Fly High, Baby Girl

Yet another milestone has come and gone. My baby girl has graduated. She will be studying for the NKLEX and once she passes that she is officially an R.N. and will begin her job at the hospital. She is officially all grown up.

I remember the days before she started kindergarten. I don’t know where I came across these articles but they were written by parents sending their kids off to college. Again, mine was starting kindergarten. Didn’t matter. I was bawling as I read these articles, thinking about how difficult it was going to be to send my baby away and not see her every day. Somehow I reeled myself back in and was able to go to Back To School Night, meet the teacher, and when the day came, walk my daughter across the street to the bus stop and wave goodbye to her as she climbed on the bus and rode off to school. Naturally, I followed behind and took pictures of her in her classroom on that first day.

Then came the transition to middle school. I don’t know why this one scared me so much. I suppose I envisioned my sweet little girl being surrounded by all these big kids. I still don’t know what it was because looking back it was so stupid. I suppose maybe it was simply change. She was moving on from elementary school to middle school. She was growing up and wasn’t my little girl anymore. She was my big girl with a locker and everything.

Next was high school. I think I was better able to handle that one than middle school. But I do remember the senior class President telling the kids that their four years would fly by and that their years at TA would be some of the best of their life. I’m sure that would have been true had she been able to continue on there.

Nonetheless, those four years did pass by. Sometimes I think it was a blink of the eye and other times I remember all the turmoil, the tears, the fears, and the uncertainty. Whatever it was the day finally came that my daughter graduated. That day I had warned Jerry Lee about back on her first birthday was finally here. I was soon going to be one of those parents I had read about way back when she was five years old and starting kindergarten.

And now here we are once again. Four and a half years later and she has graduated from college.

In some ways it seems like only yesterday that I was going shopping with her so she could decorate her dorm room. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was helping her pack up the car and dropping my heart off at Ball State. I did such a great job that day. No tears. Kept telling myself I had done my job and it was her time to fly.

In other ways it was a very long four and a half years. Life gets very dicey when your ex opts to modify support on a whim. Her freshman year was one such time and I truly was not sure I was going to be able to help her at all the following year. I had been so proud of myself for being able to pay the remainder of her tuition and give her some spending money. Then Jerry Lee announces he’s lost his job again and everything was up in the air. She ended up taking out loans to cover it all but ended up not calculating correctly. Thankfully Jerry Lee began paying again even at his modified amount so when rent came up short I could help her out. Junior year I paid her rent while her loans covered her tuition and the last three semesters I paid the remainder of her tuition.

Now it’s all over. She’s done.

I began writing this blog in 2016. It’s been almost 7 years. All these years I referred to my daughter as Rock Star because that is what she is. She is brilliant, beautiful, fierce, determined, driven, funny, kind-hearted, fearless, and completely amazing. She has a name.

A couple years ago I had a reader who mentioned something about how I had to write this anonymously. I don’t really remember the context behind it and I’m not going to look right now. But I always remembered that. I didn’t keep it anonymous because I was ashamed or afraid. I suppose I did it because it felt safer when so many other things didn’t feel safe at all. 

I told her this weekend I would probably write about her graduation and asked her if she was okay with me disclosing her name. She is. I’d like to introduce my lovely daughter, one of the newest nurses out there, Miss Shelby Lynne. She is awesome. I would say you would be lucky if you ever get her as your nurse but she’s going to be working in the ICU so that’s kind of a double edged sword. On one hand you’d be lucky because she’s awesome and really advocates for her patients. On the other hand you’re in the ICU and that can never be good. I guess if you’re critical you’d be really fortunate to have her as your nurse. How’s that?

Fly high, my darling daughter! The world is your oyster.

Shameless Mommy Brag

Alright. My kids are 22 and 20 so I suppose I am far beyond the “mommy” stage. Nonetheless, I wanted to take a moment to brag on my brilliant daughter, Rock Star. She was just offered her first “big girl” job! She will be working in the ICU in the area she now attends college.

I am so, so proud of this girl. Yes, she still needs to get through the rest of her classes, finals, and graduation but she has a job offer before she’s even graduated. She will be making more money than me her first year out, and I say, “Good for her.” My daughter will never have to reply upon a man to take care of her. I am crossing my fingers that she breaks this generational curse.

I am so happy for her. She’s wanted to be a nurse since second grade. She loves the ICU, loves the people at the hospital, and is looking forward to making money. I am so happy she has found her calling and that she’s going to be doing something she loves and which will support her. It makes everything I’ve watched her go through all worth it.

In other potentially good news Picasso is going to be weaned off of his currents meds and new ones are going to be tried. The psychiatrist did say that while the new meds should be able to be metabolized by his body, the ones he was taking should have been metabolized as well. I’m still crossing my fingers. He also got a prescription for a sleeping aid. It’s not- Ativan? Is that the one that is highly addictive? It’s one that has been recommended by two different friends of mine. I passed along the name of the drug his father is currently taking which is supposedly effective for him. I’m not around him so I can’t judge.

Picasso also started one of his classes for his apprenticeship and has an appointment with a vocational rehab counselor next week. Plus, he is supposed to be going to a Halloween party on Monday. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless.

Mommy Brag Time has now concluded (and yet I’m still so freaking happy for my girl and cautiously optimistic for my boy!).

Cats In Cahoots

My little darlings turned one September 18th. I love the heck out of them. I truly do. Best part of my morning is waking up and realizing that Milo is down at my feet (as always) and both cats are in bed with me. Sometimes they’re up by my head looking out the window and sometimes they’re both down by feet. Other times it’s a mix and match situation.

They get both dry and wet cat food. When I first got them the person who handed them over explained that she recommends feeding them wet food because cats don’t usually drink enough water so this is a way to get more liquid into them. Sounds weird, I know, but that’s what she told me. So I continue to feed them wet cat food so they’re not dehydrated.

Naturally when Milo saw Holly and Noël getting wet food his first question was, “Where’s mine?” I couldn’t ignore his sweet little face and disappoint him twice a day. I also did not want to cause sibling rivalry. The end result is all three of them have dry food they can eat at will, and they receive wet food twice a day.

I signed up with because I’m lazy and don’t want to have to run out and purchase wet food all the time. I try to buy for about 8-10 weeks at a time which means there’s a lot of food.

This, in turn, led to me purchasing a 3-drawer storage unit to store the wet food for both Milo and the ladies. It sits out in the dining room, up against the wall, right next to the cat tower where the cats eat. Top drawer is dog food. Middle drawer is cat food. I couldn’t find a two drawer unit the size I wanted so I have a third drawer.

Back in September of last year I didn’t adjust the shipments after Laila died so I have way too many bags of Dingo bones and dental chews. Normally the dog (and cat) treats are put in a basket which sits on top of the storage unit. But because there were so many bags of them I put the extra in the bottom drawer along with any wet canned food that I couldn’t fit in the cat drawer.

For whatever reason the cats (primarily Noël) are obsessed with pushing that bottom drawer open and hopping in there. I have no idea why. They don’t have anything in there. The treats all belong to Milo. Noël doesn’t even like treats half the time! Holly would scarf down an entire package but Noel can take them or leave them. And yet she is usually the one pawing at the drawer or sliding behind the wall and pushing it out. I don’t understand what’s in it for them. I’ve caught Holly batting at a Dingo bone and playing with it but she doesn’t eat it.

Milo loves it. The other day I heard a persistent noise which I later realized was the cat clawing at the drawer, trying to open it. When I finally wised up and went to check on things I found multiple cans of cat food strewn around the floor, along with about 15 Dingo bones scattered across the living room and dining room.

Meanwhile, there is a giant canister of catnip sitting on top of the drawer. Do you think they ever knock that off and try to get into it? Nope!

Bottom line is I think the cats are in cahoots with the dog. I haven’t figured their angle out yet but I’m working on it.

Today Is a New Day

I wrote yesterday’s post around midnight. I was tired and cranky and yes, I do still hate Jerry Lee. But I didn’t want to leave y’all hanging. Last night’s post was full of woe is me and gave the impression that I was grasping onto a ledge with the tips of my fingers, slowly slipping and soon to plummet to the ground. I was very dramatic.

I’m sorry. I apologize. Today is a new day and I realize my life is not over; I am not permanently damaged, and neither are my kids. There was a lot of loss and upheaval but we have weathered the storm. Some days are better than others but they’re all better than the ones we started with way back when the shit first hit the fan. The damage he did was long lasting but that doesn’t mean it can’t be overcome. Those scars will simply be part of the tapestry.

I don’t want to leave people hanging in regards to Picasso either. I have an amazing friend who reads my blog and she reached out to me last night. I mentioned her in passing a few weeks ago. She’s my friend that went back to school and got her Masters recently. She’s a vocational rehab counselor and she gave me some input in regards to things that could perhaps help Picasso as he finds his way. He’s supposed to be calling our county’s vocational rehab center tomorrow. He seems open to the help so as always I am cautiously optimistic.

He got laid off today. They told him it was because they were running out of work but he thinks the story is bullshit. He thinks what happened is the two guys who were talking shit about him complained to management and that’s why they laid him off. Honestly, I don’t think he’s too sad about it and I’m not either.

After the shit show that was his second job I try not to focus too much on the work, work, work ethic and try to concentrate more on his mental health. I realize he’s not going to love every single thing about every single job but I don’t want him coming home feeling like he wants to die either. 

I plan on being pretty firm about him going down to the union hall and talking to someone. He says he likes the work that he does but he needs to ask them if this type of work environment is what he’s always going to be subjected to. He needs to find out if he’s ever going to be able to do what he really wants to do, which seems to be actually building something. He needs to get tips and advice from people who have been there and who might actually be able to guide him.

That’s actually a huge part of what the vocational rehab program is supposed to do. Not only will he be evaluated for being on the spectrum and possibly having ADHD, but they advocate for him and help him advocate for himself.

Today really is a new day. I was wallowing in pity and having a mini meltdown. What can I say? It was very late and I was very tired. Today I can turn my attitude around focus on the positives.

Yes, Rock Star gave up a lot when we moved and she had a few really rocky years. She had a sucktastic senior year and she will probably never return for a class reunion. On the bright side she absolutely loved college, she graduates in December, and she’s living with and hoping to marry her boyfriend, a guy she never would have met had we remained in Virginia. Yes, she deals with anxiety and depression, and yes, I will continue to blame her father for that, but all in all she is happy and ready to conquer this next chapter in her life. I’m so proud of her. She is going to be self-supporting and have the world by the tail.

In other exciting news she has her very first big girl job interview coming up in about a week. She’s interviewing for a nursing position in the ICU, which if you knew her past history in the hospital, you would find this to be hysterical.

She once passed out on a patient because the sight of the needle made her faint. When I say she fainted on the patient I mean she literally passed out and was laying on the patient. When it happened the nurse thought it was strange and yet sweet that she was hugging her patient. She must really care! 

No, she was unconscious! She then came to, stood up, and promptly fainted again, hitting the back of her head. They called some sort of code and when she came to once again there was a bevy of doctors in the room examining her. My mom had to go pick her up because not only was she being wheeled around in a wheelchair, prohibited from walking, but also she was obviously not allowed to drive herself home.

She continued to be nauseous whenever needles came out. She told me the first medical procedure she was able to watch without fainting was a circumcision. I’m not really sure what that says about her, but at one point she was pretty confident she was going to go to the NICU once she graduated.

That also is hysterical because for the last four or five years she has maintained she does not like kids. She was actually dreading her peds rotations and ended up loving it.

She just finished up critical care and she loved it. She called me one day and told me they had almost lost a patient and she had the best time. Not because the person almost died but because she felt like a true rock star, helping the woman and doing exactly what needed to be done.

She got to be in the operating room during a heart surgery and found it fascinating instead of gross. “I really wanted to touch that sternum,” she said.

See? Despite her father walking out on her she is thriving. Picasso will get there. It will just take a little longer. 

I will keep going. I will continue to be here to help him figure things out.  The kid is 20 and floundering. I’ll keep throwing him a floatation device so he doesn’t drown. I just needed a moment to stomp my feet and scream, “It’s not fair!”

As for me I didn’t choose to be divorced. I didn’t choose to return to work. Yet, here I am rocking the hell out of it. I had lunch with our senior analyst who is in town this week (she works remotely in Texas). We were talking about alerts and I said that I always get mine done, regardless of the time it takes, and she agreed. She told me I was a rock star. Me. A rock star.

I guess this would be an apropos time to quote Hannah Montana: Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody has those days.

Mine was around midnight yesterday. Today is looking much better. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

A Retraction

My mother would like it known that she is not a liar. She will only cop to being a fibber. When asked the difference she stated, and I pretty much quote, “I hate liars. Lies are something big. Fibs are small.”

Yes, lying is serious business but tricking your daughter into thinking she has an extra day to clean the house is just a light hearted “fib”. Tons of fun, in fact.

Also, she wanted everyone to know she did indeed understand the whole, “Asking for a friend.” Apparently my mom has a snarky sense of humor, much like me.

The woman is quick on her feet, too. We went down to visit Rock Star yesterday. I asked her which car we should take. She said to take mine because then I could drive.

I had to stop for gas. It’s an almost 3 hour drive down there. As we’re driving I say to her, “Since I’m driving you can pump the gas when we get to the gas station.”

That did not go over well. She did not buy it. She did pump it.

And thus concludes my retraction.

More Musings From My Mom

For those of you who love hearing about my mom, gather ‘round. I have another story for you.

My mom likes to play this game I call, “I’m Lying To You About When I’m Really Coming Home.”

See, I’m like a 16 year old who has been left all alone in the house while her parents go out of town for a week whenever my mom leaves for a period of time. I don’t have parties and do things I shouldn’t but I do tend to leave my shoes lying around the house and I don’t always do the dishes each night. I’m a little more relaxed with my cleaning standards.

Because of this I always need an arrival date so that I am sure to have the house clean when she arrives back home. The problem with this is my mom is a liar. She’s very good at telling me she’s coming home one day and then ends up coming home 2 or 3 days earlier. When I’m not prepared. And then she laughs. She thinks it’s hysterical.

“I’m on my way home today. I’m 3 hours away!” After she told me she wasn’t coming home for another 2 days.

Yeah, real fun stuff. I’m pretty sure I have anxiety because of this.

She’s been gallivanting all around the south for these last 3 weeks. She was in Savannah visiting a friend who just moved there and then went on down to South Carolina to see a cousin and after that she went on up to Virginia where she has been staying with yet another cousin.

I knew the time was getting close so I texted her yesterday to get an arrival time.

I’m sure you’ve all seen Facebook posts or memes where someone asks a question and then they follow it up with, “Asking for a friend.”

How do you get bloodstains out of a carpet? Asking for a friend.

Anyone else eat an entire bag of double stuff Oreos while watching Hocus Pocus 2? Asking for a friend.

Does anyone know how to deal with a mouthy 16 year old? Asking for a friend.

Anyone have know if that cute guy is single? Asking for a friend.

I ask my mom, “When are you coming home? Asking for a friend…”

My mom replies, “Why does your friend want to know when I’m coming home?”

Exercise and Education In One Fell Swoop

I’ve been working from home this week. I did something to my shoulder while on vacation last week. According to the chiropractors and physical therapists on YouTube it is probably a pinched nerve. However, this post is not about my ailments. It’s about my cute mom.

As I said, I’ve been working from home this week since Monday afternoon. Each day my mom announces to me, “I’m going to the library.”

We live outside the city limits so I’m not completely sure how far away the library is. I’m not dealing with city blocks. I’d say maybe a quarter of a mile away. Or somewhere between a quarter and a half mile. She walks there. She likes walking.

Today when she comes into the room I’ve set up as my office to let me know she’s walking to the library I finally ask her, “Do you go to the library every day?”

“Every day Monday through Friday,” she tells me. Yep, my mom, the person who always has stamps, gets the package in the mail right away, irons clothes, and is a big fan of three square meals a day, is also a daily visitor to our local library.

I’ve lived with the woman for 6 years now and I’m just now discovering this.

I look at her, curiosity getting the better of me. “What on earth do you do at the library every day?”

Serious as a heart attack the woman begins to list the many things she does at the library. Her routine, if you will.

“I read the paper and then I make a copy of the crossword puzzle and then, if there’s a new People magazine I read that.”

By the time she gets to “copying the crossword puzzle” the corners of my mouth have curved upwards into a bemused smile. My mom loves her crossword puzzle.

“And don’t you dare put that in your fucking blog!” she tells me.

Oh no! This is too good not to share.

“What’s wrong with going to the library every day? I’m getting my steps in and I’m reading. I’m getting my exercise and education in one fell swoop!”

“I’m sorry. Can you repeat that? That’s going to be the title.”

My mom is so cute. I told her that, too. She’s trotting off to the library every day, getting her steps in and reading her newspaper she refuses to pay for anymore because they’ve pissed her off one too many times.

Saturday Inspiration

I thought we should go inspirational today. I believe each and every one of us should fully embrace this.

Life doesn’t stop until you’re dead. Keep going. Keep dreaming. Keep achieving. There is no law that says you can’t go to college to take classes after age 25. Stop listening to that voice that tells you you’re too old to “do that,” whatever that may be.

I think about how much time I wasted telling myself no one would ever hire me. I would never get a good paying job because I had spent my life being a stay at home mom. And now I’m making almost as much money as Harley the Hillbilly Whore and I don’t even have a Masters like she does. How much further would I have been if I had not let fear stand in my way?

I saw a couple of people paddle boarding the other day. My first thought was, “Wow- that looks like fun.” I’ve actually done paddle boarding before- about 2 years ago. I did great, too, until a speed boat came along.

And then I told the mobster a story about a woman who had just gotten certified as a paddle board yoga instructor, which I don’t think I’d be good at. I’m not sure I would be very good at regular yoga and I’m almost certain I would be falling off the paddle board during paddle board yoga.

My second thought was, “Maybe I could try paddle board yoga. It does sound like a fun challenge.”

My third thought was, “Don’t be ridiculous! You’re too old for that!”

Too old? I’m only 53. I am definitely not too old for fucking paddle board yoga.

I see my mother, older than me, getting in her car and driving to visit various relatives. She goes to Florida every winter. She keeps busy with friends and activities. She walks down to the library almost every day.

I have a dear, dear longtime friend who reads this blog so maybe she’ll see this. She recently went back to school after winning a grant and got her Masters degree. She graduated at 53.

At 25 I had no idea who I was. I had graduated from college only 3 years prior and had worked a series of low paying, crappy jobs even with a college education. I think my biggest aspiration in life at that time was to get married. I’m pretty sure my biggest aspiration after getting married was to have a baby.

How could life end at 25 when I had no idea who I was or what I wanted?

You are allowed to start over at any age. You can find new purpose. You can chase new dreams. You can make new discoveries. At 30. At 40. At 50. Even at 60 and beyond.

Chump Lady runs a post every Labor Day about Mother Jones. If you are not familiar with Mother Jones, born Mary Harris in 1837, she became a schoolteacher and married George Jones with whom she had four children. She lost her entire family in a yellow fever epidemic in Memphis in 1867. Then she moved to Chicago where she built a successful dress making business. She lost everything once again- her home, shop, and possessions, in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. While helping to rebuild the city of Chicago she jointed the Knights of Labor. She organized strikes and while the first of the strikes and protests failed, the organization eventually became the largest labor organization in the country. When the Knights of Labor ceased to exist Mary became involved with the United Mine Workers, leading the strikers in picketing and encouraging striking workers to stay on strike when management brought in strike-breakers and militias. In 1902 she was termed “the most dangerous woman in America” by a West Virginia district attorney due to her ability to organize strikes. In 1903 she organized the children who were working in mills and mines and led them on what is known as her famous, “March of the Mill Children.”

Can you imagine? This woman lost everything- twice- and yet continued to reinvent herself. She continued to find a purpose. Her life didn’t end

Chillicothe, Part 2

One other fun story about Chillicothe and it’s seedy underbelly. Seriously the downtown is divine and the park is a little slice of heaven on earth. Other parts? Not so great.

We went to dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. After we finish the mobster wants ice cream. But most everything downtown is closed at this point. He says he’ll just pop into a gas station and grab an ice cream there.

Let me tell you a little something about Ohio. They have bars in their gas stations. I swear to God I am not making this up. Full service bars. With seats and a bar and everything. And they have drive-thru liquor stores, which I thought was unique to Kentucky but apparently it is not.

I pull into the first gas station. It is packed. I can’t find a parking space and there are people congregating outside. I turn to him and say, “Isn’t this the gas station with the bar in it?” He agrees that it is. At this point I just say, “No.” No, I was not going to do that. I wasn’t going to try to navigate a parking lot filled with cars and people and no parking spots. I wasn’t attempting to find a parking spot. I wasn’t parking while he went inside. I was not risking my life or his. I’m not saying people who drink and hang out at gas stations are bad people. It’s simply not an environment in which I’m comfortable. We move on.

Next gas station is also packed. I make my way around the cars at the pumps and realize I am stuck until someone moves. The mobster jumps out to go buy some ice cream. Comes back a minute later, telling me they had absolutely no frozen items. And still we sit, waiting for someone to leave at this busier than fuck gas station. At this point I’m thinking they’ve got a gas station up the street with a full freaking bar in it and they also have a drive thru liquor store not far from here. Why is this place hopping? Seriously. There were people and cars all over.

I have to tell you before i go on why this was so triggering for me. When I was 17 or 18 years old 3 of my friends and I were out one summer night (at least I think it was summer- it was over 40 years ago!). Our friend Cynde had this little yellow Datsun, stick shift. She flooded the engine. We had no idea at the time that that is what happened. We just knew the damn car wouldn’t start. And we were not in a great section of town. Why on earth we were over there I don’t know. But we spotted a cop over at the Bullseye Liquor store and we made a beeline to him. The cop, by the way, was not buying alcohol or simply hanging out at the liquor store. He was actually on duty, directing the traffic and making sure all behavior was above board. Because this place was *that* busy. He very kindly called my mother who came and picked the four of us up. Meanwhile, while we wait we’ve got cars pulling in and pulling out at an invigorating pace. We have older men hitting on us. I remember one guy asking, “Ladies, can I ask you something? How does it feel going through life so beautiful?” Or some such bullshit.I saucily replied that it felt pretty great. Chillicothe gas stations on a Saturday night brought the whole Bullseye Liquor store thing right up to the forefront. The words I spoke to Cynde, who was somehow delightfully ignorant of the danger we could be in despite her father being a cop, ran through my head as I navigated these inordinately busy gas stations, “It is not fine! They are going to rape us, kill us, and chop our bodies into tiny little pieces!”

Finally we were able to leave. The mobster says to just go on home. He can live without the ice cream. We pass one more gas station which is closer to the park. I offer to pull in. He says, I swear, “That’s ok,” so I pass it by. Then he says, “I said ok. I would like the ice cream.” Thankfully I could turn at the light and go in the second entrance. This particular gas station operated more as an actual gas station and not a bar. He got his ice cream. I escaped death. We drove back to the house and I drank a bottle of wine. I shared a little with him. He had ice cream. Wow- that whole gas station and Bullseye Liquor thing really did come full circle what with me drinking almost an entire bottle of wine after my ordeal at the gas station.

That Weekend I Thought My Car Got Stolen

Good Monday, everyone! How are you? I’m hoping I still have readers. I think there might be 10 of you left. I have no one to blame except myself and my horrible posting habits. I digress…

I just got back from a weekend in Chillicothe. It’s actually the first weekend spent with the mobster since he went back to Virginia at the beginning of June. It was great. Except for those few minutes that felt like hours when we thought my car was either stolen or towed. Let me explain.

Saturday was a big Pokemon Go event. It was the finale to Go Fest which took place the last time we were together in Chillicothe. My original thinking was we would get up, drive to New Systems Bakery to enjoy their delicious bismarks and hopefully some chicken tortilla soup (hooray for me! They did have it!), and then bring the car back to the house, walk down to two shops we wanted to go into, and then walk down to the park. Very healthy of us. Or at least we would hopefully walk off the bismarks.

I will go back yet another step further. Friday we both got there around 6:00 pm. We wandered around the downtown for a little bit. We walked by this store we had wanted to go into last time we were there. Unfortunately, it was closed last time so we wanted to check the hours and make sure we could get int this time around.

Then we walked by this lovely stained glass shop we’ve frequented in the past. One time I bought this pretty coaster and I think a butterfly for my mom. The store owner mentioned that his mother had made those so I say to him, “Wow- sounds like your mom is having a really good day!” Lots of sales, you know? And he says to me, “My mom died a year ago.” So, not having a great day.

Who knows? Maybe she was having a great time in Heaven, looking down and seeing her mortal goods finally being purchased. I feel like I bought more than just a coaster and a butterfly but it’s been years so I don’t remember and it’s not important. What’s important is we have history with this shop.

It was closed at this point in the evening but we walked by and looked at the various items in the huge window display. They had this amazing succulent made from stained glass. It was beautiful and I wanted that sucker! It will be the one plant I cannot kill! The mobster saw some melted bottles that he wanted as well so we decided we would visit The Totem and this stained glass shop in the morning before the big Pokemon event started at 10. Except The Totem didn’t open until 10 but I told him I was fine with that.

Back to Saturday morning. Drive to New Systems. Park the car. Walk to the two shops and then go to the park. Then we realize if we buy anything, which we planned to do, we needed to walk back to the house. So, instead we drove to New Systems. Ate. Drove back to the downtown. Because of the sand volleyball tournament they were having in the street parking was difficult to find. We parked about 2 blocks from where we wanted to be, which was fine, and is germane to the story.

Not really germane to the story? Chillicothe has got a lot of very interesting things going on in their small town. It’s a population of just over 22,000 but it seems like they always have the best events going on. 50 West just put on a race earlier this year. They have this amazing park. The decorations are awesome at Christmas. I love their Santa. They’ve had an iceskating rink set up, both in a parking lot just off the street and in the park. They have great restaurants. And now they rope off a city block, dump mounds of sand on the street, and host a volleyball tournament. How incredible is that? All my city has is a stupid wine walk and the tickets are usually sold out before I even realize there is a wine walk! You know what Chillicothe is like? It’s like one of those towns in a Hallmark movie. Except I’m pretty sure they’ve got a pretty serious heroine problem and at least one serial killer on the loose. Aside from that it’s exactly like the Hallmark movie towns. And I don’t care about the drugs and the serial killer because I love this little smelly town!

Where were we? New Systems. Ate. Parked 2 blocks away. We parked over by Carl’s Townhouse, which is not a townhouse at all. It’s a little diner that serves breakfast and lunch. We’ve been there a few times. Unfortunately, the last time we went they took forever and they served me bad tomato juice. Like, there were chunks in the tomato juice and they were not tomato chunks. It was disgusting.

Once parked we went to The Totem first. Shopped. I came out with a rather large bag. Bought a t-shirt, a magnolia scented candle, and a coffee mug. Then we walked to the stained glass shop. I got my stained glass succulent, bought a smaller one for my daughter, and then while he was wrapping everything up for me, decided to purchase a set of gorgeous wind chimes. The mobster made his own purchases. We walk this all back to the car, carefully place it in the trunk so it doesn’t get stolen, and because it’s so late we decide to drive over to the park instead of driving back to the house and walking.

We go into the park, park by the bathrooms because we had to go and why park and walk when you can simply park, and then we play Pokemon Go All. Day. We didn’t start exactly at 10. At least not balls to the wall starting. But once we got to the park, we played until after 6.

One other creepy detail after I’ve just described this town as a Hallmark town. Before I went to the bathroom I was sucking down the last of my iced Milky Way coffee. Delicious. I’m standing there by the trashcan finishing this beverage off and as I’m turning to go into the bathroom this guy is walking towards me and I realize he’s speaking to me. He’s asking for money. He’s homeless. Yada, yada, yada. Do I have any cash on me? I did but I wasn’t going to tell him that!

When I got back in the car the mobster asked me if I had seen the look on the guy’s face when he realized that there was a man sitting in the car and that I wasn’t alone. I had not. I just figured when I said I didn’t carry cash on me he turned around and went back to where he had been sitting. The mobster was insistent that he thought this guy was a predator and might have actually tried to attack me if he hadn’t been there.

I’m not going to let a little thing like a potential homicide or mugging stop me from a great day of Pokemon Go. I had ultra beasts to catch! One day only!

We walk around this huge park for over 6 hours. We catch. We spin stops. We raid. It was a full day. It started off beautifully with sunny skies and a nice breeze. Great temperature. But by later in the afternoon the humidity was starting to take hold. The remaining few hours of the day were humid. And we’re walking through this. After 6 the mobster is getting hungry and he’s encouraging me to shut it down for the day and grab some dinner.

We head out of the park and over to our parking spot in front of Carl’s Townhouse. Only… there’s no car there. We’re both looking around. I’m checking the signs to make sure I didn’t park in a tow-away zone. No. The sign just says 2 hour parking Monday-Friday and by parking there you agree to their terms. I know I parked behind the sign. We’re both freaking out because we’re not sure if my car got stolen or if I got towed. It’s Saturday evening. If I was towed how soon could I even bail out my car? And if it was stolen those motherfuckers stole my new t-shirt, my new candle, my beautiful stained glass succulent and wind chimes, and my damn coffee mug! Not to mention the mobster’s purchases. He’s high tailing back to the house (which was only about another 2 blocks from Carl’s) although I can no longer remember what the purpose of that was. Oh yes! The thought was maybe we did take the car back to the house and walk over to the park from there. Then I get this horrible thought. What if the guy from the park who was trying to extort money out of me was pissed because I didn’t give him any money so he stole my car instead!

That’s when it clicked. We had parked the damn car over in the park by the bathrooms. Whew! We had a rather long walk back to that spot but it was much better than filing a police report or bailing my car out. And that was the weekend that I thought my car was stolen.

My stained glass succulent