Keep it Positive, Y’all

Something funny has occurred on my Facebook feed. Listen, I know I talk about Facebook way too much, but it is in fact how I stay connected to most of my family members, where I share pics of Jackson, and also where I get my news, besides Jerimiah’s weird, but informative podcasts. The funny thing that happened is all my friends and family members who were/are Trump supporters no longer share Trump things. Instead, they share things like recipes, and positive quotes, and a lot of stuff about God. Then they implore all of us on FB to “keep it positive” by not sharing political stuff. Meanwhile, a year ago that is all they shared, hate-fueled, non-factual, political stuff.

So now here I am wondering: Do they still support Trump or are they FINALLY embarrassed about what they have done? I’m also thinking, nah, I won’t be just sharing positive stuff, because we don’t live in a positive world and those Trump supporters are to blame for it. So, they can keep seeing my political/sad stuff or they can unfriend me. Their choice. You don’t get to run your mouth and say mean and hurtful things, then get a pass because you had a “change of heart”. I see you. I know you. And now I know the kind of person you really are.

I’m thinking about all this today because I am wondering about the next election. I am wondering if they will feel compelled enough to not vote the same way again. They got us into this mess, they should be the ones to step up and get us out. But they won’t. We know that. It is up to us, y’all. I am positive about that. We have to keep doing what we are doing. Bringing the injustices to the forefront, regardless of how uncomfortable it makes people feel. It needs to stay fresh in their minds, in our minds, in all of our hearts. This evil that has taken over needs to be remembered come time for elections. We can’t sweep it under the rug, not now, not ever. Something has changed in our country and there is no ignoring it.

The Georgia Democratic Party came to my door yesterday. The representative was a lovely man, with a deep, deep desire to overturn HB 481, Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act; enact which was introduced this session by the following people:

Ed Setzler, 35th district

Jodi Lott, 122nd district

Darlene Taylor, 173rd district

Josh Bonner, 72nd district

Ginny Ehrhart, 36th district

Micah Gravely, 67th district

It’s important to name the enemy of the people.

It’s also important to say that, while Atlanta Metro is a bright blue dot in a red state, the 7th district still has pockets of deep, deep racial divide. Including, but not limited to, the town of Cumming, Ga who up until the 1990s had a sign at their town entrance warning “N-words” to stay away.

I needed this reminder. We all need this reminder. There is nastiness, racism, injustice, hate, and bigotry in our country and it comes from the top. We aren’t bottling it up. We aren’t sweeping over it with recipes and pictures of dogs playing with sticks. This is real. And the people who no longer want to face it are the people who help make it this way. So no, I won’t be “keeping it positive” to make you feel better. This is us now.

Stay strong, y’all. And remember to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.

M.

This Week in Georgia

As y’all probably know I currently live in the Atlanta-metro area (just like Ludacris and Elton John) and today I was thinking since we share a border with Florida, the craziest state in the union, I wonder if weird stuff happens here too? And yeah, it does. Here is a list of shit that happened this week in Georgia. Enjoy!

  • The doors of an armored truck opened on The Perimeter and approx. $175,000 flew out onto the highway
  • I pooped seven or eight times a day, on average
  • A landlord evicted tenants for inviting black friends over, denies claim by saying: “Some of the best friends I got is colored folk.”
  • A Wendy’s was shut down when several employees tested positive for Hep B
  • A woman ordered a “Moana” cake, but her accent was so thick that the baker thought she said “Marijuana” so she got a cake with high My Little Ponies and a huge pot leaf
  • A Bibb County deputy was arrested for leading a racketeering scheme that involved gas station slot machines
  • The man who was accused of killing his mom for “Driving him crazy” was arrested at the ATL Airport
  • I filled up the hot tub with super-cold water and floated around in it while I drank spiked seltzer waters, listened to Adele, and had a very real conversation with an imaginary character in the book I am reading
  • A slow-moving triangular aircraft traveling under the cover of darkness was reported in Marietta
  • It was revealed that the highest number of military enlistees come from Georgia
  • A couple of teenagers staged a kidnapping at a mall for a YouTube video. People thought it was real, chaos ensued.
  • “Hipster Mayor” of Clarkston, Ted Terry, is running for senate (he’s the guy from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” turned mayor, actually, yeah, for real)
  • My neighbor Ginger, tried to give me a sheet cake that someone gave her
  • A homeowner shot a man who was breaking into his house carrying a machete
  • “The Peach Truck” is on sale on Amazon. It is a cookbook made by the guy who drives all over the country selling Georgia peaches from the back of his pick-up
  • A 30-year-old man tossed a 13-year-old girl out of the car window during a low-speed police chase. He met her online for sex. While this happened in South Carolina, the man was from Georgia, so it counts.
  • It was discovered that the Starcourt Mall in Stranger Things 3 (an actual mall in Gwinnett County) may not be around for that much longer. A sports aficionado wants to bulldoze it and turn it into a Cricket stadium with 20,000 seats.
  • The Georgia Poison Control Center says no on essential oils, too dangerous especially for kids under 5. But for real, did you not know that? Put the damn essential oils down, Karen and go to the doctor.
  • Mr. Kim’s cat ran into my backyard and tried to eat peaches from my tree, when I let the dog out to chase the cat away my damn dog didn’t see the cat and the cat froze like a statue and I thought the cat was dead, like terrified straight, then about 14 squirrels who were hiding in the tree came out at once and distracted my damn dog and the cat got away

Illegal Truck, Part Two

The following is a transcript of the conversation between me (parked in the crowded lot of the DeKalb County Tag Office on a day that they were unexpectedly closed, and my husband an hour away in his office.) If you have no idea what I am talking about, get yourself up to speed here: https://missygoodnight.com/2019/06/26/illegal-truck-part-one/

Me: What is that supposed to mean?

My Son-of-a-Bitch Husband: It just means that I read something about them being closed today for maintenance, but…

Me: WHAAAAT?!

S-O-B Husband: It said it might be closed on Thursday, it didn’t say for sure and…

Me: Oh well it is one hundred percent closed on Thursday, there is no might to it, and now we can’t drive your truck to Missouri this weekend and how are you going to tow a boat with my car and…

S-O-B: Hold on, hold on. Open the glove compartment and grab the registration.

Me: Okay, what now?

S-O-B: When does it say it expires?

Me: June 15th.

S-O-B: Oh, okay, so we are good we…

Me: ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?! I had until June 15th to get this shit done?! I have been running around like a crazy person trying to, OMIGOD, Imma need to let you go…

S-O-B: Babe, listen I…

Click.

So, yeah. The tags had a 15 day grace period because North Carolina is amazing and I love them and what the hell is up with my husband? Piece of shit, ratchet-ass, you know what I’m going to move on.

So, we drive his truck to Missouri and all is well. We plan to get back to Atlanta on the 31st, which means we can go on the first to the only tag office that is open on Saturday and get the tags switched. I breathe a sigh of relief and accept his apology.

On Saturday June 1st we wake up bright and early and head to Gwinnett County to the one open tag office in the state of Georgia. On the way over I say something like, Do you think we have to go to the county we live in to get the tags? And my husband says, No that would be dumb. Mind you, we have to get the tags today because my husband is flying to Baton Rouge on Monday.

When we get there the line is wrapped around the building. There are double drive through lines and it is hot as shit. We stand in the outside line for about twenty minutes, then I am like, you know what, I’m just gonna go call someone and ask about that county thing. So I walk off to investigate the rules (which apparently my husband has already done quote, extensively). My nervousness makes him nervous, so he has Jackson walk up to the door to read the 85 signs plastered on it and one of them says, “You can only buy tags in the county in which you live.”

So thirty minutes later I am eating a taco made of chemically-engineered beef at Del Taco while expertly giving him the stink-eye.

When we get home my husband does some more research and comes up with this plan: On Monday morning, I will drop him off at the airport at 8:00 am, with the kid and dog in tow. Then I will head over to the DeKalb County Tag Office again, this time with my passed emissions test and all my correct paperwork and I will buy the tags. This is fine because I am also on the title. It is an And/Or Title. I agree, but I feel like something isn’t right. I ask him about three more times over the course of the weekend if he is sure I have all I need. Yes, he knows for sure. He has checked. Again.

Monday morning I battle my way through the morning traffic in Atlanta, then back again to my side of town. I get to the Tag Office to a line out the door. It is 8:07 am. I leave the kid and dog in the car with the air on, because once again it is hot as shit, and neither of them want to be where they currently are. Neither do I. I am nervous about leaving them in the car across the street from the county jail, but I push on. Not a lot of options at this point.

I get into the building by 8:35 am. By 8:45 I have a number. M347. They are calling M117. Awesome. For the next hour I pace the floor, peaking out the window to see that my car with child and dog in it are safe and sound, until the police officer tells me, Ma’am you really need to have a seat. I do not have a phone on me, because my son left his phone at home and I left my phone with him so he had one just in case.

At approx. 10:00 am my number is called. Hallelujah! I run up to the window and give the lovely woman all my paperwork, my DL, and a big smile. Though I am not feeling confident.

Lovely Woman: Hello, Mrs. Goodnight. How can I help you today?

Me: I just moved to Georgia and I need to get my tags switched.

Lovely Woman: I can help you with that.

She starts rifling through my paperwork.

Woman: Okay, so in Georgia we require a Title Ad Valorem tax of 7%, are you aware of that?

I tell her I am aware of that, and then I sigh, because this might actually be happening.

Woman: So you will need to pay $700 today in order to get your tags, okay?

Me: Great. (Not really great, but I don’t care anymore.)

Then she starts shuffling papers on her desk, highlighting notes, and clicking on her keys.

Woman: Does anyone have a lien on this vehicle?

Me: Yes, Wells Fargo is our lien holder.

Woman: Okay, so they need to fax a copy of the title over to me. Which isn’t a big deal, it just usually takes a few minutes.

Me: Okay, um, I think my husband filled out the title form, which…

Woman: Nope, still need the title.

Then she looks around me.

Woman: Where is your husband?

Me: Uhh, on a plane, I say.

Woman: Ohhhhh.

Me: Ohhhh?

Woman: Georgia is not an “And/or” state. Georgia is an “And” state. If you want tags today your husband has to be present.

Me: WHAAAA?!

Woman: Unless! You have a power of attorney?

Me: WHAAAA?!

Woman: Okay, Mrs. Goodnight (she starts to hand me all my paperwork back). You need to get a power of attorney and it needs to be notarized and…

She keeps talking but I shut down and have no idea what she is saying. I walk out to the car where I am met with a, Guess what, Mommy! The airport was so crowded this morning with summer travelers that Daddy missed his flight. Haha! That’s pretty funny, huh? Cause he could have come here with us! Anyway, here is your phone back! You were in there for way too long, I’m hungry.

This was June 3rd. Two weeks before tags officially expire. Husband is gone all of that week. On June 8th he comes home for one day. On June 9th we all pile into my car (with valid tags) and drive to Baton Rouge for two weeks. We get home on 23rd. On June 24th I take husband to work and drive back home because I have an appointment. Husband says we will get tags on Wednesday, that is when he has a free morning. On Tuesday he calls Wells Fargo to get a copy go title faxed. They say we should have it by Friday. Le sigh. It is not a ten-minute wait time for title.

And here we are. June 26th? Yeah? I don’t know anymore. We have no tags. No title. No patience. And I am still mad as hell that we have to pay $700 to the state of Georgia, especially because we already paid taxes on this truck.

So what is the point of all of this? There is none. Except maybe don’t move to Georgia? Or maybe don’t put shit off? Or maybe it is possible for your smart, wonderful, husband to be an S-O-B sometimes? Or maybe trust your gut? Or maybe sell all your vehicles and ride your bike everywhere you need to go? Maybe ride your bike up into the Tennessee mountains? Maybe find an abandoned log cabin and start your life anew? Maybe live as a hermit in the Smoky Mountains for the rest of your damn life with 18 feral cats and one goat that thinks you are his mom? Maybe?

M.

Illegal Truck, Part One

My husband’s truck is backed into the driveway with expired tags. This is the first time we’ve ever had expired tags on a vehicle and we are a little paranoid. Kinda like the first time you are pulled over with a dime bag hidden in your center console and you’ve been speeding, but you’re not high, and you keep fidgeting and not making eye contact with the cop while he lectures you on the importance of safety. Then he asks for your registration and for a second you wonder if the dime bag, that you bought for a friend, is actually in your center console, or did you put it in your glove box? Cause you weren’t going that far anyway. I mean, you just have to make it to your friend’s birthday party across town so you can surprise her with the dime bag, and you can both laugh and laugh cause it’s been so long, and then she can roll the joint, and then all fifteen of your closest pals gather around nervously to smoke it, even though you are all well into your 20s now and this sort of thing doesn’t suit you. And if you did put it in your glove box, is it going to fall out when you open it for your registration? Oh no! Oh, whew! It’s not in your glove box.

Let me back up.

My husband’s truck tags expired in the state of North Carolina in June. We moved to Georgia on April 1st, so we decided to wait to switch tags until May since we clearly had the time. I know, I know, you’re supposed to do it within in 30 days. Does anyone actually do that? Anyway, being the good citizens we are (cough) we started looking up what we needed at the beginning of May. First we had to switch our DLs to Georgia. Well I did mine rather quickly because I needed a Georgia DL to get a library card. Also the state of Georgia makes it super easy to get your DL. You do a bunch of pre-registration online, then you show up with your old DL, your passport, and your land deed or lease agreement and boom! Twenty minutes later I was walking out the door with my new DL. So I assumed the car tags would be the same.

First Jerimiah needed to get his DL which is a bit more difficult since he travels a bunch for work, and when he is in town he is at his office from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, which is of course when the DL Office is open. He finally got it done, however, mid-May. Next step was tags. So Jerimiah looked up online what we needed. According to what he read we were missing only one thing: an emissions test. But, wouldn’t you know it, since we had moved into the state his check engine light came on. So, because of the schedule above, I had to take care of the emissions test.

First I go to the parts store to have them run the code. (I’m sorry about the car talk, when you’re married to a car guy and your son wants to be an automotive engineer when he grows up, you pick up a few things you wish you hadn’t.) So they run the code, which just means they can tell me what is triggering the check engine light. Jerimiah had already warned me that it was probably the gas cap. That is what set it off last year too. In any event, I was to buy any part they said I’d need.

The first thing she said was the gas cap. Le sigh. So I bought a new one, and asked her how long I should drive before the light goes off (if your check engine light is on you will not pass an emissions test, FYI). She said 10 miles. For the record, this is very, very wrong. Follow along. So I drove the truck 15 miles and it didn’t go off. I went back and bought the second part on the list which was the Vapor Canister Purge Valve and I went home.

That night Jerimiah and Jackson basically took his truck apart in the driveway to get to the part and still could not. He was frustrated, I was worried, and Jackson was covered in grease, which he totes loved. When I turned the truck on the check engine light was off! Hooray! Except, it was only off because Jerimiah had pulled out the battery to get to the part, which reset the electronic system. This was May 21st, which is important because that meant I still had to get the truck to pass an emissions test, but quickly because we were driving it to Missouri for Memorial Day Weekend that Friday.

So Jerimiah tells me that I probably need to drive it more to see if the light comes back on. I do not heed his advice and go right to the testing place the next morning. I’m on a strict schedule. The truck fails. The inspector tells me I have to drive it like 70 miles in order for the engine to go through all the cycles it needs to go through, which is eight in case you are just really, really interested in this. So, I drive it 70 miles. It fails again. This time right as the inspection place closes. I will have to try again the next day.

Damn it, this is gonna have to be a two-parter. Sorry, y’all. But we all need a breather soon.

So, the next day I pass and run over to the tag office in Decatur. I get there with all my paperwork in a folder and I am met with a policeman at the front door who tells me that this location is closed for Memorial Day. I say, Whaaaa?! Where do I go? He tells me every one of them in the state is closed because maintenance, holiday, blah, blah, blah. I’m pissed. I get into my car and call Jerimiah. I just know that he will flip out and validate all my feelings at this point.

You are not going to believe this… I pause to build suspense. They are closed until the 28th!

Silence for a moment, then…

Oh, yeah, that’s right.

Home is Where Your Shit Is

We were driving back to Atlanta last weekend, after being in Southern Missouri for a week, and my husband and I were talking about that word Home, and what it means to us. You see, Southern Missouri used to be our home. We lived there for 10 years. We graduated college there. We were married there. We started our little family there. We made everlasting friends there. His mother still lives in Southern Missouri, and we go back to visit from time to time. And when we go visit we say, as we do when we go to Kansas, that we are going home. But lately, I have started to feel different about Southern Missouri. About all the places I have lived before. And over the last few months when someone asks where we are from, I have caught myself saying that we are from Charlotte. And I have been trying to figure out why.

I mentioned this to my husband, while we shoved our mouths full of road trip food and tried to stay awake in the searing dusk. I told him that I think I give that word too much power. That the older I get the more I realize that I am lost and that I don’t really know what makes something, or someone, feel like home. I told him that we use our home too often as a way to define who we are and what we can accomplish. I told him that seems somewhat limiting. He told he wanted to sleep in his own bed. Truth be told, I did too, but I was more caught up in the places I have called home, and how even when I go back to those places, I yearn to be back to my current home.

Living in Atlanta isn’t so bad. In fact, I had built it up to be this monster of a place, and really it isn’t any different than any other city. It has its “good” parts and its “bad”. It has sweet, kind people. And it has people who scare you a little. It has great drivers, and crazy, aggressive drivers. It is just a lot of people, from a lot of different homes, mixed up together in a tiny area trying to get by. And honestly, it feels surprisingly good to be a part of the ebb and flow of the ATL. It, dare I say, feels like home?

So how can Southern Missouri, and Leavenworth, Kansas, and Charlotte, North Carolina, and Atlanta all feel like home to me? The closest I can come up with is the people I am doing this damn life with are my home, and while there are some constants, my husband, my son, my dog, there are other people too. There are the neighbors. The ones in our cul-de-sac now are not that different from the ones who were on our street in Charlotte. We have Mr. Charlie, and Mrs. Kim, and Chris and Christy, and yes even Ginger and Scooter. And they smile and they wave. They check on our house when we are gone, and they pull our trash cans up from the curb if we forget. There are whole communities and lovely people inside each of the places we have called home.

There is my favorite Target, and the one I will go to in a pinch. There is the good Dunkin and the bad one. The clean Kroger and the dirty one. There is that coffee shop at the corner where people sit for a spell and talk about their day. There is that game store that sells comic books and Magic cards. There is IKEA, and TJ Maxx, and Walmart. Dear Baby Jesus, there are the Walmarts.

There are the neighbors who wave and those who don’t. There are the moms in the PTO who are a little crazy, but manage to get it all done. There are the teachers who love your kid like crazy, and the ones you wonder about. There are the post office employees who keep smiling, even when they really want to hit that woman in front of the line who doesn’t know how stamps work. There are the pharmacists who tell the same thing to 100 different people every day. Yes, this pill might make you sick to your stomach. Take it with food, please.

There are the brainwashed Chick-fil-A employees, and the Jesus Saves guys on mopeds. There are the little women who ask which church you belong to and would you like to come to Sunday service? There are dads mowing lawns in New balance sneakers, yelling about gas prices, and how hard it is to start this damn weed-eater, I swear I’m going to buy a new one soon.

There are people asking for money with signs that say, Veteran and Anything Helps. There are the drug dealers who deal in dime bags and the ones who deal in cartel meth. There are the women who wear too much perfume and the ones who insist on make-up to workout. There are the teenagers sneaking a six-pack down to the river, so they can listen to music and make out with that red-headed girl.

And all of these people live in all of these places. And all of these places are home. Someone’s home. And in the end, it doesn’t matter so much which home was yours. Which one you wanted to belong to, which ones you never did. Because for as much as each of these homes is unique, they are also so very much alike. And sometimes we forget that. And sometimes we need a reminder.

“I think maybe home is where your shit is,” I told my husband somewhere between Tupelo and Birmingham.

He smiled. “I think you might be right.”

M.

Storms

It’s going to storm tonight in Atlanta. It’s stormed more often than not since we moved here last month. I don’t mind the storms, but they do make me a little anxious. I’ll get a book, curl up on the sofa and try to read, while the rain pounds on the side of the house, and on the tall pine trees, and on my small, robust garden. I’ll try to read, but I’ll get so engrossed by the sounds that my mind will wander, and before I know it I’ll be consumed by worry. I’ll worry about the things that might go wrong. What if one of those pine trees should fall? What about the baby birds in that nest? Who would I call to rescue them? Who would I call to rescue me?

I used to prefer the dark sky. I preferred the gloomy days. The mix of grays, and blues, and blacks. As a child I would sit on my mother’s stoop and watch the sky change. In Kansas you can never be too sure how long the storm will last. You can never be too sure which way the wind will turn. If a funnel cloud might reach a long, black finger down. You can never be sure. It’s a kind of anxiety that becomes comforting after a little while. Or maybe you just learn to live in it.

Nowadays I prefer the sunshine. I’ve learned that my body needs the sunshine to function properly. I know this. Finally. At 37-years-old. I finally know that my body needs the Vitamin D. And so does my mind. So do my emotions. My nerves. But sometimes, on days like today, when the storms are lining up to roll on through and I feel prepared, and my mind is free, it is different. Sometimes, on days like today, when my soul feels well, I can sit on my porch, take in the smell of the coming rain, and I can look forward to the storm.

M.

Two More Weeks

Several months ago Jerimiah was told by his company that his role was changing and he would likely not be in the Charlotte area anymore. In reality, it was much more harsh, and he was forced to make his own destiny, in a sense, by filtering out areas in the US that we did not want to go. They wanted him, for example, to go a few places we have visited, but did not think would fit us. Think: Jefferson City, MO; Louisville, KY; Richmond, VA; The Middle of Nowhere, Mass; etc, etc. In short the list was scary. Then Atlanta reached out to him. Now mind you, the last time we visited Atlanta, GA, as we hit I-85 to head home, we looked at each other and said, out loud for the whole damn universe to hear, We are never going back to Atlanta. So yeah, we fucked ourselves royally. In two weeks we are moving to Atlanta, Georgia.

Now at first, at first, I was skeptical at best. I mean the reasons we didn’t like Atlanta are the reasons most people don’t like Atlanta. It’s crowded, it’s a bit run-down, it’s an urban city, sure, but it is smack-dab in the middle of one of those southern states. You know what I mean, the conservative ones. They just passed a Heartbeat Bill, for Baby Jebus’ sake. It is a place we were desperately trying to stay away from. And did I mention the traffic? The aggressive drivers? The homeless who have a penchant for lighting overpasses on fire? Then there are the ‘burbs. Buckhead comes to mind, because, well, that’s one nice place, that we could absolutely not afford to live in. And that is by design. There is intense, intense socio-economic segregation in and around the ATL. Intense.

But then friends came to our rescue. People who know people who know people who live in and around Atlanta. Decatur. Tucker. Smyrna. Marietta. Dunwoody. We started to feel better, though we suspect our friends were so eager to help because well, it wasn’t THEM moving to Atlanta. A sense of relief comes with learning you won’t, in fact, be moving to Atlanta, just visiting.

We were able to find a house, a cute, little ditty in one of those adorable ‘burbs (even though we know we are not ‘burb people, it feels like the best place to go before we get to know the city a bit better). We found the house. The company is moving us. We have all the paperwork signed. The forms faxed to the new school. The utilities on. The landscaper on deck. We found the nearest pool. We have signed up for events in the community. In a phrase, we are ready. Even though it doesn’t matter much if we are ready or not, it is coming.

As of April 1, 2019, we will be Georgia residents. No longer North Carolina residents. Not Missouri residents. Not Kansas residents. But Georgia residents. A residency that we didn’t necessary want, but one that we are getting, and well, we will make the best of it, because that is what we do. It is what we have always done. You can’t go forth in prosperity and happiness any other way. So, if you are so inclined, please wish us luck, and health, and happiness in this new adventure! And we will do the same for you!

M.

Mornings with Missy

Hey y’all! It’s been a white-hot minute since I was in the closet. Literally. I have been stressed and busy and out of town and out of mind and all the things. Hoping to get back on track soon. Meanwhile, here is a 10-minute vide about all the important things in my life right now: Bear claws, Duke’s barking, my recent hair cut, the fact that my husband is a wizard, professional wrestler Ric Flair, and the state of Georgia. Enjoy! Also, here is a link to the Sweet Treats in case you are inclined to pay for some: https://www.riverstreetsweets.com/product/classic-gift-box-of-pralines-and-bear-claws/praline-and-bear-claw-combination-gifts

Love you guys!

M.

Who do I look like, Princess Di? RIP Princess Diana.