February 2017 archive

Speaking in Car

My car died last Tuesday. I also broke four nails and spent 3 days in bed crying, so it’s a toss up as to the actual WORST part of last week, but it was a bad one.
It’s been nearly a 6 days since my car has been passed from shop to shop getting “diagnosed” because it’s “foreign” and no one in this country “speaks its language.” I’m sorry but if a kid in my middle school figured out Mandarin Chinese and Latin, you’d think SOMEONE employable in the city of Jacksonville could figure out a dialect “Mini Cooper.”
The whole thing felt like a pull from God to get a new car. Mostly because the guy at the first foreign car fixit shop I brought it to looked straight at me and said, “Time to get a new car.”
I told my husband I wanted to go car shopping and he immediately replied, “YAAAAAAAS” and started doing a weird little joy-dance. He’s not a big dancer, but he loves buying things like cars.
I decided I want something bigger than a Mini Cooper. Bear helped me narrow the field and we decided to go check out a few cars on a Sunday with the kids in tow. This way we’d have a good excuse to leave when Abe started licking things that people at the dealership would be uncomfortable with him licking.

“Whoops! No more licking Audi R8s, sweetie! Time to go!”

The first dealership had 6 guys standing out front and one of them sauntered over to us with a styrofoam to-go cup in his hand, like, “Eh. I’m just finishing lunch but I’ll help ’em out.”

“Looking for something?”
Of course I wanted to respond, “Yeah, I dropped my pen earlier…”
But Bear responded, “Probably a used 4Runner. You have any in white?”
“Yes. Over to the other end.” This guy was about 6 foot 2, grey hair, with a Russian accent. It literally sounded like everything he was saying to us was a set-up for heist that we may or may not now be involved in.
The walk to the pre-owned side of the lot was longer than the green mile, and Hubs was NOT speaking. Abe was speaking. A lot. “Gonna buy that car, mom?”
“No.”
“That one?”
“No.”
That one?”
“No.”
Russian guy said nothing.
Finally, we got to the 4Runners.
“I guess we don’t have any in white,” Russian guy said as he peered out over the sea of cars.
Now, to me, it seems like if you work at a car dealership you should have SOME way of knowing what inventory is on the lot. Like a list. A list of cars. That tells you what you have and what you don’t have. So when you’re walking a family of four to what feels like their imminent death by Russian mafia, you can assure them you have the color 4Runner they want.
“Ok. Can we test drive a gray one instead?” Hubs asked.
They guy literally handed us the keys and a loose license plate and told us to “bring it back.” I guess he felt like he’d made it clear Black Widow was waiting in the lounge if we didn’t act right, so he wasn’t concerned about the safety of the 4Runner. We drove it, brought it back, and left before anyone could offer us a shot of vodka.

“Let’s check out the Jeep dealership,” Bear said. I didn’t want a Jeep, but I was willing to try anything. By this point, Abe was holding up really well and Cub was silent and miserable, which was better than Abe’s normal loud and miserable. We walked onto the property and soon discovered you had no choice but to walk through the showroom to get to any of the cars.

*Immediately assaulted by sales associates.*

“Hey I’m Steven.”
Steven is maaaaybe 5 feet tall. He has piercing blue eyes and looks like he wants to climb my entire family while rattling off every feature and spec of all the cars on the entire lot. He also appears to be 12 years old.
I. Hate. Steven.
“What are you looking for?” he asked Bear.
“A car for her,” Bear pointed to me.
“What are you looking for?” he asked me.
“I’m not too sure.”
“You’re not sure?! Well, what have you driven so far today?”
Bear could sense my dislike of the man walking half a step behind me. “We just want to check out a Grand Cherokee,” Bear said.
“Oh yeah! Sure! I’ve got a black one over here!” Steven practically skipped to the car.
“I’m looking for something in white,” I said.
“Oh really? White? Ok. Cool. Why white?”
“Because it’s the color I want.”
“Ok cool. What color car do you have now?” he asked and I squeezed my hands into fists.
“A black one.”
“OOh! Ha. Yeah,” he said as he simultaneously looked at my husband and WINKED at him, as if to say, “Oh women. They think cars are like nail polish, don’t they?”
It took EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING not to say mean things in front of my children on purpose to teach them how not to treat a women and then lead my family out the front door.
He proceeded to rattle off a TON of colors and features to me like “heated seats” and “push this little button to close the hatch.” Then he proceeded to say, out loud, “Oh, your husband will think this is cool. Come here, man, while I pop the hood…”

Look. I get it. I’m a girl. I want a car that works good and looks nice. I don’t care if it’s a 2.9 or has 50 horses inside or how many of the wheels drive at once in the mud. I want to go from where I am now to where I want to go next without having to worry about a tow truck driver named Possum telling me about how he tore both shoulders and both knees pushing a tractor out of a ditch while he drags my beloved car to get fixed and I wait on an Uber. But. If you would INCLUDE me in conversations about the purchase of my OWN vehicle, I’m far more likely to purchase it from you.

Steven proceeded to corner, shift, refocus, and reframe the conversation one million times until he had enough information from us to try and make us a sweet deal. “Look. I’m not supposed to talk numbers with you (he was whispering in the middle of a rooftop parking lot wherein we were the only 5 people anywhere to be seen, so I can only assume he was wearing a wire), but I’ve got to move 45 cars in the next 3 days. I can get you some really good deals. But I’ve got to have some numbers to work with for my manger. Let’s go inside and talk about how we can make this happen today.”
“Oh, this isn’t happening today,” Bear corrected him.
It seems that when you tell Steve something, like you want a white car or you aren’t buying a car today, Steve hears, “I’ll take any color car and I’ll buy it today.” In the amount of time it would take me to dissect and write out this man’s technique for somehow roping us back around to the same conclusion of, “We’re not buying a car today,” you could order a pizza, have it delivered, and eat half of it before I was finished.

After two hours of this, Steven said it again. He said it. Again. After hundreds of offers for another bottle of water, one more look at “that gray one”, even offering to paint the gray one white (yes he did!), he asked me, “So what’s it going to take to get you in this car today?”

I paused. I breathed. And I looked him dead in his bright, blue eyes.
“Steven. Look at me in my eyes…”
“Ok ok ok…” he started.
“No. No seriously, Steven. Look at my eyes.”
He did. And he was terrified. I think Bear was smirking like, “Oh this is gonna be fun.”
“I’m. not. buying. a car. today. Got it?”
“Got it,” he nodded, still locked on my eyes.
“Now, if you still have this car tomorrow, or the next day, and it’s for sale for the same price, and I have slept on it and decided I want to purchase it, I will come back here and I will buy this car from you. Only you. No one else. No other dealership. I will walk in, ask for Steven, and ask you to bring me the keys to my new car. But I will not, under any circumstance, buy this car today.”
Steven didn’t ask me to buy the car after that.

I want to buy the car. I really like it. The gray one. (I know, I know, cars are like nail polish to me.) But, for once in my life I want to make a decision on my own time, in my own way. I don’t want to look at the people around me and ask their opinion. I don’t want to die of decision-paralysis and never get the car I want. I just want to say what I want and then walk away if what I want isn’t being offered. That simple. Bear said to the guy at the dealership, “This car is for her. She chooses what she wants.” I feel like that’s why he was put into my life; to remind me it’s mine and I get to choose what I want.

Also did you know the “energy between eclipses” is a thing?! It’s when everything goes bat shit insane between any two types of eclipse experiences. (We had one on the 10th and one this past weekend.) I *just* found out about this phenomenon from a woman who eats kale and talks to crystals. I asked my acupunturist about it and she was like, “You didn’t know that’s a thing?!” So if anything you’ve said or done in the past 7 days has been dramatic, we can blame it on the “energy between eclipses” and then take our shoes off and dance with Mother Earth or whatever.

 

Faith or Whatever

A few weeks ago I sat down to paint my fingers and toes. This is one of my favorite “me-time” activities. Not only do I save myself $50/month, but I frankly like the way I do my own nails better than any salon ever does them.
Unfortunately, by the time I got ready to do my toe nails, I was all but falling asleep. I’ll do them in the morning I lied to myself. The next morning came and went, along with like four more mornings. Until Friday night when it was time to go to see a play and I realized I couldn’t wear any of my heels because they all had open toes and I had…empty toes. Ugly old empty toes. Frankly, I got angry. Angry that I’d thrown away my one pair of closed-toed heels because they were falling apart at the seams and now I needed them. Angry that I didn’t have the money in my bank account to go shoe shopping. Angry that even if I did have the money in my account, I wouldn’t spend it on myself anyway. Angry that other people have NICE, NAME BRAND shoes that make them feel fancy. AND WHY CAN’T I HAVE EYELASH EXTENSIONS?! I used to get them but I can’t afford them anymore and they were my favorite thing and now I have NO heels to wear and short eyelashes.
I picked through the shelves of my closet looking for what, I don’t know, until I came upon a box. “Oh. I forgot about these.” My friend lent me a pair of shoes to wear to my wedding and I didn’t end up needing them. I set them on a shelf in their box because I didn’t feel comfortable wearing her shoes unless it was to my wedding, but when I calculated that that was 9 months ago, I thought it was possible she wouldn’t care. I looked back at the box. What kind of shoes are theseI wondered.
Vince. Camuto.
I hadn’t heard of Vince Camuto until late last summer when I was at Disney with a group of Beachbody coaches. We went into a Vince store because everyone loved that store (and I pretended to love it, too, even though I didn’t know the guy) and one of the dudes bought some of his cologne. It smelled great and seemed fancy so I bought Bear a little bottle. Some of the other girls bought shoes while they were there, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
But here I was, standing in my closet with a pair of Vince Camuto heels. Sparkly ones, too. With closed toes. The very thing I was complaining about not having 15 seconds before I was holding in my hand. Every aspect of what I asked for was right here: nice, name brand, fancy, closed toe.

“Let go and let God.” This is what they tell me. That if I have the faith the size of a mustard seed, I can move mountains.
Or whatever.
I’ll tell you, I’m a big believer in God, but He and I have been in a big ol’ fight for a while now. I’ve been believing in him for some serious stuff, praying a lot, listening for answers, and boy if he isn’t preoccupied making amazing things happen in other people’s lives lately. I’m focused everyday on avoiding the potential disasters surrounding me and He’s off galavanting with celebrities, I can only assume. There are so many days I ask Him, “Where ARE you?!?!” But I’m coming to think that maybe it’s the “let go” part I’m not doing. The “let God” part I’m all good with. Let God. You do it, God. It’s all You. Go for it. Fix the problems.

It’s the letting go and believing that He’s constantly working on my behalf if I’ll get out of the way that is my biggest challenge. It’s doing what I can do as a human, but then stepping back and leaving a little room for a high power to do the work I cannot do on my own (but really like to think that I can).
That little room between what I can do and what God can do, I think that’s what they call faith.
It’s that moment that I looked around my closet aimlessly with no real mission or expectation that God gifted me the exact shoes I said I wanted.

Except, they weren’t mine. So I texted my friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You read that? “You can keep em!” So now, they’re mine. A perfectly perfect, flashy, simple, closed toed, name brand, fancy pair of heels…delivered 9 months ago, 15 seconds after I asked for them. I dunno if that’s faith or luck or coincidence or whatever, but I think it’s how God works. We ask, we move where we can, and then we get OUT OF THE WAY. Because He thinks of stuff we don’t think about so we can have what we want in WAY easier ways than driving to Nordstroms and putting it on a credit card.

P.S. My coach at the gym walked in with some brand new flashy eyelash extensions this week. She told me about the woman she found who does them out of her home and charges a third the price I used to pay. So. I’m getting those, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Worst Burn

My girlfriend got into a minor car accident this morning. She was fine and actually felt encouraged that it was better to just stay home, which is what she woke up thinking she wanted to do anyway. But the feeling of loyalty and concern I felt for her before finding out it was pretty minor gave me a PTSD response…

Almost 10 years ago I was in a head-on car accident with my Before Husband. He was relatively unscathed, as was I, except for a decent burn on my forearm from the airbag. I was taken to the hospital from the scene so they could check me out because I was complaining of neck pain, too. I had to be in a little room all by myself while my Before Husband dealt with insurance and the police. I wondered if anyone knew what room I was in. I wondered if any of these nurses had checked to see if my Before Husband was finished in case he might want to come be with me. I wondered if our friends were there.
One nurse came in and gently cleaned my burn. “What’s the red?” I asked.
“Those are capillaries.”
“I don’t think they are, though. That doesn’t look like it’s part of my body.”
“Oh, you know what? You’re right,” the nurse said. “As I look closer I think those are threads from the airbag. I’ll need to scrub those out.”
I was sorry I asked.
If you’ve ever had a burn. You know it hurts. If you’ve ever had anybody SCRUB a burn, you know that’s just not necessary and ridiculously cruel without numbing medication or hard opiates.

It hurts. So much.

Luckily it was a small burn and she only scrubbed for about 45 seconds. She gently wrapped it and after getting a clear neck and spine, I was free to go. I stood up and began walking down a long hallway. When I turned the corner of another long hallway, she was standing there. She stood firmly, feet planted, arms crossed, angry that she couldn’t cross the invisible line the hospital had drawn in front of her. My best friend. She was waiting for me.
Her concern was overwhelming, her loyalty palpable. In that moment, I felt so covered. My person is here. Yes, I had a husband then who was also my person, but she was my sister. And she was here. She had me.

It’s been almost three and a half years since we’ve been friends. Divorce does funny things.

I’ve reached out to her a few times, and the most recent time seemed like it did the trick. It seemed like we were going to be friends again. We were talking like we used to, making old jokes, listening to each other. We agreed we would start over and take it slow and talk through our grievances because it was worth the time to do that. I left the ball in her court to call be next since she was far less flexible with her time than I am. “Just call me next week sometime when you’re ready. I’m always around!” I texted her a few times after that phone call. It felt so good to know we were back on track.

That was the last time I heard from her.

A few weeks ago I learned that she’s due to have a baby in a few months. I found out from a third party – my Before Husband’s new wife. I wasn’t really hurt by it at the time because I’d already written the friendship off (again). But today, when my friend was in the car accident and I felt compelled to go stand at that invisible line in the hospital waiting for her…I realized that I might never truly stop grieving that old friendship. We always talked about having our babies together. And when I had Abe, she told me how much she’d need me when she had her first. She was my person. She stood on the line for me.

And ultimately, the loss of our friendship burned me worse than that car accident did.
It hurt. So much.

Relationships are such weird things. Have you ever felt that longing for an ex like, “I would do anything to have them back but now that they’ve shown me their true colors I don’t really want them back but I’d still take them back in a heartbeat!!” Friendships can be the same way. Maybe even worse. And just like with an ex, I kick myself when I start thinking of our old friendship again and wishing I had it back. Almost like I’m brain-cheating on the girlfriends I have now.

God has seriously blessed me with 6 or 7 women who would stand on that line for me today. Nah. They would jump the line and fight to get into the room and hold my other hand while a nurse scraped and scrubbed my burns. I literally praise God for them daily. The landscape of my life would be one big tree (or Bear, if you want to be more literal) and a few little saplings without them. But they don’t replace the friendship I lost. No one can. Not even 6 or 7 can.
I just can’t believe I’m still grieving it even after all this time. And how much it still burns.