Monday, August 31, 2009

So much to say

I have so much to talk about right now, but I am not really at liberty to discuss. That's the thing about blogging... sometimes, you can't really talk about what you want to talk about because someone might read it and then you'd be forced to have a weird and painful conversation. So I just have to censor myself. And if anyone doesn't know this about me already - I DO NOT LIKE TO CENSOR MYSELF.

It's not like I am uncensored in the way that I just fly off the handle and tell you what I think about you and all your faults. I don't think I'm that way. I've just always been incredibly transparent and shared my thoughts well. I am not one who passes judgement quickly or looks down upon others, but I will tell you my story and offer my thoughts about most any part of my life. There are still a few drawers I won't pull open for just anyone, but other than those few topics, I am wide open. Wide open.

So when I have things that happen or situations going on in my life, and I cannot discuss them here tactfully or safely, well... it just frustrates me. This little blog has become my dearest friend in some respects. Okay - sounds slightly pathetic, but I think you know what I mean. It's an open forum, a sounding board, a journal. But many times I have to admit the obvious truth - it is not anonymous.

I am learning so much about the world around me right now. And I am struggling within about some issues. I am constantly struggling with these same issues all the time. Have you ever had a issue or problem in your life, and you think you can see the answer so clearly, but the road in between where you are and where you want to be just seems so impossible and frightening? Well, that's where I am. There are so many changes I want to make in my personal life, but I don't know how to do it or how it will all work out. Sometimes I wish I could skip to the final chapter - just get a little preview - and see how it will all turn out. But that's not how it works.

So, I will just keep on keeping on. Continuing to learn more and more about myself - about how I want be and what I don't want to look like. It's tough, this whole being an adult thing. What makes it even tougher is when you know there are two little ones nipping at your heels and watching every move you make, as well as the moves of all the people you have picked to come into your fold. I just have to be more careful. Need to be much more careful.

Good thing each day is fresh and new. I like that. Because most of the time, when I am finished with a day, I have done a fairly good job of dirtying it up, and I definitely need a fresh one. Happy fresh day to all of you!

Friday, August 28, 2009

If nothing else...

If nothing else makes you want to hide your precious babies from the outside world then this story will.

What a freaking nut. At least I am hoping they can find something so severely wrong with him, psychologically speaking. It's hard for me to even fathom someone of sound mind being this evil. Now his victims will have to try to make sense of what has happened to them while trying to fit in with the modern world.

I am just disgusted.

My stint in Louisiana

A lot of people don't know, but I lived in Louisiana for three years. We moved to the small town of Zachary, Louisiana in 1987 (I think) and moved away in 1990. When we moved to Louisiana, school had already begun and I stepped into this world all it's own... I was in the fifth grade, and the thing I remember the most was that I would be taking French. And that scared the crap out of me. Here I was, this pudgy little preacher's girl - a Church of Christ preacher's kid at that who wasn't allowed to wear shorts to school or shave her legs yet - stepping into this classroom full of st angers who I just knew would all be speaking fluent French and laughing at me. Well, of course, the image in my head didn't prove to be entirely accurate.

Louisiana is an entirely different world, though, I will say. And I don't mean anything by that, really, so I hope no one takes offense to that statement. But people are just different there. And life is different. There are bugs and critters and creatures there that I have not seen anywhere else before. I heard languages being spoken in the grocery store that I had never heard before. It's just this melting pot, hodge podge of culture and life. And it is a very interesting place indeed.

I have reconnected (for lack of a better word) with some old friends from my stint in Louisiana through Facebook. And seeing the names and faces of people from so long ago have stirred up within me all these old emotions from my adolescence. You see, when I stepped onto the scene in fifth grade, I encountered for the first time in my life the idea of cliques. Coming from my rather small school in Montgomery, Alabama and having been the kind of child that was always friends with everyone, it was difficult for me to understand why one girl would think herself to good to talk to another. It was my first real encounter with the "haves" and the "have nots." With the cool kids and the not-so-cool kids. Unfortunately, being the outsider I was, and just not having all the right things and looking a certain way, I fell into the not-so-cool category. Those three years were full of a lot of pain for me. And I feel certain no matter where I had lived, how much money my parents had chosen to spend on my clothes, how skinny I was, or how beautiful I had been, I still would have experienced the heart aches of adolescence. But I think moving in from the outside at that pivotal age left me like an open sore to the hurts of childhood.

I wonder if those hurts ever really go away... do you ever really heal from the pain of your adolescence? I can honestly say that I react less inside to the thoughts of what I went through with my first marriage than I do when I think back to those years in Louisiana. Having a crush on this little boy named Jessee who was so ugly to me and played jokes on me at the skating rink. Being very close friends with this one girl all through fifth grade and then the next year, when we entered middle school, she wouldn't even speak to me. Starting my period in 7th grade and having it spread all over the school like wildfire and being so freaking embarrassed I wanted to die. And then there was Lakesha in my 7th grade PE class that wanted to "whoop my ass" because I was a white girl. My memory may be a little fuzzy, but these are things I will never forget. They are truly some of the hardest years of your life - when kids cross over from the sweet and innocent years into the days their true personality and character start to shine through. And that's why I have always placed such a huge emphasis on how my children treat others. I have been made fun of. I have been the nerd picked last in PE. And I don't want either one of my two children to be the one inflicting that sort of pain on anyone.

So that felt cleansing. Who knew all those feelings were still there? And don't get me wrong... I didn't eat lunch all by myself in the cafeteria. I did have friends, and they had all their teeth and could speak and all. And I had a great mom who was home every afternoon when I got out of school who listened as much as I would allow her to and really was the greatest support to me through all those years. And still is today. So don't feel too sorry for me. I think I've turned out okay.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A big "I am so sorry" to my dear mother...

Do you ever stop to wonder while watching your kid do something really aggravating or irritating or horribly bad, "Did I ever behave like that?"

I find myself wondering this quite a bit lately. Probably because I have been around my kids too much and they are beginning to stay on my nerves instead of jumping on and off like they normally do. Especially Madalyn.

She is four. She is silly and loud. She is incredibly demanding and difficult. I just want a break and am ready for preschool to start next week so I can have a few hours of peace every now and then.

The other day, she poured apple juice all over my kitchen table and floor because I was outside vacuuming the pool and wouldn't stop what I was doing to fix her a cup of juice. She tried to do it herself, and I was forced to re-mop the kitchen floor. The very next day, she took my brightly colored orange nail polish and went into her carpeted bedroom to do her nails knowing full well we don't take polish onto the carpet in this house. There are a few spots of orange on the carpet now, but they really do blend nicely with the various shades of pink lip gloss we can't get out. Today she pitched a fit because I was in the tub and she wanted me to help her get her white Easter dress off the hanger and onto her body for no real reason at all. You know, how dare I take a bath and all.

So, to my lovely and patient and darling mother - if I ever followed you into the bathroom while you needed to do a #2 or waited right outside the door and tried to carry on a conversation about Dora the Explorer, I am so sorry. If I ever stole your nail polish and hid it underneath my bed, I apologize for that as well. If I ever took your shoes and declared them to be my own and wouldn't return them to your closet, I guess I owe you an apology for that one, too. I'm sorry if I ever screamed at you or lied to you or aggravated the crap out of you on a day when you had a headache or would just rather be left alone for no reason at all. My bad for all those times I changed clothes fifteen times a day and left them all on the floor so you didn't know what was clean or dirty and you just had to wash it all. The good news, mom, is that if I did all those things to you, I am being paid back ten fold by your granddaughter.

Please accept my sincerest apologies. And it would be nice if you'd remove that voodoo curse you have put upon my motherhood.

Friday, August 21, 2009

And so the sun rises and sets...

One advantage to going through a terrible relationship and divorce at the ripe old age of 21 is that you learn this lesson early in life... the sun till rises and sets every day. The ancient earthly moving doesn't skip a beat, and you must rise with the sun to meet the new day's challenges. Learned it back then, now so many years ago.

And so, the sun rose this morning. The dew calmly settled on the already wet grass in the wee hours. The birds took flight in the morning sky. Though the clouds are thick today, the sun is still there behind them and will show it's beautiful light again. The world still moves.

I got a great night's sleep last night, and I awoke this morning feeling fresh. My friend is still at the forefront of my mind. A prayer for her is constantly on the tip of my tongue. I now completely understand the meaning of the phrase, "Pray without ceasing." Right now, this one prayer is like a ticker running through my mind. It never stops, and it will not rest until I know it has been answered. I know that all circumstances in this world are out of my control, and I am placing the burden on the Lord. He knows the outcome anyway, and I cannot change it with any action, word, nor amount or worrying.

Today is a fresh day for me.

I find myself so thankful this morning. For my children who gave such a new and glorious meaning to my life. For my husband who has evolved into such a wonderful man. For my friends and family who have supported me and shaped me into the person I am today. And for my faith - no matter how rocky things may appear, no matter how dark the sky, I do know that one love in my life will never fail. The love of my God. I do know that and accept that more deeply today than I ever have in all my life.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Dark Side

This post will be a little scattered. I simply need to purge myself, to write some things down.

I think we have all crossed over to the dark side at some point in our life. We all get depressed. We all feel anxiety about the future. But one thing I will never understand is what gives one person the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel when another cannot.

The past several days have been a blur. A friend of mine has crossed over to the dark side, and I have done my best to pull her back across. She spent the weekend in my home visiting, talking, playing with my kids, and when she left on Sunday morning, she seemed one step closer to the light. But events outside of any one's control led her to attempt to take her life early Tuesday morning.

She's a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend. And I don't think I'll ever understand the hopelessness she felt in that moment - a darkness so strong that you can't see tomorrow or the next hour of your life.

I know I did all I could do - except one thing. I didn't share the hope of Jesus Christ with her. I didn't share the sacred word of the scripture with her. I talked to her about God's plan for her life and how He had so many great things in store for her, but I never sat down with His divine word and showed her what it says about her. And I regret that dearly, more than I've ever regretted anything in my life.

I saw her yesterday, lying in a bed, hands and feet bound, tubes and machines working for her. And after seeing her in that state, I don't know if I will ever be the same. I don't know that anyone should ever be the same after seeing someone they know in that state - the physical manifestation of hopelessness.

My goal over the next few days is to sit down with my Bible and put something together for her. I want to share with her the power of my God - her God - our God. I want to let her in on the secret I have held on my tongue - the power of a risen Savior. This power transcends all comprehension here on earth. I am not foolish enough to believe that it makes all these earthly problems just disappear, but it is a glimmer of hope... a firefly on a warm summer night... a fresh set of batteries in a flashlight... a brightly shining star. It just may be that one thing that gives us the ability to see the light. And I know it's the one thing I owe her more than anything else in the world.

She is doing as well as can be expected. The long term physical effects of what she has done are still unknown. But it's no secret that she has a long road of healing and working through some problems in her life. I ask for prayers for her, for her family, that she will be connected with the right group of people who can break through all the darkness and help her connect with who she is really meant to be.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

Friday, August 14, 2009

Third Grade

I remember the third grade. I remember Capri-suns in my lunch box and the annual Jog-a-thon at ACA. I remember my teacher and her room. I remember tornado warnings spent behind the partition in our classroom and the white dish tub that held my supplies. I remember playing some sort of multiplication game where we competed with one another on who could give the answer first. I remember puking all over my desk while the rest of my class was at PE and my mom having to come pick me up.

Point is - I really have a ton of memories from the third grade. I think it's the first school year of my life that I really remember.

David started the third grade yesterday. First - it seems really strange to me that I have a third grader. In so many ways, deep down inside, I still feel like a third grader myself and simply not old enough to have one living under my roof. But it also seems weird that every day, slowly but surely, he is developing into the person he will be forever. He is every day more and more a little man.

I think I like the third grade already. And I know I love our school. This is David's last year at the elementary school. Next year, in the fourth grade, he advances to the intermediate school. So, this year, they are focusing more on personal responsibility.

Ding!!!! Ding!!!! Ding!!!!!

Last year was a struggle in this department for many reasons. David is - well, he is lazy. I can say these things; I am his mother, and I just know him better than anyone else out there. If you can do it for him, he'll let you. And he really doesn't care. I had to threaten him with no Christmas presents last year to get him to practice tying his shoes. He had been letting the little girls in his class tie his shoes, and I finally had to put a stop to that for multiple reasons. And last year, homework assignments were a big issue - I never knew what was going on and when it was due, partly because David had no personal responsibility and partly because he had a male teacher. (If you are make and are reading this, please don't take offense; but it's true that men don't communicate as well as women do unless they have a doctorate in psychology and get paid to do so.) I never knew when they were having tests, what they were supposed to do with their spelling words, what they were working on in math. You get the point.

In third grade, we have a school agenda. I don't know who developed this idea, but I love her!! (It had to be a woman.) It's like a day-planner for kids with a spot for each day's assignments. The child must write down the assignments and the teacher must initial that they are correct and I then must sign it every day. AND I LOVE THAT!! Because I was already beginning to wonder how David would ever learn to be responsible for himself. It just wasn't born in him, I tell you. But this will be a start.

Lovin' the third grade already.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I need one of those lousy tee shirts...

In case any of you have forgotten, I tried to be a runner once. Well, actually, it was about six (maybe seven) months of my life that I attempted to be a runner. And, well, I was unsuccessful.

I wanted it. I did. But my body thought otherwise. Especially the right side of my back and my left shin. I never did quite make any sense of how two parts of the same body but on completely opposite sides could have such an aversion to the same activity, but it convinced me that the body as a whole would never be able to do the whole running thing.

What's nice about the whole running experience is that I am left with a memento - the bad back. If there were a lousy tee shirt to sum up my running experience, it would say: I tried running and all I was left with was a lousy bad back.

My back started hurting again a few days ago. Not real sure why, and honestly, this is my first real flare up since my end to the grand exercise of running. It might have something to do with my fall on the pool deck while we were down at the beach a couple of weeks ago. Yes; I fell. Slipped, to be exact. It was one of those painted pool decks, and I was getting along at a fairly quick pace. I hit a puddle of water, and the next thing I knew I was down on my rump. Applause ensued from the peanut gallery in the pool full of strangers who really had no business applauding me for anything. But I handled it with dignity and took a bow. So, I guess that might be what brought the pain back on. Who knows.

The point is that my back hurts. And today is the first day that I have realized it won't get any better unless I go back to the chiropractor.

The worst part about back pain is that it is constant pain. Hurts when you stand, when you sit, when you bend over, when you reach up, when you lift an object, when you push an object. Pretty much hurts when you breathe. And there's not a lot of anything you can do for it once it begins to hurt. Last year, when I experienced back pain for the first time in my life, I had a new respect for people who live with it on a daily basis. It was unlike anything I had experienced before, and I feel like I know a good thing or two about weird body pains.

Anywho - so I will take it easy. And call my chiropractor and have him do whatever it is that he does. And I will hope it doesn't take more than once or twice to get me aligned this go-round. We'll see. Until then, Scott will have to somehow get the back yard cut - and I think we all know how truly sad that makes me.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunday Reflections

Yesterday, I drove down to Montgomery to visit my grandfather who broke his leg a couple of weeks ago. He is now in a rehab facility, and two of my cousins I rarely see were driving over from Georgia to see him. Though it really wasn't what I wanted to do, I did it. I had been feeling guilty for not having seen him since he fell, and I am constantly wondering which visit will be the last. But there was a big party planned for all the families from our baseball team in Gardendale, and I really wanted to go since I haven't seen so many of them since the World Series. But family won out, and off I went down I-65.

My grandfather is old, and that's putting it mildly. He turns 91 next week I think, and his age definitely shows. He had always been tall and thin, but now his frame is hunched over and frail. And his memory is scattered and confused. We all arrived there to visit him and found him in the hallway, sitting in his wheelchair, head over to the side, fast asleep. And he was incredibly surprised to see us, though he had been told that my two cousins would visit that day. We found a place to sit and visit, and after we had be talking a while, he grinned the biggest grin and said to us, "I just can't believe you all came to visit me today. I just can't believe it." He was just so happy - so very happy to see us all there together. He had his wife, three of his granddaughters, and three great-grandchildren there to see him, and I think it made him the happiest man in the world that day.

Sometimes, it just feels nice to make someone happy. To give someone a reason to smile. And in that moment where I realized how special he felt to have us all there, I was so glad I made the right decision about my day. That's a part of life that is so hard sometimes - taking advantage of small opportunities to just make someone happy.

On the way home, there was a man walking north in the center of the interstate. Kinda strange to see someone right there in the middle. The grass and weeds were high around him - probably up to his knees. He had on faded blue jeans and a red tee shirt, and there was a white bandanna wrapped around his head. He wasn't carrying anything - not a bag or a drink in his hand or a gas can or a cardboard box sign. Nothing. There was no abandoned car anywhere around him. And he wasn't holding up a thumb to bum a ride. He was just steadily walking right in the middle of that grass facing north. And I felt sad for him. I wondered about what had brought him there to that place in his life - headed north on a thoroughfare meant for cars, not walkers, having nothing but the clothes on his back. Did he have family? Was there someone, somewhere who loved him and was looking for him? Is he a drug addict? Is he mentally ill? Or is he just a broken lost soul who was never made to feel special by anyone in particular? Does anyone care enough about him to go out of their way to make him smile?

It's in moments like these that I feel so blessed for so many reasons. And I don't understand why I feel so drawn to people's stories, but I do. I don't know what it means - why I have this fascination with people and what they are going through and how they have come to be who they are. But I am fascinated, and I don't know if I have some sort of calling I am missing out on or if it's just some weird fixation on all different kinds of people. But in that moment that I saw the man in the red shirt, I wished it were safe enough for me to stop and ask him some questions and see if there were anything I could do for him. But it's not safe, and I'm sure his situation isn't that simple. So I guess a prayer for him will have to do.

So, I am incredibly blessed. I have so many people who care about me. But I also have so many I care about. And that is equally as rewarding as having those who care about you - if not more. It is true that the rewards of serving someone, no matter how small the act are far greater than being served. And so I think I will try each day to find little ways to serve those around me. And I will try to remember to pray for those I can't reach.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

So... the beach trip...

Though it was much too short and I brought home a crazy summer cold, it has to be the best trip to the beach I have ever had. And it's really funny because we didn't do anything except just go to the beach and hang out with our kids.

We were able to leave a little earlier than expected in Saturday, and we arrived somewhere around 5:00. We unpacked our stuff - and I believe we had enough stuff to stay two weeks - and took the kids out to the beach. We were greeted by masses of jelly fish. Masses. Big ones, medium ones, baby ones - there were hundreds. I could possibly be underestimating here, but I know no one would believe me if I tried to explain just how many there were. Scott and I were a little concerned; we already knew there was a good possibility of rain, but now there was a possibility our children could be eaten alive by swarms of jelly fish. (I don't think jelly fish really eat people, but it does have a dramatic ring to it.) Madalyn would not go near the water, but David on the other hand was fascinated by them. There were several boys on the beach scooping them up in nets and burying them in holes on the beach, so David got his net and joined the game.

We walked the beach after dark that night looking for crabs. We were really quite disappointed in the sand crabs - what few we did find were so tiny you could barely see them. Perhaps sand crabs are scared of jelly fish, too.

The next day, we woke up, scarfed down a biscuit, and went to the beach. We were glad to see the jelly fish had cleared up quite a bit. We did see some, but they were pretty small and their sting wasn't that bad. I got my first sting ever that day, and David got stung three or four times. But he made two different friends that day and had so much fun riding the waves and playing in the sand. Madalyn's favorite thing to do was looking for shells right at the water's edge. We did finally get her in the water, and she enjoyed it as long as she had the safety of her daddy's hand.

Day three was much the same. One of David's beach friends returned that day, and he spent almost the entire day in the water which was perfectly clear and calm for our final day. I don't think David sat down but one time that day - to eat a little bit of a lunch. We watched the sun go down that night on the beach. We just stayed until the kids were so tired that they were ready to go to bed. It just didn't seem like enough time.

Things I want to remember about the trip:

When we were driving into Orange Beach from picking up our key in Gulf Shores, David wanted the windows rolled down. He propped his little elbow up on the window and said, "Now this is paradise."

Madalyn spent most of the time telling her daddy what to do and how to do it, especially when it came to the collection of shells. At one point she looked at me and said, "I am being the boss of Daddy." I wanted to tell her she really can't yet comprehend the power she holds over him.

I bought a little pack of glow sticks at Target in the dollar aisle. Who knew that could be so entertaining. Madalyn wanted one on every appendage, and it was her brother's idea to wear them like earrings.

One morning, I had just begun to wake up, and I could hear Madalyn whispering to her brother - just calling his name in the sweetest little whisper - trying to get him to wake up. She kept clearing her throat and coughing and then would whisper his name again. She was just so ready for him to wake up, and he never did so much as roll over.

It's true I enjoyed my kids much more away from home. And like I said, we didn't do anything. We never even went out to dinner. Scott and I took turns going out to get food, and we had plenty of snacks with us there at the beach. We just hung out - me and the little family. We talked. We laughed. We played. We had a really great time.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Somewhere on I-65

First, I'd like to express that the trip was awesome. All the way up until the end when it all went terribly bad.

We headed out of our room at 10:15 am on Tuesday morning after two and a half solid days at the beach. When I say we stayed at the beach the whole time, I want you to know that we stayed at the beach for the duration of daylight hours - and on into the night. We literally returned to the room to sleep or refill the cooler. My kids were exhausted, and so were the parents. I had been up half the night before we left with eyes that were oozing and gunking up. Apparently, I was finally falling prey to the viral cold thingy that has been driving everyone around me crazy for months. I thought I had had made it through without getting sick, but I was wrong.

We stopped in at a very interesting Waffle House for breakfast. Of course, all WF's are interesting, but I had never been to one like this - one waitress was singing various songs as they popped into her head, and there were some topics being discussed between staff and a regular at the bar that I would assume are normally discussed only in the dark. It was interesting. After our meal, we loaded back into the demo Scott has been driving for the past few weeks and started out for home. I think it was slightly after 11:00 am.

I don't know how many miles we had made it. I was having a really difficult time staying awake. But nothing wakes you up quite like the sound of a tire exploding... nothing. Scott pulled us over to the shoulder safely, and the kids were a buzz with fascination. Scott got out of the car to check it out and locate the spare. I assessed the area around me trying to find where my kids might be safest on this busy stretch of I-65 while he changed the tire. It wouldn't be an issue, though; there was no spare tire.

No spare tire. And there we sat - me and my kids and Scott - in the middle of nowhere on I-65. All we knew was that we were somewhere north of exit 69 but still south of Evergreen. We could see an exit just a mile ahead of us but couldn't make out the number or name on the sign. So what are you supposed to do at this point?

Me and Scott just kinda sat there and looked at each other like, "What the heck are we supposed to do?" I got on the phone with my dad hoping that he could somehow assist us. And he did just that, finding a couple of numbers of places that could give us a tow that seemed nearby.

The first call was a success - she would send someone out immediately and located a tire for us at the nearby Walmart in Brewton. But the tow would cost us $185. What do you do? You aren't exactly in a position to bargain at this point. This is where things get fun.

The tow truck arrives and immediately instructs Scott to pull it up to the back and he puts the hook on us and reels us in. I looked at Scott and asked, "Does he even realize that there are two kids in here???" At this point we are on the top of the bed of the truck, and both David and Madalyn are having the time of their little lives - I, on the other hand, felt like my Waffle House was about to some right back up in my lap. When Scott let him know that woman and children were on board, he had to let us back down so that we could get out and ride up front in the cab with him.

I would have rather ridden in the truck on the bed of the tow-truck, thank you.

On second thought, I think I would have rather set out walking and just let Scott pick me up when he was done.

I was positioned just beside the truck driver, who was indeed a very well-mannered and pleasant man, with Madalyn propped in my lap. Scott was to my right with David on his knee. This was indeed the most frightening experience of my life. I was glad at first that we were only a mile from the exit, but I had no idea that this jolly old soul would barrel down a two lane country road with two kids without any safety restraint at a lovely pace of 75 miles an hour. When I say the man was trucking it down the road, I mean he was kicking up dirt behind him. By jolly, he was making the most of his $185 tow charge - he was in a hurry.

At one point, I actually considered asking 'ole big boy if he'd mind slowing down. But I decided it might not be best to anger him.

The whole ride to the Brewton Wally World, his Burger King soda cup sitting in the cup holder at my left knee kept dripping on me. The heat from the engine (I guess) was pouring in at my feet. It smelled funny in there... not bad, just funny. And I just don't think I ever want to be in that position again. Ever.

Oh... and did I mention that I needed to pee?

I think the funniest part of all was the exit where it all happened. We had stopped there once earlier in the summer when Scott and I had our little get away together. Both of us had to go to the restroom really bad. When we came out of the little convenience store, we both looked at each other in horror - we felt like we had stepped off the edge of modern society. The door to the store actually had a sign on it that said, "Please pull up your pants before entering." It was the most interesting place we had ever been in our lives, and we both vowed to NEVER stop there again. And that's right where the tire blew. And that's right where the tow truck came from. And as we passed by the little gas station where we had stopped two months ago, we both just looked at each other and grinned.

Oh, the ironies of life.

But the story ends well. Walmart - after about a thirty minute search of inventory - did locate the tire the computer kept telling them they had in stock. And they got us set up and back on our way. Of course this was after a delightful mechanic gave us his opinions about several things - about how obviously Scott had ridden on that rim for a while and he must have been going too fast and that he had just paid $180 ticket from going too fast and it's just not worth it and something else about it just being one of those days. And I sat there, my mouth wide open, looking at this man in the Brewton Walmart, thinking, "Would someone just beam me out of here please?" And I couldn't resist saying aloud at his comment about it just being one of those days, "Well why don't you tell us something we don't already know?"

A little smart, I know. But the guy was a real jack-in-the-box. The fact that he thought we had actually traveled on the "blown out so bad there was nothing left of it" tire was just ridiculous. And then to have the nerve to roll his eyes and comment on the driving was uncalled for. He obviously understood the tone in my voice, because he actually asked me to repeat the comment. Of course, Crazy Mama obliged. And I said it even more clearly than I had said it the first time: "I SAID, TELL...ME...SOMETHING...I...DON'T...ALREADY...KNOW..." I think he got the whole tone - sarcasm and general aggravation - but he didn't quite understand that I was directing it at him. Whatever, dude. Why don't you get back to work, and we'll just be on our way.

I really hate it that the trip ended this way. It really was a delightful experience. And I'll post about all the good stuff tomorrow, with pictures to boot. I just had to get the trip home out of the way first. It's sure to be an experience I will never forget. Never.