Saturday, December 24, 2005

On the Road with Sweet Girl

Normally, I work on Friday and then begin to prepare for all the busy things that need to be done over the weekend. Today was a bit different. Champs and I woke up at 3:35 a.m. when the alarm bid us do so. It took us a while to acquiesce and get out of bed, but finally we did. We stumbled into clothes and gathered a sleepy Sweet Girl and piled into the car. At 4:24 a.m., we set off on the 550 mile trip to HomeTown City in Another State. It took us until about 2:30 p.m. to get here.

Not bad timing, all things considered. I realized again today what a terrific little girl we have. She traveled like a gem! She watched one movie on her portable DVD player (we kept it as a surprise until today and you should have seen her eyes light up) and then just generally slept and talked and sang along to the music. Other than one disagreement over who had the final say on a lunch issue (lately, she has begun to search for alternate definitions of the word "no"), we traveled in peace. I didn't even get one "When are we going to get there?!?!" whine that children are famous for - and for that, I am truly grateful.

The DVD and her magna-doodle were truly two worthy investments.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

What a Weekend!

OK, quick recap:

Friday: Sucked! I will never again use Western Union and that's all I have to say about that. Ugh.

Saturday: Mom moved out. She couldn't afford a moving truck, so Champs got permission to use his work van. We had great help (shout out to Geekwif and the Geek) from a bunch of friends and family with trucks and vans. Our house was a great heap of boxes and muddy salty snow water. Into the midst of this we got a call asking for a showing on the house.

Sunday: WE SOLD OUR HOUSE!!!!!!!!! PRAISE THE LORD! Yes, our house is sold. And in the middle of December, yet. In the last 3 months, there have been 84 houses for sale in our approximate price range and in our approximate area. One has sold. In September. Today ours sold. We have an appointment to go look at a 2 bedroom duplex tomorrow; it is half our mortgage each month (no garage, but we can live with that) and the owner is OK with us renting on a short term option.

You know, I could blog ad nauseum about this; there are so many cool details. Only it would take me hours to write it and you too long to read it. The upshot here is that God is Good and 2006 is going to be a much different year for Champs and I. We have our first real encouragement in months that we really will get to move to Hometown City, Another State this summer.

Now we just have to bathe Champs' eye in prayer. Once he has his contact and the assurance of some healthy time, we will be able to move and start the new insurance/new eye specialist journey in our new state.

2006: New Beginnings, Baby!

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Unsubstantiated Memories

OK, this is NOT a meme, but it is a game you get to play with me. I got it over at Geekwif's place.

Here goes:

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, (even if we don't speak often) please post a comment here on my blog with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL memory of you and me. It can be anything you want - good or bad - BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE.

When you're finished leaving your comment, post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON'T ACTUALLY remember about you.

I think this will be fun for all; like a bowl of Skittles and M&M's mixed; a color and a flavor for everyone!

And here are the great comments I got on this post:
Steph said...
Blond Girl - Remember that time we were at the Liquid Lounge and I dared you to walk out of the bathroom and cross the room with a string of toilet paper hanging out of the back of your skirt?! You even bunched it up to make it look used. We were laughing so hard that it took us five minutes to get a straight face and walk out of the bathroom! It was awesome, especially since you were wearing all black! And then you made eye contact with all of the hot guys in the bar in a totally flirty way, like you didn't know about the toilet paper hanging down to the back of your knees! And remember how horrified the waitress was for you because she didn't know it was a joke? That poor girl! She was so sweet and so mortified for you! What a night!

(P.S. Sadly, yes, I have done this in real life and by the way...I'm SOOOOO stealing this idea!! ;)

Plumkrazzee said...
Remember when you lost your pants? And it was snowing even!! Boy, that trucker got a kick out of you.

Marcia said...
Remember that time when we went shoe shopping and each spent waaay too much, but we totally thought it was worth it, because none of us had shoes that were like that before, and we could completely integrate them into our wardrobes, and gosh, we're we just going to be the hottest chicks in school on Monday?
We should do that again. It was fun.

CarpeDM said...
Blond Girl, remember that time we decided to race our grocery carts through Cub and pretend we were on Supermarket Sweep? Wasn't that fun?

Russ said...
Oh my gosh, I have GOT to tell everyone about the time we were in Maui and those people thought we were twins!! It got even funnier when the cops came because when we told them we were not twins they got so violent. I thought the hotel manager was going to pee her pants when you decked that tall skinny dweeb for picking his nose and wiping it on my shirt.
What a moron!!

Geekwif said...
One of my favorite memories of you is that night when we crashed that party out on Lake Minnetonka. You know, the one in that big old brick mansion?
We dressed up in the fanciest clothes we could afford - consignment shop fare of course - and snuck in by blending in with some legitimate guests. You were hilarious. Your talent for conversation never ceases to amaze me. You had everyone we spoke to completely convinced that we belonged there. You were absolutely the life of that party. Really, I think we saved those rich snobs from what could have been an incredibly boring party.
It was all going so well until we realized that your boss was there. Boy, that was a tough one to explain! How did you ever get out of that one anyway? Well, however you did it, that night was the start of a long and glorious tradition of snooty party crashing.

Heather said...
Remember that time we were in that club and that nerdy guy was trying to pick you up so you and I held hands and you said, "Sorry--I'm with her!" and we walked out like that?

MissMeliss said...
Two words:
Bobcat. Pudding.
Yeah, I don't tell the story either :)

Paul said...
I'll never forget the time you caught me under some mistletoe and tried to kiss me.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

2 Questions... Answered

Thanks to all who asked me two questions. Part of me wishes there were more, but I think it will take me more than a few minutes to answer these! Thanks for the idea, Russ! Here we go:

Suzy asked:
1. The pic above 'about me'. Adorable...who is she?

That would be our daughter, Sweet Girl. I am known for being unwilling to post full face pictures of her on my blog, for safety's sake. This picture was taken for her third birthday when she was in her "American flag" obsession. She loved them and loved the shirt she is wearing in the photo. She's even cuter when you can see her whole face, but what can I say? I'm a protective mom!

Yellojkt asked:
1. What was the worst job you had?

This one is easy. Once, when I was about 22 years old or so, my pastor asked me to work as a personal aide to this older woman he knew. She needed someone right away and I was between jobs. He said he knew the person at the agency, so I should just get over to her place to help her out and he'd take care of getting the paperwork so I could get paid later on. Well, this woman was going senile, so her behavior was a bit erratic. I was there about an hour and a half when she wanted me to do something. I can't remember what anymore, but it was something that would have been bad for her, so I gently refused. Not two seconds later she got up and went calmly into the kitchen without a word. A moment later, as my back was turned, I heard her shuffled steps into the room and toward me. I turned just as she was about a foot away - and she had a 10-inch French knife raised to stab me!

I stopped being a personal aide right then! I ran out of the house and called the pastor to tell him he needed to come up with a plan b. Come to think of it, I was never paid for my 90 minutes of work, either!

Oh, and the worst job I ever had that I got paid for was working behind the snack counter at K-Mart the summer after I graduated from high school. I had to wear orange and brown polyester and cook stinky food. Enough said.

2. What was the last article of clothing you bought, and why?

That would be a pair of long johns and a package of undershirts. Why? Because this is Minnesota. I'm freezing my ass off, man!

Kenju asked:
1. How long did it take you to decide that you wanted stomach surgery?

I deliberated with my husband and my doctors for about 3 months and then got a referral to the surgeon. I had to wait 18 months for my initial consultation and then about another 16 months before the surgery. So, I decided in early 2001 and had it done in October 2003. There were a lot of times that I could have changed my mind (almost did before I was wheeled in) but I knew, with my diabetes and the kidney damage I was facing, that it was the best choice. My driving factors were that I wanted to have another baby but my diabetes was so out of control that I couldn't even consider it and that I wanted Sweet Girl to have a mommy that others wouldn't tease her about.

2. Have you ever been sorry that you did it?
Oh, Judy, that's a loaded question. I'm not sorry I had the surgery, but I am very sorry that I went with the surgeon I chose and that I had it done open instead of laproscopically. I almost died a month after the surgery and have suffered much as a result of the doctor's negligence. I was hospitalized something like 4 times in the first 2 months after surgery and I've had 3 follow up surgeries to correct issues from the gastric bypass. But, I am healthier. I still have diabetes and take insulin, but my kidneys are in great shape and I am able to run around with Sweet Girl. The great irony is that I had the gastric bypass so I could have another child, but the complications that arose from the initial surgery culminated in a tubal ligation during my last surgery. The risks of pregnancy are now too great for me. So, no more babies for Blond Girl. I don't talk much about it, but this breaks my heart on an almost daily basis. On Thanksgiving, Sweet Girl wrote me a letter saying she was thankful for her brother and her sister - a doll and a stuffed elephant she has that she pretends are her siblings. This girl was not meant to be an only child. And I know your next question; yes, we will consider adoption.

Russ asked:
1. If you could have any job you wanted, any where you wanted, what would it be?

I would be a stay at home mom in a beautiful home in Champaign, Illinois. I would volunteer my time to a number of charities and I would be starting a home-based beading business. It's my favorite dream, Russ.

2. If you won the lottery, who would you choose (besides your husband and kid) to share the money with?
I would secure the retirement of my mom and Champs' mom and step-mom. I would give to the church and to 5 or 6 charities I believe in. Then I would buy selected gifts (very expensive ones) for my family members and closest friends. If we won enough (and one always does in one's dreams) we would pay off the mortgages and car loans of all our brothers and sisters. Oh, and then there's that home-based beading business....

Shannin asked:
1. What song will remind you the most of 2005?

It is a tie, Shannon, between "The Beauty of the Lord" (by Jared Anderson and The Desperation Band) and "Held" (by Natalie Grant). But the winner just might be "Wrap Me in Your Arms" by Michael Gunger. Each of them reflect my faith and the trust I've had to put in the Lord through my surgery, Champs' corneal transplant and the disappointment of not moving to Hometown City, Another State when we thought we would. They also reflect the awe that I am in of His goodness to us in everything; the big stuff and the happy stuff and the day-to-day stuff...

2. What is your favorite quote?
I have so many and yet I can't think of anything to attribute to a single person! I think they mainly fall under “sayings” more than quotes. One of my favorites is “Only you can choose your attitude” and another is “If you do ask, you might get. If you don't ask, you won't get.”

Princiss asked:
1. Do you have any phobias?

Um, yeah. Spiders, thunderstorms and getting on down-going escalators. I've managed, for the most part, to hide most of these fears from Sweet Girl… I don’t want to transfer them too much!

2. You've mentioned that Champs likes to watch football and you have learned a lot about the game since you've been married. Is there something that Champs has taken interest in that he didn't before you two met?
Yes. He didn't watch figure skating before he married me. My favorite winter sport is figure skating, which is usually broadcast on Saturday. He has learned to appreciate the sport the way I've learned to appreciate football; he can understand it, he'll watch it with me and even get interested in the results. But if I weren't here, I don't think he'd turn it on to watch it himself. Which is fair; I don't think I would ever turn on football of my own volition (although I do have to know how the Vikings do against Detroit this Sunday….)

Paul asked:
1. When will you post a picture of your thin, mysterious self?

The jury is out on that one… I am a bit private about our pictures. Funny that I am that way, especially since I met Champs on-line, but I just want to be safe. Besides, Paul, when are you going to post a picture of you and the lovely first wife? Hmmmmm?

2.Do I have to ask two questions?

Apparently not – see Bug’s single question below!

Ranger (sorry, posted anonymously, so can't provide a link) asked:
1. Will you accept the praise that I really like your writing but am not a rabid fan of memes?

Of course! Not everyone loves memes and I get that. I enjoy them because it is a creative way to get to know people. Thank you for the comment on my writing, though! Sometimes when I read other people's writing, I am humbled. Take Geekwif, for example. She just did NaNoWriMo and I read her excerpt. I had no idea she could write that well and I'm not sure that I could, even though I write for a living. So again, thank you for the compliment.

2. Did you know about Champs' Nestea Plunge and did you laugh?
Oh yes. He told me the story the first time I racked him. Well, he told me the story when he could breathe again... My laughter was that sort of I'm-so-sorry! I-know-I-shouldn't-laugh-but-I-can't-help-it laugh that everyone has done at least once in life.

LR asked:
1. If you weren't Blond Girl, who would you be?

About 9 years ago, Geekwif and The Geek gave me my nickname, Cathreeno. If I weren't blogging as The Blond Girl, then I guess it would be "Cathreeno's Confessions" or something like that. Actually sounds like a fun idea, but I've built up the whole "Blond Girl" persona, so I can't give it up now...

2. Who do you think is the most important female historical figure of the last, say, 200 years?

When I first read the question, I thought it said "hysterical" and my first thought was "well, Lucille Ball, of course!" Then I realized what it really said. Darn! That's not as easy to answer! I think my answer would be Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother Theresa, Helen Keller or Rosa Parks.

OldOldLady of the Hills asked:
1. What is your favorite food to eat in the morning?

A fruit smoothie made with orange juice, frozen pineapples, bananas and strawberries. I put in my liquid vitamins and minerals and it gets me going for the day. Love it!

2. If you could choose another first name, other than your own, what would it be?
Wow, I don't know! I like Irish names, so probably Erin or Kendra. I actually like my name and have for my entire life. I can't remember even once wishing I could change it, so I guess that's why I have a hard time answering this one.

Lightning Bugg's Butt asked:
1. What's the most embarrassing thing you'll reveal on this blog given your family reads it?

Once, after my second hernia repair, I went in to see my 60-some year-old surgeon for a checkup. He had me lay back on the table and lower my pants. I had forgotten which underwear I had on. They were briefs with bright pink, magenta, purple and blue circles, squares and squiggles. They kind of looked like an inkjet printer had puked on my undies. To the surgeon's credit, he didn't say anything. However, he stopped in mid-sentence and his eyebrow shot up for a moment; then he went on. After that, I was careful to wear conservative undies to my post-surgical checkups.

And finally, my husband, Champs, asked (and commented):
I have been asked to leave my questions, which is hard since I know Blond Girl so well. I am jealous! Everyone else had it so easy. Yes, I could have asked something that I already knew but that would be the wimpy way out of the deal and I am not that way. So, here it goes:

1. If you were to catch Osama Bin Ladin all by yourself and no one was around, what would you do?
Well, I would use everything you taught me about fighting. I would let the fury of 4000 victims empower me and I would beat the crap out of him. Then I would sit on him until a soldier came to help. Then I would claim my reward. Of course, if I had a working cell-phone, I would call someone to help and I'd trail him. If I could get him alone in a room, tied to a chair, I have to admit that my darker side would come out and I could think of a lot of mean things to do to him. A full body dehairing with a tweezers comes to mind, as does a 24-hour Aaron Neville music immersion or other forms of torture (I'm not sure I want people to know what kind of mean things I'm really capable of doing)... I dunno! The bigger question is, how in the hell did Osama get to Minnesota without anyone noticing?!?! Or how did I get to Iraq without me noticing?!?!

2. If you were cast to be in a movie that you have seen, what movie would you want to be in and what character would you play and why?
I would want to be Danielle in "Ever After" because the costumes were so beautiful and the story is so wonderful and she is such a strong character. Or maybe Rose in "Titanic", because I love the movie and it was the first movie we ever saw together... Oh, and because the costumes were so beautiful!

Well, that's it... I have worked on this post for more than two hours! I hope you all enjoyed this.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

What a DVD Deal!

Well, they say it is the busiest shopping day of the year. Since I have both a shopping gene and a parking gene, I had to pay homage to both and venture out for at least one item. My chosen quarry: a portable DVD player.

See, we will be traveling by car to Hometown City, Another State with a 5-year old for Christmas. It is about 550 hours and a good 9-12 hour trip, depending on weather and Sweet Girl's disposition. She is a wonderful traveler (we don't call her Sweet Girl for nuthin'!) but that long in a car seat can get on anyone's nerves. The last time we made the trip she was so good, but we could see that she needed something to help ease the time. So I've been planning this purchase for awhile and thinking I'd have to spend at least $200.00 to get one.

I saw a commercial for Walmart yesterday that caught my eye, so I checked out the internet ad to verify. Yeup, they had an off-brand portable DVD player with a 6.2 inch screen on sale for $68.00 until 11:00 a.m. today. I showed the ad to Champs and hopped in the car. As I mentioned in my earlier post, the snow was fun, but I'm used to that so it wasn't a problem. When I got to Walmart the parking gene was in full effect and I got to park three spots away from the door (no, I don't know why this happens, but it does. My family and friends will verify that I always get a good parking spot!).

They had plenty of the players in stock and I was glad. I had to buy the accompanying carrying case to get the car adapter, which I wasn't too pleased about since that was another $10.00, but oh well. I brought it home and showed it to Champs. He was sufficiently impressed and we went about our day.

Since Friday is date night (and I needed to get to the bank before the drive through closed), Champs and I decided to go out after dinner and check out Best Buy just for the fun of it (because, even when you can't spend the money, sometimes you just have to look at electronics, you know?). Well, I decided to see what they had for portable DVD players. They had a 7 inch Insignia (a Best Buy brand, similar to Radio Shack) player for $119.00 with a $50.00 rebate. It was a nicer quality than the first unit and the end cost would be only $1.00 more than I paid at Walmart. However, the car adapter was included, so that made it $10.00 better than the Walmart deal, even if we did have to wait for the rebate. Hmmm... Bigger picture, more features (like a full control panel on the unit instead of only on the remote) and a better price, but we would have to wait for the money to be returned. We thought about it for a minute, then decided to buy this one and return the Walmart one.

I asked the salesman for one and he looked around and asked a colleague. His teammate told us they had sold out earlier. Then he pulled one out from a top shelf and explained that it was a customer return. He further explained that because it was returned, it was priced at $104.00. Even so, all the pieces were there and we would still get the $50.00 rebate. He suggested we buy it and then take it directly to customer service to open it and confirm everything was there and it was working fine. That sounded good to us, so off we went to buy our new toy.

I asked the gal at the register for the rebate paperwork and she said it would print out with my receipt. OK, that worked for me. So then I went to customer service to confirm everything was there. I checked my receipt and noticed that the rebate portion hadn't printed. So I asked the gal there for it. "Oh", she sighed, "you don't get the rebate on customer returns." I told her that the salesman on the floor had encouraged me to buy the unit and assured me that I would get the rebate. She said, "Sorry".

Now, I've worked in customer service for about the last 13 years. I know all the tricks and nothing much gets by me. I asked for the manager. When she came over, I explained the whole story. She tried to tell me that the customer returns didn't get the rebate. She went on to say that the rebate was a "door buster" and had ended at noon.

I told her "I'm sorry, but your salesman told me about the rebate, sold me the machine, then explained that he was out and encouraged me to buy the returned unit. He assured me, without my asking first, that I would get the rebate. And the sticker on the display said the promotion ended on 11/25, not noon on 11/25. Since your employee assured me that this is the price I would pay, I want that price. If your policy is different, then you need to educate your employees." I didn't yell, but I was very firm.

She asked me to hang on and walked away. When she came back, she said that she had checked with the manager of the TV area. He had already heard about what the salesman told us. He confirmed that he had offered the deal so we should get it, but then set the employee straight so he wouldn't do it again. Then she said that, since she couldn't get the rebate paperwork for me, she would credit me with $50.00 right there. Sweet! That worked for me. Then we opened it up, confirmed that everything was accounted for and worked and brought our new toy home - at an even better deal than we had originally hoped to get. I was pumped!

Yeah, we have to go back to Wally World tomorrow to return the first player, but that's OK... They've got a great deal on a blender I've had my eye on...

Here's a few comments from this post:
Star said...
Good Girl! THat's how to get what you want and still retain your dignity. I am also a CS veteran(23 yeaars).

YellowRose said...
I believe in standing up for oneself, because no one else will in the retail business!!
Thank you so much for all the kind words when you visited "My Garden!" I hope to see you again!
I'll be back here to see your "Rants, Raves & Revelations!" :)

Carmi said...
Hiya BG. It was great crossing words with you on Michele's and my blogs. Thanks for dropping by!
Great job holding your own on this one. I've learned much from reading this entry - I'm never a pushover either, but your experience shows how to really balance your response.
I couldn't agree more about the need for a DVD player on a long car ride. We bought ours - we regularly do 500+ mile trips with our three munchkins, and will be driving to Florida with it in the near future - earlier this year, and it's been a godsend.
I know we didn't have these when we were all kids. But we also weren't belted into car seats like our kids are these days. Times have changes: technology sure helps maintain our sanity.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Blond Girl's Firsts

First best friend: Jennie, who was 9 months younger than me. We grew up across the street from one another until I moved away in 9th grade. Jennie wanted to be popular; something I was clearly never going to be. In 7th grade, she told me that we could be friends before and after school, but not on the bus or at school. I gave that nonsense about 2 days and then told her we were either friends 24/7 or not at all. It worked; she decided I was more important than her bid for popularity.

Jennie was in my wedding and we did well for the first two years of my marriage. Then, in some I-still-don't-understand-what-happened misunderstanding (over a baby shower of all things), we drifted apart. She hasn't seen me since the operation or since my dad died. I miss her so much, but I feel so awkward that I don't know how to bridge the distance, you know?

First Car: Well, the first one I bought and paid for myself was a silver 1981 Ford Escort wagon. The hatchback was so rusted out that I called her "Lacey". I only owned the car a year and during that time it went through something like three or four headgaskets. What a pain! The first car I ever drove was a red 1975 Ford Pinto. I always wanted to have one of those bumper stickers that said, "Roses are Red, Violets are blue. If you backend me, then you'll blow up too!"

First kiss: My first kiss was when I was 20 years old. I was a bank teller and there was a customer who made it a point to visit my window every day. He was a good deal older than me; 34 years old, in fact. When I told him I was leaving the bank, it gave him the courage to ask me out to a movie and dinner. I don't remember where we ate, but the movie choices were "Howard the Duck" or a Rodney Dangerfield movie. We saw Howard. Afterward, he took me out to the Minnehaha Falls to walk around in the moonlight. At the bottom of the falls, we sat on the bridge walls talking. I was telling him about my dad when, out of the blue, he grabbed my chin and pulled me in, saying "are you feeling romantic?". After the kiss, I was so discombobulated that I started walking back up to the parking lot (100 or so steps) and when I got to the top, he asked me what that was about. I explained that I had never been kissed before and it scared me a bit. We sat in his car quietly for awhile and he just held me. After awhile, he kissed me again. I was ready this time. When he pulled away, he said "that was not the kiss of a woman whose never been kissed before!" But it was. I swear.

First big trip: In 1979 flew to Arizona by myself to see my sister, the Techno-goddess. I was 14 years old - and well developed for my age. I stayed for 5 weeks and while I was there, my sister got my hair cut, bought me new glasses, bought me my first pair of high heels (candies slides, remember those?), taught me to wear makeup and gave me a low cut dress. The effect was, um, dramatic. I wore the new outfit home on the plane. On the flight home, a steward offered me a glass of champagne. He nearly swallowed his tongue when I said was too young and asked for a pop instead. When I got off the plane, I walked right past my mom, who didn't recognize me. When she finally figured out that the young woman was her daughter (and not the child she'd put on the plane), she called my sister and yelled at her for nearly 15 minutes!

First flight: See above. I should have had the champagne.

First time skiing/snowboarding: OK, I am a native Minnesotan, so I should full of stories about this. But I've never skied. The closest I've ever come is once in 5th grade when our class went cross-country skiing at a local wildlife reserve. It was slow, quiet and 25 degrees in the middle of January. Perfect for my one and only skiing experience.

First Alcoholic Drink: When I was 15, my parents had their 25th wedding anniversary and we kids threw them a big party. Somehow, I was standing in as the bartender. I didn't know the first thing about mixing drinks. My uncle asked for a "JD & coke". "What's in it?", I inquired. He told me the ingrediants and I proceeded to fill a glass half full of Jack Daniel's and half full of coke. My brother intercepted the drink and explained I'd made it waaaayyy too strong. I took a big swig and said "what, it tastes fine to me". He poured half of it out and then filled it back up with coke and took it to my uncle.

This scene was replayed about 4 times over the next hour; each time I made a drink, I would make it half booze and half mixer. Each time my brother would intercept it and make me take a taste. Each time it seemed fine to me (this was my first indicator that I could hold my liquor). Later on, my brother tried to make me think I was drunk by swaying each time I looked at him. I knew better though; I wasn't drunk, he was just a joker!

First ticket violation: I got my one and only speeding ticket coming down off a bridge and going about 5 miles per hour too fast. The speedometer on the car was broken. I didn't realize then that I could have fought the ticket. Oh well; its the only one I've ever gotten. Notice I didn't say it was the only one I ever deserved.

First job: This, of course, does not take 6 years of baby-sitting into consideration, but after I graduated from high school, I got my first "time clock punch job" at K-mart working behind the snack counter. I wore the most hideous orange and brown polyester uniform ever designed by man. I'm surprised anyone even had an appetite after looking at me in that horrible outfit. I only worked there for three months, and I never went back to that kind of job again.

First date: This is scary, I know, but I think it was the date of my first kiss... I'm not sure! Yes, it was. The ill-fated fish date came later, but that's another post.

First memory: My earliest memory took place one rainy day when I was around 2 or 3. I was buckled into the car seat of my mom's baby blue VW bug, clutching my blue and white polka-dot stuffed elephant and reading a picture book about and elephant and a mouse in a very colorful jungle. I sure wish I knew what the title of that book was!

First crush: Ah, young love in the sun. During my 5 week stay in Arizona (remember, I was 14), I fell madly in love with my sister's 14 year-old neighbor, Billy Sjoquist. He had the cutest curly blond hair and freckles! Billy and I were inseparable and did everything together. We built a house out of 6 decks of cards and went swimming every day. Everything was great until the 4th week when he tried to touch my girls (it must have been the makeup and haircut and all that my sister got me). I made him stop. He mimicked me in a high-pitched sing-songy voice. I told him he was a child and that was that. We were done. I wonder what he's up to now?

First True Love: Easy. He's my first true love and he will be my last true love: Champs, the sweetest man I've ever known.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

The 24 Hour Meme

If you haven't figured it out yet, I love memes. Not sure why; I just think they're fun. So, I decided to create one of my own and see how far it spreads.

Here's how it works: I'm going to list each hour of the day and then a reason why that hour (anytime in the 60 minute block) is significant. You can cut and paste the basic template and then fill in your own times. Then, comment here to let us know you've posted yours. Sound like fun? You know it! Challenging? Of course! Buckle up, here we go:

12:00 a.m. - Midnight is important for all the New Year's Eves - especially 1998, when I decided that, as of that moment, I was no longer waiting to meet a pastor to marry. Instead, I would just relax and have fun and date for the sake of dating, instead of finding a husband. I met Champs 31 days later.

1:00 a.m. - This hour is one of a fond memory. Our wedding reception ended at about 1:00 a.m. and our best man escorted us to our honeymoon suite (in the same hotel as the reception). He was there about 10 minutes, showing us the gift he'd prepared for us, taking pictures and reminiscing about the wedding. We finally, gently guided him to the door. It took us a few minutes to get him to understand that, now that we were married, we'd like to be alone, please!

2:00 a.m. - The first time I visited Champs in his hometown, I left the cities at 5:00 or so in the afternoon. I arrived in Hometown City, Another State at about 2:11 a.m. or so. Champs was waiting up for me. We got engaged two days later.

3:00 a.m. - This hour belongs to one of the saddest days of our marriage. Around 3:00 a.m. or so on 9/9/99, we got a call from Princssis, Champs' sister. Their father was dying and if Champs wanted to see him, he needed to get home. I had him on a plane by 6:00 a.m. or so and he was in Hometown City by 11:00 or so, but he was too late. He missed his dad by about an hour. That was the only other time I ever drove to Hometown City by myself.

4:00 a.m. - Once in a great while, by some miracle, Champs and I will both wake up sometime between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m. and we won't go back to sleep. We will lay there, in the quiet of the pre-dawn hour and enjoy one another's company. With a mom and a small daughter living here, those few quiet, private moments are precious and I cherish them.

5:00 a.m. - Sweet Girl was born at 5:55 in the morning, weighing in at 5 lbs, 15 oz. Now she's 5 years old. That number and Sweet Girl are pretty connected.

6:00 a.m. - I better darn well be out to the bus stop by 6:00 a.m., or I'm going to be late to work!

7:00 a.m. - This time is special each day because it's when Smoothie and I go down to the coffee shop to get our morning fruit smoothies with vitamins. This is our gab time and it always energizes me to get a lot of work done after.

8:00 a.m. - Every Saturday and Sunday morning, Sweet Girl comes running into our bedroom and we three spend a good 45 minutes in bed laughing, tickling and talking. This started when she was a baby and we'd go get her and bring her in with us. Some day she is going to decide she is too old for this ritual, and a part of my heart will die with the passing.

9:00 a.m. - On a Saturday morning, this is the significant hour of The Family Breakfast. Be it waffles (Champs makes the best waffles!) or pancakes or my special cinnamon french toast, we all get together around the table and enjoy time together before the business of the day begins. Sweet! And I'm not talking about the syrup!

10:00 a.m. - SHOPPING TIME! Just ask Geekwif and Curly Girl. By 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday, we can be hot on the trail of the best consignment shops in the city.

11:00 a.m. - October 19, 2002 at about 11:20, Champs and I went to the closing of our home. This is the first home we ever bought. Man, we signed a LOT of papers!

12:00 p.m. - On 9/27/2003 my father lost his battle with lung cancer sometime after noon. I was planning to go visit him that morning, but decided to wait until after Sweet Girl had her nap. So I missed him. It happened to both Champs and I.

1:00 p.m. - This is the last one I haven't filled in yet. I can't think of anything significant about 1:00 in the afternoon. Wait, yes I can! In our city, at 1:00 in the afternoon on the first Wednesday of the month, every city in the metropolitan area tests their civil service sirens. The Twin Cities is HUGE and it doesn't matter where you are; you will hear sirens the first Wednesday of the month at 1:00. I remember it freaked Champs out a bit at first. I'll miss it when we move to Another State.

2:00 p.m. - We have a family tradition on New Year's Day. We have a late lunch/early dinner of soup and sandwiches. Then we eat again later in the day. What a way to start the year :-)

3:00 p.m. - This hour belongs to Champs. He was born at 3:29 p.m. His mom likes to tell me that his father took one look at the head full of red curls and said, "oh no!" I, on the other hand, am delighted by each red curl.

4:00 p.m. - Sweet Girl time! I leave work every day by 3:30 to that I can be home to meet her bus at 4:20. That's why I leave so freakin' early in the morning!

5:00 p.m. - Daddy comes home! You haven't seen joy personified until you witness a 5 year-old girl who is so happy that her daddy is walking in the door. She screams, laughs and jumps up and down - kinda like Dino when Fred came home on "The Flintstones". I love it.

6:00 p.m. - Nothing really special about this hour. What is significant, however, is how many different ways you can find to feed your family at this time of night. Especially when you don't really feel like cooking. Thank goodness for frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts!

7:00 p.m. - Champs and I were married at 7:00 in the evening on 10/09/98 in a beautiful candlelight ceremony. It wa beautiful and I loved every minute of it.

8:00 p.m. - This one is mine; I was born at 8:42 p.m. My mom went through 36 hours of labor!

9:00 p.m. - This is the soaky bath hour. For the next 5 months, I am sure that I'll be freezing cold. If I want to sleep at night, my only defense is to get in a tub of the hottest water I can stand and thaw out. I don't know why I'm this way, but since I had the gastric bypass I've been a human iceberg.

10:00 p.m. - Time for the nightly news. I have a love/hate relationship with the news. I always watch the same channel and I like the anchors on the news. I need to hear the weather and I enjoy the "feel good" stories. But with gangs in our cities and my brother-in-law, Tank, in Iraq, I'm really not fond of listening to national and world news.

11:00 p.m. - In spite of how early I get up every day, it's usually sometime after 11:00 before I actually get to bed. I need more sleep!

And that's 24 hours - spanned through my life.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

If You Don't, Dont.

When Champs and I got married, we had a lot of fun getting him acquainted to life in the big city. Having come from a small town to this HUGE metropolis area, he had a lot to learn just in terms of getting to know how to get where he was going. This was in 1999 and Mapquest, thankfully, was a mainstay at that time.

He did pretty well; he quickly learned all the routes to home, family, work and the local grocery stores and restaurants. After he'd been here a few months, he got a new job installing office furniture. That job nearly got him in trouble. See, every morning he had to call in to find out where that day's assignment was and then meet his team there. As long as they sent Champs to Minneapolis and points north, he did OK. But when they sent him to St. Paul and other points east, he got very nervous - and sometimes, lost. To put it mildly, he HATED having to go to St. Paul, Mapquest not withstanding.

One day he was told to go to St. Paul. He nicely asked to be reassigned, but they said (succinctly) NO. He then asked for directions to get to the site. They gave him a list of directions that seemed to make sense so he headed out. Once he was on the freeway, he couldn't find the "crosstown" no matter what he did. The people there forgot that he's not a native and didn't tell him that he needed "62 east" - they used the local jargon.

After driving around for an hour or so, he found his way home and used Mapquest. That solved the Highway 62 mystery and got him to St. Paul. However, once the got close, the street he needed seemed to disappear. He followed the map. He called the office. He stopped and asked the locals. No matter what he tried, he couldn't find his way to the site. Finally at around noon, he gave up. He went home, called in and told them he couldn't find the site no matter what he did and that he would not be in that day.

The next day he called in for his assignment. Oh no, St. Paul again! My normally sweet, mild tempered hubby lost it. He stomped around. He slammed the refridgerator door shut. He kicked the bedroom door - and he let loose with language and opinions so unsavory that I was in shock.

I put up with this as calmly as possible as I got ready for work. I tried to cheer him up and see the bright side. I told him to take our car since it was a more comfortable drive. He agreed that he would drop me off at the bus stop on his way out. I mapped the route for him on Mapquest since he was too angry to do so. I did my best to help make it all better for him, but it wasn't enough. All the time, he kept up his pity party.

Finally. I. Had. Enough.

"Stop it!", I told him. "OK, so they are jerks for not remembering that you're new and they're jerks for sending you to St. Paul. I've already pulled it up on Mapquest and this one is easy. You toured the city yesterday, so you know where you're going. You are being a brat and I've had enough! You're an adult. Now start acting like one!" I gave him one last glare and stomped out to the car.

Champs came out and quietly got into the car, much subdued. He drove me to the bus stop in silence. I was too mad to do much talking. When we got to the bus stop, I got out of the car and then leaned back in. I told him in a pretty deadpan voice, "I love you... VERY MUCH. If you get in a better mood, call me. If you don't, DON'T."

Funny thing, he called me about 3 hours later, his mood much improved.

We still laugh about that morning to this day. And if one of us says, "I Love you. Very much", the other one generally laughs and asks, "Oh no, what did I do now?"

Here's a few comments from this post:
Geekwif said...
That's a very compassionate way of course. ;)

kenju said...
What a sweet story. Our direction flaps (and there are many, since hubs is directionally challenged) usually end in a spate of name-calling and shouting.

Shannin said...
As a non-native the whole 35W and 35E had me all confused, especially because they run north and south! Don't get me started on Eden Prairie Drive (which is a huge circle...).

Holly said...
heehee. next time i'm mad at husband i'll just tell him i love him. very much.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Well, it's not my face...

You know I still don't show my face on the blog. But, I am giving my "obesity awareness" diversity presentation tomorrow. The title is "Looking Beyond the BMI or Am I More Than What You See?"

To start the presentation, I am going to show a photo of my body prior to the weight loss and ask the audience to gauge their reactions and emotions to the woman in the photo. This is the photo I will show:

Then I will talk about common attitudes towards "the last acceptable prejudice in America". Then I will show a picture of my body after the surgery and ask the audience what reaction they have to this woman:

Finally, I will reveal that both photos are of the same woman, then tell the story of my surgery and 120 pound weight loss. I'll tell about how I am treated now compared to before and will, if I achieve my goal, show that even though I've lost weight, I am no more valuable than I was before the weight loss. I am hopeful that this will be an effective presentation which will make the audience think.

But for you all, even though you still don't see my face, you get to see what all my blogging has been about. This is what I've gone through 2 years and 4 surgeries to achieve. The "fat acceptance" movement would tell me I was wrong to bend to society's dictates and have such a life-threatening surgery. My doctors assure me did the only thing I could given my health.

And after reading LR's post for today (This post is no longer available), I look at Champs and Sweet Girl, and I know that, no matter what the state of obesity awareness in America or if the gastric bypass is a dangerous surgery, I definitely made the right choice.

Here are some comments from this post:
princssis said...
^prayers^ for you and your presentation tomorrow! I'm sure you'll do a great job! BTW- will the audience include people that know you or will they pretty much all be strangers? Just curious how they might react to your personal aspect of your presentation. ?
Oh, and I'm proud of you! You're looking great! You did make the right choice. You didn't go throught all that just to fit in to society. I know your health issues were the main concern. ((HUGS))

Oreo said...
OH MY GOSH!!! You look wonderful!

Heather said...
Sounds like your presentation will be very powerful!

GranDee said...
After reading LR's post, I am sitting here in this big body and bawling like a baby! Many years ago Princssis would beg me to quit smoking. I quit TWO times. The last time was for good, and many years ago. I see her as LR. I don't mean the pleading and such, because she does not do that, but I am sure she would like to see me thin again, esp. with my health issues. I told you, BG, a couple of times that you are my hero. I really really mean it! You went through "h" "e" double toothpicks more than one time and came out on the winning side. God Bless you, sweetie... I pray your presentation went well... you hit the nail on the head here!

trusty getto said...
Wow. I wondered how the progress looked, but this is the first opportunity to actually see.
That's pretty amazing, BG!!! You must be mighty proud of yourself!

Lish said...
I need to lose weight, and I know what I need to do. I just can't seem to stay motivated long enough to accomplish my goal. Hopefully, you can be an inspiration.

Paul said...
Magnificent! And you have a knock-out smile!

utenzi said...
It's an amazing transformation when presented as a before and after, Blond Girl.
While I agree that losing weight doesn't change the real you--it's unrealistic to expect people not to react to your physical appearance. When you see a person that you don't know, appearance is often the only thing you have to go by.
I hope this change allows you to be more healthy--and happy--BG. Good luck!

Shannin said...
Even though I am only a few weeks out, I already feel healthier and happier. Hope the presentation went well - can't wait to hear about it...

Sandy said...
BG, you look great - but that's not what matters. What matters is that you feel great, right. Sounds to me that your health is better today, or at least your future health will be better tomorrow, for having the surgery.
I think the misstep with some in the 'fat acceptance' movement is the notion that wanting to lose is about wanting to fit in. Sometimes it's just about wanting to be healthier. Sometimes it just about wanting to play with a child without feeling you just can't physically keep up.
I've got to drop some weight. Two pregnancies that ended in mild pre-eclampsyia after the 37-week mark put me at higher risk for HBP in the future. For my health, for my children and my husband, I need to eliminate as many *other* factors as possible. That means the extra 40 lbs I'm carting around.
But I digress, my point (I swear there is one!), I hope your presentation went well. This post, brief and to the point, inspired me to regain control of my *health* not just my waistline. Thanks.

Holly said...
What an excellent idea for a presentation. People treat me differently. I've tried reflecting to find out if it's just that I'm easier to be around when i don't hate myself like it did. i was miserable and surely not a lot of fun to be around because that misery can't help but be obvious. now I'm in the middle of everything. curious, part of it all, and happy. my self esteem is way different.
i am so grateful to my family for their support in my decision to have weight loss surgery. i am thankful for my surgeon, the surgery, and the hospital i had it at. I'm thankful that my insurance paid and didn't make me jump through too many hoops to get the surgery i needed to live.
it's a wonderful, wonderful thing. i was super morbidly obese and weight 379 pounds on June 15th of THIS YEAR. less than 5 months later i am no longer morbidly obese (just severely!) LOL and 106 pounds lighter. i am a different person.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Frito Kid

I'm in a story mood tonight. I'm not sure why, but lucky you; you get to hear another story from my youth. When I am done, I have to go work on my obesity sensitivity deck. For now though, I bring you the story of The Frito Kid.

When I was in 9th grade, I was a pretty miserable kid. I was overweight, out of fashion, too articulate for my classmates tastes and very shy. The shyness was not in my nature; it was defense against all the people who teased me and made my life hell. My friends knew me as a vivacious, original thinker but to everyone else, I was a mouse; a fly on the wall. Only in class did my communicator nature come out and give me away; my need to answer the teacher's questions and excel in class further ostracized me as "a brain" - but one with no personality.

With this gregarious nature hidden away inside of a self-imposed shell of protection, I became an avid people watcher. I would imagine myself in many conversations with them; being a part of the fun instead of watching, all the while hidden behind a book.

One day on the bus going home, I was doing my normal quiet observation of the other kids while I pretended to read my book. There was another kid on the bus who I was watching, amazed at him. He was at least 85 pounds heavier than I was and was sitting across from me eating Fritos. Because I was sensitive to anyone teasing me about my weight, I couldn't imagine eating fattening foods in front of anyone; to do so would give them ammunition against me. Yet here was Warren, eating a big bag of Fritos in full sight of everyone. I made my first mistake; I forgot to conceal myself behind my book.

He caught me looking at him and my face must have conveyed my thoughts, because he snarled, "what are you looking at, BG?" Then I made my second mistake. I said, "I'm not looking at anything at all, Warren". He HATED to be called Warren. He was in the midst of a name change to Jay, but having gone to school together since elementary, Warren was the first name to come to mind. I didn't mean any malice by my response; perhaps I just wanted to convey my amusement at his bravado, eating Fritos out there on the killing fields.

I made my third misktake; I resumed reading my book, ignoring him. Next thing I knew, I felt my face being pelted with warm, wet flecks. I looked up just in time to be splattered with a second mouthful of chewed up Fritos. Warren had spit them all over me. I was in shock. Before I could help it, the tears began to quietly seep out, but I refused to show any reaction other than what I couldn't control. I simply sat back, brushed my face off and ignored him the rest of the ride home (Oh, and those who really know me already know how royally pissed off I was at this point; I only get deadly silent when I am deadly angry).

When I stepped off the bus, I lost my composure. By the time I walked in the door, I was openly sobbing and near vomiting. My mom and brothers (they would have been about 22 and 23 at the time) were in the kitchen and immediately demanded to know what was wrong. It took me a few minutes to get the story out. The whole time my brothers just sat listening. When I was done, they asked only one question: Where does he live? I told them, they said, "let's go" and walked out. I went to take a shower and wash the entire experience off of me.

It wasn't until after dinner that I heard the rest of the story. Paddy and Guitar Man walked over to Warren's house and knocked on the door. They saw a curtain flutter but no one answered. They pounded again and waited. Finally, a man opened the door and asked what they wanted. Guitar Man did all the talking and Paddy just stood next to him looking very mad and very mean (he's good at that). "Yeah", he said, "We want to talk to the Frito Kid". His dad asked what this was about and after they told my story, he called Warren out. Again they related the events of the bus ride and Warren said, "I didn't do nuthin." My brother asked, "then why is my sister covered in Fritos and crying?"

Warren's father demanded the truth and Warren mumbled, "I didn't mean anything by it." At about that point, Warren's dad apologized to my brothers and told them to tell me that I would never be bothered by him again. The door shut and the shouting began. My brothers walked away.

I don't know what happened to Warren. I understand abusive families, so I can imagine. I hope it wasn't too bad. I hope it was only yelling. All I know is, I never saw Warren eating Fritos again and he never so much as said another word to me.

Though to my family he is and will ever be... The Frito Kid.

Here are a few comments from this post:
Suzy said...
Oh BG, my heart broke as I read your story. I'm the eldest of three, and would have done exactly as your brothers did. I took on any and all the over stepped their boundaries with my sister and brother...many, many times. Ughh...that is so like me with my family and friends, and sometimes to my detriment.(sp?)
Was it Oprah that I heard say something about how we all have 5 or 10 life defining moments that we will never forget? I wonder if that was one of yours?

Geekwif said...
I think I remember you telling this story before, but the only part I really remembered was your brothers talking to the kids dad. Kind of makes me wish I'd had a sibling or two to take care of the bullies in my life. Oh well. It seems that I survived anyway. I'm glad they were there to stand up for you.

A paintbrush full of orange

I thought I would tell you a quick story, since I enjoy the trips down memory lane and you all seem to enjoy them as much as I do.

This one is one of mine.

Sweet Girl, as you know, is in kindergarten. She just got her school pictures back the other day and they are so cute! I was amazed, however, at how mature she looks! Her picture looks like I did in my second grade picture. In my kindergarten picture, I look so much younger than she does in hers (which is amazing since, comparatively, I was 6 months older than she was at that time). The wide-eyed wonder with which I am looking out at the world got me to thinking about what I remembered from kindergarten.

Although I have many memories (the day I vomited on my teacher's shoes is a highlight), perhaps the one that holds the most significance is the day I created ORANGE. It was painting time. I was standing before the easel and I had painted a tall building. A building on fire. I needed just the right color for the flames shooting out of the windows. After a certain amount of consideration, I mixed up just the right shade of orange for the flames and swept them in with broad, sweeping strokes of my brush.

Now, you may not realize this, but up until the day I got the brilliant idea to combine red and yellow, orange existed only in natural forms (such as oranges, leaves and monarch butterflies). No other human before me had ever created orange, so I knew right then and there that I was, in fact, an artistic genius.

Now, I don't know why I was painting a burning highrise; I wasn't a violent or scarred child. I probably saw something on TV the day before. Too, I have since figured out that, while I am very creative, I am no artistic genius (for that, you will need to visit Sharon). What makes this memory significant to me is what I learned about myself that day and which I have retained some 35 years later. I am a solution maker. I look at the problem objectively ("hmmm... How do I make this building look like it is on fire?") and find a solution ("I know! Orange will make it look right") and apply it with broad, sweeping strokes. This personality trait of mine often gets me in trouble when people say (with that wrinkled-nose mewl of distaste) "she has such a strong personality". But it also gets me ahead when they call me in and say "I've got a problem. Can you help me?"

And I grab my paintbrush, load it up with orange and start painting.

You know the funniest thing about all this? Visually, I hate orange. It's only in my emotional memory that the color appeals to me.

And here are some comments from this post:
princssis said...
You better get to love orange - remember, we bleed orange here in Another State!
As for kindergarten, you already know I don't remember school until the fourth grade. I so wish sometimes I had those memories, but then I believe there is a reason for that part of my life to be blocked out. It was an extremely stressful time as my parents divorced. It funny, though, cuz I remember home stuff and going to and from school during that time period, but I don't remember school or my teachers and classmates. ????????????

Geekwif said...
I never thought I would see a post of yours with the word "orange" in the title, unless it was "Death to Orange" or something like that. You have yourself pegged. You are definitely a problem solver.

Russ said...
Blond AND strong personality?? Thank God in heaven that there are some of you left. You have two of my top ten most requested female traits.
Lucky girl...
Oh yeah, lucky husband!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Adventures in Underwear

Warning: This is the post that the Geekwif didn't think I would have the nerve to write. Or maybe she just hoped that I would have the good sense not to post it. Not a chance! This has been brewing since August and baby, it demands to be written! This may be TMI; if you don't want to read about my underwear, turn back! Turn back now!

As you know (if you are a loyal reader or captive family member), I have lost 120 pounds by gastric bypass (it was 2 years ago on October 16) and I had a mother-of-all-tummy-tucks this last July 29. From a size 26-28, I am now a size 10-12. And, for the first time since I was 13 years old, I have a flat tummy. A gloriously, wondrously, mostly flat tummy (no, don't think Kate Hudson; think Renee' Zelwiger in "Bridget Jones' Diary"). To someone who has been trim all their life, I am nothing special. As someone who has found herself for the first time in years, I am a marvel, I think. (Sidebar: I was explaining this to Smoothie at work today. I am not full of pride, I am just in amazement, pure and simple. She's given me a month to get over this. She says if I continue feeling this way by then, it will be pride.)

Now, the interesting thing about this new tummy and new shape of mine is that suddenly, fantastically, a whole new world has opened up to me: The world of underwear.

As a child, I wore cotton briefs. Prior to the gastric bypass, I wore cotton briefs. After the gastric bypass, the briefs got smaller, but still, I wore briefs. I had no choice. Without providing too nasty of a mental picture, just realize that there was a reason I had the tummy tuck: extra fat and skin. LOTS OF SKIN! All that skin had to be covered and that meant briefs. For me, the only "spice" to my underwear was what pattern I wore on any given day.

A few weeks after the grand tummy tuck, however, I had a dilemma. All of my underwear (and I do mean all of it), was too big! My "Just My Size" wasn't just my size anymore. I would pull up my pants and extra underwear would "pooch" out the waistband in the back. Ever seen anyone make the "tucking in" motion and it wasn't a shirt they were tucking? That's picking the Fruit O' the Loom, baby.

Not only that, but the smaller pants I was buying were hitting me lower on my body. Instead of raising 2-3 inches above my natural waist like size 26 pants did, the size 12 pants were hitting about an inch below. All of a sudden, if I wasn't careful, people were getting a commercial every time I lifted my arms; "Oh, look, it's Hanes Her Way! Are those comfortable, dearie?"

The kicker was the pink sweats I bought to recover in. Tied at the waist, they only reached to my lower-calf. Dropped down and tied at mid-hip, however, they reached my ankles and looked pretty cute, too. However, that extra two-inch band of briefs sitting above the sweats was not what you would call fetching.

Yes, clearly it was time to go underwear shopping.

Like Fat Albert at an Old Country Buffet, I descended on the Target lingerie department. Forget the kid in the candy shop; I was in heaven! I bought my first EVER bikinis! In pink, my signature color! I never even had these when I was a kid. When I got home and put them on, I was amazed; they didn't show above the waist of my pants. They covered the scar I have running from hip to hip and they showcased my new $25,000.000 belly button (which I fought the insurance company for 6 months to cover as a justifiable medical expense, thank you very much)! How could one scrap of pink cotton make me so happy?

Next I got sporty banded hi-cuts. These are just plain fun! No more worrying about where they cut across the tummy; just dress and run. You never had it so good when wearing a skirt or pair of shorts.

When I went to Walmart for some school clothes for Sweet Girl, I had to stop at the underwear aisle, of course. There I found something so amazing, so cute, so unexpected that I had to try them: Boxer Briefs for girls! Now, I've been buying boxer briefs for Champs for years. As he says, "they have the comfort of a boxer with the security of a brief. They're the best of both worlds!" However, when I saw them for girls, I nearly made a noise. An out-loud happy noise! I don't do that (well, not in public when I'm alone, anyway)! Well, of course, I had to buy them. I was required to buy them. It would have been criminal to walk away from those cute underwear. I took them home, and let me just say that Champs doesn't look like that in his boxer-briefs (Thank God)! They're the best for no panty lines and are oh-so comfortable for sleeping.

Next up, I think, will be the hip huggers or maybe I'll even get wild and try some string bikinis. I might even splurge and buy the department store varieties like Jockey and Maidenform, instead of just Hanes and Fruit of the Loom. Although I am a cotton-loyal customer, I think I will try some lace and silk along the way. I've turned into an underwear junkie; the cuter, the better. There's nothing I won't try.

Except a thong. Or animal prints. The Blond Girl doesn't go there, at any weight!

And here are some comments from that post:
Russ said...
This story is AWESOME!! I had no idea that you have gone down this path. Good for you and your new cute figure.
But I have two words for you... Victoria's Secret
The man in your life will thank me.

MissMeliss said...
This whole story is so cool, but what I really want to know is: how did you PAY for gastric bypass?

Holly said...
so far i've lost 99 pounds. still another hundred or more to go. I need new undies though. mine look horrible.
one day i'll have the TT and the flat belly. and i'm gonna get it PIERCED. and wear pretty panties too.
love seeing other people's journeys turning out like i hope mine will...

yellojkt said...
I think we need pictures. Not necessarily with you in them. Just spread them around on the bed and take a few shots. We'll pick the best ones. ;b

Suzy said...
I totally agree with you on can girls wear those? I was in my daughter's room picking up towels to throw in the washer...walked out of the room and down the hallway...but something was stuck to my little toe. What was it? One of her THONGS!!! LOL =)

Oreo said...
Go for the thong chicky!!! You'll love them. Even if you only put it on for 10 minutes as you're going to bed......

Shannin said...
I can hardly wait to lose enough weight to get new cute undies. I did OK with the microfiber ones from LB - not too granny looking...

Thumper said...
I am so much NOt the giry girl...If manage to lose the weight I want, I highly suspect my new undies will look just like my old ones. I'm too old for sexy LOL

GranDee said...
In this new world.... you can now get matching.... ahhhhh let's just say "tops and bottoms" now, huh? :-)

kenju said...
What has happened to you? Did all your clones rise up and smite you??

Alisha said...
How wonderful for you! Undies are so much fun...when I was about 21 I discovered the Victoria's Secret is that she's not just for skinny-minny's. I'm a size 18 right now and the x-large's fit perfect. Have fun with your new tummy, I applaud you!

Smiley said...
Congrats on the new you!!!!! go for the VS undies they are very pretty....makes wallyworld and target undies look like bargain basement

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Even a husband; even a wife.

Today is Champ’s and my 7th wedding anniversary! Since I’ve told you part one on Friday and part two yesterday, today I will tell you about our wedding.

Champs and I didn’t have a lot of money to put toward a wedding, but we did want to have a nice, big celebration. In order to achieve this, we cut some creative corners. First and foremost, we had our wedding on a Friday night. Everything cost less on Friday! Since it was an evening wedding, we decided on a candlelight service with a dinner and dance after.

Because Champ’s family lived 550 miles away, we planned our reception at a hotel that gave us a deal on a block of rooms for the wedding party and family. Champ’s father, who had ALS, made the trip with his wife and mother. Having him at the wedding was very special to us and we were so honored that they made the effort to come.

We wanted to have a celebration of all that was important to us. Doing all this made a ceremony that was more than an hour long. Here are a few of the highlights:

* Champs had said that he didn’t want to see me on the day of our wedding until I was coming down the aisle. He stayed at my brother’s house the night before the wedding. During the day I called to talk to him. The turkey wouldn’t come to the phone! I was so mad and told my brother to tell Champs he was in trouble. When we got to the church, as I was walking past the men’s dressing room, I called out “Champs, if you can hear me, I LOVE YOU!” That was the closest we got before the ceremony.

* We showed a video of pictures of our childhood and courtship. It was a touching video, and Champ’s dad sat with tears in his eyes through the whole show.

* Princssis and a friend of mine were our candle-bearers. As a friend of the family, Jim, sang “How Great Thou Art”, they lit all the candles for the ceremony (and there were a lot of them!). Jim was a diabetic who had just gotten out of the hospital that afternoon. We offered him the chance to back out, but he insisted on singing. He was wonderful. I stood off the to side, waiting to go in, and goose pimples broke out on my arms at how beautifully he sang.

* Champs escorted his father, my mother, his mother and his step-mom to their seats. This was a nice honor, but he felt a bit like a yo-yo, going up and down the aisle.

* My mom, who used to be a florist, designed a lovely (and complicated) processional for our wedding party. I had 4 bridesmaids, 2 junior bridesmaids and a flower girl, along with the attending gentleman. I didn’t think I had a large wedding until I saw them all together. Oh my!

* My dad walked me down the aisle. As we walked down, I kept seeing the faces of all these people who were there to celebrate with us. Suddenly, I remembered Champs and looked up to the front. After that, I didn’t have eyes for anything else. He looked so handsome in his tuxedo!

* The pastor had instructed Dad to turn and kiss me and present me to Champs. He forgot, though, and I had to remind him, “Daddy, kiss me! KISS ME!” Sigh.

* Geekwif, who was one of my bridesmaids, had helped me write a song for Champs, called “The Sweetest Part of Me”. I sang it right away at the beginning of the ceremony so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it for very long! I still remember looking in his eyes as I sang; he hadn’t wanted to hear the song before the wedding, so he was intently listening to each word. He didn’t cry until the pastor did and it was lost after that. The whole wedding party was wiping their eyes. Thank God I made it through!

* The pastor started his sermon by saying, “They met on the net. From the first click of romance, they were set apart. It seems you can find anything on the Internet these days. Even a husband; even a wife.” Now, we hadn’t told most of my extended family how we had met. I could only shake my head at this unexpected revelation. My family still talks about it to this day.

* We wanted our mothers to have an important role in the wedding, so we had them read scriptures. My mom gave us a huge family bible as a gift, so they read from that bible.

* We recited vows that we had written together. After the vows, we had the rings. Our ring bearer carried the rings down the aisle on a pillow I had made (that is still on our bed). Everyone wanted to know why we didn’t use fake rings on the pillow and give the real ones to our best man. We said it was because our little guy was so earnest and wanted to do such a good job that we knew the rings were safe. He was so proud of himself!

* We served each other communion as a friend of mine sang “How Beautiful”. Then we had the unity candle lighting as Jim sang “Love Moves in Mysterious Ways.” During this time, I showed Champs the wreath that hung at the front of the church. I had made it for him as a wedding gift and it hangs in our living room today.

* The best part of the ceremony was probably the kiss. Geekwif still teases us about it. Champs decided that he didn’t want an ordinary simple kiss. He wanted to make this worth his time and worth the drive. He dipped me back and gave me a long, Hollywood worthy kiss! The pastor wiped his brow and said, “Phew! Is it hot in here?”

* After the ceremony, we came back into the sanctuary and released our guests row by row in lieu of a receiving line. Then, while the guests made their way to the reception, we had our photos taken. It was a big rush!

The reception was so much fun! I could write another 5 pages about this alone, but I won’t (aren’t you glad?). A few highlights are:

* My brother, Paddy, is a chef. His gift to us was a huge ice carving of a swan. It was lovely! Along with the edible orchids, this gave our reception an extra dose of elegance.

* The first dance was “From This Moment”. It was delightful. I remember looking into Champs’ eyes and singing to him as we danced. I took Champs’ bowtie off him and put it around my neck, where it stayed for the rest of the night. That bowtie now resides on the Winnie-the-Pooh bear that Champs gave to me the day he proposed.

* Geekwif walked down the aisle with Princssis’s husband, AR. Naturally, they danced together during the wedding party dance. The Geek was NOT happy about this and couldn’t wait for the dance to be over! At the last note, he stalked unto the dance floor to whisk away the wif. That was fine with AR, he went to find his Princssis and everyone was happy.

* At one point they played “I Swear”. Champs doesn’t sing and doesn’t like people to hear him sing. However, he sang that song to me as we danced and it is one of my sweetest memories ever.

* During the dollar dance, the bartender came to dance with me. Apparently he paid well. He was so drunk! He rubbed his beard against my face and sang along to “The Unchained Melody” as he danced. Behind his back I kept making motions to my sister-in-law (who was my maid of honor) to get rid of him. She just smiled and laughed. Finally she took pity on me and sent in the next dancer. I used to love that song but all it took to ruin it for me was one drunken bartender.

* My aunt and uncle, at different times, asked me “So you met Champs on the internet, huh? You’ll have to teach Paul (my cousin) how to do that. He’s still single, you know.” Poor Paul!

* Near the end of the evening, our best man requested the song “I’m Too Sexy”. I can still see Champs dancing and being silly. It was so fun!

* When everyone left, our best man escorted us to our bridal room, where he showed us the champagne he had on ice and the gifts he had prepared for us. He explained how he had made sure no one pulled any pranks on us and how he had protected us and then he took pictures of us and then we said, “thank you. We love you. Goodbye now.” It took twice, but he finally got the hint.

I could write so much more. To anyone else, our wedding was probably the same familiar string of events that comprise so many marriage ceremonies. But it was ours and it was beautiful. I hope as you’ve read this that it has stirred in you memories of your wonderful day and if you’re single, I hope this gives you ideas for things you might want to make a part of your day. As for me, I am off to spend the day with my family.

Here's some comments from this post:
Chatty said...
Happy Anniversary!
We celebrated our tenth yesterday.

Maria said...
I enjoyed reading and plan to come back to visit because Minneapolis is my home town. I haven't been there in years and sentimentally, I miss it.

ribbiticus said...
sounds like it was a wonderful event! wish you could have posted some pictures.

trusty getto said...
That's really sweet. Happy anniversary. I hope you have many, many more! :)

princssis said...

Happy Anniversary!
So, what exactly was the Geek upset about? Cuz someone other that him was dancing with his wif? I hope he wasn't upset personally with AR! Please tell me the truth. I can handle it. It's been 7 years, anyway.
Hope you had a wonderful day!

Geekwif said...
Hi Princssis. I can answer that personally!
The Geek just didn't like that anyone else was dancing with me. It didn't matter who it was. Of course, your hubby was a perfect gentleman so he wasn't upset with him personally. He just didn't want anyone else dancing with me. A little silly, maybe, but I kind of like that my hubby is a little bit jealous. :)
Blond Girl, it's a lovely story about what was an even lovelier wedding, but I can't believe you left out the part about Mr. S's kiss! That's one of the best stories there is about your wedding day! It still makes me laugh out loud, even 7 years later!

YellowRose said...
Happy Anniversary may you have many more happy years together! Your wedding sounded beautiful and the reception, a blast!

Paul said...
Happy Anniversary. Blessings. Nice story.

Lis said...
Happy Anniversary Blond Girl (and Champs!) Thanks for sharing your love story and memories of your special day! It gives us single/divorced folk hope :)

Russ said...
Hey Blondy... happy anniversary! Seven years is practically a milestone these days.
By the way, The Princssis tagged me with one of those thingies that she caught from you... so of course I lay all blame at your feet. *grin*
Anyway, congrats again.

Suzy said...
Hi Blond Girl!
Ahhh finally I got to read part two and the wedding day story as well. Brought back so many memories for me!! Your right, October 9th is a GREAT day for a wedding. Thanks for visiting my blog today! =o)
I wish you and Champs many, many more happy Anniversaries!

Saturday, October 8, 2005

From the First Click of Romance...

Yesterday, I told you part one of Champ’s and my story. When I left off, Champs and I had just met. The next day, when I got home from church, Champs had sent me an email telling me how glad he was to have met me and asking me to meet him online in the chat room again at 4:00 that day. We met and spoke online for a couple of hours. Eventually, we decided to talk again on the phone. This quickly set the pattern for us; meet online and talk for a while then call one another on the phone. The more we talked, the more I learned how much we had in common. Our values and goals were the same. As we discussed our lives, we found that we had been through the same fires, trod some of the same emotional ground. Although my parents were married and Champ’s dad was on his third wife, we had the same intentions and values around fidelity and marriage.

Two weeks after we met, it was Valentine’s Day. I sent Champs a homemade valentine and a bunch of pictures of me. He sent me a package with a card and some photos of himself. If I thought I was infatuated before, I was gone when I saw his cute face. Those dimples got me!

In addition to the package, Champs also sent me 6 roses: 3 white and 3 red. Up until then, I had not yet told anyone other than my sister-in-law about him. However, I wasn’t home when the roses arrived. My dad took delivery of them and, as they say, the gig was up. My dad, who was the greatest stoic in the world, didn’t say anything to me about them, but I knew he would tell my mom, though, so I left them out where she could see them. When she got home that evening and saw the roses, I told her about Champs (I brought up the subject rather than wait for the inquisition). Understandably, she was thrilled. She had a 32-year-old single daughter, after all! She asked me, “does this mean that we’ll be hearing wedding bells soon?” “I don’t know, MOM! I’ve only known him for two weeks!” I replied. Thankfully, she let me off the hook for awhile, but continued to watch closely.

Two weeks later, my mom and dad went off on their yearly 6-week trip to Phoenix to see my sister. The day after they left, Champs arrived at our home. My co-workers, who had been hearing the story, were convinced that I was inviting an ax murderer to my home. One friend left me with strict instructions to contact her twice a day and let her know that I was still alive. I told her there was nothing to be worried about. We had spoken too many hours for him to be lying about who he was, Internet urban legends aside. I was so looking forward to meeting him! After nearly a month of talking 3 to 4 hours a day, I was pretty sure I loved the man; I just needed to meet him to confirm it. When he arrived, he was wearing a long leather jacket. As he walked around the corner of our house, I saw him for the first time: Tall, handsome, jacket swinging - I lost my heart right there. He came in and I (for the only time in my life) shyly greeted him and showed him around the house and then we hugged. Heaven. We went to dinner at TGI Friday’s and held hands for most of the evening. Since we had a phone courtship, based on conversation, I was a little surprised to find out that Champs was actually a pretty quiet guy. Even with his quiet and my talkative nature, we got along great! That weekend, Champs met my brother and his wife and kids, as well as a couple of my friends.

The best part of the weekend, though, was on Sunday. At one point, I looked at him and said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t hold on to this any longer. I love you!” (How said is that?!? Apologizing for saying “I love you”…) He thanked me and said he wanted to say the same thing, but it would be a while. I told him that was fine with me. About 3 hours later, he stopped in mid sentence and said, “you know what? I love you!” I said, “I thought it was going to take awhile. I expected you to wait weeks.” He said, “So did I, but I realized just now that I love you!” That was February 28th.

Champs went back home and we continued to rack up the highest phone bill in history. Every morning before work I called him to say good morning and talk about our day. After work we would meet online and then Champs would call me before bed. Some nights we would fall asleep on the phone and suddenly wake up to a soft buzzing in our ear. Champs came back to visit me again at the end of March. This time he arrived with more fresh roses for me.

We began to discuss our future together. I wasn’t ready to leave Minnesota yet, but I didn’t talk much about it. Champs brought it up one day and told me that if our relationship were going to go anywhere, he would have to move to Minnesota. “Really?!?!” I asked. He agreed. By then, I knew we would be married; it was just a matter of time.

Mom and Dad came home from Phoenix and Mom got to meet Champs by phone. She grilled him as any protective mother would do and declared him good enough. Champs invited me to his Hometown City in Another State and I made plans to go in April. One Friday after work I got in the car and started driving the long 550-mile trip. I didn’t get there until about 2:00 a.m., but Champs was waiting up for me. That week was wonderful. On Saturday morning I went his soccer team’s game, where I got to meet one of his brothers (Tank, who at 13 was really a little cutie!) and his step-mom (Grand nee). He was such a good coach! If I remember correctly, they won their game.

On Sunday, April 19, Champs took me to a walled-off tulip garden at a private estate. While we were there, presented me with a giant Winnie-the-Pooh (my nickname for him was “poohbear”, and he called me “hunny”) and he recited the following poem to me:
The day I met you God said, take her and love her and never let her go
If you love her and me, that love will be returned to you one hundred fold.
I will love you through the good times and the bad
I will love you when you’re happy and when you’re sad
I will be your strength when you are weak.
I will love you for always, that promise I will keep
You are who I’ve always wanted and all I’ll ever need
I can’t believe there is a woman so perfect for me
I will love you until the very moment I pass away.
I have just one more thing to say, as here I am on bended knee
*blond girl (he said my name)*, will you marry me?

He had told me a week earlier that he was writing a poem for me, and when he started reciting, I paid attention to every word. I was so absorbed in what he was saying that I didn’t even realize at first that he was proposing! Believe it or not, he completely caught me by surprise! Well, what could I say to that? Of course, I said yes!

It was so hard to leave him at the end of the week and go home; it nearly broke my heart. During the first week of May, Champs came back to Minnesota to transfer his job and meet my parents. They loved him, of course, especially my mom! We continued to converse by Internet and phone each day until, finally on May 22, he moved permanently to Minnesota and we were together. We gave up talking on the Internet and the phone and concentrated on planning our wedding. He moved into another room in my parent’s home where we lived until we were married on October 9. We went 9 months from meet to marry and it was a wonderful, wild whirlwind.

Here's some comments from this post:

Carmi said...
What a lovely story. What strikes me is how it was all based on long conversations where you got to know each other.
It's a story I know well - it's how I came to realize the woman who would eventually become my wife was, in fact, my soul mate.
Visiting from Michele's tonight. Thanks for the sweet addition to our weekend.

Star said...
Great story so far. I am awaiting the next installment!

princssis said...
My brother is no axe murderer!!
I know you know that by now! :-)

Friday, October 7, 2005

They Met on the Net

Given that Champs and I will celebrate our 7th anniversary this Sunday, I thought it might be time to tell our story. Although our marriage is frightfully normal, our courtship wasn’t.

Our story starts on New Year’s Eve of 1998. I was 32 years old and had spent years thinking I was destined to marry a minister (legacy of Missions Week at my Baptist church when I was 14 years old and very impressionable). I was dumpy and unhappy; I’d spent years being the “buddy” but never the pretty one. The few guys I dated I dropped as soon as I realized there was no “future” in it. This policy protected my heart, but it did leave me lonely.

That New Year’s Eve, I reached the point where I’d had enough. I decided it was time for me to have some fun. I very purposely set aside any plans or hopes to marry a minister and set out to just go on some fun dates and to connect with people. I also did this on my own; rather than going along as my friend’s bodyguard, I put on makeup and went out for my self.

I had been out on my own for quite awhile, but a few months before I’d moved back with my parents for a variety of reasons. They had recently gotten hooked up on the Internet and I discovered the bulletin board of our local newspaper. Through this, I met a few people. I can’t remember their names now; the important part is that I set out on my own for the first time. I went to a few gatherings of folks and had a few dates. Nothing came of them, except to make me feel, for the first time, as though I might have something to offer other than protecting the pretty girls.

Along with the bulletin board, I discovered chat rooms. On January 31, a Saturday night, I was home and bored, so I logged on to Excite! chat, to the “Midwest” room where I would go to hang out and talk to people. This night, I went in and looked around at the other people there. I read their profiles and looked at the avatars they had posted as I talked in the general room. I noticed one avatar; it was a soccer ball with a foot on it. It caught my eye, so I read the profile. According to the profile, here was a guy, nicknamed Champs, who was a soccer coach and assistant manager. Unlike others I saw, his quote was something about living a positive life (instead of some come-on about how he was hard and ready, like every other guy out there). My interest was piqued, so I clicked into IM mode and asked him if he was a good soccer player. He indicated that he was and that he enjoyed lots of sports. His light flirtation showed me that he had some spunk. We talked online for about 2 hours.

We told each other where we lived; me in Minnesota and him 550 miles away in Illinois. All I knew about Illinois was Chicago, and he told me about how he didn’t like Chicago. At one point, I asked him how old he was. He told me he was 25 years old… 7 years my junior. I almost hung it up right there, but since we were just flirting innocently, I shrugged and filed the information away and kept talking. After awhile, though, I had to get off the computer. My mom was hanging around, wanting the computer so she could play solitaire. I didn’t want to stop talking, so I did something that shocked even me. I typed out “you want to do something crazy?” He typed back, “Um, … ok. What?” “You want to call me? I have to get off the computer.” He typed back, “Um, … ok. When?” We arranged to talk in 10 minutes. I ran to brush my teeth and get back to my room before he called. I didn’t know for sure if he would call, but he did!

Right away, I could tell that this guy had a sweetness that I’d never encountered before. We talked about everything; what we did for a living, our hobbies. Champs asked me what kind of music I liked to listen to. I looked over at my CD collection and started naming styles; contemporary Christian, pop, light rock, some classical. Immediately Champs told me he was impressed by the fact that I listed to Christian music. I didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary, but in his experience, it was.

We continued talking for hours! I can’t remember everything we talked about, only that we talked until 5:00 in the morning. I found out years later that Champs had been on the wireless phone in his room, but the battery warned him that it was dying. He went to the kitchen where the phone was mounted on the wall and sat on the floor talking to me for the rest of the night.

When we finally hung up, I got a couple hours of sleep and then went to church with my sister-in-law. I told her that I was sure I had met someone special. I didn’t know for sure what would come of it, but I knew he was someone really, really special. This was confirmed when I got home from church and he had sent me an e-mail. Yeup, he was special, all right.

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Happy Birthday Blond Girl!

Warning: A truly narcissistic post will now ensue: Happy Birthday to me! I am 40 years old today. I can hardly believe it. Funny; I feel younger now than I ever did when I turned 30. Here's some reasons why:

10 years ago I:

* was single and thought I'd never find anyone.
* had no children and thought I'd never have any.
* lived with my parents and thought I'd never own my own home.
* was answering phones for a living and hating it.
* wondering if I had heard God right years before about marrying a minister.
* was convinced that once a woman turned 30, she had to cut her hair off because only "loose" women over 30 had long hair (man, was I messed up or what?!?).
* Weighed around 260 pounds and hated getting dressed up.
* Looked about 40 years old.

Today I:

* Am married to a wonderful man who loves me almost as much as I love him. We will celebrate our 7th anniversary in 10 days.
* Have a lovely 5 year-old daughter who never ceases to amaze me with her love, good humor and sweetness.
* Own my own home and, interestingly enough, my mother now lives with me (and yes, that is different than living with your parents!)
* Have a fulfilling career as a Communication Specialist with a world of opportunity before me. I love what I do. (Though it does get stressfull now and again, but what job doesn't?)
* Know that I heard absolutely correctly that I was NOT supposed to marry a minister, but rather a quiet man who knows more about serving and selflessness than any minister I ever met.
* Am absolutely convinced that I can have my hair any length I want. And right now, it is long. And this does not mean I am "loose".
* Weigh about 150 pounds and love finding reasons to dress up.
* Look about 32 years old.

My birthday statement to everyone I see today is "this is where you tell me I don't look 40!" I guess you'll have to take my word for it.

And now for the truly narcissistic part: if you want to leave me a happy birthday comment, please do. I will love it. And if you want to give me a great birthday present, tell your friends to come and wish me a happy birthday. I'll cherish each one as testimony to the blessings God has given me in love, family, friends and life.

It is time now for Champs and me to take Sweet Girl to the Mall of America to celebrate my birthday. And then Champs is taking me out tonight. And then Geekwif and Curly Girl and I are going out tomorrow.

Isn't life sweet?

Monday, September 26, 2005

"ST" means Shaky Triumph

There will be some people who know me who will read today's entry and not believe that it is me. They will say "Blond Girl?!? You did THAT? No Way!!!" And I will reply, "WAY!"

Today I rode on a motercyle for the first time since I was 9 years old! It was so much fun! A friend at The Big Company wanted to thank me for helping him successfully post for a new job. Since he is a motorcycle enthusiast who has a Honda ST touring bike, I asked him to take me for a ride.

You see, Champs has this dream of owning a Honda Goldwing Aspencade and touring with me through the US. His dad had one and when he got sick, he sold it. Champs was always bothered that his dad didn't give him the chance to buy it from him. Since I know this is Champs' dream, I figured asking for a ride would be a good thing.

At lunch we went out. My friend gave me a helmet, a heavy jacket and gloves and then explained the following rules:

* Get on from the correct side and put your leg all the way over; don't slide on.
* Put your feet on the pedals and leave them there. DO NOT put your feet down!
* Lean when I lean, in the direction I lean. The bike will do the rest.
* Hold on carefully; the bike will jerk you a bit when we start.

When we got to the hold on part, I asked him if I had to hold on to the handles behind my seat or if I could hold on to him. He said I could choose and you better believe I chose him! I didn't want my hands behind me! He helped me into the helmet and I put my glasses back on. Immediately, my glasses began to fog up.

And so away we went. I was scared. I was nervous. I was praying! I held on with all my might; great fistfulls of his jacket were in my hands and my legs were clamped securely around the seat. I felt pretty good when I successfully leaned with him around the first corner. Then we took the second corner... I was breathing carefully, trying not to make any reactions in my fear that might distract him. As we started to move, my glasses cleared up.

At the next corner, he headed for the highway exit! I asked him, shakily, if we were going on the freeway. He said yes. I fought everything within me to avoid asking him not to and just prayed harder. I knew he was fine, but I was worried I would get scared and do something stupid.

He was a gentleman, driving very respectfully; no silly tricks. I was so releived when he took the off exit. Of course, we had to go back downtown. When he got back on the freeway, I could feel the power of the bike and the wind. I was wearing my heaviest black leather shoes and I could feel the wind on my toes!

The helmet was only 3.5 pounds, but going fast, that is a lot of weight to control. I would try to lean into him to lean as he leaned and I must have bumped my helmet against his at least 10 times. As we were driving on the freeway, my breath was coming in little spurts; it reminded me of the Lamaze breathing I did when I was in labor with Sweet Girl. I kept asking God to make sure we were safe. Just keep us safe, Lord. I was scared, but also in awe. As many times as I'd driven down that freeway, I never felt the speed the way I did on the motorcycle!

I was so relieved when we got off the freeway. I began to feel like I could look around a little and enjoy the ride. It was so much fun and pretty soon it was all over. I hopped off the bike and pumped my arm in the air. I was scared, but I had done it! I was thinking, "I'll do this again, and I will enjoy it, but I am glad I have awhile before I need to do it again." My friend told me that on the freeway on the return trip, he had gotten the bike up to 90 mph at one point. That made me so glad I couldn't see the speedometer as we were driving!

All in all, the open road was a wonderful experience. I wonder how soon I can help Champs get his Goldwing Aspencade?

Here are some comments from this post:
princssis said...
I can't believe you did that! Does Champs know? What was his reaction? I didn't know he wished he had Dad's Aspencade (gold in color)! That does suck that Dad didn't give him or any of us, for that matter, the opportunity to buy it.

Champs said...
Yes, Catherine told me about it this weekend. As long as she wore a helmet and the guy was experienced, I was OK with it.
Yes, i really wanted his Aspencade. I would have gladly taken either one. It hurt when he sold them. Tomorrow I'll post in my blog about him selling it.

Geekwif said...
Holy Cow Blond Girl! YOU? No. I refuse to believe it. Who's taken over my friend's blog and what have you done with her? I demand to know!
I can't believe you did this - you who are scared of anything remotely dangerous!
That said, I'm proud of you! I hope you and Champs get to go touring together on the Goldwing someday.

Sandy said...
YAY! You go!!
Ok, so not something I think I'd be brave enough to try. May I live vicariously through you?

Paul said...
Yee-haw! Go for it!