Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Have I mentioned?

That I hate this guy?

Not just allegedly. I really hate him.

I should probably mention that even if it's not true? I still hate him.

And yes, I know Jesus doesn't want me to hate people. But I think he'll give me a pass on this douche.

Monday, June 29, 2009

It's the little things.

As I have well documented, my husband is not exactly the most romantic person ever.

I knew I was in trouble very early in our relationship when he advised me of the date of his birth, February 15th, and stated how glad he was that his mom held him in that extra day so he wouldn't have the pressure to be romantic that came along with being born on Valentine's Day.

No problem there. Not even close.

Not that he's not a nice man. He is. He's funny and kind and especially sweet to old women. Old women freaking love him.

But to me? Well, he said to me last night, "Is this the same brand of taco seasoning you normally use? Because it's okay. Well, it's edible. But it's not the same one you normally use."

And sometimes? When I need him to say, "You are beautiful!" he says, "I find you attractive." Meaning, when I'm in that state of mind, "No one ELSE on the PLANET would ever find you attractive. But that's okay. I do."

So he decided we needed to fix the road in front of our driveway. Because, apparently, we are now working for the city of Knoxville, in addition to the rest of our 11000 jobs. We bought quick-cement and rocks. We dragged our hose to the front of the house and brought the shovel out of the basement. It took a couple of hours, but we smoothed it out pretty nicely. I was resentful the entire time (the question, "Why, again, are we doing the job of the city when our taxes are so outrageous?" might have passed my lips a few times), but it turned out nicely.

I went under the house and put away the shovel. Went to the side of the house and turned off the water. I came to the front and Jason was sitting on the road, smoothing the cement with his hands.

I went to him to see if he wanted a drink and I saw what he was actually doing.

Which was, of course, writing our initials in the cement.

He noticed me, looked up, and smiled.

"Even when we don't live here, this will be our road," he explained. "Our initials will be here forever."

I didn't say anything. I couldn't.

"Forever," he said again. "Like me and you."

The littlest things are the biggest things ever. That's the truth.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Missing you.

It's been one year.

I still miss her.

Last year I wrote down my feelings and I still can't think of a better way to say them. So I'll just let them speak for how I still feel.

Missing you Grandma J.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Interesting program that Greensboro North Carolina has.

I totally could have went to college for free y'all. I can't get pregnant NO MATTER WHAT I DO. I would totally be the winner and then avoid paying for all that birth control that I shelled out mucho dollars for all those years when I didn't realize how much my very own body hates me. I wouldn't have even had to take out any student loans!

And? If they had it now, for me? I could pay off my student loans.

So hit me up Knoxville! I promise I won't get pregnant! I will totally follow the program! Promise! No matter what!

Yes, I know this is a bad joke. I'm having a rough week.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Which brightens my life considerably...

Check out July's issue of Her Nashville, featuring your favorite Stephanie Snowe ever!

And if anyone is in Nashville or the surrounding area, can you pick me up a copy? Please? With sugar on top?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sometimes? I need a minute.

As you all know because I've documented it here for the past few years, I'm pretty much an asshole.

I don't necessarily mean to be. But I am.

Because right now? I'm not happy.

In fact? I'm downright pissed off.

I'm pissed off that people don't care about me. I'm pissed off that I care that people don't care about me. I'm pissed off at my body and the utter unfairness that comes with eating SADNESS PIZZA instead of real pizza and not seeing the effects I wanted. I'm pissed off that I'm a freak and don't get to be normal when everyone else gets to be normal. I'm pissed off about my 3.5 hour commute every day and I'm even more pissed off that I can't sell my house and just move closer to work.

I'm pissed off at myself for letting all of this bug me.

And I'm really pissed off at that guy with Florida tags who was in front of me going six miles below the speed limit. And when he STOPPED at the merge sign instead of MERGING? I really wanted to stick my head out the window and shriek, "OH MY GOOD GOD YOU FREAK, GET THE HELL OUT OF MY WAY OR I WILL COME UP THERE AND STAB YOU IN THE THROAT!"

I didn't. I wanted to, but I didn't.

I'm having a bad day.

It's probably hormones. Which also pisses me off because it's so unfair that I have to deal with this shit and don't even get a baby out of the deal.

Feel free to ignore this. I just need a minute.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dorky Dancing!

Wait. You mean, YOU DON'T DO THIS? You don't randomly burst into dance at any given moment? You don't dance as dorktacularly as possible? You don't make this a routine event in your home?

Why the crap not?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday morning.

This morning, 6:30am.

Jay: Where were you this morning?
Me: The gym.
Jay: Before 5:30am???
Me: Yes. I left the house at 4:20. I do that all the time.
Jay, apparently stunned: You do?
Me: Yes.
Jay: Huh. Did you say bye to me?
Me: No. You were snoring so loudly that the windows were rattling and I hated to keep you from that.
Jay: I don't snore.
Me: Jason. For the love of God.
Jay: Okay, I snore. But not that bad!
Me: Jason. For the love of God.
Jay: Okay, well. Hmph.

Ten minutes later.

Jay: You're going to write about this on your blog, aren't you?
Me: Yeah, probably.
Jay: But you can't. Everyone will know I'm not perfect.
Me: Don't worry honey. I already told them about your beard brush. They totally know.

Ten minutes after that, as I am driving down the road to go to work and my cell phone rings:

Me: Hello?

Nothing. That's what gets by him.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Less fat.

Today, when I stepped on the scale, the number was lower than it's been in at least five years. More than five years, I'm sure, but I don't remember my weight the way other women do. I'm always surprised when people say, "Oh, I weighed X in college" or whatever because my weight has always changed SO MUCH that I would never be able to remember. It's insane.

But I know how much I weighed when I moved to Tennessee in September, 2004. And that number was BIG and LARGE. And the number on the scale today was 67.2 pounds less.

That's a lot.

I exercise nearly every day now. I eat healthfully, for the most part. On Saturday when I took Jason out for a nice Father's Day lunch and had crab cakes? My body totally rebelled against me. I was thoroughly and violently ill. I've gotten used to not eating fried foods.

I can run now. Not for a long period of time, but I guarantee that I couldn't run at all in 2004. Someday I have dreams that I will run a marathon. So far, it's just dreams. But in 2004, I couldn't have even dreamed that.

All of that is well and good. I'm losing weight. I'm getting healthy. Life is beautiful.

Of course, there is one big problem.

I'm still fat.

Losing 67.2 pounds has not been enough. It's not even close.

I meet new people and I desperately want to explain my fatness. I want to assure them I'm aware of it. I know about it even if they don't say anything. It's not a secret. I'm working on it. I used to be even fatter. I want to tell them all this.

I want to get a t-shirt from my gym. They have pink ones and I love them. I love all manner of pink things and those shirts are major cute. But I don't want to wear a shirt from my gym because I don't want to be one of those people wearing a gym shirt that other people look at and go, "Bitch, please. You aren't fooling anyone."

But I go. That's the bad part. I really, actually go. I work really hard. I leave and I'm all sweaty.

And I'm still fat.

I don't eat the potato chips. I don't eat the french fries. I broke up with my long-term girlfriend Little Debbie.

I'm still fat.

My rings slide around my finger now. I can spin my wedding ring around and round. My pants come off without unbuttoning or unzipping. I catch sight of myself in the mirror sometimes and think, "Is that my face?" I lose weight in my face before, say, my ass. I notice. I can tell.

My husband notices. He makes mention of my body, often. I get admiring glances from this lovely man who adored me when I weighed 67.2 pounds more than I do today. Who thinks I'm beautiful inside and out and no matter what the scale says.

But I'm still fat.

It's weird. It's disconcerting. It's like everyone is in on it except for my body (and, possibly, my pants). It hasn't quite caught up. It doesn't yet realize that I'm trying not be fat. It doesn't get that when a normal person exercises five times a week, they don't have thighs that rub together. Or mammaw flaps under their arms. Or the ability to tuck their boobs into their belt.

I'm still fat.
Less fat.
But still fat.

It sucks.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers Day babe.

When a single mom goes out on a date with somebody new
It always winds up feeling more like a job interview
My momma used to wonder if she'd ever meet someone
Who wouldn't find out about me and then turn around and run

I met the man I call my dad when I was five years old
He took my mom out to a movie and for once I got to go
A few months later I remember lying there in bed
I overheard him pop the question and prayed that she'd say yes

And then all of a sudden
Oh, it seemed so strange to me
How we went from something's missing
To a family

Lookin' back all I can say
About all the things he did for me
Is I hope I'm at least half the dad
That he didn't have to be

Yeah, I hope I'm at least half the dad
That he didn't have to be
Because he didn't have to be
You know he didn't have to be.

-Brad Paisley

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dork Alert!

Sometimes? I totally forgot I wrote a book.

Then? I see it sitting on my desk or something and I'm like, "OH MY SWEET FANCY MOSES THAT'S MY PICTURE ON THAT BOOK!"

It's really weird.

Also? I love it.

Friday, June 19, 2009


This week? Has been difficult.

Good, in a lot of ways. Trying in many others.

I might, maybe, have said to my husband, "You know? I don't feel so bad about my infertility now."

Spending a week with eight 4 year-old's does that to a person. Maybe. If I even said that. Which cannot be confirmed at this time.

Last night, though? I'm not sure what I was feeling when I got to the church. It was a really odd mixture of tiredness, sadness, and...something else. I don't know.

Okay, that's not fair. I kind of do know.

I was feeling sorry for myself. Because I felt like it doesn't matter what I do, I still don't fit in there.

I've been having that feeling in life lately. All my friends are having babies. Or have toddlers. And God bless them, really. I'm happy for them. But I feel like we're moving farther apart. I don't know anyone who has two tweens. Who have a step-dad and all the complicated dynamics that are coming along with it (and that, mercifully, we are just starting to have to deal with). Who have twelve jobs and a big ass, like me. I feel awfully alone sometimes. Part of that is my fault, I know. Probably a large part of it. But part of it is just life.

I lamented to my mom on the phone about this and she said, "Stephanie. You make your joyful noise. Don't worry about the rest."

It's good advice. I know she's right.

Still. I sometimes feel like I make no effect at all. Like I might as well be invisible. And I wonder why I even bother or try. It's exhausting to bother or try. And I don't do "exhausted" very well.

Last night was family night so I sat at my table with Boy and Girl Child. As people came by I said, "You all can sit here!" but they kept on going. I? Was feeling pretty pathetic. And sad. Mostly sad.

I felt a little tap on my shoulder and I turned to see one of the little boys who had been in my class this week. He? Had been challenging. Bless his heart.

He smiled at me and said, "Thank you for being my teacher!"

I hugged him.

A few minutes later, a little girl in my class came to me and handed me this:

I hugged her too.

As I cleaned up my little classroom I thought about all the places I've been and all the places I still want to be. How I don't know, really, if I did anything to help these children this week or to make anyone give two craps about me at the church or if I'll ever really fit in, even with my own friends and family. I realized that it's not all about me and how I feel. It never was and it never will be. And that my heart? It's in the right place. Even if it takes a while for the rest of me to catch-up.

I'll find my place.

Somehow, I'll find it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

No diapers, no applesauce, no strained peas. Please.

One of the really cool things about being a blogger is that people sometimes send me things to review. Why anyone would care about my opinion is way beyond my scope of comprehension, but apparently sometimes people listen to things I say. I wonder how I can get my husband and children on that list of people. But that's not important right now.

Lately, I've been inundated with requests to review baby products.

It's usually good things too. Things that, if I actually had a baby, I might enjoy receiving. Things that, way back when I had two babies, I really could have used.

I can't use them now.

Mostly, I delete these requests (along with those inviting me to showcase penile enlargement products), but for some reason this hit me particularly hard the other day.

To clarify:

1) I am grateful that anyone gives two craps about my opinion.
2) I am grateful for the free swag that I am offered.
3) I am grateful to have enough blog traffic to get offers.
4) I am genuinely grateful for people who read my blog.
5) I have secondary infertility.
6) I know that companies do not have sufficient resources to devote to reading each and every blog that may be considered a "mommy blog" and gets a lot of traffic, thus there is no way they know that I am infertile.

Still. It sucks.

It just SUCKS.

I can't just accept the stuff and give it to a homeless shelter either. I can't take it and pass it off to my pregnant friends. People who know me? Know I don't have a baby. People who read here? Have figured it out. You all wouldn't be tricked if I did a review of diapers. And you all are the ones that count.

It's not an assault. It's not an attack. It's nothing personal, at all. I know all that.

But I don't want to see it in my in-box.

Or anything about enlarging penises. That doesn't belong in my in-box either.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I forgot how difficult children who are four can be.

My head? It hurts. I haven't even seen these children today and the vein in my head in already throbbing in anticipation of them shouting, "JESUS!" and "TRUST!" and things like that. Not that I'm not glad they shout, "JESUS!" instead of "D-BAGS!" or whatever. I am.

Jesus is always the answer, by the way. And I'm not saying that to be philosophical. When you are four? No matter the question, you are going to answer Jesus.

"What did we study today?" JESUS!
"Who loves you?" JESUS!
"What's your name honey?" JESUS!

It works for them, you know? The same way they can throw a ginormous fit and scream at the top of their lungs and then two seconds later give me a little smile and say, presumably, JESUS! and everything is okay again. JESUS! is usually followed by, "I have to pee-pee in the potty!" But it's okay. Jesus is everywhere. Even the restroom.

I think, though, that perhaps I had forgotten that I don't really know how to deal with little children like that. I mean, sure, I had two of them at one point, but I never really dealt with them the way most people deal with children of that age. I mean, I probably did clap when they pooped and stuff, but beyond that? Not really.

To wit, during music one of them said, "Shake your bootie! SHAKE YOUR BOOTIE!" and I said, and people totally heard me, "Yes children, let's shake our booties for Jesus".

I forgot how fun it can be. To be yourself around children who are four.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Also? I need new pants.

I am pleased that my pants are so large on me that I do not have to unbutton them to remove them. It makes things quite handy.

However, I am NOT pleased that I look like I'm sporting clown pants.

AND, I'm cheap as Hell and don't want to put a lot of cashola in pants. Not now, nor ever, but especially NOT NOW because I'm still losing weight. At a snail's pace, apparently, but whatever.

So. What to do?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I think I need a change.

I'm thinking about something like this for my header. What do you think?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

No. He seriously did.

My dog is really quiet. I've heard her bark exactly two times in the two and 1/2 years I've had her. In fact, when other dogs bark at her? She gives them a look. A look that clearly says, "Bitch, please."

She's her mother's dog. What can I say?

Anyway, so I'm sitting at my desk and my dog walks to the door, sits down and makes a noise at me.

Not a bark. Not even really a growl. Just a low noise in her throat.

So I reacted in the way that one would expect me to react. I didn't even turn around from work and instead, flipped the dog the bird.

Jason, who had come up behind me then said, to the dog:

"BURN! You got TOLD bitch!"

I'm not kidding.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Words fail.

One of my dearest friends has joined the Club.

There is no guide to dealing with this Club. No initiation. You are simply, miserably, thrust into it.

She's had a miscarriage. She's joined the millions of other women in this world, myself included, who are suddenly, painfully, not pregnant anymore.

She and I talked and she said to me perhaps the saddest thing I've ever heard in my life,

"It was just my turn."

Her turn. To lose. To be lost.

It's so not fair. It's so blindingly not fair that it makes me ill.

Because why does it have to be her turn? Why, when she is good and kind and loving and really wants to have a baby? Why is her turn to feel that her body has failed her? Why does it have to be her husband's turn to watch his wife cry? When they did everything they were supposed to do. When she dutifully stopped drinking her morning coffee and took all the disgusting vitamins she was supposed to take. When every day she took walks and kept herself in just the right shape. When she stopped having wine at dinner, months before, just to prepare herself.

She has to lose.

Instead of joining the happy baby club, in which you get to discuss your vivid dreams and how much weight you get to gain and your weird pickle and Wendy's Frosty cravings, she instead joins the miserable little club that no one wants to talk about. The one where you wonder what the hell is wrong with you. And why did this happen. And will I ever be normal. And why God hates you.

Even the words are stupid and angry. Miscarriage. She didn't drop the baby. She didn't misplace it somewhere. It's right where it always was. Inside her heart, which is now broken because life is so damn unfair.

She's lost her baby.

But it's not lost. It will never be.

There are no words of comfort. Everything you say to someone who has lost her baby is inadequate. Even if you've been there. Even if you know, in some small way, how she's feeling.

She, for her part, is optimistic. Positive. It's a blip in the road, and she'll have a healthy baby soon. I believe that, strongly. It's happened for so many of my friends. So, so many. It's miserable and terrible and horrible but you get through it. You plod on. You get another test a few months later and it's positive. A beautiful little plus sign. You get another and another and they all have beautiful little plus signs. You are cautious and optimistic and maybe a bit scared for a few months and then you have a beautiful, rounded belly with a beautiful little baby inside.

I know it happens. It happens for most. I know this.

It all works out. You don't drop the baby this time.

Still. You are forever part of the Club. You wear it like a scar on your heart.

It never goes away.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Three pieces of CAN-DY!*


Five o'clock in the morning workouts? ROCK. I'm so not kidding. Or being sarcastic. Really!


Check out this review from The Opinionated Parent!

She’s without a doubt one of the next great humour novelists and if her first book is any indication of what’s to come, I’ll be reading everything she writes.

Tell a friend!


I got a very nice email yesterday from LaChance Publishing. I sent them a story about, of all things, Ginger. And they will be publishing it in an upcoming anthology called, "Good Dogs, Doing Good".

They've asked for a photograph of Ginger to include in the book. Clearly, they do not know of her steadfast refusal to look at a camera.

*Long, long story regarding Niece Child C2.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Helpful tip!

If you send me an invitation to your child's graduation, and I barely know your child and it's pretty obvious you are just hoping for a gift? You might want to NOT use Mr. and Mrs. my ex-husband's first name along with my current last name when addressing the card.

Because if you do so? The card will go directly into the trash can.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

And so it begins.

The Girl Child? Had a huge, major meltdown last night. Because of a plastic cup in our yard.

She and the Boy Child have chores. One of their chores is to take the trash outside on Sunday nights, place in the bins, put the lids on, and place the bungee cords over the lids.

On Sunday night, the Girl took the bag outside and, instead of placing it inside the trash bin, placed it in front of the bins. Sitting on the street.

Before Jason and I went to bed, he went outside to the porch and found trash strewn about the road.

The next morning, I told Girl Child she had to pick up the trash before we left for camp. She was huffy, but complied.

Last night? Jason told her to put the lids on the cans and pick up any trash that she missed (or, more likely, that the sanitation engineers let fly when they fling the garbage into their truck).

She complained. She whined. She was tired. She didn't feel like doing it. She didn't know why we always make her do so much.

She didn't pick up the plastic cup.
Jason told her to go to her room and said, "Girl Child. Stop being lazy."

She wept. She sobbed. She wailed. "YOU JUST WON'T LISTEN TO ME!"

I told her I would listen to her and she tearfully explained that she didn't pick up that cup, BECAUSE IT WASN'T OURS.

It wasn't ours. We don't use Solo Party Cups. We don't have parties. Our neighbors, who routinely have eleven cars parked in their front yard, were the likely culprits.

But the cup was in our yard.

I patiently explained to her that it was our property. That even if it wasn't our mess, it was now our responsibility because it was in our yard.

She wept. She sobbed. She was SO HURT that Jason said she was...LAZY.

And the thing is? She's a bit lazy.

She's smart. I'm not saying this because she's my child. She's really, really smart. She makes straight A's in school and it's fairly effortless for her to do so. She's quiet at school. Everyone likes her. She never gets in trouble. All her report cards indicate that she poops ice cream.

So at home? She coasts.

Because she has this brother who really has to work hard. Who is always the first one up and doing any chore, whenever it needs to be done. Who is continually the first in line to do whatever needs to be done.

Who has to try a little bit harder.

Who, also, loves her to pieces.

So. We talked. And talked. And talked. I don't have any idea if what I said did any good at all. But I talked to her. Because I don't ever want her to feel that she has no one who will listen.

This mothering stuff is hard, y'all. I have this horrible, terrible feeling it's going to get even harder.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Ginger says:

I might stare at you and sit with you and burp in your face every single second that you are awake, but the VERY MOMENT you pull out a camera?

I will steadfastly refuse to look at you.


Sunday, June 07, 2009


Lately, I'm obsessed with getting a tattoo.

Why? I have no idea. I mean, not even a clue. I've never, ever had any kind of desire to have a tattoo. I mean, I'm in the enviable position of fearing both committment AND change. People like me should not even consider getting tattoos. Ever.

Yet, I'm sitting here wondering how much it would hurt to get a tattoo on my foot. Or, if I would dare to expose my ass to some stranger so I could get "Xavier Roberts" written on it, just like Hermosa Toby, my Cabbage Patch Kid from when I was in 4th grade.

Thus, a tattoo is a bad idea for me right now.

I think it's not really so much about the tattoo as is it about wanting things to be different. I'm so unsettled these days. So uneasy. I keep waiting for something to happen. I don't know what, exactly. But something.

Getting a tattoo is probably not the answer to all of my life's problems, right? Maybe I should just get a new blog design or something.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

A family affair.


She's so much like me it's scary.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Open Letters: It's been a while, hons edition!

Dear Lady picking up kids at the same place I'm picking up my kids,

Bitch, please.

Listen, I know you are a whole lot more important than me. I totally get that. But, you know? It's still kind of rank of you to hang out in the parking lot with every single door of your vehicle open, blocking the parking spaces on both sides.

I mean, I thought for a moment that maybe you just didn't realize how utterly you were inconveniencing everyone else who was in the parking lot and you know, didn't want to require their children to walk across a crowded, busy parking lot where people drive like maniacs and instead wanted to park close by so the children wouldn't be potentially killed, but when I, very politely, asked if you if you could please shut just ONE of your doors so I could park? And you said, "Why? Because your fat ass needs to get your pizza? Can't you just walk?" You pretty much proved to me what a complete cockslap you really are.

Oh, and by the way sweetie face? Just because there is a pizza place next to where my kids are? Doesn't mean I'm going in there. And I guess you were pretty surprised to see me walking in to the SAME PLACE YOU WERE GOING.

Maybe next time? You might not want to say anything quite so bitchy until you see exactly where the person to whom you are being a Bitchface is going. Because I suppose I made it pretty uncomfortable for you once we were both in there.

Love and kisses!

PS: I walk seven miles a day. Thanks for caring, though.

Dear Boss,

You? Pretty much rock.


Dear Bosses Boss,

You? Also rock.


Dear 12,000 jobs I currently have,

I'm glad to have you, even if you wear me out.


Dear 4:45am,

Bite me hard.


Dear my thighs,

Go to hell and die.

Love and kisses,

Dear next book,

Get outta my dreams. Get into my car.

Or the paper. Whatever.


Dear weekend,

Come ON.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

June 3rd, 1969.

My parents are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary today.

I find that absolutely amazing.

My mom was seventeen when she wed my dad. He was nineteen and had very little in this world other than a high school diploma, the fear of a draft order looming over his head, and an intense love for a red-headed cheerleader named Katie. In 1969, I suppose that was enough. Maybe it's even enough now.

They had a cake from Piggly Wiggly and four friends from school attended. My mother's father did NOT attend the ceremony. Likely, he was brokenhearted that his baby was getting married and, quite frankly, he was never good at expressing his emotions. My dad dropped my mom’s ring and it rolled down the hall…eventually coming to a stop next to the toilet. My mom's dress cost a whopping $20. The cake topper broke as they drove away (in a car in which the “best man” had placed a can of sardines), the groom’s tiny head snapping off.

Their wedding, by the standards of today's lavish ceremonies, million dollar receptions and fancy princess gowns, was a disaster.

I suppose their marriage, by today’s standards which include doing things like buying a three-bedroom, two and 1/2 bath home and waiting until you have a year's salary in stockpile before having a baby, would be considered a disaster as well. A few short days after the wedding, my dad was in the jungles of Vietnam. He took dozens of pictures of the little children who lived there, standing in the rice paddies wearing their funny hats. Meanwhile, back in Virginia, another child was being born. His daughter. My sister. He met her for the first time when she was nine months old. In Hawaii, with my mother. Who was terribly young and hated airplanes.

My brother followed my sister, then me, and then my younger sister. So did unemployment, sacrifice, a lot of laughter, and a lot of tears. We lived in a trailer park. There was a swingset there and I cried (I'm told) when we moved onto our own land. My mom babysat and sewed our clothes. My mom and dad worked in our garden and my mom canned the results. We played in our creek and in our backyard. Our parents took us to church and my dad would read us Bible stories at night.

My dad is my mom's family, and vice versa. Last time I visited my mom's mother I looked through her photo albums and saw as many pictures of my dad as my mom. When my mom's grandmother died last summer, my dad's sisters and his mother came to the funeral. I suppose things like that happen when you love someone for forty years. The lines of family melt into one another. You're all together.

In 1992, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2006, my father was diagnosed with bladder cancer. They lived through it. They continue to live through it. Both my parents fathers have passed on and their mothers hang on, determinedly. They lived through that too. They continue to live through it.

My dad was never the most demonstrative man. I'm sure he frustrated my mom because, although I'm sure she never doubted his love for her, I'm equally sure she would have liked to hear about it more. I'm quite certain of this because, much to my surprise, I ended up marrying a man much like my father. Who loves me and loves our family and would do whatever he could for us, but isn't much on hearts and flowers.

I've found the hearts and flowers don't matter much. That a man who sits next to you in church and works a steady job and is a good father is a whole lot more important than a mushy card on Valentine's day. I know this much is true.

In 1998 when I became pregnant with my little children, I called my mom in tears. I told her, "I had everything as a child! I can't give my children everything!" She laughed and told me we had nothing.

I had no idea.

We were poor. All we had was each other. All we had was a family. A mom and dad who loved each other and were willing to work hard and four kids who attempted to kill each other on a regular basis but, overall, got along pretty well.

It was enough. It was that simple. We probably never had a year's salary in the bank when I was growing up. I don't recall my parents ever going on fancy dates when I was a kid, but I do remember us eating popcorn in the living room. I would put my head on my dad's stomach and when he laughed? My head would shake. I remember my parents doing a lot of things together. Simple things like picking blackberries and working in the yard. Holding hands when a Randy Travis song came on the radio.

It didn't seem very romantic or exciting to me then, and it doesn't now. But it's not supposed to be. Because real, actual love isn't hearts and flowers and exotic trips and vacations. It's holding their hand and letting them cry when their dad dies. It's knowing, really knowing, that at the end of the day you'd do anything in the world for the person you're with. That their happiness is your happiness. That you are a family and you're going to be a family no matter what gets thrown your way. Sometimes? It's just popcorn in the living room.

My parents now live in a fine home in North Carolina. A reflection of their hard work and sacrifice, which neither one of them would ever complain about and probably didn't even consider all that hard (with the expection, perhaps, of the teenage years). All the children are grown and gone, but the house isn't quiet. There are grandchildren now. Eleven, so far. They are my parent's greatest joys.

Five years ago, on their anniversary, my parents went back to Hawaii. My mom probably still hates airplanes, but it was an enjoyable trip. My dad, I hear, took my mom's hands while they were on the balcony of their hotel and began to dance with her. I'm certain I've never seen my father dance. But even a man who is steady and quiet and a good father will surprise you with a dance sometimes. I know. I sometimes dance while cooking dinner. Jason's pretty good at dipping me.

I believe that in my dad’s wallet, among the pictures of the grandchildren, is a faded photograph of my mother in her cheerleading uniform. He's carried it for more than forty years. I imagine he always will.

Sometimes, it's just that simple. It's not always easy. But sometimes it's just that simple.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like Steph?

Because yesterday? At work? The strap of my Mary Jane Crocs came apart.

I'll give you a minute to imagine the utter sexiness that is the Mary Jane Croc.

Better than that even...behold!

I know, right?

So I did what everyone in my personal situation would do, I suppose.

I took the biggest stapler we had and STAPLED THE SIDE OF MY SHOE TOGETHER.

And then I had to wear it home? And the little pointy parts of the staple stabbed me the whole time.

And Jason said, "Good GOD Stephanie! Buy some new shoes!" and I said, "But these are okay..."

I'm not really an engineer, I just play one on the internet.

Monday, June 01, 2009

It's not just a Tammy Wynette song.

Divorce is on my mind.

Before you ask, Jason and I are fine. In fact he gleefully informed me just this past weekend that I was "the best wife ever". I really think I need a crown or something. Or maybe just something sparkly...like diamonds. Just a small token to signify my status.

Probably not.

It's okay, though. We've never been that kind of people.

We get along really well, for the most part, but God knows we have our moments. And I try to avoid stabbing him in the throat when those moments come about. I'm sure he feels the same about me.

Someone dear to me is contemplating divorce.
Divorce is sad to me.

I want to help and I don't know how. Right now I just want to listen and be a good friend. I want to be a good friend. I feel like I lost a lot of friends when I went through a divorce. A lot of people started wondering what, exactly, I had done wrong and why that jackass stopped loving me. They gave "constructive" advice about how I should be better, do better, look better. If I would just do that, then he'd come back to me.

I am better. A lot better, now. Thank you.

He never came back. Thank you again.

I didn't know at the time, but my first husband leaving me was the best thing that ever happened to me. At the time? I felt like I was going to die. Literally die. I was miserable and shamed and scorned and I thought my life was over.

But it wasn't.

And him leaving me opened the door for all kinds of things. College and my own house and, oh yeah, that small thing about meeting the guy I was actually supposed to be with.

So I should really thank him, I suppose.

I won't, though, because he was a dickface. He could have been kind and loving and delicate. He was mean and cruel and harsh. There are ways to get a divorce that don't destroy one's very soul and he? Was not concerned about those ways.

It doesn't have to be that way. I think the person dear to me gets it. I know she does.

I try to not to think much about divorce, but it's on my mind.

I just want to reassure anyone who's there...it gets better. No matter what side of the table you are on. It gets better.