Water Boy

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July 12th made exactly five years since we brought Sayid home.  My nephews were in town visiting from Texas that day and Mama had taken them to her friend’s house to swim.  Melissa and I were going to eat supper at our parents’ house that night and Mrs. Barnes’ house is on the way to Mama’s & Daddy’s, so we dropped by on our way over to visit with Mrs. Barnes, Mama, and the boys.  Mrs. Barnes kindly agreed to let Sayid swim in her pool.  Sayid had been in plenty of ponds and lakes, but never a swimming pool.

We took his leash and collars off and gave him permission to swim.  He was nervous and couldn’t figure out how to get in.  He ran laps around and around the pool, whining as he watched Caleb and Jacob swim in the water without him.  I went to the car, got his soccer ball, and threw it in.  Even that couldn’t convince him to actually jump in.  Finally Melissa rolled up her jeans, stood on the steps in the shallow end, and dragged Sayid into the pool.  I could hear his toenails scratching against the concrete as he tried to resist.  But once he got in, he was as happy as could be.  He swam around a while and then started looking like he wanted out but couldn’t figure out how.  So Melissa ended up getting her jeans completely wet in order to steer him to the steps.  He rested a few minutes and then was happy to swim again.  I think Sayid would agree that swimming in a pool was a great five year celebration.

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A couple of days later, we went to the lake where my parents had rented a cabin for the night.  Sayid loves wearing his life jacket & riding in Grandpappy’s boat.  He also loves the fact that at the lake he can run straight in the water from the shore instead of having to jump in.  My boy got plenty of time in the water that weekend.

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If only he could come to the beach with us in a few weeks!  One day I’m going to find a dog friendly place on one of the Florida beaches.

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Brave Soldier Rewards

My sister, Melissa, and I always like to reward ourselves with something after a doctor’s appointment.  Yes, I realize we are in our 30’s, but doctors were on to something when they’d give you a sucker & a sticker after an appointment.  I actually went from fifth grade thru the middle of college – about ten years – without being stuck with any needles.  I have always had a healthy fear of shots and was able to avoid them entirely for about ten years.  How did I get in college without having my shots updated, you may ask.  Well, I signed the personal exemption form, of course!  I agreed that if the campus was overtaken with an outbreak of measles, mumps, etc., I’d leave campus and not return until the outbreak was over or my shots were administered.  Piece of cake!  And lucky for me, Louisiana Tech remained outbreak free during my years there!  I’ve gotten much braver over the past several years and have had many shots and even an IV or two.  But I will always buy myself a brave soldier reward.  I find it necessary for morale.

A couple of months ago I went to the dermatologist for a sun spot on my stomach, but while I was there, I had her go ahead & look at a mole on my arm, too.  The sun spot was nothing to worry about, but she decided to remove the mole since it was darker than all my other moles.  They sent it for a biopsy and contacted me a couple of weeks later to tell me that it was not cancer, but it “broke some rules” that the pathologist looks for when doing these biopsies, so they wanted me to come back in so they could go a bit deeper and remove the mole at the root.  (I may be using incorrect terminology here, but you get the idea.)

My appointment for them to remove the rest of the mole was Monday morning.  I assumed they’d do the same type of procedure – numb that area of my arm with a shot, use the little scooper to scoop out a little bit extra, slap a bandaid on my arm, and send me on my way.  I thought the whole thing would take about five minutes.  Nope!  I was given a consent form to read and sign for my pending surgical procedure.  I had no idea it would be considered a surgical procedure, but okay!  The whole procedure took probably about thirty or forty minutes, it seemed.  I reclined in their super comfy chair – I want one of these chairs in my house – with a pillow behind my head.  I felt a few of the initial sticks when Dr. Lewis was numbing my arm, and after that I just felt some pressure here and there throughout the procedure.  I looked in the opposite direction and once made the mistake of looking straight ahead, but when I saw Dr. Lewis sewing the stitches into my arm in my peripheral vision, I quickly turned away again.  It was not at all painful.  I just listened and laughed as Dr. Lewis and the nurse talked about roller coasters and airline flights.  They were very entertaining to listen to.

Once the procedure was over, the nurse put some thick gauze on my arm and secured it down with tape.  I was given instructions on wound care, rescheduled to come back in two weeks for the stitches to be removed, and sent on my way.

I drove to Walgreens to pick up some waterproof bandaids and then went through the Chick-fil-A drive-thru for my brave soldier reward before heading to work.  I ordered a (free) large sweet tea with my Chick-fil-A cowlendar card and I splurged for a 4-count order of Chicken Minis.  Yum!  It was a lovely brave soldier reward.

Fast forward to the next morning when 24 hours had passed and I could remove the bandage from my arm.  WOW!  This is my first experience with stitches and I assumed I had three or four.  It’s more like ten or twelve.  I knew I had been brave, but I had no idea I had been that brave!  I am pretty impressed with myself!  And with Dr. Lewis, I might add.  It’s amazing to me that my bruised, stitched up arm was so pain free!  Even now, days later, the only pain I’ve had is if I’ve accidentally bumped into something.  Otherwise, no pain.  If any of my friends live in this area and are looking for a dermatologist, I highly recommend Dr. Lewis.  She’s great.  But anyway, back to my bravery.  I’m thinking I may need to go retroactive on my brave soldier reward.  Chicken Minis are an acceptable brave soldier reward if I have to get a shot.  One shot.  Multiple shots call for a bonus sometimes.  But I just survived surgery!  Yes, it was a very tolerable surgery where I stayed completely content, amused by the conversation going on in the room, and lucid the entire time, but I have up to a dozen stitches in my arm right now!  On the brave soldier reward scale, this falls into “new jeans” category!  So yeah, a little retroactivity may be necessary here.  I told this theory to my friend, Janie, and she said if I ever have children, my poor husband is going to have to go into debt to finance that brave soldier reward.  Indeed.  No, no, that goes against everything I believe in.  No debt required.  But he should start saving immediately upon marriage, just in case.  Because I don’t think you can get much braver than birthing a child.  I’m all for adoption!

I’ll spare you the photograph of my stitches on this post.  Only those of you who I’ve already tortured via text message will have to see it.  But yeah, I have to say … I am so stinking brave!  Bring on the new jeans!

My own real life version of “Would You Rather…”

A couple of weeks ago I went to an Open House with my mom and sister.  The Open House was at an adorable house for sale in West Monroe that is actually not outrageously expensive.  I still don’t have the downpayment saved that I’d like to have before buying a house, so I’d never just call up a realtor and ask to see a house.  But this was an Open House.  The realtor would be there regardless.  I wouldn’t be inconveniencing anyone.  Plus, it’s just fun to look at houses.  So we went.  

I fell in love with the house.  It’s precious.  It has so much charm.  It’s an older home with lots of windows, wood floors, spacious rooms, and just the perfect amount of space for a single gal like me.  I was seriously considering making an offer on it.  I wanted a realistic idea of whether or not I could afford it, so I sat down with a pen and paper and wrote out my own little budget with a complete list of expenses.  

I realized that if I stay at the job I have now, I could afford it and still save some money.  A little.  Not a lot.  It would be very difficult for me to take a lesser paying job and afford that house.  I would be the very definition of house poor.  Could I do it?  Yes.  Well, maybe.  It depends on how much of a pay cut I’d have to take.  I think I’d feel like I needed to keep my current job or find one that paid the same or more if I were to buy that house.  And the sad fact is that I don’t know of anywhere I could get a job and make what I’m making now; almost certainly I wouldn’t make more.  Would I want to lock myself in to a house – adorable as it may be – at the expense of having to keep my current job?  I’m not convinced.

So I had to seriously consider which would be more important to me – money and a super-cute-house or a job that I’d enjoy more that may open the doors for better (for me) opportunities down the road.  It wasn’t a difficult decision.  I’d take less money to find a job better suited for me.  Absolutely, I’d choose that option.

My job is a good job.  I have great coworkers.  Our work is purposeful.  But as I’ve said before, it is not what I feel I was put on this earth to do.  I’m still not sure what is.  I just know this is not it.  If I had any desire to “climb the ladder” within the agency, it would be one thing.  But I don’t.  I don’t want to be a supervisor or anything higher than I currently am within the agency.  As long as I am there, I will be a caseworker.  This is the very definition of a dead end job as it pertains to me.  And I just passed the five year mark where my pay has not increased by a cent.  (Don’t panic, anyone.  I don’t feel fearful in putting this out there for all of my ten to twelve readers to see, because I am a hard worker and my employer knows this.  As long as I’m there, I will continue to be a hard worker.  I just have hopes of not being there forever.  And I am positive I am not the only one who feels this way.)

There have been times that I’ve not applied for a job, because it would be a pay cut.  As much as I don’t want to stay where I am, I would not apply for a job because of a pay cut.  I’m thankful for the moment of clarity I had when I put down all those expenses on paper.  I finally have truly realized my priorities when it comes to my career.

So, here we go.  I’m opening myself up to the possibility of a lesser paying job.  The search has begun.  The job openings and opportunities in this area are few and far between, but at least now I’m not going to allow myself to be trapped by my current salary.  Because, truly, even though it’s not a lot of money, it is a trap.  It has been for me.  Money is not everything.  Money is not the most important thing.  

Hopefully in a few years from now, I can look back with a strange sense of gratitude on this five year period without a raise.  Maybe it took the five year mark and an adorable house I’m deciding to pass on to snap me out of my complacency.  I am currently 8 1/2 years into my employment at my job.  If I reach the ten year mark, it may be because of the economy but I vow it will not be because I’ve not made an effort.  If I reach the fifteen year mark, you have my permission to smack me across the head.

 

Thoughts on the George Zimmerman acquittal

All of America knows the verdict by now.  George Zimmerman was found not guilty in connection with charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.  Many people are up in arms over the verdict, saying they are ashamed to be American, comparing this to what happened with Emmett Till, etc.

Personally, I think the verdict was just.  I think what happened was an absolute tragedy and it is very sad that a young man lost his life in the process.  I wish Zimmerman and Martin would have simply had a civil, respectful conversation.  Martin could have explained that his father lived in the area and he was walking home.  Zimmerman could have explained that he was neighborhood watch and wanted to make sure everything was cool, since there had been break-ins recently in their neighborhood and he didn’t recognize Travyon.  It could have been a simple, easy resolution.  They didn’t trust each other, but if they had simply spoken like gentlemen, everyone would have gone home and a young man wouldn’t have lost his life.

The problem I am seeing where people are turning a blind eye is this – Trayvon did not have a gun, but he turned his fists and the concrete into weapons.  Was Trayvon innocently walking home from the store with his snacks?  Yes.  But when it turned into a physical altercation where Trayvon was pummeling George Zimmerman, innocence was thrown out.  To overlook the fact that Trayvon was beating up George Zimmerman is to be naive and ignorant.  That is a fact of the case.  The shooting did not happen until the altercation had turned physical.  “An innocent little boy” did not lose his life for buying Skittles & tea.  Travyon’s innocence was thrown out when he threw a punch.  I sincerely wish they’d just had a simple conversation and gone their separate ways.  I’m sure Zimmerman wishes that as well, along with Trayvon’s family.  Nobody would wish someone dead.  But let’s be realistic about the fact that a physical fight happened, and it takes two to tie up.

The prosecution had no evidence to show this was done maliciously or because Zimmerman was a “wanna be cop who just wanted to shoot someone”.  These two men tied up in a physical altercation and, tragically, one lost his life.  I would imagine Zimmerman will be haunted by this the rest of his life.

For anyone who looked at the actual evidence of the trial and looked at facts rather than getting wrapped up in emotion, the “not guilty” verdict makes complete sense.  The prosecution highlighted this with their attempts to throw in other possible charges toward the end of the trial – how about third degree murder due to child abuse?!  They were grasping at straws at that point.  Rationally minded people who looked at the facts can understand the “not guilty” verdict.

Those people making ridiculous comments such as “the jury should all kill themselves” are shameful.  Thank goodness a jury was selected who considered the facts of the case instead of declared Zimmerman guilty, just because of emotions.  We all know an overly emotional person.  Let that person come to mind.  Think about how personally they take everything.  Think about how easily their feelings get hurt and the grudges they hold.  Think about how they have their minds made up already that they’re mad about something and won’t allow anyone to explain what happened with whatever it is they’re upset about.  Is that the person you’d want on a jury judging you?  I sure wouldn’t.  Give me a rational, thoughtful person any day.

Again, is it sad?  Absolutely.  It’s tragic.  I feel for Trayvon Martin’s family (and George Zimmerman’s, for that matter) and I can’t imagine the heartbreak they’ve been experiencing all along since Travyon’s death.  Nobody wanted a young man to lose his life.  Nobody is going to look at this case and be happy.  It’s sad all around.  But the facts have shown self defense.

I pray no organization will try to stir up any more trouble.  Zimmerman has been tried in a court of law & found not guilty by a jury of his peers.  Now, please, just leave it alone.  Let the man try to get on with his life.  Let the Martin family try to heal without the constant media circus.

My hope is that the Martin family and the Zimmerman family can find healing and peace.  And my hope is also that America will calm down and stop trying to stir up controversy on issues that are irrelevant to the facts.