Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thoughts for the Day

Attention grumpy holiday travelers: If you’re choosing to fly (and yes, it is a choice), then you should also realize that you may be subjecting yourself to unpleasant security screenings.  The same people who are crying about the “invasive” security checks would probably also be the first people crying if the government didn’t do enough to prevent another terrorist attack.  (I do admit that there are some cases where the screenings have crossed the line, but that is not the majority.)  Do I want to get publicly groped at the airport?  Of course not.  Would I choose that over getting my plane hijacked?  Definitely.

Attention children of NC: It doesn’t make you cool to wait at the bus without a coat, especially when you’re standing there shivering like an idiot.  The other day I passed a kid at the bus stop who was wearing a sweatshirt that was (based on the way he was blowing into his hands) clearly not keeping him warm.  This is NC, not the equator.  Buy a coat… or at least some gloves. 

Attention college football announcers:  When a player grabs another player’s facemask and whips them around by their head, it’s not “oh, that might have been a penalty,” it’s “whoa, they definitely missed a blatant penalty there.”  Just sayin’

Attention insurance company: If you needed 2 pieces of additional information for my form, why did you send it back the first time only asking for 1 and then send it back a second time asking for the other?  Should I assume you will be sending it back a 3rd time asking for additional information that wasn’t requested on the original form?  Let’s save everyone some time and postage and print out a form that includes fields for ALL NECESSARY INFORMATION.  Thanks.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Another Day, Another Doctor

The past week has been filled with bathroom renovations (yes… still), preparations for the upcoming holiday, corporate layoffs (luckily, not me or any of my close friends), taking care of Sadie, family, friends, exhaustion, and… a cancer scare.

JD had to get a physical done before he can start the police academy.  He called me on my desk phone Friday, asking me to grab my cell phone and call him back once I was outside.  I knew this wasn’t a good sign, but I definitely wasn’t prepared for what he was about to tell me.

“They found something on my chest scan.  There’s a mass in my lungs.”

It was one of those moments where you feel your entire world shift.  I took a deep breath and tried to stay rational.

“Okay, what does that mean?”

“It means I might have cancer.”

Then came the tears.  JD smoked for a year (quit when he started dating me because that’s a deal-breaker for me) and spent 4 years in the Marine Corps inhaling jet exhaust.  Still, he is a strong, healthy 24 year old.  Cancer was not something either of us were prepared to face.

“What else could it be?” I asked, reminding myself not to worry because we didn’t know anything for sure yet.

“It could be just be scar tissue from pneumonia,” he said, although he’s a “prepare for the worst and hope for the best” kind of guy, so he didn’t sound convinced that’s all it was.

I was calm, reassuring, and level-headed on the phone with JD, because I felt like he needed me to be those things for him, but as soon as I hung up with him, I dialed my mom, and began sobbing uncontrollably.  The first few minutes of our conversation consisted of me bawling into the phone and her gentle responses of, “Honey, I can’t understand you.”  Once I calmed down enough for her to comprehend me, it was her turn to reassure me, telling me that she’s experienced the “worst case scenario that turned out to be nothing,” several times before.

We were fortunate to get JD scheduled for a CT scan today, and they were kind enough to analyze the results immediately, because he’d been so worried.  He called me as soon as he got out of his appointment, “I don’t have cancer!” he announced excitedly. 

“See, I told you,” I smiled into the phone, relieved.  “Did they say it’s just scar tissue?”

“No, they didn’t see anything.”

“What?!  There was nothing there?!”


That was an entire weekend of worrying, an entire weekend of trying to comfort a man who couldn’t sleep because he thought he might have lung cancer, and it was all because of something that wasn’t anything at all.  Still, I’m thankful that he and I are both healthy, that he will finally start the police academy this winter, and that sometimes, doctors are completely wrong.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Things I'm Not Good At

Inspired by my sister's recent post, "Permission to Say I Don't," I decided to finally declare the things I'm not good at.  These are the types of things I spent most of my life being in denial about.  Today, I'm standing up, saying, "You can't be good at everything, and that's okay."  :)

 I’m not terrible, but I’m not great either.  I’m just good.  Sometimes only okay.  I think it really hit me the day that JD's London broil came out better than mine ever did.  I should be thankful that I have a husband who’s willing to cook (and good at it too!) but in the moment, it burst the Betty Crocker view I had of myself.  Looking back now, I’m glad that bubble was burst.

I was a dancer for 8 years and a cheerleader for 6.  I’m coordinated, in-shape, and athletic, but I’ve never been good at team sports.  Maybe it was the traumatic incident in 4th grade where I got wiped out by a kickball to the face, because every time I’ve tried to play something since then, I’m usually too distracted by the possibility of getting hitting in the face that I don’t try that hard. 

Waiting patiently in a crowd
I don’t mind waiting in non-crowds.  I once waited for 10 minutes in an Advanced Auto while the guy that was helping me was stuck on the phone, and it didn’t bother me at all.  But I have personal space issues, and I hate being in crowded places where strangers are constantly touching me.  Or waiting in line for something when the person behind me thinks that breathing down my neck will make the line move faster (Xmas shopping is the worst for this!).

Remembering names
Introduce yourself, and I will forget your name in about 30 seconds, not because I don’t care, but because I really just can’t remember.  I remember faces very well, even people I haven’t met, like the man who worked at the grocery store by our old apartment and now works at my favorite salad place.  I don’t know his name.  I remember him as “Lowe’s Guy.”

I feel the tears coming on already.  Call me a wuss, but I avoid confrontation like the plague. I once practically hung up on the cable company because they missed my appointment time and were making me reschedule.  I felt myself starting to cry, and quickly set up the appointment so I could get off the phone.

My mom and sister got that gene.  Even my stick figures are sad-looking.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Unofficially Official

JD signed his conditional offer of employment for the police department yesterday.  This means he will start police academy on January 3rd.  

I'm feeling a lot of things right now: Relief that the waiting is almost over.  Joy because I know this will make him happy.  Fear that 6 months of the academy will be extremely stressful for both of us.  Preemptive loneliness for the months that he will work night shifts.  Excitement to see him in uniform every day :)

Mostly, I feel proud.  I'm proud of him for pursuing something he's passionate about, even though it won't be easy.  For choosing a path that requires extreme bravery, strength, and integrity. 

Love you, babe.  Congrats.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Back to the Beginning

I recently shared that JD’s parents came with us on our first date.  As promised, here is the full story behind that:

It was January 2008 when a co-worker asked if I’d be interested in meeting her friend’s son.  “He’s  a Marine firefighter.  He’s such a great guy, and he really needs to meet a nice girl.”

I always swore I’d never date someone in the military because I thought it would be too hard.  But I’m a true believer in the idea that everyone should be given a chance because….well…. you never know.  

My co-worker immediately went to work setting up a time we could meet up for a date.  Meanwhile, I looked JD up on Facebook, “friended” him, and we quickly progressed from Facebook messages to texts and the occasional phone call.

We didn’t do any of the planning for our first date.  That was the work of my co-worker and JD’s parents.  They scheduled the day, picked a restaurant, and decided we’d all go to dinner together since he and I had never met.  Think about the most nervous you’ve ever been on a date, then think about the pressure of earning the mom’s stamp of approval as well as your date’s stamp of approval all in the first date.  That’s enough to make anyone tie the pee record (which I actually did that day, I think). 

Finally, February 13th came.  I was distracted at work, bit my nails, obsessed to coworkers, and waited till it was time to go home and get ready.  I remember peeking through the blinds to watch him walk up to the door.  “He has roses!” I announced excitedly to my roommate.  He was wearing a red button-up shirt and a ratty hat he’d forgotten to take off (he’s still embarrassed about that).  I remember opening the front door and being so excited the moment had finally arrived and thinking how pretty his eyes are.  I remember putting the flowers in water and my roommate telling us we looked cute together.  I remember how nervous he was, which was so endearing.  I remember sitting at dinner and wanting to touch him so badly.  Just reach out and hold his hand.  But it was the first time we’d met and his parents were sitting across the table.  Talk about awkward.

I do have to say that dinner was fun and it wasn’t as scary as I thought it might be, going on a “supervised” first date at the age of 24 (though I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone).  After dinner, we went out to get a drink by ourselves.  I immediately knew the relationship was headed somewhere, I just didn’t realize quite how far it was going to go.

I have to say that I’m glad I broke my “no military guys” rule.  Worked out pretty well for me in the end :)
***Sadie Update***

She’s safely home with us!  We cleared out the man room and set things up for her.  She has her own crate with a dog bed and blanket, 3 new toys that are all hers, plus a new collar and tag so she knows that she’s a part of the family.  We also put down a tarp, which has come in quite handy.  I think she knows she’s supposed to go outside, but she gets overexcited whenever we come into the room and immediately pees wherever she’s standing.  For now, we just want to make sure she’s comfortable; we’ll start work on the peeing issue in a few days.

The boys haven’t met her yet.  We have to keep them separated for the first 10 days in case anyone has any illnesses they could pass along.  Plus, with her foot in such bad shape, we don’t want them playing too rough with her.  They know she’s in there, and she knows they’re out there, and everyone is anxious to meet.  But no one has scratched down any doors yet, which is a good start :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010


On Thursday morning, JD was out on a motorcycle ride in the country when he decided to pull over and take a rest.  It was there he found a scared, injured puppy hiding in a bush.  She had no collar or tags and was limping.  Since he was on the bike, he couldn't take her with him, so he decided to call Animal Control to come pick her up and take her to a vet.  This is how I know JD will be an amazing father (and one of the many reasons I love him).  He acts tough, but he has a big heart, and he couldn't bear to leave her all alone.  So he wrapped her in his motorcycle jacket and sat with her for an hour, comforting her, while they waited for Animal Control.  She was very happy to be rescued, and spent the hour cuddling with JD.  He and I (after he told me the story and sent me her picture) were already in love and knew we had to do as much as we could for her.

When Animal Control showed up, JD gave the man his name and cell number so we could get updated on her condition.  Meanwhile, he and I discussed a name for her and decided on Sadie- doesn't she look like a Sadie?!  The shelter called him a bit later to report she has a broken foot, strained leg, road rash, and some broken blood vessels in her eye.  The rule is that they keep her on a 3 day hold to make sure no one claims her (which we don't think will happen since she had no tags), then we are given the option to foster or adopt her, if we're interested.  There was no question, we had to foster her, at the very least.  It was like she had chosen us- what are the chances someone would have found her in the bush in the middle of nowhere if JD hadn't chosen to stop there?

Last night JD and I went to the other side of the city... in rush hour traffic.... to visit her.  This is how smitten we are already.  She's a very affectionate pup and loved having visitors, and although she likes me, it's very clear she remembers who her rescuer is :)  When JD picked her up, she clung to him blissfully.

Once her fostering period is up, we are still given the option to adopt her.  We already have 2 big boys at home, and I think a 3rd would be a little much, but I don't think we could handle returning her to the shelter after all she's been through.  My mom and stepdad have been wanting a dog, and Sadie seems like a good fit for them (plus we'd still get to see her!) but if that doesn't work out, it looks like we're opening up a dog farm :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank a Veteran

Happy Veteran's Day everyone!

I think the day speaks for itself.

Today, remember our vets as well as those serving now... and next time you pass a military member on the street, give him or her a thank you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy Birthday, USMC!

Today is the Marine Corps birthday.  To JD, this is almost MORE important than his actual birthday.  So I thought it was a good opportunity to share some quotes from a book he recently read, War by Sebastian Junger.
With as often as he’s tried to explain to me, and as hard as I’ve tried to understand, the ache he feels for the Marine Corps is not something I can fully grasp.  Why he loved being in dangerous, uncomfortable situations is beyond me.  I wasn’t married to him during the military days, and I think I would have a better understanding had I spent some time as a Marine wife.  He feels these quotes articulate what he hasn’t been able to explain on his own.
The first one helps explain why he wishes he could deploy again.
"When men say they miss combat, it's not that they actually miss getting shot at - you'd have to be deranged - it's that they miss being in a world where everything is important and nothing is taken for granted. They miss being in a world where human relations are entirely governed by whether you can trust the other person with your life."
The second one helps explain why war is so appealing to someone with ADD :)
"War is a lot of things and it's useless to pretend that exciting isn't one of them. It's insanely exciting. The machinery of war and the sound it makes and the urgency of its use and the consequence of almost everything about it are the most exciting thing anyone engaged in war will ever know...war is life multiplied by some number that no one has ever heard of. In some ways twenty minutes of combat is more life than you could scrape together in a lifetime of doing something else. Combat isn't where you might die - though that does happen - it's where you find out if you get to keep on living. Don't underestimate the power of that revelation."
This last quote is from the movie Jarhead.  This has always been my favorite quote of the movie, even before I really understood what it meant to be a Marine or love The Corps.   When some of JD's former troops deployed to Afghanistan, he was visibly upset for days.  He still feels a responsibility to them and feels guilt that he isn't there to lead and teach them now.
“Whatever else he may do with his life-build a house, love a woman, change his son's diaper-he will always be a jarhead. And all the jarheads killing and dying, they will always be me. We are still in the desert.”
Happy Birthday, Marines.  Thanks for all you do.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

25 Random Things About Me

1. My family calls me "Fer."
2. I keep a list of airports I've flown in/out of and try to visit a new airport each time I fly if possible.
3. Pool drains terrify me- they have ever since I was little.  I still swim around them and refuse to step on or near them.
4. If I had to choose the greatest invention of all time, it would be a toss up between Post-Its, Tampons, and Rolling Luggage.
5. One of the greatest lessons I've learned is that it's not your job or where you're living or any material things that are going to make you happy. It's the people. Value the loving, loyal people in your life.
6. I don't believe in regret. Absolutely every experience in life has taught me something and helped shape who I am.
7. Every time I watch the Sex and the City movie, I cry because it reminds me of my best friends from college, who I miss more than anything.
8. I think water chestnuts are the worst food... ever.  I know they don't taste like anything, but I still avoid any Chinese place that uses them.
9. I don’t really have a favorite color.  It depends on my mood that day.
10. I miss high school cheerleading and Gamma Phi Beta every day. I wish I could have brought them with me into adult-hood.
11. I hate when people touch my pinky toes- not my feet, and not my other toes, just my pinkies.
12. JD’s parents came with us on our first date.  I may have to fully explain this on in a future post…
13. I was once told that I have "really big lips for a white girl."
14. I believe in soul mates. But I also believe they come in many forms other than romantic relationships- parents, siblings, and best friends. And I think you can have more than one.
15. I still miss the car I drove in college- an ’85 Diesel Jetta.
16. I once got asked to dinner by a woman in a laundromat. I said no.
17. I friggin' love toast.  I eat a LOT of it.
18. When I was little, I tried out to play the girl in "Three Men and a Little Lady."
19. I ran from the police once. Senior prank night- I escaped :)
20. I have a running contest with my co-workers over who can pee the most times in one work day.  We’re all tied at 8.
21. I'm a shoe girl. I love my shoes.  Like, if our house caught on fire I’d probably try to save my shoes. 
22. I only had 3 wisdom teeth, which (according to my dentist) makes me "genetically superior."
23. I have killed 2 bamboo plants, which is very hard considering they're such a low maintenance plant (that will be a supreme letdown for my mom, who has a degree in horticulture).
24. I almost floated out to sea once on a raft.  Luckily, I was paying attention.
25. I truly believe the purpose of life is to love.

Monday, November 8, 2010

That's Different

JD is the king of double standards.  His favorite phrase seems to be, “that’s different,” as in:
JD: So are you gonna ask for a new iPod for Christmas?
Me: *Disgusted exhale* When you lost your iPod, we just bought you a new one, you didn’t have to wait for a holiday or birthday.
JD: That’s different.
He always says it with a smile on his face because I’ve caught him in the double-standard.  He still thinks his charm will get him out of things.  Newsflash: That doesn’t work when you’re married.
Anyway, I bring this up because we had a major double standard moment last week at the gym.  I was on the elliptical and he was on the treadmill behind me.  A woman got on the treadmill next to him (changing the subject for a minute, I would just like to say that I HATE when there are a zillion machines open and someone gets on the one right next to you... especially when that person happens to smell).  Anyway, I heard a female ask him if he’d ever seen Fight Club (the movie he was watching on his machine) before.  There was a brief conversation about it, then that was that.
I asked him later if he knew the women.  He did not.  I smiled.  “I think she was trying to hit on you.  Who interrupts someone’s workout to ask if they’ve seen Fight Club?”
JD smiled, though he tried to hide it.  “I know.  I kinda liked it.”
Hold up.  Remember the incident with my geographically-challenged friend?  Um, yeah.  Apparently men aren’t supposed to come within a 10 foot radius of me, but women can hit on him all day.
Luckily for JD, I’m a patient person and can ignore that injustice.  I can ignore it because I trust him and because that woman’s pickup skills were lacking anyway.  I mean, who hasn't seen Fight Club?  C'mon lady, get it together.
Besides, you've got nothin' on me...