in my head. You know, I had already heard other women, other parents talk about not being "friends" with their children on Facebook. I had even heard stories of them being deleted and blocked! How awful I had thought before. Now, I too, had been silenced.

At any rate, much later that same evening, everything began to fall apart again. It was close to midnight, or just after. I was still nursing my wounds by talking to anyone and everyone who was still skulking around on Facebook that Saturday night.  As a matter of fact, I distinctly remember talking to both Debbie Houston White and Charlotte Tomlinson Bolton back and forth for about an hour.  I admit I was feeling LARGELY sorry for myself. Wondering how I could have raised such an ungrateful and rude son. When suddenly, the pages of Facebook began to explode. Literally.

The next few minutes, would turn into several hours. I would learn that LCPL Daniel Gabriel "Gabe" Raney, the oldest son of long ago schoolmate, Penny Riley, had just been killed in combat. Or so everyone thought at the time. It would later, much later be known, he was killed during night drills. Which is another long story and is a large part of what drives her today.  But that night, all we knew, was she had just been notified of his Killed In Action status. Posts were flying everywhere. I could not read them fast enough. Comments coming from every direction. Pain seeping from the words that were being written. All of us girls, who had gone to school together, all those years ago, and many of us who had children somewhere around the same age, were sent reeling backward and our laptops burning up from the sudden commotion.

My anger and hurt turned into shock and disbelief. Gabe was my oldest sons age. He was the same age as my Joshua. My Joshua with whom I was so at odds with at that very minute.  I began to cry again. Hysterically again. I had left things between my son and myself so strained and angry.

My mind begin to whirl in every direction imaginable. What were the last words passed between Penny and Gabriel? When was the last time she spoke to him? Had it been days, weeks, or longer? Was she able to tell him how much she loved him? Was she able to have a real conversation, or was it a quick call in between his duties in Afghanistan.  Was it on a cell phone with bad reception, or could she hear him clearly enough to understand everything he said and hear every homesick word spoken?

In that few minutes, I knew I had to find my son. Call  him. And talk to him. And make whatever had been left wrong, or unsaid, right again. To let him know, I really didn't care anymore that he'd rather I didn't talk to him on Facebook where all his friends and peers could see. So what. I can do without that type of communication. How trivial all of that seemed now. Nothing was worth the words we passed or the anger and hurt it had caused. What if something happened before I could find him? Before I could talk to him again.

I frantically dialed his phone. My hands were shaking so hard I could barely push the buttons. It was late, but I knew he was out with friends. My fingers wouldn't work. I kept pushing the wrong numbers. The phone began to ring, and the voice mail message came on. I tried to compose myself enough to leave a message. I did not do a very good job. He called me right back. His own voice sounding scared and panicked from listening to my prior message. And when I heard his voice, I fell apart.

I was crying so hard, he thought something was wrong here. I was trying to tell him what had happened to my friends child, but the words would not come out of my mouth. I couldn't breath, and I couldn't stop crying long enough for him to understand. My son was alive, I was talking to him, but Penny could not. And would not, ever again. With every second that passed, I could feel her agonizing pain but could not imagine the depths.

What do you do, when that call comes, and your whole world falls apart? How do you talk? How do you make sense of the foreign sounding words coming out of your mouth? How do your ears stop exploding from the vile words that are going into your ear? And how, do you hang up the phone and move from the place you are standing when the call came in? How do you move your feet? And how do you go from one moment of peace, to the next of complete despair? And how, do you ever, get past, the death of your child?

I don't know the answers to any of those questions. I pray I never have to know. Penny Riley is one of the strongest women I will ever have the honor of knowing. I know the first few months were a life crumbling experience for her and her son Luke, Gabriel's younger brother. But she has picked herself up, and she has made it her life cause to hold, protect, and grieve with, family's of other war victims. War hero's who have not made it home alive.

The P.S. to this story is this.... that less than five months later, Penny was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Radical treatment will be necessary. How this woman, has remained so strong and focused I will never know. She never stops. She never just sits down because she is tired or in pain. And she never forgets. She never lets us forget, what LCPL Gabriel Raney did for all of us. That he lived for all of us. That he died for all of us.

Rest in Peace, Gabe Raney. And may your mother's days of suffering soon pass. May she win this battle with Breast Cancer and be able to continue spreading the word of your sacrifices to anyone who will listen. Because you are a hero Gabriel Raney, and for all of us girls who went to school with her, and the family's of other fallen soldiers who are fortunate enough to know her, so is your Mama.

Let Freedom Ring.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Thursday, May 26, 2011

There Ain't No Steps In This House

And as we laid there, rehashing old conversation that had taken place earlier in the evening, I knew, how much I loved this man. As his mind drifted back in time, and we lay there with nothing but the TV screen lighting the room, he laughed and laughed. And I tried to picture the young man I never knew.

The young man, the young father, who let his children do funny, unspeakable things to him as he slept. Put hair bows in his hair, painted his toenails, and combed the hair on his legs. The man who played "Tickle, Tickle and Jack" when his kids would beg to be tickled until they could no longer breathe.  As he re-lived those memories, I watched the youth of yesteryear's, resurrect itself on his face. Suddenly I could picture him with longer, darker, hair. Hair long enough for a hair bow or a barrette. And his laughter, I doubt sounded much different. After all, his sense of humor and laughter is what had me at "Hello".

I don't know my husband's children very well. And now, they are both adults. With children of their own. But through his memories and their Facebook pictures and stories, I have been able to follow all of them. Watch them change and grow. Watch their family's grow and develop. New relationships, and more children. Which brings me to where my thoughts originally started with this story.

Mims has been a Daddy to my children since they were three and twelve.  While they did not put hair bows in his hair or comb the hair on his legs, they were surely just as exposed to him as if they were his own.  Zach has been watching his every move and without knowing it, mimicking his speech, his walk, and his mannerisms since they first met. And Joshua, while being the brains of our family, was humbled at the early age of fifteen during a "history brawl" in our house one night.

You can't take people at face value. You can't decide by someones dialect what they do or do not know. If I close my eyes, right this minute, I can still see the look of shock on Josh's face as he continued to quiz and test Mims and nothing he threw his way would stump him. Josh was not used to being challenged, or to losing.

But as with all children, one will take in more in than another. Absorb the character. Like a second skin. And Zachary, could be his twin. When Zach was about five years old, he took his first little two wheeler bike completely apart. He called us outside to come and look at what he had done. Parts lying around everywhere. Nuts, bolts, strewn from here to yonder. He was so proud of himself! Mims looked down at him and said, "Well that's pretty good son, but the real job, the real deal, is if you can figure out how to put all back together again. That's when you'll truly know you've done something". He smiled, his slow lazy smile, and went back into the house. A couple of hours later, back inside Zachary came, calling us to once again, come and look. And I'll be danged, if he didn't have that entire bike put back together again. If there was a part missing, I didn't see it. I can't tell you how many times, over the years, Zachary has dismantled one thing or another and put it right back together.

We have no steps in our house. No step moms, no step dads, no step brothers or sisters. I have never liked those words. They seem so despondent. So irrelevant. So separate. Family's are not supposed to be separate. They should be cohesive and joined. Those words give the appearance of relationships that are not whole. I heard something the other day and it fit so perfectly. Someone asked a young girl was such and such her step sister and she said no, she is my bonus sister. Isn't that a beautiful way to say that, to describe a relationship that was not yours to begin with, but became yours by fate and good fortune?

I have "watched" and I know that my bonus daughter Tina, feels the same about her bonus children. She loves them as her own. I can see it in the pictures, and I can hear it in her words. I wish Tina and Jody could have known their Daddy better, longer. But I know without knowing Diane, their Mother, personally, they were raised by a good, strong woman. A woman who struggled at times as a single parent, but did what she had to do to make it work. I know this, because I was that woman. For thirteen years. And I know, that children do not raise themselves. They must have guidance, love and strength. And while their Daddy felt all of those things for them, he was eight hours away for a good part of their lives. Miles are hard to overcome when you need your Daddy. Unfortunately, both of my boys know the same thing with their natural Father. Distance is hard to overcome. But my boys have a bonus Daddy. And I am so proud, I have a bonus daughter who is willing to share what was originally hers and her brothers.

I'd like that terminology to be the new, accepted word. Worldwide. Everything about the word "Bonus" radiates positiveness. It's warm, it's additional, it's extra, and it's a gift.  I'm proud to be a bonus Mama, Grandmother, Aunt and Sister in Law. And I am so VERY proud, my sons have a Bonus Daddy, Sister, Brother, and Cousins.  Family is everything, no matter how many blends and colors you add to it. It all should meld into one until you no longer see lines or shadows. Just love.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Women and Sisters Unite

I wouldn't be a teenage girl again for anything. Matter of fact, I wouldn't be anyone under the age of thirty again. They all seem to have tunnel vision. And I guess when you're that young, things just really do seem that simple. She’s prettier. He has a hotter car. She’s smarter than everyone else. He’s such a nerd. They don't wear the right clothes or live in the right neighborhood.

The first thing that happens; the circle is broken. The young can be so harsh, so quick to judge, and so long to forgive. They don't have to have limitations, or make lines in the sand, or make rules that may have to be bent or broken, given unforeseen circumstances. They are so strong in their convictions, they have no idea, that one day, there will be circumstances that will weaken those convictions and test their beliefs. There will be people who will question and make them question, their own morals and faith.

There will be events that will be so tumultuous they will never believe recovery is possible. There will be sickness and death of both friends and family that will make them question their beliefs and why things happen the way they do. How the roster of the chosen few seems to include those they know and love, and not strangers whom they will never know. Why they and theirs were chosen to suffer and feel unimaginable pain.

There will be lost jobs and troubled children. They will be parents at a loss, because their children are behaving in ways they could have never believed; and certainly never planned. There will be parents who will grow older and need the same care they provided, just a few years ago themselves.
And there will be women; who will still know one another, now as mothers, parents, co-workers, and survivors. They will compare pictures, stories, grandchildren, husbands, dead beat dads, aches, pains, and heartache. There will be women who can no longer remember why they stopped speaking in high school.

There will be women who now pray together and pray for each other. We will be happy and sad together. We will suffer when our sisters suffer and wish we could carry the load that others are so surely tired of trying to carry alone. We will wish we could absorb their pain, if even for only a day. We will cheer as they celebrate the births of grandchildren and cry as they watch their parents begin their departure for a better place. We will cheer when one of us celebrates another cancer free year, and wear our knees out praying together when one of us discovers we have a battle of our own.

Hopefully they will go to college, learn a trade and strive to be self-sufficient. One day they may have husbands, children, and jobs. Or after 15 years, find they may be divorced and alone, again. They will have both financial and life obligations that will require all of their attention and time.  It will be about surviving. Life is full of gray, of reading between the lines, and sometimes moving that line in the sand; one more time.  There are no guarantees for happiness. No matter that you came from money or the other side of the tracks.

The back you turn today could be the same back that may have to carry an awful load alone one day. We're all just the same as we are different.  We all want, need, and hurt. We can do it alone, or we can do it surrounded by some of the strongest people you will ever be lucky enough to have known.

The women in your life will be there forever; if you let them in. I know because I am surrounded by some of  the smartest, no common sense, prettiest, plainest, nerdiest, financially well off, financially struggling, in shape and not, driving old cars, hot cars, single, divorced, married, widowed, women in the world. And I am so very proud to call all of them, my friends. And God bless the special women in my life who are struggling or have struggled with Cancer. My knees stay in constant state of bend for you all.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ode To My Mama

When I hear people talking about their mother's and their memories, my mind begins to wander. I don't know that I have any profound memories. Or memories that involve quotes that I have carried around in my head all of my life. My memories are more subtle. More like gentle breezes that flow through my mind from time to time. Many of my memories are sensory related. Smells and sights that run in and out of my mind.

Driving home from work, Mama always had rubber bands still on her wrists from her day at work. Every now and again, I'll at some point during my day do the same thing, and it always triggers that flash of a memory. She still smelled faintly of perfume and hairspray. She always had on lipstick and fingernail polish. And if she had on open toed shoes, her toenails were always painted. A sweater stayed on the back of her work chair year round. She has always been so cold natured. If she was laying on the couch watching television or reading a book, she had a afghan across her body and doubled up on her feet. Year round.

Ever the lady, if she had a night gown on anywhere besides her bedroom, she had on a robe and it was closed up. Her hands always smell like lotion. She has been applying dark eye circle concealer as part of her make-up routine as long as I can remember. Even when she didn't have dark circles.

I have few memories of her stopping. Even when she was bone dead tired. She always came home and cooked a full course supper. We always had a big Sunday breakfast. And she always made sure I took those awful chewable vitamins. Well, she made sure she gave them to me. Our pecan tree in the backyard got most of those vitamins thrown at it's trunk on my way to the bus stop.

Her skin is still snowy white. She knew what the value of sunscreen was, and believed the sun to be the evil root of all wrinkles and early aged skin. Her eyes and her face may even look younger than mine. For mine saw too many years of practiced burns and tanning beds. She still colors her hair once a month. And now, my sweet Daddy helps her do it. And if ever he is not able, it will be my blessed duty to help her.

In the leaner years, she bought a sewing machine and made my clothes look better than the expensive store bought ones. She sewed material at the bottom of the legs on my blue jeans. Patches all over my behind when that was popular, even though there was nary a hole in my jeans. Halter tops that were as cute as any that could be bought. And those cute tops with the tie in the back that were so popular when I was in Jr High. One Easter she made all of our outfits. Mine was a corduroy skirt and vest with a silk blouse. I was stylin' and profilin' with the best of them.

She always gardened with gloves on. One year she got into some poison ivy. It evidently got into her gloves, up her arms, and at some point she touched her face. She was swollen and broken out for weeks. Finally requiring a series of cortisone shots to get it healed. 

She has the patience of a saint. And a laugh that rings loud and true. She has a wonderful self deprecating humor. I got none of the patience, but I will claim her laughter and special humor. She was born and raised in Phenix City, Alabama. And no matter how long it's been since she lived there, she still rolls her "r"s when she speaks. It's Rivah..not River. Always. She is an original Steel Magnolia.

Over the years I have come to know my Mother as one of my best friends. She has always been very reserved, but I like to think my children and I have taught her that it's alright to open up and laugh out loud at what is sometimes, raw and bawdy humor. I love that now, sometimes, she even lets a curse word slip now and again. Sometimes my proudest moment memory is when my Daddy is driving her crazy, and she calls him an "ass" quietly off to the side..to me.

I would have liked to have been the lady my mother is...but I am but a cheap imitation..a broad at best. My boys know what a lady their Mema is, and they know me, so I figure they've gotten a good balance.  When her day comes, my Mama will have no waiting period when it's her turn to pass through those gates of heaven. Her spot has been reserved for a long, long time. I imagine, she'll know exactly which chair is hers when she gets there. It will be the one with a sweater draped across the back.

Happy Mother's Day Mama.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Monday, May 16, 2011

Technically Challenged Or Just Stupid

Today's story will come as no surprise to the people that really know me. And for the people who read it, and didn't already know me that well...don't feel bad for me. Don't feel sorry for me. And please, don't stop being  my friend because I am going to portray myself as stupid or inept. I may need your help one day. Please don't leave me.

I wondered if my friend Debbie would tell this story today. She could have. We discussed it. But as dually sad and entertaining as her story may have been, it would not be the complete story. The whole story of Michelle, The Technically Challenged Woman. The story is really about me and machinery in general. Not necessarily just computers and the Internet. No, I'm a lawnmower kicker from way back. It won't crank. It won't start. It wants to choke down. Solution..Kick it.  Back when people had televisions with antennas and the picture would be snowy or have squiggly lines through the picture....Smack it.

I have several stories. I'm not sure which one is going to be the most convincing. Perhaps I should start with my second real job. The year was 1986. It was a local finance company. A company with computers and fax machines. Neither of which had I had any exposure. The computer was difficult enough. But I learned. The fax machine however, threw me for quite a loop. We had several local vendors who used our company to finance their products for their customers. The object of the fax machine was to send the applications via it, to the vendor.

Well, it was my first time in ever using a fax machine. It was explained to me. I understood. I thought. So it began. I sent the application through, went and sat down. Ten minutes later, I came back by the fax machine. There it was again. Hmm....so I sent it through again. Took a payment from a customer. Went back to the fax machine, and there it was again. Strange. I know I sent it off. The phone rings, it is Bootsie, from the Cotton Gin. One of our air conditioner vendors. She asked me was I sending that application over. I said, yes, I'm trying to..she said well you are, stop, I've gotten it three times now. I hung up the phone confused. My manager asks me what that was all about. I told her I had kept sending the application to Bootsie, but it kept coming back out. So I thought she wasn't getting it. Yes....somewhere in my simple mind, I guess I thought the paper was supposed to GO THROUGH OUR MACHINE TO HERS....FROM ALBANY GEORGIA TO TIFTON GEORGIA. Please don't ask me why. I do not know.

Three weeks ago my Facebook account was hacked. I needed to change my password...according to my very wonderful, and patient friend, Debbie Kincaid-Carboni.  Well, bless her soul, she had to walk me through every step of that. One set of written instructions was not enough, she had to repeat herself several times. Poor Debbie.

This brings us to today. Today she was my INSANE friend. Because if I could not get something as simple as changing a password across to someone...I sure wouldn't have attempted anything more difficult. NEVER, would I have offered or made the suggestion.

Debbie Kincaid-Carboni "attempted" to help me via written direction on my FB email, how to get my Blog to run on my profile news feed. Well, her first mistake was thinking I was ever capable of understanding Internet terms and their uses. The directions she gave me were great. The problem was, I was trying to adhere those directions to my Blog itself, instead of Facebook. Which does not work. BECAUSE IT'S A FACEBOOK FUNCTION.  I finally had to ask her to call me. To help me. We were both laughing and giggling at my obvious stupidity.  I mean...even on the phone..I had a problem understanding. I'm not sure how many of you may know the term URL and what it means....but I...did not.

People like me should stick to the basics. Nothing extra. Nothing fancy. Just the basics. God bless my friends. God bless anyone who has ever tried to help me. Tried to help me with my cell phone, which I can barely answer. My spreadsheets at work which I am not allowed to update or touch. My bestie Stacey Mayo takes control of all that. I simply stand next to her and provide the information. My initial FB account that Joshua set up for me. Or the thousands of pictures that Zach had to teach me how to download. We won't even talk about years ago when the rotary dial phones went the way of the cordless. That phones that you can now store information on. Yeah...mine had no numbers stored. Surprised? I know you are not.

Keep it real. Keep it simple. Keep it kindergarten level. For people like me. And I can't guarantee you even then, that I'm gonna get it. And don't ever make the mistake of asking me for help, unless you have something that needs to be smacked or kicked. That..I can do.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ballerina Angels

Last night the lightening show began. No noise at first. Just like fireworks without color, in the distance. We were sitting on the porch in the glider. We as in, Zach and I.  And Zach began to count the seconds in between. One one thousand, two, one thousand. His daddy taught him how to tell how many miles away the storm is by the seconds in  between. The small rolls of thunder began. And still, nothing more but the sky lighting up every now and again. Like a kid, playing with the light switch. Flickering. On and off. On and off. Over and over again.

We continued to swing. Sometimes silent, sometimes not. He telling me about his day. His Winter Sports Banquet. The one I knew about at 7:20am on Friday morning. When he came through the living room with his dress pants on. The one I didn't ask off work for in advance. The one he said didn't matter because it was "only JV Basketball". The one I missed the Coach saying a few words about Zach I would have liked to have heard first hand. Poignant words like "a leader in disguise".  I think those words describe Zachary well. I would have loved to have heard them spoken.

He described to me his encounter with Kay's Mother, Mrs. Denise. His ex-girlfriends Mother. She was of course, very nice, called out to Zach, took the time to speak. And told him she was sorry, and he could come see her/visit her anytime. It was nice to know, she seemed as disappointed as I, and as Zach, that it didn't work out. And that she wasn't quite sure what happened or why. And I think she made Zach feel a little better. Which is what mattered the most to me. He is better, but he has hurt a lot for the past week.

And Kay is always welcome here as well. She sent me a text message on Mother's Day. Telling me she was sorry but hoped that we could remain friends and that we could still talk. And wished me a wonderful Mother's Day. I told her of course we could.  She was welcome to come see me or call me anytime. And so it goes.

You know, I have to say this...when all of that went down..Zach's break-up..he was so very mature about it. So very kind.  And as I tried to question him as to why, what in the world had happened, he was matter of fact and still, kind. He said he didn't know why the break-up occurred. He didn't want it to, but that it just had. He said, he knew when they started dating, that Kay was just like him, but in a girls body. And that someone was bound to get bored. She just happened to get bored with him first. And that since most of his life, he had always been the one to break up with people from being bored, he figured, he was just his turn. His due. This time. He said he told her he still liked her, and cared about her, and if she ever needed his help, he would be there. And they agreed to stay friends. I was so very proud of him. For not only knowing the right way to handle it, but for knowing and acknowledging his own shortcomings.

As these two conversations came to an end, the storm had moved yet even closer. The thunder became sharper and the lightening more crisp. Zach was counting the miles again, and it appeared to be all but right on top of us. I could smell the rain. I knew it was very close. And suddenly, the heavens opened up and the rain was crashing down. It didn't start with a dribble or sprinkles. It was literally like the bucket was full and someone turned it over. It exploded out of the sky. I can't remember the last time we saw rain, so it was more than welcome. My flowers and grass so desperately needed it.

I can remember as a young girl, sitting on our front porch swing at the house I grew up in. In Albany Georgia.  Swinging, talking and watching the rain. On especially hard raining days my mother used to tell my little sister and I, that if you looked at the road, and the rain drops, it would appear as if tiny, ballerina angels were dancing. She would say that, it seemed, every single time it rained hard and we had the occasion to be sitting together on that porch. She said her Mother, my Sara MaMa, used to tell her that when she was a little girl.

We had a front porch swing on our first house here, on Hwy 65. Me and my boys would sit in that swing together and watch the rain pour from the heavens. And I would tell them the same story my mother used to tell me. The same story her mother used to tell her. I thought of that again last night. It was too dark to see the road, but I thought about it.

Front porch swings and hard rains were made for talking. For a purging of the heart and soul. For family's to be able to sit together. Spend time together. And talk. To slow down. Because now you have time. An excuse. To stop for a little while and just relax. And watch the tiny, ballerina angels, put on their beautiful dancing show.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Friday, May 13, 2011

I Guess It Really Just Is..What It Is...

When you're the only one who knows it, does it matter? When you're the only one who feels it, does it matter? When you're the only one who reads it, does it matter?

I'm not really sure. I'm still trying to decide. Trying to decide whether writing this blog really means anything or not. Rarely are there comments on the blog itself. I have no idea who is reading it. Or more importantly, who is not. I put all of my heart into these words. Into these thoughts. Into what I decide to share. Or not share. My thought process with every story, is that I hope they help someone. Hope someone can see themselves in my words. My stories.

I sent my work to several newspapers, hoping to get a slot of commentary space. That didn't happen. It was disappointing to say the least. But my goodness, how many real writers get turned down a day? How many brilliant writers put their heart and soul into their work, only to be rejected with a letter that is as impersonal as a door knob.  I am an amateur at best. So, feeling sorry for myself, I'm not. I'm just trying to decide, if I am the only one I'm writing for ..the only one who is listening.

I have received some beautiful comments and personal private testimony from several people. And I have to admit, they are what continue to drive me. Continue to make me want to share my life experiences and thoughts with all of you. So I do know that all is not in vain. Someone reads. Sometimes.

My friend Debbie also writes a blog. One that I enjoy very much. She made a comment the other day, that she wondered if any one were reading hers, and that she hoped they were. Well, that's where I am. Because I can think these thoughts to myself. They don't have to go down in internet history. Sometimes it feels kind of like watching a funny movie all by yourself. With no one to look over at and laugh with...or to see if they think it's as funny as you did.

I can keep writing forever. It does me good some days. Also, I'm saving these for my kids. I think they read every now and again. Zach, because he's right here and I say "Hey read this".  Josh, because he comments verbally every now and again. If I ask him. Never has he commented in words on the blog itself. I used to send the link to my parents. On stories I thought they would like, or find particularly funny or enjoyable.  The last couple of times, I got no response. I have no idea if they read them or not. Makes me kind of wonder, if I wrote a book, and it got published..would they even buy it?

And lastly, I'm not trying to steal anyone's thunder. My son Joshua is a brilliant wordsmith. I could never compare to anything he has ever wrote or any thought that has ever gone through his mind.  I started this for me. At a time when I needed something for myself. Another place to put my crazy thoughts, crazy stories and wonderful memories. I enjoy laughing at myself. I'm human and you'd better believe I know it.

So, I'll write until I stop. Whatever that means. And Debbie, you write until you don't feel like it too. I'll keep reading your blog. Keep enjoying your stories, your recipes and book critiques. If nothing else, I'm pretty damn proud of us. Proud that we had the guts to put ourselves out there. That we had the courage to put all of our deepest and personal thoughts and dreams out there for everyone to see. So go Me. And go You. Write on girlfriend..write on.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Love Ain't All Sunshine And Roses

I tried to think this morning, tried to remember, a time when my mother and I discussed my crushes. Or my boyfriends. Or my heart aches. Later in high school, she knew I dated. Of course. But she never saw me cry. We never discussed anyone who had the power to make me cry. I'm not really sure what the difference was..maybe the times. Maybe me. Maybe my mother.

I am very involved in my children's lives. And I do believe it's more a sign of the times. Life seems so much more dangerous now. Much more tempestuous and full of trepidation. I want to know who they care about. Who makes their hearts flutter. Who they think is special. And who they think is the most wonderful person they know. I like knowing who can make them laugh with abandon and cry with no shame.

At the same time, I will have to know who breaks their hearts and who takes some of their innocence as they turn and walk away. And I will sit with them. Quietly. On the swing as it goes back and forth. With no other sound than the creak of the chains that need oil. Sitting together in the dark, gliding back and forth. The night dew carrying the smell of Jasmine up to the porch. Where we sit. One of us on one side of the glider, one on the other. Words rambling in my child's head, and in mine. No sound coming out.

I wish I could make it all better. I wish I could erase their pain. And I wish life didn't have to hurt. I wish I could spare them the hurt of the learning experiences that go with first loves, second loves and their last loves. But that just kind of goes with it. With growing up. With all the laughter and fun, you are sure to get some sadness and tears.

My boys are the product of divorce. They have always lived primarily with me. And I have always tried to make sure they showed respect to their father by birth. I knew there were times they were not happy with him and his choices. There have been times, they did not think they owed him anything, including respect. But I have always told them both, without him, without their father, I would have never have had them. That I too, have felt and thought many negative things over the years, but that one thing, always keeps me and my feelings in check.

I think relationships work the same way. No matter that they may end. No matter that the end may not be your choice. Or that the end may not please either of you. At some point, both people felt something for one another. And for that reason alone, to walk away respecting each other and each others feelings is the least you can do. To remember why you felt the way you did to begin with....may help ease the pain when one of you, or both of you,  no longer does. Sixteen or sixty, love can sure feel good and love can sure feel bad.

So I ride the wave of pain with my children the best I can.  Sometimes it lasts a while. But I know, that the day they walk in the house after school, and are smiling and busting with news of one kind or another, that the pain must finally be easing. When they're ready to sit in the swing, in the dark, and talk again. The silence is gone. The heart is healing. And we wait. Together. For the next wave. To come through.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims