Saturday at the Farm

We visited a friend’s farm last weekend. It is called Butts Mill Farm, and it is out in Western Georgia, near the Alabama state line. Our friend’s parents own it, and it’s less of a farm in the way you are imagining, and more of a family-fun farm, complete with peddle cars, number boats, and miniature horses that you can pet and feed and fall in love with and try to convince your husband to let you bring one home and get denied. Which is bullshit, but I just want you to be aware before you go.

Well, maybe you’ll have a nicer husband.

I digress. We had an excellent time at the farm, and not just because we visited for free and were fed pizza for lunch (although, bonus!) Yes, our friends are that nice. But really it was because we adore these friends and their family was so super nice, that we even got a super-special tour of their big collection of vintage cars and truck, which Jackson LOVED! Whew.

We got to play in a creek that has swings you can set in and watch the whole day go by. We got to feed goats, and go inside an antique Grist Mill. We got to ride a horse (well Jackson did, for the first time mind you) and play all day. Jackson was happy to be with his buddy Bella, whose grandparents own the farm, and Jerimiah and I were happy to hang with other adults and carry on conversations and not be inside our house. It was sort of the perfect day. Not too hot, overcast most of the day, and did I mention the 12-year-old rescued Macaw named River, who was just a delight, until he started screaming at me? Wow. It was a good day. Here are the pictures and trust, if you ever find yourself around these parts and wanna go check out the farm, let me know. We are always in for a trip out west.

M.

Mr. Charlie is Okay

A few days ago I shared a scary thing that happened in the ‘hood. Mr. Charlie and Ms. Loretta called an ambulance last week and a couple showed up with a patrol car. I wasn’t too worried because the medics didn’t seem too worried, but then we didn’t see Mr. Charlie or Ms. Loretta for a couple of days. Then Jerimiah ran to grab some dinner on Friday night and when he came home Mr. Charlie was back puttering around in his well-maintained front yard!

Jerimiah stopped to say hi and make sure he was okay. M. Charlie very much appreciated the visit. He told Jerimiah that he has a problem with his legs that is very painful and although he takes medicine for it, it became too intense the other morning so he wanted to get checked out just in case. They kept him for a bit, but all is fine.

Whew.

He came in and told us and Jackson ran off to see Mr. Charlie! Jackson adores Mr. Charlie and the feeling is mutual. They chatted for a bit near Mr. Charlie’s crepe myrtle and that night we all slept a little better.

So there you have it, no more worries, y’all. Mr. Charlie and Ms. Loretta are okay. So is Mrs. Kim, and Ginger, and Cookie, Dale’s chocolate lab. Cul-de-sac is back to normal, in case you were wondering.

M.

Monday Musings

Not sure what happened this weekend. Had big plans. Didn’t do them. Spent a lot of time talking about what I thought I should do, did very little of the “doing.” Hopefully this weeks pans out better. BUT we did make it to the pool for one last hurrah! The pool has been a life-saver (bad pun intended) for us the last couple months. We had high hopes early on that school would be back in person, and when it wasn’t, well it was nice to still have Jackson around people his own age.

The pool is a relatively “low risk” outdoor adventure. You are basically swimming in bleach, and generally, generally the kids can maintain a safe distance. Though this “pool crew” is all really good about not going places, and all these kids take Covid-19 very seriously. You know you found your people, for instance, when one of them have a dog named “Bernie Sanders.” 🙂

Anyway, one of the mom’s organized the neighborhood ice cream truck to swing by and hilarity ensued! We were missing a couple of families, but for the most part this is our pool crew and we are so sad for the season to be ending and we can’t wait for next year! Enjoy the pics of children having a blast and eating ice cream. We made it until the rain come!

Hope you have a fantastic day. It’s the “official” first day of fall for us!

M.

Code Blue

A couple of night’s ago Sir Duke Barkington woke us up by barking and running wild through the house. I assumed that we had an intruder who was skilled enough to bypass the ADT system and was there to murder us all. As one does. But it turns out that he was alerting us to something outside. Jerimiah went downstairs and that’s when he saw the red and blue lights streaming through the window. He peeked out and saw two ambulance and a patrol car parked across the street. He wasn’t sure if they were going to our neighbor Ginger’s house or Mr. Charlie and Ms. Loretta’s, so he watched for a bit longer and noticed a stretcher being pulled into Mr. Charlie and Ms. Loretta’s.

He came upstairs and told me what he saw. I jumped up and ran to my office window for a better view and I too saw the lights There had been no sirens. Duke was alerted only by the lights streaming through the window.

I took note that the medics did not seem to be in a hurry, and that a couple were just standing around talking. The cruiser switched his lights to just show blue, which brought to mind a code blue, which brought to mind the time I was a “Code Blue.”

When I was giving birth to Lydia she slipped out of my body unexpectedly. The doctor had not been prepared, just came to check on me. She had nothing, no gloves, no help, so she reached, with one hand on my daughter’s small frame, toward a button on the wall. Suddenly a “Code Blue” was issued to the whole labor and delivery floor, and half a dozen nurses and doctors ran into my room.

It’s been two days. I never saw who was wheeled out, and I also have not seen Mr. Charlie out in his yard. There’s been no mowing. No pulling figs off the tree. No open garage where his American flag hangs proudly next to his Haitian flag. I haven’t seen Ms. Loretta either. Just a car, which we think belongs to one of their children, a couple of times in and out, and a small light on in the kitchen.

I hope you are okay, Mr. Charlie and Ms. Loretta. Until I see you both again, I’ll be keeping an eye out.

M.

Drowning

You know that part in “Office Space” where he’s all, “Every day is the worst day of my life”? Man, I’m feeling that these days. It’s not the worst day, per se, but I just caught myself texting a friend and telling her that I feel like I am drowning every day when I wake up. But then I reminded her, and me, that this is all temporary. It’s really just temporary. That used to be my mantra when things got tough. You need to tell yourself something when you’re say, giving birth to a baby that has already died. You have to figure out how to get you mind out of the spaces and places it could go, so I just reminded myself that this is temporary. That one day soon it won’t be this way, it won’t feel so stifling. But when you’re in the thick of it, man I know it’s tough.

I find myself taking pleasure now in simple tasks like taking a shower, or petting my crazy dogs. Sitting in my office and watching the squirrels that hold important meetings in the pine tree outside my office window. Watch Mrs. Kim work on her front yard (it’s impeccable) or Mr. Charlie across the way, walk back and forth in his driveway waiting for the mail, or to pull his recycling cans back to his garage. I’ve always been a people watcher, but it’s become increasingly important. I’m lucky to have a room with such a good view.

I might feel like I am drowning, but honestly it’s not that bad. I know the anxiety and the worry have so much to do with it, and my husband is working his butt off to make sure I don’t actually drown. So I’m okay, swimming along with help. I hope you all are too.

M.

Well Hello…

I have some new followers! I love new followers, but I hate that word “follower.” I prefer friends! I have some new friends! We shall all welcome them with open arms. Hello, friends! Welcome! Grab a White Claw, or a bottle of wine, or maybe some iced tea (we are in The South after all) and sit a spell while I tell you a bit about myself. My name is Missy. (Really it’s Melissa but when I was a born in the 80s my stone-washed jeans wearing sisters thought Missy sounded radical, so there you have it.) I go by Melissa when I am feeling “formal” or when I don’t know people very well, but I do prefer Missy. I’m not the type of person to offer that up when we first meet, nicknames sometimes scare people, so you’ll usually know me a little while when someone will call me Missy and you’ll be all, Wait, who is Missy? You mean Melissa? And they will be all, Who is Melissa? And that’s pretty much all you need to know about me. Just kidding.

I’m married to a lovely middle-aged, white man whom I often make fun of for being a middle-aged, white man but check this, he is faaaaar from the kinda guy you are thinking of. Sure, on the outside he looks the part, and a lot of old ladies grab his hand to tell them all about his church (like his atheist-ass cares), but he politely listens, nods along, and says, That sounds really nice! Occasionally other middle-aged, white men who do not know him very well will suggest having a beer, and they will end up saying some whacked-out racist shit, or something about how our current president is “fiscally responsible” or maybe throw in a homophobic joke, and my husband will be all, Oh, so you’re an asshole. Then he will pay his tab (but not theirs) and leave. He’s cool like that.

We have an 11-year-old son who is starting sixth grade in the fall. Middle school. I’m not going any further than that because I remember middle school, vividly, and I am terrified for him and for me. He’s supersonic smart though. He’s in the STEM program, robotics team, band, etc, etc. You’ll like him a lot and often remark how mature he is for his age, but that’s just because he doesn’t feel comfortable enough around you to make fart noises under his arm. Just yet. Otherwise he is honest, kind, considerate, and his three favorite television shows are: The Office, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

The dogs, Jesus I forgot about the dogs. Okay listen, we had this amazing dog for nearly 14 years. Her name was Bentley and she was my actual ride-or-die (yeah, I say ride or die and I don’t know if it is hyphenated or not). She was a chocolate lab mix and also the best dog in the whole world. But in 2018 her health problems caught up with her and we had to put her down a couple months shy of her 14th birthday. Then I did what I always do, I had a breakdown and over-compensated by getting not one, but two dogs. Sir Duke Barkington of Charlotte came first. He is a standard poodle and he’s hella fancy and honestly I can’t with him sometimes. He wears bow ties, and prefers to be professionally groomed with a blow out. We just celebrated his second birthday with a surprise celebration on April 30th, because quarantine.

Then there is Lady Winifred Beesly of Atlanta. Winnie came to us at the beginning of quarantine because who didn’t think it was the perfect time to go on Craigslist and adopt a dog that someone had bought and realized they were allergic to and didn’t know what to do with?! She’s part standard poodle and part great pyranees and I know what you are thinking, what does that dog look like? Answer: A hot fucking mess. But we love her.

Okay, so I think that’s the gist of life around here. We live in Metro Atlanta. We are pro-choice (I’ll tell you about my daughter sometime), LGBTQIA+ allies, active members in the Black Lives Matter Movement, and we are Bernie supporters who will be voting for Biden in November because shiiiiiiit. My husband has his MBA and works in finance, I write and piddle around the house yelling about politics and who the hell shit on the floor?! It’s usually a dog.

This blog houses everything from my distorted, meandering thoughts to stories of my childhood, to actual lists of whatever I am thinking at any given moment. I talk a lot about mental health, family, and writing. I made a promise to myself to blog everyday this year, and with the exception of two weeks ago when I took a break to help #MuteTheWhiteNoise and #AmplifyBlackVoices I have written everyday this year. So, there’s a lot to read and digest here. I also have a page with my published writings if you are so inclined. Thanks for reading today and thanks for being on this crazy ride!

Stay safe and sane, y’all.

M.

Sharpie Feet

You don’t really know how talented the world is, until you watch a man unroll three feet of paper, take his shoes off, stick Sharpies between his toes and draw a portrait of you and one of your best friends inside a Ruby Tuesday. Then, and only then, as you stand wide-eyed and wondering, do you realize you have witnessed the art of human nature. The art of imagination. The art of so many what-the-fucks that you have dreams, nay nightmares, for weeks about this particular man’s feet. And sweaty toes. And the courage, or is it madness, that some people possess inside their minds and bodies. Am I being a little over the top? Well, sure. But he could have warned me when he asked to borrow my Sharpies.

I worked in the restaurant business for years. Eventually I was in management, where I excelled at training people, making angry customers happy, and was the first line of defense in the interview process. We had this system at Ruby Tuesday. When someone would walk through the door with an application, an unsolicited one, a shift leader, or an assistant manager, or a trusted bartender, whomever was around, would be called to the front door to greet them. Then we’d do what we called a 60-second interview. Maybe it was 60 seconds. Maybe it was 90 seconds. I know there were people I spent less than 30 seconds with, people with sores around their mouths, itching their skin that appeared to be crawling with an unseen bug, while they asked about being paid in cash and whether or not we offered paid training.

Then there were people who caught my attention, who I invited to sit for a spell. I might even offer them a Coke or a Sweet Tea if they tickled my fancy. That’s what happened the day I met the man who would draw me with my own Sharpies. I was back in the kitchen, counting burger buns on the line, when the hostess caught my attention across the heat lamps. “You’re gonna wanna see this,” she said, then motioned to the front door. I gave her a quizzical look, and she mouthed, “I’m getting Erica too,” and headed to the manager’s office. I scrambled to take off my apron and beat them both up to the front. I always liked to get to crazy before Erica. Assess the situation, beat her to the punch, so that later when we laughed about the incident I could say I saw it first.

I jogged up through the restaurant like there was a salad bar emergency, which happened more than you’d feel comfortable knowing, while I smiled at customers who were shoving sliders and soup into their mouths. When I got to the front door there was a man at the hostess stand wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt, holding a roll of white paper under his arms. An application was sitting on the hostess stand. I introduced myself, keenly aware that neither the hostess, nor Erica had made their way up to the front yet, which means they were sitting in the office watching me and this man on video to see what type of craziness was about to unfold.

I introduced myself. He handed me his application and asked me if I wanted to see something “cool as shit.” I looked up toward the camera and smiled. I did want to see something cool as shit, and I knew other people who did too. I escorted him to the larger dining room that was usually only opened for the dinner rush. It was quiet, empty, and a little dark since the lights were still turned down.

Erica and the hostess walked through the “Do Not Enter, Employees Only” door on the side of the dining room from the dry storage area. They were cautious, but smiling. We all knew something great was about to happen, but we had no idea what.

This man unrolled about three feet of paper from his roll, laid it flat on the ground. I moved some chairs out of his way so he would have more room. He stood up, looked at the three of us, and asked if someone had something to write with. I handed him the two Sharpies I had in my shirt pocket. Erica offered the pencil from her hair. He passed on the pencil, but took the Sharpies with appreciation. I hadn’t had a moment to look at his application since we walked over, so I took this opportunity to glance down at it. I don’t remember his name. I don’t remember his date of birth, his previous employer, I don’t even remember if he filled it out completely, all I remember is that while my eyes were looking down at the paper in my hand, Erica pushed her whole body into mine with such force I was inclined to say, “Ouch,” then I looked up at the man. He had suddenly taken his shoes off, stuck the Sharpies in between his toes, and started to work on the paper.

Twenty minutes later, as my best friend Erica (the General Manager of the restaurant) and I looked at caricatures of ourselves on this three foot wide piece of paper, drawn by this man’s feet (and my Sharpies) we didn’t know what to say. We wanted to ask when he could start work. We wanted to ask him to pick up his paper and leave. We were shocked and awed and I offered him a Sweet Tea. He accepted. Thirty minutes later we really just wanted him to pick up his paper and leave. Well, technically we wanted to keep the paper, it was a portrait of us after all, and have him put his shoes back on and leave. But it seemed like he was there for the long haul. He was asking about a burger.

Turns out the man had no experience in the restaurant business. He had no experience as a cook. He had a “slight” drug problem, that he was working on, and while he technically didn’t have an address, he was living in a tent by the lake, he planned on getting one soon enough. He had was a artist, which was plain to see. He was in Branson to be “discovered.” He wanted to be on America’s Got Talent. He wanted to be a Hollywood star, he wanted to know if we could foot him the money for a burger. Foot. Haha. We could not. We did not. He put his shoes back on. Called us assholes, I believe, grabbed his roll of paper, and walked out the front door. Erica shook her head, told me to bleach those Sharpies and went back to the office. This was not her first rodeo. But I was shook.

It would take a couple more years of meeting people like this, seeing people live like this, one job application to another. One choice of drug for another, before the plight of the human condition would start to sting my heart. A couple more interviews with people who said they were “working on getting a place to live,” a couple more transients who were addicted to meth, or crack, or just looking to steal from the bar. I always had a knack for picking the “good” people. I was trusted for my innate ability to read someone’s face, their actions. But the whole experience took a toll on me. Sure there were days where I saw a man draw my picture with his feet and I found it amusing, then frantic, then sad. But then there were really bad days. Days where a single mom, addicted to ice, would walk in with an application and her two-year-old daughter on her hip. And I desperately wanted to give her a chance, but there are just some things you can’t do. So you feed them. You notify child services. You go sit in you car and scream at the top of your lungs for a little while. Whatever it takes to make it all better.

I had a friend say to me one time, “Well you work in the restaurant business, you aren’t exactly working with the highest class of people.” I nodded, and moved on. I knew what he meant, but I didn’t have the energy to fight. To correct him. To explain to him that sometimes, in this midst of the shit, of the counting of burger buns, and of the standing for hours on your feet. In the midst of having ketchup spilled all over your white shirt, or having a man scream at you because there isn’t enough spinach in his spinach and artichoke dip, sometimes those “low-class” people teach you what it means to be human. You learn, then you grow. Or you don’t. Either way, we are all still there.

Miss you, Erica. And the fun that was scattered throughout.

M.

Happy Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day, and while I am a firm believer that Mothers should be appreciated way more than one day a year, it is hard for people to do. I mean Mothers sometimes get a bad rap, you know? We are the ones doling out kisses, and fixing up boo-boos, sure. But we are also the ones trying to cook dinner, yet again, keep the house clean, make sure your homework gets done, and squash your dreams of more video game time with friends, so eh, it is what it is.

But today I want to remind everyone that Mothers come in all different forms. There are many ladies I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to. Many ladies in my life who have stepped up in one way or another to be like a mother to me, when my mother couldn’t, or later in life when I wouldn’t let her.

I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to my mother, of course, to my sisters, and to my husband’s Mother. But also to the Mothers who have taught me about life, about the sisterhood of women, about friendship, about parenting, about how to love yourself. All of these women deserve a thank you, and while some of them are not actual mothers, they have taken on that role for me and for others, and they deserve our gratitude today.

I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to the Doggo and Kitty Mothers, who fiercely love their babies, and do everything they can to protect them.

Happy Mother’s Day to the Mothers who are trying or have tried desperately to become a Mother. Your day is coming. It is hard, please keep trying.

Happy Mother’s Day to my friends who have lost their babies. Man this is a tough day to be reminded of your children, but I know you think of them everyday. You deserve to be celebrated. I see you. I support you. I love you.

Happy Mother’s Day to the Grandmothers, Aunts, Sisters, Cousins, Momma’s Best Friends, and Godmothers. It takes a village, and if you have been chosen to be part of it, you are truly needed and blessed.

Happy Mother’s Day to the new Mommies. The ones whose gift today is a day alone, or a morning to sleep in, or a quiet bath. Take that time for yourself. Cherish it.

Happy Mother’s Day to the single Mothers or the Mothers whose partner just isn’t a true partner. I can’t imagine what you deal with everyday, but know that it is okay to take a break. To send the kids to the grandparents, or the friend’s who are willing to babysit. Do it. Let someone help you today. You deserve it.

Happy Mother’s Day to the teachers who act as Mothers, quite literally, for some of your kiddos. Thank you. Thank you for recognizing when your student needs a hug, or a word of encouragement, because they might not be getting it at home. I know you miss them right now, they miss you too.

Happy Mother’s Day to the nurses, doctors, paramedics. To the grocery workers, social workers, police offers. Happy Mother’s Day to the delivery drivers, Post Office Workers, servers and bartenders. Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers out there risking their lives and their children’s well-being to help our country during this hard time. We appreciate you.

Happy Mothers Day to all the people out there who have loved a child, taken the time to be part of their life, taught them, laughed with them, shielded them from harm. You are doing the real work in this world, and I appreciate you.

Motherhood is truly the best hood I’ve been apart of, even the painful parts have been worth it. Thank you all for your help along the way.

M.

Case of the Mondays

Peter: Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday and you’re not feeling real well, does anyone ever say to you, “Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays?”

Lawrence: No. No, man. Shit, no, man. I believe you’d get your ass kicked sayin’ something like that, man.

We introduced Jackson to a classic this weekend: Office Space. It was a hit with him, and now he says things like, “How many pieces of flair are you wearing?” and “Damn it feels good to be a gansta.” So maybe not the best idea, but also, it’s day forty-something of quarantine so… I have a case of the Mondays, for sure. I’ve had a case of the Mondays every Monday now for the last six weeks, and I’m desperately trying to find ways not to be a downer. Not to let Monday kick my ass. Not to get my ass kicked by a dude named Lawrence with a mullet and a Miller Light can.

So on Saturday, when I texted “My Squad” which is a group text with my husband and our BFFs, and said, “Anyone wanna do the Couch to 5k with me” and I got several “Yes” responses, I was like, “Oh shit” cause I was half-joking. Look it, I have done the couch to 5k before. I’ve been successful. I’ve ran a couple of 5ks. But I didn’t really have motivation to do it again, I just knew I needed SOMETHING, ANYTHING to help out. But my damn friends were kinda pumped about it and I was like damn it. And just like that, I am too. Friends are cool, huh?

So now, even though I have a cold case of the Mondays I have to go out for a run and I’m like, “AHHHHH!” But at the same time I’m like, oh yeah, my friends are too, and that makes me feel better. Misery loves company? So here we are. I’m gonna start a new cycle of the Couch to 5k and I’m offering all of you to join me. You can use me as an accountability partner for the next twelve weeks if you need one (it’s only an eight-week program, but we are giving ourselves 12 weeks). So if you are interested in doing it with us, do it! We can support you too. Or at least check in occasionally and make you feel bad for not getting your three runs in every week. We are good at shaming people. Like, unusually good at it.

Otherwise, you can probably follow my weird, pathetic, scary journey on here over the next 12 weeks. I’m sure Ill post at least one a week about how my legs hurt, and how I hate other “runners,” and omigod I’m gonna stab that dog that chases me along the fence line, etc., etc. For now just know this: I loaded up a playlist with way too much Lizzo and I’m going forth on this new (old) adventure with my bestest friends (and hopefully some of you) and well, we are in this together. You know?

I hope you don’t have a case of the Mondays.

Stay safe and sane!

M.

If you are up for the challenge, we are using this app: C25k It’s the best one I have found!

Something Funny

“What should my blog be about today?” I ask Jackson and Jerimiah as we are lying in bed reading this evening. “Write about the dogs,” Jackson says. “Something funny,” adds Jerimiah. “Oh,” he thinks to himself, “that might be hard to do right now.” I smile and nod. Write about the dogs. Write something funny. I’ll take a page from Jackson on this one.

For the last couple weeks we’ve been slowly working on homemade, hand-written cards to send to friends. Just a little something to say hi and we are thinking of you. We hope our first few rounds found you all safe and well. Anywho, I passed a card to Jackson one idle Tuesday while we were writing cards and I said, “This is for Madison. Write something.” And of course my witty, terribly dry fifth-grader writes inside Madison’s card, “Something.” Followed by a, “My mom said to write ‘something’ .” Several days later I get a text from Madison. She just wanted to say she got her card, to tell us thanks and she misses us too, oh and by the way, “I loved Jackson’s heartfelt message.” (Insert laughing smiley face). So there you have it. And now here goes.

Something funny.

M.

Someone Else’s Shoes

We hear a lot, and I say a lot, that we should strive to see different points of views. We should try to walk in someone else’s shoes. But I wonder if you’ve ever tried it? I have. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer. Or maybe it’s because I’m a mentally ill, but I have these elaborate talks with myself in the shower. Sorta like Ted Talks. Missy Shower Talks. I’d invite you all, but well, I’m naked. In my shower. Talking to myself. I can’t expect you to want to attend. The topics are far reaching, while the sanity is completely gone. But sometimes in my Missy Shower Talks, I talk with people who have made me mad. Last week I tried that with this guy I used to know. The one who reached out to me in the middle of his own crisis to tell me I was a judgmental bitch because I don’t think we should “reopen America” quite yet. With him I decided to put myself in his shoes. Just for a minute.

–I’m an immigrant, who has been in the USA for almost 20 years. I am finally at a point where I am a small business owner, and while I did some dumb stuff when I was younger, I am pretty much straightened out now and just trying to live that American dream like everyone else. I live in an area that relies on tourists, year round, and my business relies on them. This is not a good time to be in this business. But I have a family to keep fed, and a business to keep from sinking. I do everything I am supposed to do. I pay my taxes. I pay my employees. I treat everyone fair. (I have no way of knowing he is this good of a guy, but I’m trying to be the best version of him.) When the pandemic hit where I live I did what I could to get help. I submitted a loan to the Small Business Association. I was turned down. I filed for unemployment. I was denied. Now I am stuck. I’m angry and frustrated, and I see my friends on Facebook who still have jobs and who can stay home, and not run around trying to scrounge up work. Okay, shit, I get it. “We should stay home!” But I CAN’T STAY HOME OR I DON’T EAT! Ahhhhhhhh!–

End scene or something. Wow.

I imagine this is incredibly frustrating. I can see why he would want to reach out to people and explain to them. To say, look at me. I’m not doing well. Look at what is happening to some people. He wants to make sure others see and hear his story. I can appreciate that. I want to know what is happening. I want to see what people are going through. I wish I could have helped him in some way, but he wasn’t asking for help, just asking to be seen. And I saw him. More than he knows. So what’s the deal here, Missy? What is the take away?

First, people want to be seen and heard. We need to remember that when we are talking to people. A lot of people only share the good/happy/funny news on social media. And that’s cool and whatever, but they are still there when the bad happens. We tend to forget about them because they are being quiet. No one wants to openly share that they were denied unemployment, or that their small business was not in a place that was making profits, or saving for the future. You have to reach down, dig further, and find out what is really happening. And sometimes you have to do that from trying to see the world from their point of view. Finding the story within the story.

From the outside this guy was rocking it. Taking fun vacations, partying all night, with the nicest, most trendy clothes, cars, and people. So how did it only take a month of his business taking a hit before he was in need of a SBA loan? And why did he think I needed to know about it? As I mentioned, this guy is an immigrant. He is originally from Russia, if memory serves, and he has a lot riding on him. He is someone’s grandson, son, brother, uncle. A whole family is looking at him while he lives the American dream for them. Now his dream is shuttered. Doesn’t matter how or why, it’s shuttered. And he is at a pretty low point and obviously needs a place to vent. Can he call up his family in Russia and tell them? Probably not. Can he turn to those flashy friends and vent, most likely, umm, no. So what does he do? He turns to relative strangers on the internet to be seen. To be heard. To make sure they know there are people like him. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s what he chose to do and it impacted me. And ultimately I unfriended him because I don’t like being unloaded on by relative strangers, but I did try to see life from his POV.

That’s my point. Trying to put on someone else’s shoes for a minute. Maybe we need to work on that. Sure, most people will never be able to understand another person’s life. And that’s okay. But shouldn’t we at least try to walk in someone else’s shoes occasionally? To keep us connected. To keep us open-minded. To keep us grounded and grateful. Maybe. Try it.

M.

True Colors

I don’t dye my hair, but I have a lot of friends who do. I support dyeing your hair if that makes you feel better. I have several things I do that make me feel better as a woman, as a person, and if I were in a situation where I was not allowed to do those, I would be upset. So while I can’t empathize with people who are staring at their roots right now wondering how the hell they are going to cover them, I can sympathize. And I support you adding dye to your Walmart order, or if you’re like my best friend, having the in with your stylist, so that she drops all the required items on your front door with instructions. Amazing! But here is something I can’t support: A person saying that we can deal with a couple hundred deaths, if that means she can go get her hair extensions put in next month.

Missy, what are you talking about?! I’m talking about a friend on FB, well a former friend, who actually said that her state better not push the “stay-at-home order” into mid-May because she has an appointment to get hair extensions and she needs them. Was she joking? Man, I hope so. But I think it was based on a very real frustration that her life is being messed up. And that’s where her caring for the world stops. That’s her limit. Too many times the last month her world has been stopped in its track and now she is drawing the line. Wow. Real life.

This global pandemic is certainly a chance for us to put our best foot forward, and obviously some of us just aren’t up to the challenge. In another post, while she obviously spiraled out, this same friend said she knew the “real” reasons this was all happening, but that she wasn’t going to share them because people on FB are mean. You might be wondering, how does she know the “real reasons” when medical experts, scientists, doctors, and governments all around the world don’t have the answers. Another friend suggested perhaps a degree in Mystical Science? But alas, no. She doesn’t know the real reason, but she is certainly showing her true colors during a crisis, and frankly she isn’t alone. And it’s sad, and scary.

There is a whole swath of people who truly believe that the experts, people who went to school for years, who are infectious disease doctors, who are in labs creating vaccines, are out to get them. Out to ruin their life. Why? They must think themselves so important that they are worth ruining. It never occurs to them that this life is MUCH bigger than them. And if this is you, if you think this way, then I suggest you spend a little bit of time in your backyard on a clear night, looking up at the stars, and understanding you small, very small, minuscule, place in this world. You’re just not that important. None of us are. Yet here we are, saying things like, “What matters if a couple hundred people die? They can’t take our liberties!”

Yeah girl, your roots are showing. But even worse, your disgusting display of arrogance, ignorance, and unhealthy world image is showing. Your lack of sympathy and empathy is showing. Your total inability to see past your own life, you inability to love the entire human race is showing. I see now. As long as your life is going well, we can all sit back and share funny memes and laugh. But the moment you had a vacation cancelled, or can’t get hair extensions, or have been out of the dating pool too long, then we will all pay. I see you now, and your true colors. We all do.

M.

Shit Holes and Bottled Water

I’ve seen all the memes floating around about how toilet paper is flying off shelves, and what that has to do with the Covid-19 pandemic. I know people are making light of other’s actions, but I think we can all agree that it boils down to two things: A strong-held belief (mainly from Christianity) that the “End of times” is near, and a sense of loss of control when faced with such a chaotic, confusing, and scary time such as we find ourselves in now. The problem is, when the “End of timers” run and grab all the toilet paper and bottled water, it causes mass hysteria with those seemingly “normal” populations of people, who feel compelled, for no other reason than they see others doing it, to then go and do it. It helps them. It allows them to rest easy at night knowing that they won’t have to dig a shit hole in their backyard if in fact this is the rapture. Do I have your attention now? With the whole “shit hole” thing?

If you follow along closely you will know by now that today my nephew Josh is marrying his fiancé Sarah. They are a lovely young couple, with bright, talented futures ahead of them. They have already accomplished, in their mid twenties, things that others can only dream of. We were set to fly to Kansas City and be part of the ceremony this weekend, but we decided last minute (eight hours before our Uber came to get us) that we would not make the trip to Kansas City and back at this time. And it was for one reason only, Covid-19.

We spent all of the hours up to that final decision talking to friends and family. Jerimiah and I spent a lot of time looking blankly at each other. I knew that if we didn’t go we would be viewed by some family members as “crazy” or “dumb” or “Libtards” (yes, we have family members who use that word). So we had to decide, were we willing to risk carrying a deadly virus with us (Georgia is a state with high-incidence levels) to a place with not many cases, or would we rather suck it up and go, and not look dumb. We had to decide how we would feel if one of our loved ones became ill. We were set to see many loved ones who are over the age of 65, with various health problems. We had to decided how we would feel if we unknowingly transferred something to them. How we would feel if they contracted the virus from anywhere. If we had visited, whether or not they got it from us, we would always think we gave it to them. We would always blame ourselves. Whether or not they contracted anything from us, we’d always think it was us.

There were other factors. My mother is 75-years-old and lives in a retirement community. One that we would spend substantial time in.

Our son has asthma, and although Covid-19 seems to be staying clear of children, it’s not something you want to risk with asthma.

We didn’t want to unknowingly pass anything to a loved one. We have been in Atlanta in the last two weeks. We took public transit. We know of self-quarantined cases in the actual town we live in. We understand that community spread is real.

Then we heard other about family members who have been to places with high incidence in the last two weeks, and they are not taking this seriously. Family members our son would come in contact with.

Then my best friends’ husband got an email from the University he works at in Kansas. It listed states to stay clear of, Georgia was one of them.

Then our governor suggested the State of Georgia close schools. Jerimiah and I looked at each other. Then came the letter from the superintendent, moments later. They did close the schools. All Dekalb County, until further notice.

There we were, looking dumbly at each other, both with a million things on our minds, when Jerimiah finally said, “Do you think it will be easy to cancel everything?” I said, “Let’s find out.”

It was. Delta refunded everything. Marriott refunded everything. National Car Rental refunded everything. Rover, the app we use to book our dog sitter, refunded everything. No questions asked. No fees of any kind. That’s when we knew we had made the right decision. No one should be traveling right now, if they don’t need to be. And the travel industry knows that.

Were we bummed? You betcha. But we’ve realized over the last 24 hours that this isn’t about us, and too many people are acting like it is. Too many people are being selfish right now. That’s why the tp is flying off the shelves. That’s why there are still people booking flights and traveling to beaches. That’s why there are people walking around carrying a virus, unbeknownst to them, and passing it to their community, rather than being inconvenienced for a few days.

Now listen, I get it. Some people have to work. Some people have no other option. If they don’t work, they don’t get a paycheck. I am not talking about those people. I am also not discussing how horrible it is to cancel school when there are children who feel safest at school. When there are children that are only fed, at school. Those are other topics. Today, I’m just sharing our decision. What and who played a role in it. And I’m imploring you, please stay home if you are sick. Please don’t buy all the tp you can buy. Please leave a few bottles of hand sanitizer on the shelf. Please, for the love of all the shit holes, try to be a kind, civilized person who cares for others just as much as you care for yourself.

Stay safe out there.

M.

It’s Book Club Time!

Oh my goodness, do you guys remember like forever ago when I wrote about my secret desire to be part of a book club, but that I just knew that I would never be invited into one because I suck so hard?! Remember I called it Book Clurb because I was putting extra Rs in words to annoy my husband at the time? Okay, well guess what?! No, I wasn’t invited into a book club. Sad face. I started my own! Eek! Okay now before you are all, “Jesus Missy, this won’t end well.” Listen to what actually, for real happened.

First of all, at the beginning of the school year I met this friend named Julie outside the walker line at Jackson’s school. Not to be confused with THAT Julie. She cray. This Julie is legit, and nice, and totally, usually, up for whatever. So Cool Julie (who also has an MA in English) was all, “I’ve been thinking about trying to start like a book club or something.” And you know I tapped into that shit hard! I played it cool at first, I was all, “Hmm, I book club. I don’t know. I mean, do people read anymore?” And she was all, “I think so. I mean I do.” I looked toward the ground and pretended like I was unimpressed. “Sure, sure,” I countered, “But like what do you read?” And she proceeded to tell me some books and I fell in actual love with her.

Fast forward a couple of months and we have a book picked out, “Hillbilly Elegy” one of those ones we were always meaning to get around to one day, and a couple of people in the club. Full transparency, one of the people is my husband, BUT, he said he wanted to read more this year and in January we read a book together, “The Nest” and had our own mini-book club and it worked well, so there’s that. Also, read “The Nest” by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, especially if you love New York City, or family dysfunction, or various POVs. Good stuff.

Even fuller transparency, we are holding it at my house mid-month, we have very little rules other than we all have to be reading the same book, and you know I am gonna make a Charcuterie Board (and you know I can!) and have plenty of wine on hand. So if we actually get around to reading and talking about the book, cool. If not, that’s cool too. Either way I will let you know how it goes. And if anyone wants to join now is your chance! There is only one spot left if I stick to my original plan… Five. Five is a good number.

Cheers to reading!

M.

Happy Valentine’s Day <3

My two favorite things to do on this day are to send Jerimiah really, really bad, hella inappropriate Valentine cards (see above) and text/call all my girlfriends and tell them that I think they are awesome, because V-Day sucks for some people (mostly women) and I don’t want it to suck for people that I love. I just think it’s a great day to remind people (mainly women) that they are loved, they are worthy, and they are not alone. I mean, any day is a good day to do that, but sometimes it has more impact on a day like today. So just in case no one has said anything nice or loving to you today allow me to say this:

You are amazing. Your hair, did you do it today? Did you just recently get it colored? Did you get a blow-out? What, you did it yourself?! You’re amazing. That color, geez, that color suits you so well. What’s that? Is that a new trick you saw on YouTube for your mascara? You rocked it, girl! You should start your own YouTube make-up tutorial channel. You’re not wearing make-up? Oh, so that’s just your natural beauty. Cool. Cool. Cool. I’m not jealous of you. Just kidding, I’m hella jealous of you.

But remember, your self worth is not tied up in your hair, or your make-up, or your amazing birthing hips. What I like best about you, and so do so many other people, is how kind, and empathetic, and honest you are. I love the way your hair flips at the ends, sure, that’s cute, but I love that when I’m having a bad day you reach out a hand, or an ear, or your arms. I love it and I appreciate it. I appreciate you.

I love that you smile at strangers. I love that you get upset and cry when you see children and animals in pain. I love that you stand your ground, that you have a soft heart and sometimes soft skin, but that you can rise up when you need to. You can stand up for yourself, for the women around you, those you know and those you don’t, because you know that there are people who can’t do it for themselves. I love that you take your responsiblity as a woman in the fray, very seriously.

I love you for allowing yourself to be open with me. I know it’s not always easy, but you always try.

I love you for understanding the importance of self-care. That sometimes you need to cry alone in the bathroom, while partners, or kids, or pets, or strangers bang on the door looking for you, needing to suckle your time and your strength. They only do that because they absolutely NEED you and your strength. Because you are strong, and smart, and encouraging. Because you can lead, and sometimes it feels like you can’t, I know that, but when it comes down to it, you’re capable of so much more than you know. You will remind yourself of this time and time again, try to see it when it happens.

Lastly, I love that you are respectful, open-minded, and that you always do the right thing. I know this sounds silly to say, but in a world like the one we live in today, that is harder and harder to find.

You amaze me, girl. And I gotta ask: Will you be my Valentine?

M.

The rest of these images are specifically for Jerimiah. You’re welcome, Babe. And you’re obviously the luckiest guy in the whole world.