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Sunday, August 22, 2010

This Message Brought to You by Hannah Montana….

Don’t judge me.  Y’all know I’m a Disney lover……and that includes watching the Disney Channel.  Thus, the Hannah Montana reference.  Ok, so the episode I just watched had a special concert for the families of deployed troops, and it featured messages to the troops from their family members.  There were tears involved.  Yes, I admit it, I’m 27 years old, and I cried watching Hannah Montana.  Hey, did I ever tell you about the time I cried during Toy Story 3??   Ok, so that’s another story……..

Anyway…..

We’re lucky enough to live in a country where we enjoy freedoms that people in some other countries can only dream about.  We’re safe and happy in a country where we can express our likes, dislikes, and opinions.  Our country isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot better than what others may have to live with.  Our freedoms are protected by the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to go where they’re needed.  Our troops leave their homes and their families to go into some of the most dangerous places in the world.  They give up their luxuries and families to protect ours. 

My dad served in the Navy…..but he did so long before I was in the picture.  He was out of the service before he had a wife and kids to leave behind.  I never had to live day to day wondering what my daddy was doing or if he was ok.  My mother never had to wonder when her husband was coming home.

Unfortunately, many, many families have to give up time with their loved ones while they’re stationed all over the world.  Unfortunately we are in a time of war where deploying thousands of troops are necessary.  Those troops are heroes who see danger in the road ahead of them…..yet they keep going. 

Their families are also heroes.  They stay strong here at home for their service members stationed abroad.  Parents suddenly become single parents…..kids grow up just a bit too fast knowing it might be a while before they see their mother or father again.  Some kids have to say goodbye to both of their parents at the same time.  Far too many times those families don’t get the reunions they are hoping for. 

To all you service men and women out there:  Thank you so much for being brave enough to answer the call of duty to protect this country from those who wish to harm us.  Thank you will never be enough for the sacrifice you make to do your job.  Thank you to the families of service members.  You are the strength at home…..the inspiration that keeps your soldiers going.  You send pieces of your heart overseas without reassurances that they will be making a quick return.  You deserve just as much love and support from this country as the soldiers you love, support, and miss everyday. 

To all of you out there going to sleep safe and warm in your beds tonight knowing those you love are also safe and warm in their beds:  remember the strangers who are sleeping away from home tonight.  If you see a soldier, shake their hand, and thank them.  Please Lord watch our service men and women…..bring them home safe…..end this war that keeps them in harm’s way.  Bring them home.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 1

Well, I officially began my “change in lifestyle” today.  I’m still not sure if that’s the right thing to call it, but it’s the best I’ve got.  I’m not going to write about this every day, but once a week or so I’ll update.  I’m an open book this time, and I’ll take any suggestions for any yummy recipes that just happen to be oh so good for me.  Ok, so how did I do?  Well…..

Ok, to begin with, exercise is on hold until my ribs are better.  I keep thinking, hey, my ribs feel better, then I try to move around a bit too much, and remember, oops, not better yet.  Oh well, so exercise to come soon hopefully.  As it is, I’m still sore from my swimming excursion yesterday.

The plan was to get up a bit earlier than I usually do so that I can make sure I got a good breakfast.  It would have helped if I remembered to set my alarm for an earlier time, but since I didn’t, I didn’t have time for the breakfast I planned.  Ok, that last sentence is a bit of a fib…..I totally set my alarm clock for enough time.  However, when it went off I was tired, sore, and admittedly a bit crabby, so I hit the snooze button and slept a little more.  Hey, baby steps people.  I’m not perfect….I’ll try to do better.  Anyway, regardless of why, I didn’t have time for breakfast.  So, I had a banana on my way out the door.  Ok, ok, I know, not exactly the breakfast of champions, but hey, it wasn’t a snack cake.  So, point for me.  Lunch went well, but dinner gave me some trouble.  I planned on chicken quesadilla using baked chicken.  The chicken took FOREVER to cook.  So, while I was waiting I ate some strawberries.  Look at me snacking all healthy.  Anyway, once the chicken finally finished, I popped a tortilla in a skillet with some chicken and cheese, and proceeded to burn it.  Yep, sure did.  I was hungry at this point, so…..I ate it.  Good news is, I’m full now, and even though the tortilla was a little crispy, it wasn’t quite charcoal.  I’ve got room for improvement on that one I suppose.

When I weighed myself this morning I had already lost 2 pounds.  I was impressed considering I hadn’t officially “started” the challenge yet.  Two down…..only 48 to go…..oh boy.  Buckle up folks, it’s going to be a long….and probably bumpy ride.  I can guarantee at one point I’m going to write here that I totally cheated and ate chocolate cake or something.  I’m going to try not to, but I’m only human…..and I’m a chocolate loving human at that.  The way I see it…..it took me years to get myself to eat the way I do now…..it will take a while to get myself back on the right path.  Day 1……..of many.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Challenge

Ok, so who was impressed by my last post.  I mean, couldn’t you just feel the sunshine radiating right through your computer screen?  Yeah….sorry about that.  Had to get it off my chest though.  I’m feeling much better this week.  Well, ok, maybe “much” better is stretching it a bit, but I’m betting there. 

Now, for the challenge…..which I have issued to myself.  Here’s the deal….I’m 5ft. 2in, tall and I currently weigh 182.  That’s not good.  I’ve never been the type of girl who needed to be skinny, but I do want to be healthy.  I don’t want to wake up one day with health problems that could have been prevented if I had taken better care of myself.  Now, I’ve gone on diets before, and have done well for a few weeks, but then I’ve given up.  So, I’ve decided to treat myself like a child….which means putting myself on a rewards system.

So, I’ve done some research, and from what I’ve seen I need to weigh somewhere between 108-144 pounds to be healthy.  Nothing like a 36 pound spread to make things clear.  This means I have to lose somewhere between 38-74 pounds.  Easy….yeah, right.  Ok, so I’m figuring on 50 pounds.  That will put me at 132.  Of course, I’m planning on consulting my doctor about all this on my next visit.  The goal is to be healthy, isn’t that what the doctor is for?  Anyway, about my rewards system…..for every ten pounds I manage to lose I get a reward.  If I get to 50 pounds, I get to give myself an ipad.

For those of you who know how much of a gadget geek I am, you know that besides an iphone, the gadget I want most is an ipad.  Of course, I’ll have to save up money along the way too, but it will be worth it.  Since my plan is long term…..I mean at least a year probably……I’ve got time to save my pennies.  I’m not calling it a diet.  It’s my lifestyle challenge.  I’m going to change the way I take care of myself.  That involves changing what I put into my body (although I will find it very difficult to give up my Coke).  It also involves changing what I do with my body (which means no more couch potato).  I’ll watch what I eat and exercise.  Hey, I didn’t say it was some in depth methodical plan.  Sometimes the simple things work best. 

The challenge starts Friday….because I get paid and can go to the grocery store.  So, I’ll write some about how I’m doing…..and if I start to whine…..well, feel free to tell me to suck it up.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Did I Piss off a Leprechaun??

Ok, so although I have Irish blood in me, the “luck of the Irish” doesn’t seem to favor me.  Y’all know about the accident and subsequent bruised up ribs from the car accident last Thursday….I was really figuring we could only go up from there.  Then we went through rental car hell with Avis.  Not only were they less than helpful in South Carolina when we went down there, but they took another $136 out of my bank account without warning. I certainly wasn’t expecting that.  So, certainly we were going up from there right?

Well, this morning it looked like we might be because I actually got Avis to cooperate and refund the charges I wasn’t responsible for. Well, I’m still waiting for the refund to my bank account, but hey, I’m trying to stay positive.  Staying positive isn’t so easy at the moment.  I took my new kitten to the vet this evening.  She hasn’t come home yet because she needed to get her first vaccinations, and get treated for fleas.  We also had to test her for Feline Leukemia for the safety of our other cats.  Faline tested positive.  My luck wouldn’t have it any other way.  This adorable little kitten that I was absolutely certain would be living with me very soon, can’t ever live here. 

I just know that my mom was finally going to cave and let me bring her home.  I figured once we got rid of the fleas, and had her spayed and declawed, mom would be happy to have this little addition to the family.  I was also certain that our other cats wouldn’t put up much of a fuss while they were getting to know Faline.  The good news is that she’s not really sick right now.  Testing positive means that she has been exposed.  Our vet says that we could retest her in 3 months to see if she was able to fight it off.  I can’t do it though.  I can’t spend another three months getting even more attached to her when in my heart I’m having a hard time believing that there will be anything other than bad news again. 

I’m so sick of this.  When do I get to have some good luck.  I’ve had my share this week.  It’s not fair.  Don’t get me wrong.  I know there are many more horrible things in the world than me not getting a new pet.  I’m one of those “pets are part of the family” people.  I’m not one that must have every little kitten or puppy I see, but this little one just stole my heart.  She fit with me.  My heart is broken.  Why is it that pets can just become part of the family so quickly?  I’m usually a very positive person who finds a bright side in every situation.  I just don’t think I have the energy to look for the light at the end of the tunnel anymore. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Scooter was a Sign

After the drama surrounding our April cruise, I was so looking forward to a nice, relaxing, beach vacation.  After 14 hours spent traveling from Kentucky to South Carolina, I was ready for my Myrtle Beach vacation to start.  We rolled into town in probably the busiest part of the afternoon on Saturday, July 24, so I suppose the fact that the loading zone for the hotel was jam packed shouldn’t have been surprising.  Aggravating yes, but surprising, no. 

Due to the overcrowding of the loading zone, and the apparent incompetency of the man working the loading zone, we had to take our cars to the hotel parking lot----across the street.  Alvin and I stayed with the cars while the rest of the gang checked into the hotel.  Once we got the call that they were ready for us, we headed back to the loading zone.  There was a brief moment where we should have taken the hint and headed back to Kentucky before we ever unpacked the car.  See, there was a scooter rental place right across from the parking lot.  Apparently any monkey on crack can rent a scooter from this place, and then ride freely all over Myrtle Beach.  One of these “scooter renters” came barreling out of the rental facility and I watched helplessly as she almost slammed right into the side of Alvin’s car.  Thankfully, the woman managed to stop her scooter……barely.  Wouldn’t that have been a crappy way to start the vacation?  No, see, our vacation didn’t start badly.  It gradually worked up to bad.

The bad luck started with a missing wedding ring.  Alvin’s to be exact.  It just disappeared.  He and Ria didn’t wear them to the beach, so it had to be somewhere in the room.  We looked everywhere, but never did manage to find the black hole that swallowed the darn thing.  It went missing on Monday night, and the rest of the week, you could catch any one of us lifting a couch cushion or peeking behind a chair just to see if we saw anything.  One time, while the couch bed was out, Ria even stuck her head between the bed and the back of the couch.  Now, she said she was just trying to see if her head fit, however, I suspect she was hoping to find the missing ring down there.  I can’t blame the girl for trying.  I wasn’t looking forward to the call we’d have to make to maintenance if she got her head stuck though.   Can you imagine, “Um, Mr. Maintenance man, my sister’s head is stuck between the couch bed and the back of the couch.  Uh, why?  Good question.  Well, she wanted to see if it fit…..guess she got her answer.”  Yeah, that would have gone over just great.

Anyway, as much as I feel bad for Alvin losing his wedding ring, I really wish that was the worst thing that happened on this trip.  We almost made it to the very end of our vacation without any other chaos.  We were tanning, swimming, putt-putt golfing, and having a ball.  That all changed Thursday night…..Our van is wrecked.  Probably totaled actually, but we’re still waiting for word from the auto body shop on that.  I honestly don’t know what the hell happened.  One minute I was chatting with Angie, the next I had bruised ribs, and a gash on my neck from the seatbelt.  I don’t remember the wreck at all.  All I know is that it definitely happened.  All of our bumps, bruises, and aches can attest to that fact.

I did impress myself by remaining calm and calling 911 to get emergency crews to the scene.  I remained calm right up until I got off the phone with the operator.  My sister counted 5 panic attacks in the span of 15 minutes or so.  I couldn’t get my shit together from one minute to the next to stop those attacks.  The next day we went through rental car hell, but we still managed to enjoy our last night at the beach.  The most drama we had after that was on the way home when we sat in traffic in the mountains of North Carolina.  It took us an hour and a half to go six miles……with our gas light on for some of the way. 

Clearly that woman almost smearing her face all over the side of Alvin’s car on that first day was a sign of things to come.  Apparently, we’re not much for paying attention to signs in my family.  In our defense, even the near scooter “incident” was still a little too subtle.  A flashing neon sign saying, “IF YOU STAY HERE IT WILL BE DRAMATIC” would have been much more appropriate.  All in all the vacation was fun….in between all the drama.  However, based on my experiences with vacations this year, I think it’s safer for me if I just don’t leave the state anytime in the near future.  Good thing I like Kentucky. 

Now for the public service announcement:  WEAR YOUR SEATBELTS!!!!  Honestly, I don’t want to think about the injuries we might have gotten if we weren’t wearing them.  The cut on my neck is well worth what that seatbelt prevented.  Oh, and if you’re traveling…..please be careful.  It’s a jungle out there!

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Letter to Avis

Dear Avis:

I want to take a moment to thank you for being so helpful when my father and I were running around last Friday trying to find a place to rent a car.  Since you don’t know me personally, you may not be able to pick up the sarcasm in my voice, so let me explain something.  I do not REALLY want to thank you.  Yes, we did manage to rent a car from you for our trip home from Myrtle Beach, but it was not the greatest experience dealing with you.

You see, my family and I were in an accident that rendered our van unable to be driven on Thursday night.  Thankfully, we were all ok, but we were stranded tourists.  Your agency was the third….I repeat, THIRD agency we went to looking for a car to get us from South Carolina to Kentucky.

I’ll take this time to give a few shout outs:  Thank You Enterprise Rent A Car for not wanting to rent us a car because they couldn’t directly bill our insurance company.  Apparently they didn’t feel our credit card was good enough.  Also, thanks go out to an agency, whom I believe was called National Rent a car or something like that.  Honestly, they were so little help, I didn’t bother to learn their name…they were in the Myrtle Beach Airport.  They didn’t even have a car available for a one way rental.  Sooooo helpful.  Yep.

I will say Avis, at least you had a car available to get us to Kentucky.  When we explained that we would like to rent a vehicle with enough trunk space to get four people and their week’s worth of luggage home, the agent seemed willing to oblige.  Somewhere along the way, something went horribly wrong.  We were told you had no vans or SUVs, but the car we were being given would have plenty of room.  Sure, ummm……apparently we have a very different definition of “plenty” of room.

Yep, there was a trunk.  It hardly fit anything in it, but it was there.  After all our luggage was in the car, we could only fit three people in the car.  That’s a problem since we came down with four.  Lucky for us (and with no help from you darling Avis) we were not alone on this trip.  My sister and brother-in-law had another car down there, so they were able to take our fourth passenger home.  Unfortunately, she had to stay at their house Saturday night because we couldn’t even fit her in the car for the short drive between their house and ours.

I think the problem may have been that your agent wasn’t paying enough attention to her customers.  All she was interested in was trying to sell us all the little “extras” that you can get with a car rental.  We told her repeatedly that our insurance agency would insure the rental while we had it, and she repeatedly tried to get us to purchase insurance from your agency…..if she had been paying attention, she would have realized we didn’t NEED or WANT your insurance.  We also didn’t NEED or WANT the GPS she kept trying to shove down our throats.  We told her we had our own, but apparently she felt yours was better.  Whatever, we made it down to Myrtle Beach with ours, thanks so much, we’ll make it home with it. 

Oh, and we really appreciated the “change oil” light coming on on the way home.  Seriously, don’t you check these things before you rent a car.  Oh, but let us forget to fill up the tank before we bring it back, and heads will roll. 

Since we were all bruised and banged up from the accident that led us to needing a rental car, we decided to rent the car until Monday just in case we weren’t able to get the car back on Sunday.  We’d have hated to have said we’d return the car on Sunday, then not be able to get it back to you.  We didn’t want those extra charges.  Turns out we could have given it back Sunday, but didn’t end up doing that because you would have charged us a higher rate for returning it early.  Seriously, I mean really, seriously.  Geeze.

Well, you have your tiny, boxy, loud, little car back in your greedy little hands.  The one bright spot was the agent who helped us when we returned the car to you at your Florence, Kentucky location.  He did seem to not have his head in his ass.  That was good.  The rest of it however, was not a great experience.  I’d actually rather not have to deal with you again.  So, I’m breaking up with you.  It’s you, not me, and I won’t be setting you up with any of my friends either.

Sincerely,

Me