Archives for May 2011

Bella meets Granddad

Bella will never meet her maternal great grandfather, my grandfather, Fletcher Deforest Miller who left us on December 6, 1999. I was 15 years old.

My relationship with my grandfather is hard to describe. I have always been much closer with my maternal grandmother. Sometimes I ask myself why that is. It’s not that I didn’t love my granddad. I did, very much. When I was younger, our relationship was different from what it was when he died.

I remember when my sister, Amy, and my cousin, Courtney, would chase him around the house with pairs off my grandmother’s yellow dishwashing gloves. I’m not sure what kind of weird game it was, some kind of  “dishwashing glove tag,”  I guess.

Every Christmas we would bake Christmas cookies at my grandparents’ house. Every spring we would dye Easter eggs. Every summer we would go to Lake Winnipeskaukee (the local amusement park). For the Christmas cookies and the Easter eggs, my grandfather was always the guy behind the video camera, capturing every moment. At the amusement park, he was the guy winning us prizes at the games. One year he won me a purple teddy bear that I loved. I wrote him a thank you note and drew a picture of my bear. I loved those times.

I remember that my grandfather was always working on some kind of project. He was always re-doing a room or building a dollhouse or something. I remember that when I would slap the recliner in which he sat in the living room with my hand, I would be assaulted with a cloud of sawdust. I have a lot of memories of him sitting in front of the TV, cigarette in his mouth, working on putting something together. I wrote an essay about my grandfather in college that was titled “Sawdust and Cigarettes” because thats what he smelled like to me.

Out in the front yard he had all sorts of equipment for building and fixing things. When my sister, cousin and I would play outside he would occasionally make us something and bring it over. It was usually something simple, like the first letter of one of our names that he had cut out with his saw, but it meant a lot.

As I got older, my relationship with my grandfather got a little more distant. I’m not so sure why, but I’m pretty sure it was his failing health. He was on dialysis at that point and I think it freaked me out a little that he might die at any time. Instead of getting closer to him, I pulled away in an attempt to protect my own emotions.

The dialysis went on for awhile and he didn’t really seem to be getting any worse, from my perspective at least, so I had kind of pushed my fears to the back of my mind and stopped worrying about it. Then one night in December 1999 my father and I were home alone, my mom had gone to a soccer banquet with my younger sister Amy, who was in middle school at the time.

I remember that we were talking about my grandmother and granddad, but I have come to forget exactly what it was about. It was close to Christmas and their house is where we always spent Christmas day, so I assume it was something to do with that. I was sitting on the kitchen counter, my dad was standing by the sink. The phone rang and my dad looked at the caller ID. It was my grandmother. He didn’t answer, thinking she was just calling for my mom who wasn’t there. Then a few minutes later, it rang again, that time it was my aunt, my mom’s sister. We kind of suspected something was up, but we didn’t know WHAT exactly. Dad answered the phone and I will never forget how he answered, “Nut Hut, this is Rick,” he said to my aunt, Lisa, and then, his face went sour. “What?” I mouthed to him, and he shook his head. Thats when I knew: It was Granddad.

The next few hours and days are pretty blurry. I know that we went to the soccer banquet to retrieve my mom and sister. I know that I ended up being the one to break the news and I’ve regretted it ever since because of the heartbreak I saw in both of their faces. I decided in that moment that I never wanted to be the one to break the news, about anything, ever again.

I remember that my parents had wanted to go see my grandmother that night and had wanted to leave us with our other grandparents (my dad’s parents) but I had refused. I remember staring quietly out the window into the darkness for the entire car ride to my grandparents’ house.

I remember my mom and Amy being very emotional. I remember feeling like I couldn’t cry. I remember the funeral home. I remember putting a daisy and the ring I was wearing on my pinkie finger into the casket with my Granddad.

I remember that the day of his funeral I was wearing a baby blue sweater with a black skirt, I had my hair in a high ponytail and I was wearing blue eye shadow to match my sweater. At some point I went into the bathroom in the funeral home and cried by myself in front of the mirror and that was the only time I cried. I wanted everyone to think I was okay. That seems to be a re-occuring theme in my life. I always want everyone else to think I’m okay when really…..eh.

Today my father and I took Bella to the National Cemetery in Chattanooga, TN where my grandfather is buried (he was also a Veteran). The cemetery was decorated with American flags on all the graves in observance of Memorial Day. It was a bittersweet day. She will never know the man that I knew, even if I never knew him as well as I would have liked.

My favorite story is the night that all three of us girls, (my sister and my cousin) were spending the night in the guest room that my grandfather had recently renovated. It was beautiful with nice new wood floors and fresh paint and floral decorations. There was a stained glass window somewhere in there, but it has been awhile and I have forgotten where exactly it was. I made the comment that it “felt like we were sleeping in a hotel.” I told this to my grandmother as she was tucking us in and she went and told my grandfather. So, Granddad came into the room and demanded he collect his money for us staying in his “hotel room.” I loved him.

I’ll leave you with today’s pictures from the cemetery.

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Romeo Must Die.

After I wrote a post about my college pet, a hamster named Charlie, my father called to talk to me about a situation he had going on in his Cincinnati apartment. I found it so humorous I took notes and filed it away to write a post about at a later time, even though it isn’t something that happened to me.

My father lives in Gelndale, Ohio in the most adorable “village” ever. Seriously, it’s called the Village of Glendale. It is so lovely and quaint with beautiful old houses from the 1800’s and restaurants and shops that you can walk to. There is also a railroad that runs through the village. It seems like trains blow through every few minutes, but you get used to it after the first few sleepless nights.

Anyway, dad lives in this big beautiful house that has been split into 3 apartments. He didn’t need more room than his apartment because my mother, sister and I remained in Chattanooga when he moved up to Ohio for work.

The apartment is quite tiny, it’s about 500 square feet. There is a little kitchen with little cabinet or counter space, a living room and the smallest staircase ever that leads up to his bedroom and bathroom. It actually  used to be the hidden servant staircase in the 1800s so the help could move to and fro in the house doing chores without being noticed.

To get to the point, my dad and his small dog, Jack, are the only ones living in the apartment currently. One night little Jack started furiously digging in one of the blankets on my father’s couch. Dad didn’t really know what he was doing, until he noticed Jack found a piece of dog food hidden in the blanket. That’s when my father immediately knew there was a problem. He said that kind of thing is called “rat holing”, when a rat or mouse stores food for a rainy day. So Dad started looking around and sure enough, he found rodent droppings behind the couch.

So he started setting out mouse traps, baited with peanut butter, which he had seen recommended on the internet. The traps sat there for about 2 weeks and nothing ever happened. My dad started to think that maybe the rodent had either died or moved on to somewhere else, (perhaps to one of his housemate’s apartments).

I have to add that at this point, he was referring to the rat/mouse as “Romeo” though he wasn’t really sure why (neither was I).

One evening a few weeks later, he was pouring some dog food for Jack before bed. While pouring, he noticed a few pieces missed the bowl and landed on the floor. He didn’t bother picking them up because he just figured Jack would eat them at some point. Then he and Jack headed up the tiny staircase and went to bed.

Then next morning as Dad was getting ready for work, he happened to glance at the dog food bowl and noticed that the pieces that had landed on the floor were missing, but that didn’t make any sense, because Jack had been upstairs in bed with him all night and had not yet visited his food bowl that morning. That is when my father realized: Romeo was still around and he did not like peanut butter. He liked dog food.

So, my dad started putting the traps back out, this time with dog food. You might be worried at this point that poor Jack might not have understood the mouse traps and therefore might have ended up in a tragic situation. I would like to point out that my father put these traps in the kitchen, and Jack REFUSES to go into the kitchen. My father’s housemate, Eric, says that is because the kitchen is haunted, but I have yet to get THAT story. Anyway, the traps were safe sitting in the kitchen because that dog won’t go in there, his food bowl is in the living room JUST OVER the door frame that leads to the kitchen where the traps were sitting, but he never touched them.

The dog food that was sitting in the mouse traps started disappearing, but the traps were still in tact. At first my dad couldn’t figure that out, so he just kept replacing the missing food with another piece. Then one night he was sitting in the living room and looked over to Jack’s dog food bowl (in the living room, right next to the door frame leading to the kitchen) and saw the freaking mouse sitting in the dish, eating dog food.

That is when my dad got insulted. The little bastard was so bold that he would come out, right in front of him, and help himself to snacks. So Dad got out his pocket knife, and took a piece of dog food, and started whittling it down, shaving it to make a better fit for the trap. The way he figured it, the little round pieces were too wide. They didn’t fit the trap right and that was allowing the mouse to snatch the food without triggering it.

Night after night my father sat on the couch watching TV, shaving dog food, and night after the night, that damn rodent continued to steal from the trap without being caught. So, Dad just kept experimenting, each night making the pieces smaller and smaller. One night he was sitting in the living room, watching the trap. Then he turned his attention to the TV for a bit. When he looked back to the trap, the food was gone.

At this point my dad was talking to my mom about the situation over the phone, giving her nightly updates, and of course, my mother, the avid animal lover was like “Well that mouse needs somewhere to live, too.” Dad kind of agreed, and for a while, he kind of backed off, letting Romeo come out around 10 PM and steal food from Jack’s food dish.

Then he (Dad, not the dog) watched a documentary about the Black Plague and how rodents spread disease, and thats when he decided: Romeo Must Die.

So he started back up with shaving the dog food. One night, he was pretty sure he had sized the piece of dog food in the trap just right. He sat in the living room, and he waited. Right on cue, at about 10 PM, Romeo emerged and made his way to the trap, and then suddenly:

WHAP. SNAP. ZING ZANG ZUM. (I’m not entirely sure of the noise the trap made because I wasn’t there. I’m just speculating.)

Romeo was caught in the trap! It snapped up the air, and Romeo wiggled and flapped and fought for his life but ultimately, the trap won. Dad felt a little guilty after the whole ordeal was over and gave Romeo a proper burial.

He says that to this day, months later, he still finds himself looking toward the dog food bowl at 10 PM. He feels a little like he lost a companion, but in the end, he feels that man should always conquer rodent, and in this case, he did.

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I should have been in that movie The Ant Bully.

No really. I should have, because lately I have become the biggest ant bully ever. The little bastards are making me nuts. I can’t figure out how they are getting in the house. We’ve sprayed. We got little “bait traps” that said they would kill off the colony. Liars. Colony is still alive. The ants are still a-kickin’. Sometimes we will go a day or so without seeing any, and I get all excited. But alas, they always show back up. I’ll be making something in the kitchen and then I’ll see one sneak out from under the clock on the counter or something.

The other night something in me just snapped. I was making dinner and I guess the smell of the food was drawing them out. Instead of smashing them and tossing them in the trash, I started picking them up with a paper towel and chucking into the hot wax of my lit Yankee Candle next to the stove. This went on for a while, every time I saw an ant, in he went to join his buddies in a hot waxy pit of death.

And then I stopped long enough to realize that I might be coming a bit unhinged. I mean, what exactly am I thinking this will accomplish?

MUAHAHAHAHA ANT! I’LL SHOW YOU WHAT HAPPENS TO TRESPASSERS IN THIS HOUSE! NOW YOU GO AND TELL ALL YOUR PALS WHAT THE PUNISHMENT IS FOR COMING IN HERE. Oh wait. You’re dead. And… ants don’t talk.

Also, my Yankee Candle was starting to look pretty creepy with all the little ant corpses floating around in there. So, I guess I am off to buy more ant traps, and a new candle.

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20… and Crazy.

I thought about writing the second installment of my “When Mommy Met Daddy” series, but I just don’t feel much like it tonight. Instead, I got to thinking last night about how much my life has changed over the last few years, not just since I had a baby, but in general. I was talking to one of my friends last night about what we were like when we were 20, and I made remember a time….when I was 20…..that you may or may not have found me peeking into the bedroom window of my (then) boyfriend.

Okay. That is totally something I did. Want to hear the story? SURE YOU DO!

So, at the time, I was dating this guy that I will respectfully refer to as EX. For some reason when I met ole EX, I was totally crazy about him. Now that I look back on it, I’m not so sure why. He really didn’t have any redeeming qualities and he was a terrible drinker, but back then, I didn’t see that.

So I had been seeing EX for a couple of weeks, maybe a month or two, I really don’t remember. What I do remember was that he was all social and popular and always had stuff going on: things to do, people to see.

The only time I ever saw him was when he would call at the very last minute when his plans had fallen through, even then, up until that point, we had never even had a REAL date. Our get togethers always involved us hanging out with a bunch of his other friends at a bowling alley or at a lake house or at a bar. There was never any real ONE ON ONE time. That should have clued me in that he wasn’t that interested. Have you ever read that book He’s Just Not That Into You? I did. AFTER this realationship. I should have read it a lot sooner. But I digress.

The whole time I was seeing EX, something was off. There were rumors circulating about his ex girlfriend he had been with before me, about how long they had been together, about how serious they had been. It made me question, why exactly wasn’t he with her anymore? Of course, he wouldn’t tell me anything or talk to me about it.

The more I hung around him and therefore his friends, I guess the more they liked me, or FELT SORRY FOR ME. One night one of them asked me how things were going with EX and I. I was aloof about it, saying I didn’t know, I liked him but we weren’t that serious and yadda yadda, and they said, “I didn’t tell you this, but you need to look at his phone.”

Me: “What?”

Helpful Anonymous Pal : “His phone. His texts. I know for a fact he is still talking to someone else.”

And that, friends, triggered my psychotic behavior. I started scheming for ways to get my hands on his cell phone. I would hide in corners with it reading through his messages. And mind you, I totally found what his friend had tipped me off about: he was still talking to his ex girlfriend. We will call her….SKANKY HOOKER. No, I’m kidding. Let’s call her Gertrude. Gertie.

What bothered me the most about the conversations between him and SKANKY HOOKER…damn….I mean Gertie….was that she knew about me. Their messages were all:

“I miss you.”

“I miss you too.”

“I love you.”

“Ohhhhh. I love you too.”

“But you have Rachel now.”

“I know but she isn’t you.”

What….wait a minute, WHAT?  Man. That ticked me off. But you know what, the more I thought about it, he was right: I wasn’t her. I wasn’t pill a popping alcoholic that had flunked out of college and had to move back home with her parents (which was the whole reason they had broken up BTW). I wasn’t her. I wasn’t that. And I never, ever would be.

Thats when I should have let it go. But I didn’t. Because I was very young and very dumb.

Instead, things just got worse. EX started being even more distant, he started making plans and then just not showing up. He started going days without contacting me.

Then one night, I lost my damn mind. It was his birthday, and we had plans. Did he show up for them? No. Of course not. Did I have some ridiculously expensive gift. OF COURSE I DID.

So, I started stalking his apartment. By which I mean, I WAS TOTALLY STALKED HIS APARTMENT. I drove by, I parked outside, I made sure his car was there, I noticed his light was on….I called repeatedly, I texted repeatedly, I EVEN CALLED HIS EX GIRLFRIEND’S NUMBER. (Which of course, I stole out of his phone. Duh. She didn’t answer by the way.)

I was just freaking convinced she was up there in that apartment with him. I just KNEW it.

Unfortunately, he lived in a locked complex which meant I couldn’t get in to go pound on his door. (I totally would have.) No one was coming in or out of the locked doors and he wasn’t answering his phone so…I didn’t know how to get in.

Then I got a brilliant idea. You see, there was this drain pipe that ran just alongside the building right outside his bedroom window…..

Do you see where I am going with this? Side note: I DID NOT get this idea all by myself. You see, I mentioned EX was a terrible drinker. He typically invited friends to stay over and then got drunk and passed out leaving them unable to get ahold of him by phone, because he was too drunk to wake up and answer it. So, his invited guests usually found themselves in a similar predicament to the one I was in: needing to get in, and being locked out.

In these circumstances, EX’s friends used this drain pipe to climb up and into his bedroom window, which he left unlocked, FOR THIS SPECIFIC REASON, so in my mind, at the time, there was really nothing wrong with this plan.

So, I shimmied up the drain pipe and found myself face to face with his bedroom window.

Where I found him alone. Asleep. On top of his covers. With all the lights on.

Damn.

So, to make a long story short, I slid back down my pipe and went on home, pretty ashamed of myself.

But to give myself a little justification, he was actually cheating on me, with SKANKY HOOKER. DARN! I meant “Gertie”. I just didn’t happen across the evidence to prove it until a few weeks later, and that night is a whole different post for a different time.

I think my point is, in conclusion to this story, that we all have our crazy moments. Maybe mine are a little more psychotic than others but hey, I’ve always been a little eccentric and lively. What can I say? Perhaps it is those exact qualities that made EX come back around 6 months later. That is another series of events that eventually led to a proposal.

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When Mommy Met Daddy

I have decided to start a series entitled “When Mommy Met Daddy”. I stole this from my friend MommyBoots. I am pretty sure she got the idea from another blog as well.

I want a place that catalogs how Jesus and I met and the evolution of our relationship. I say that because all of these memories used to be so very fresh in my mind and now as time goes on and with the addition of our wee tot, the details seem to fade. I don’t even want to imagine what my memory will be like decades from now. :)

This story begins in June of 2004. I had just turned 20 and I was a hostess at the Chili’s on Market Street in downtown Chattanooga. I had been there for exactly a year since the restaurant had opened the summer before. I was working day shift that particular afternoon and it was in that dreadful down time between the lunch and dinner rush between 2 and 4 PM. I was standing at my hostess stand doing what I did best during those 2 hours: staring at the clock and daydreaming. I was mentally packing my suitcase for my family’s upcoming vacation which was a road trip beginning in Vegas and stretching through California. I was beyond excited.

I was in the midst of counting how many bathing suits I had when the front door of the restaurant opened giving me a burst of the thick Tennessee summer air (READ: sweltering and sticky). In with the air walked a fellow with short dark hair, clear skin and high cheekbones. I instinctively asked him how many people he was seeking a table for, but instead he smiled at me and asked me for an application. When he spoke to me, I was somewhat surprised to hear that he had an accent. He didn’t look like he would have one, and I couldn’t really pinpoint what it was. I gave him the application and a pen and put him at a 2-top table next to the hostess stand, table # 28.

After that, I went back to staring at my clock and preparing my packing list. For a few minutes, I kind of forgot about him. Then he tapped me on the shoulder and handed me his paperwork. I took his application and told him to have a seat, that I would get the manager for him.

As I walked back to the office through the kitchen, I glanced down at his application. I wasn’t really sure why at the time, I just wanted to know his name. Jesus. I then knew what the accent was.

When I found the manager on duty in the back office he glanced down and the sheet and said; “Whats his name? Jesse?”

ME:  “No, I think it’s Jesus (HEY-SOOS).”

MANAGER: “No, his name is NOT Jesus (GEE-ZUS).”

ME: <<<<<SHRUG>>>>>

I followed my manager up front and watched him sit down with the applicant, “Hey there, Jesse,” he said.

And then I listened to Jesus correct him. I knew I was right.

To be continued….

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Ants in strange places.

Not much has been going on around our house. My days pretty much look like this: Breakfast, work, home, errands, dinnertime, play time, bath time, story time, bedtime annnnnnnnd repeat.

I mentioned the other day that we have had an ant problem in our house. It’s making me nuts, though it’s not as severe as I make it sound. They aren’t covering the walls or anything. I’ll find one or two in the bathroom every couple of hours and the same in the kitchen.

Bella did eat one the other day and last night her ear was hurting her, which isn’t anything out of the ordinary. She’s never had an actual earache or anything, just little pangs or irritation every once in awhille, kind of like I do I guess. Anyway, for some reason though, Jesus thought it necessary to say, “Man, I hope she didn’t get an ant in there or anything.”

Oh. Holy Hell. Is that even possible? Yes, it must be, cause a long time ago I saw the movie Brokedown Palace and Kate Beckinsale’s character gets all sick because she gets a cockroach in her ear. Or some kind of insect, I can’t remember exactly, it’s been a long time, but hell, if it’s in a movie, IT MUST BE TRUE. Just kidding. But yeah, it must be possible to get an insect in your ear. I just don’t seriously think Bella has one in hers. She isn’t acting like her ear in bothering her anymore and I’ve never found an ant in her room….and I also thoroughly examined her ear under a strong light.

Paranoid? Yes. Yes I am.

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Spellin like dis jus 4 da hell of it.

Let me just throw one of my pet peeves out there:

I cannot stand when ppl type like this bc they r 2 lazy 2 actually use real words.

Alright, assholes. You aren’t typing a text message where you are only allotted a certain amount of characters. (Actually, if you want to get into that, I don’t even view typin this way n a txt msg as acceptable either.)

Type like an adult. It’s a simple way to convey your intelligence, so start utilizing it.

That’s my rant for today. If I offended you, I’m sorry and feel free to slam me with a criticism of your own.

Loves. Smiley face. And anything else that makes this post seem less bitchy.

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