Saturday, July 30, 2011

Deodorant

Once a week I take a moment to interrupt my simple life journey to share with you some extra bonus material to make you smile.  Enjoy!


"Janna, can you pick up some deodorant at the store for me?" my husband asked as I walked out the back door on my way to the market.  "Sure," I called back.  

I found myself at the local grocery store, standing in the deodorant aisle, opening several deodorant odor shields to sample their smells.  Which smell would entice me the most?  And then suddenly, as I sniffed one particular deodorant, the vault door of my mind's memory bank slowly creaked open.  Hmm, searching for men's deodorant, I have been here once before, a very, very long time ago....

I was in my teenage years, and I was playing basketball with a boy I was interested in, a little one on one, and when our bodies drew near one another after the ball, I smelled a smell, an aromatic smell from his arm pits.  It was captivating.  The smell of his deodorant was saying to me, “Come here, woman.  May my smell allure you to me.”  And I was obeying.  Because of it, I almost lost all conscious abilities to pull myself away from this delightful smelling game of basketball.  “Five out of six?” I asked, hoping he wasn’t too tired to continue playing.  Once our game was over, he walked away and I was broken from my trance.  It left me wondering, “Am I in love with this young man or am I in love with the smell he gives off?”  I wanted more…of his smell.

So I found myself in the deodorant aisle of the local drugstore.  Now which one was it?  It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but I had to find it.  Once I found it I would know if I was in love with him or the smell. 

I picked up one and popped off the lid.  No, too musty.  Then another.  No, too sporty.  Another.  Too spicy.  And then.  Ahhhhh!  When you read “Ahhhhh,” sing it in your mind and visualize one of the store lights beaming down upon it.  I stood there in the aisle of endless body odor solutions, my eyes closed, tightly gripping the deodorant stick and pushing it as close to my nostrils as I could get it without it actually touching my nose.  I breathed it in with one deep, swelling breathe, as if I were smelling a bouquet of roses.  Mmmm. Would it be weird if I licked it?  

It wasn’t the boy I was in love with. 

I walked up to the counter, lay it down before the cashier, and pulled out my method of payment.  The smell would be mine, literally.  I would wear it so that I could smell the fragrance anytime I wanted.  All I would have to do was lift my arms.  



Why would I even need or want a boyfriend?  I was kind of attracted to myself.

But do you know what I found out?  Men are supposed to wear men smells and women are supposed to wear women smells.  Because they entice each other.  It confuses the sexes when someone goes against the system set up. 

I was in high school when all this was going down, me wearing men deodorant and the such.  It was a hot summer day and I was at a get-together and a band was playing.  There I sat, my back propped against a wall, arms straight out resting upon my knees, ear plugs in, as I watched the band play.  Mmmm, I could smell the alluring scent from my pits.  Oh, it smelled so strong.  I remember briefly wondering to myself, If I can smell my deodorant, can anyone else?  No, my arm pits are so close to my head.  No one can smell them but me.  

I looked around at the party to notice how many dating prospects were at this gathering.  Hmm, anyone of interest?  Suddenly the boy I was sitting next to began to stir, and then I heard a sound that alerted me.  He was sniffing.   

Sniff.  

Sniff.  

Sniff.  

Like a greyhound trying to find the source of a smell, his head started to turn my way.  He was sitting very close to me, so it was awkward when I turned my head only to find our faces within inches of one another.  We were looking into each other’s eyes, and I became concerned.  My eyeballs began to swell the size of two eggs.  His sniffer was about to find the source of the smell in question.  Can he smell me?  Then, his eyes shifted downward to my arm pit, and with one last sniff, he found the source.  He looked confused, and I knew what he was thinking; it was obvious: How am I smelling a man when I should be smelling a woman?  I quickly pulled my arms back down against my body to diminish any lingering aroma.  I turned my head and attempted to secretly blow the smell away while hiding behind a curtain of hair. 

What if he thinks I am a man? 

I don’t want to be known for “the woman who smells like a man.” 

What man is going to be attracted to a man smell anyway?  Get this stuff off of me!              

“Are you wearing men’s deodorant?” he finally broke the awkward silence between us.

“No, that would be weird,” I answered....

too quickly.

And that would be the last time I would wear men’s deodorant as my own. 

*****
So here I was a good 15 years later, in the deodorant aisle once again, looking for a masking scent for my husband's body odor.  It was like deja vu.  I found "the one" again.  Was I tempted to quickly rub it across my pit?  Oh, you better believe I was, as much as I am tempted to buy myself a pair of orthopedic shoes.           

But with age comes wisdom.

I would wait until I got home and no one was looking. 

By the way, it doesn't taste as good as it smells.






Tuesday, July 26, 2011

But What About the Children?



And so we sat together in their living room, Dan and I on one couch, Lou and Anita on the other couch, sitting looking at one another.  Their faces looked worried, a wrinkle above each brow, a center indention between the eyes.  We were seriously considering moving to a different state, and they were worried.

“What about the children?” Anita said.

It sounded like we were getting divorced. 

“I know, Anita.  I think about them too.”

*****

The Children

Anita and I had been working together teaching.  We were coming up on five years of teaching, and we both realized our reproductive eggs were in their prime, attractive, perky, plump.  They were grapes not yet effected by the wrinkling of the sun.  We were both 28 years old.  Tick.  Tock.  Tick.  Tock.  It wasn’t quite time to worry yet, but both of us started to think about the idea of children.  One of our best friends, Lisa, got pregnant, and all of a sudden, Anita and I were very attracted to big bellies and wanted one.  “What if we could have babies all at the same time?  Wouldn’t that be so fun?” I remember dreaming it up in my head, but there is no way you could plan something like that.  Absurd to even try.    

So we tried.

Within months, the census? 

Impregnated. 

Both of us.

Our babies were due the same day.

And we had the same doctor.

And we both ended up having cesareans four days apart. 

I was being checked in and wheeled to my hospital room while she was being wheeled out of the hospital to go home.

We passed each other in the hallway.

“Good job,” I said as she wheeled past me in a wheel chair.

“Good luck,” she said as I wheeled past her on a gurney.     

Then a year later, “What if we get pregnant together again and have baby number two?”

Within months, the census?

Impregnated.

Both of us again.

And we were due…..

the same day.

They were born one hour apart.

This time we both had scheduled cesareans, and our doctor said to us, “You decide who goes first.  I don’t want to be the one to decide.”

It would be me first.

We both lay there in the hospital prep room beside one another, the nurses preparing both of us. 


 

“Are you scared?” Anita asked me, looking over at me as the nurse gave her the gross potion you take before having a cesarean.  

“Heck ya!!!” I said as I finished off my gross potion right before her.  “Oh, no,” I said to the nurse, “it is coming back up.  I need a…. blaaa.” 

I then looked over at Anita to continue sharing my fears.  “And I am afraid I will throw up during the cesarean as well,” I said as I wiped the side of my mouth.

I continued, “I am also afraid that right after the baby is born the doctor will hold him up over my face again and that he will drip on me.  I didn’t like it when the doctor did that last time.”  The nurse began wiping my hand to prepare it to receive my IV.   

“And I am scared about that really large needle that is the size of a number two pencil that they put into my back to paralyze me,” I said as I finished up expressing every fear I could think of concerning what I was just about to experience.   

I looked over at her.  “Are you scared?”

Her face was pale, and her eye balls were bulged.

“Oh, you don’t look so good.  See you on the other side,” I said as I smiled and waved as they wheeled me away.

After the babies were born, we were both rolled into the same recovery room.  We both lay there, half way delusional from the medley of the painkillers we had been given.  Our husbands both sat in the room with us, laughing and talking about this crazy occurrence.  “Don’t make me laugh,” Anita warned.  “You do and we will split open,” I cautioned.  But that didn’t stop them.  Both Anita and I held our stomachs together and screamed through a fit of tears and laughter, “Stop it!  Stop it!”


Good times.

Then a year and a half passed; could it possibly happen again?

It could.



We were due a couple of days apart, so the doctor planned on delivering us the same day, but…

Anita didn’t have just one baby.

But two. 

So her babies came three weeks earlier than mine.   

And then we decided....

to never do it again.

Our children, her four and my three, were like cousins.  Our eldest two were like two peas in a pod, our second born were inseparable, and our youngest three girls were two and half years old, and they thought they were triplets. 

How could we move away and separate the children?


 First Born


Second Born


Third Born


Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Idea

Once a week I take a moment to interrupt my simple life journey to share with you some extra bonus material to make you smile.  Enjoy!


I was swimming in the local public pool with my children, and I realized something.  Chlorine numbs your skin.  And do you know how I know this?  Because you can’t feel it when your daughter unties your bathing suit top.  “Janna, your bathing suit top is falling off,” a mom friend of mine said to me as I swam past her.  I looked down and sure enough there were my boobgirls swimming free.  Wonderful.  Every time I swim with my children, somehow, somewhere, someone unties my bathing suit top.  So, why fight it? 

The local pool is not a topless one, but you will find me there topless, nevertheless.

Well, I finally came up with a solution to my topless problem.  I double knotted my swimsuit tie.  Novel idea.  I then found I had a different problem.  My daughter tries to walk up the front of my body when I am holding her in the pool and when doing so, she walks my swim suit bottoms right off. 

The local pool is not a nude one, but you will find me there nude, nevertheless.      

I just realized why my husband won’t go to the pool without his goggles and why he spends most of pool time practicing holding his breath underwater.  “Janna, did you see that?  Three minutes that time!!  I broke my record!”  “That’s great, Dan.  Unbelievable,” I responded, rolling my eyes.  “Why can’t you just swim with us?  Why do you always have to be underwater?”

Nakedness, below the surface of water.  Hmmm…

Suddenly, I understand the need for nudist swimming areas.  It is for people like me who really just can’t keep their clothes on.  I don’t know how much longer the pool management is going to allow me to be swimming naked in their family kiddie pool.  I may just have to start a nudist swimming area myself.  It will be called Naked Mom Pool.  No goggles allowed.   

Moms, in the end your suits come off anyway, so why even bother?

Feeling bashful?

No worries.  Chlorine numbs your skin,

after a few seconds in the pool you won’t even realize your naked.


 I couldn't include a picture of me.  Only of what was left behind.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Porcupines


How can one of the sweetest things in your life all of a sudden turn so sour?



We used to be so good together.  We used to have so much fun.  We would plan girl trips and would spend hours and hours talking and laughing into the wee hours of the morning.  We made hilarious, ridiculous music videos together that would be too embarrassing to share but way too crazy funny to delete.  On one Halloween we dressed up as old ladies, wearing moo moos, stockings, wigs, and curlers while talking in Southern accents all night.  We would laugh so hard together, so hard that my head would click audibly.  “What is that sound?” Anita asked me as our roaring laughter began to subside.  “Oh my gosh, can you hear that?” I asked, shocked.  I thought the sound was only heard on the inside of my head.  And then we began laughing once again, and I began clicking.  Click.  Click.  Click.

What happened to us?

Someone whom you would do anything for becomes the last person on earth you would do something for.

It happens all of the time, if you think about it.  Another marriage down.  Another friendship has come to its end.

Why?

Can’t say for sure.  I am no expert.

“People are like porcupines,” my mom always said. “They need to learn to bend their quills so they can become close without poking one other.”

Well, we were poking each other all right.  Right to the emotional death of our friendship.

It’s kind of sad to think, really, how many relationships are lost.

Expectations not met, lack of forgiveness, selfishness, pride, lack of grace, immaturity, ect. ect.

I will love you until….

Until you do this.

Until you do that.

Until I just don’t anymore.

And then it’s time to say goodbye.



“No more, God.  I have had enough,” I cried out to God in exasperation.  “Move one of us on.”

No, was his answer.

“But God, what good can come out of this?  We bring out the worst in each other.  Reconsider?” I continued my plea.

No, was his answer.

“Then what will you do with us?  With her?  With me?”

We both wanted out.  We wanted to move on to find a friend who was less drama. 

Drama. 

Women hate it, yet it is with us wherever we go.  Drama is like an unsightly wart on your finger.  You burn it off, you cut it off, you nibble it off when no one's looking.  Hopefully it's in a spot that your teeth can reach or then you have your husband get involved.  And just when you think it’s gone for good, Pop! there she is again, smoking a cigarette with a couple of wart babies next to her.  So you learn to accept the wart, befriend the wart, and respect the wart.  You tiptoe around it as best as you can so as to be careful not to arouse her.  But you know she is coming.  And oh, she is coming, like a crazed witch flying through the air on her broomstick with yellow teeth outlined by black coffee grits.  Drama is coming for you.   

Anita ended up marrying Lou, my husband’s best friend of 12 years, and so we saw no end to this taxing, dramatic relationship of ours.  Our ties would remain forced upon us.  But God had a plan for our friendship.  

Over the next few years, He would use this relationship between two selfish, self-centered girls to teach us what it meant to bend our sharp, rigid quills.   He would use us in each other’s lives to refine us, purify us, and change us into people different than who we once were.  He didn’t allow us to quit as so many people end up choosing to do.  

"So we are stuck together," Anita said as she walked into my classroom during lunch break.  "Yeah, I know," I responded while taking a deep breath.  

"We might as well make this work," she said.

We would have to figure it out, this communication thing.  I would have to stop provoking her.  She would have to stop screaming and yelling at me.  I would have to stop saying to her, "Get out of my face.  I will talk to you when you calm down."  She would have to learn to talk with her "inside voice".  And I would need to stop pushing my hand up to her face to make her disappear.

It wasn't working anyway.


Could God put certain people in our lives just to grow us?  Absolutely. 

There came a day when I became thankful for this relationship with Anita, when I realized that God had used her in my life to become a better friend, a better person, a better wife, and a better mom.

Through all of those conflicts we had, He taught two young women so much about themselves, about each other, about life, and about what selflessness really is.  During the upcoming years we would experience tons of tears, discussions, and eventually tons of laughter again.  Our friendship, in the end, was restored.

But it wasn’t the same friendship;

it was stronger,

deeper,

and a lot less selfish. 

Anita was not just a friend anymore, she was a friend who had become closer than any sister I could have ever had.  I always wanted a sister, always yearned and wished for one.  When God doesn’t give you something, it’s because He has something better in mind. 

And He did.

Sad to think,
I almost let it go. 



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Omelets



Anita and I were about ready to throw down.

With Anita and Lou’s new-found love, our relationship began to shift, taking new form.  You know how it goes when your friend finds love; they are suddenly not as available anymore.  Emotionally they are high as a kite flown simply by love.  Love is all that they can think about, talk about, and sing about. 




Your friend is just plain different.  You see, Dan and I had past this honeymoon stage of our relationship many years before them, after all, we dated for five and a half years before getting married.  But Anita and Lou were new and with their newness came mushy gushy love that made me want to barf all over them. 

At this time, Anita and I enrolled into the same credential teaching program.  We were daily carpooling to our classes, and we were assigned to the same school for our student teaching.  We saw each other before school, in school, at school, after school, at home, at play, EVERYWHERE!   

Have you ever spent an immense amount of time with a certain person?  It's like eating the same thing for lunch every single day.  It's like the cold bean and cheese burrito I had to eat for lunch all four years of high school.  Have you ever eaten a cold bean and cheese burrito?  Did you know that when you microwave something in the morning, it isn’t still warm by the afternoon?  I couldn’t even look inside my lunch bag for fear I would see it, touch it, or smell it.  That is how I felt about her; that is how she felt about me.  Now don't get me wrong, we still liked each other, a little, but we were tired of each other, allowing every little annoying thing to squeeze the life right out of our friendship.  We began to fight like two squabbling sisters.  At first it was about little things.  She wanted the air conditioner on constantly.  I wanted my window rolled down.  “Do you have to have your window down?” she asked me.  “Do you have to have the air conditioner on all of the time?” I retaliated.  She wanted to talk at 7 a.m. in the morning.  “So what did you do last night?” she asked.  I needed to be quiet at this time because I was still partly asleep.  “Shhh,” I put my finger up to her lips to silence her.

One Saturday morning a group of us girls decided to make breakfast together.  We chose to make omelets, and I was the one in charge of making them.  As I was cooking one, Anita came up behind me and said, “That’s not how you make omelets.” 

I answered back, “I have always made them this way.”

“Well, that’s not how you do it,” she replied. 

She continued to inform me of the “proper way” to make an omelet.  (Like there is a proper way.)  In all truth, it is a logistic that I don’t really care about.  It’s like asking me if I would like to learn the proper way of folding a bed sheet.  No!  I don’t care.  Crumpling it into a ball and stuffing it into the linen closet has always worked for me.  Whenever I open the linen cabinet door, a ball of sheets falls right into my arms, and there, half of my job is done.  Timesaving technique.  Well, I also have a time saving technique to make an omelet.  I throw in the ingredients, and my hand does wild, spasmatic movements, flipping, spinning, wacking and splatting until my final product looks like this:



But Anita expected something more like this:



Truthfully, they taste the same when they hit your mouth.  

My back was toward Anita, and I was facing our friend Lisa.  As Anita proceeded to inform me how to make an omelet, I began silently opening and shutting my lips, while bobbing my head side to side like a bobblehead doll, mimicking her in a sarcastic manner.  Only Lisa can see me, I thought to myself since Anita was behind me, but I was wearing my hair in a ponytail, and I was about to find out I was clearly not hidden from view as well as I thought.   

All of a sudden, she grabbed me by my pony tail and jumped onto it like quasimodo; she was ringing my head like a church bell.  Oh, you want to go there, do you, I thought in my head.  Retaliation was certain.  I would not be bullied nor bald.  I had only one chance, and I needed to make it count.  I swung my arm around and did a little Chuck Noris on her, hitting her upside the head.  “Hi ya!  Take that!” I shouted out, then laughed an evil laugh, and turned back to my omelet.  We were two girls gone wild.  She was shocked.  Yeah, of course.  My moves were amazing.  She ran out the door and slammed it behind her.  Later she said she couldn’t hear out of her ear.  What lies. 

Everyone was quiet, frozen stiff.  Probably out of fear.  Would there be more kung fu?  Then I broke the silence, “No one ever pulls my ponytail.”  I don’t know why I was saying this.  Was it to warn others?  Would I be attacking others if they did?  Was it because I felt dumb for attacking my friend with a karate chop?  I am not sure.  But please friends, don’t be scared of me.  That was the only time I have attacked a friend.  I usually just attack bad guys.   

We ended up being hired by the same school district, the same school, and the same grade.  So here I was teaching my sixth grade students and there behind them, across the foyer, there she was, teaching her sixth grade class, always in my peripheral.  The only time we didn’t see each other was during sleeping hours, and even then we were haunting each other’s dream.                              

We were fine to go opposite ways.  We both prayed, separately, that God would take us out of each other’s lives.  Our prayers sounded pretty much the same, similar to an Italian mobster, “God, it's time for, shall we say, Anita to take a trip.  I don't want to know where she goes.  Just make her be gone.  Do we have an understanding?” 

But God had something very different in mind. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Porcelain Rule

Once a week I take a moment to interrupt my simple life journey to share with you some extra bonus material to make you smile.  Enjoy!  

This post is dedicated to Shanon who passes Simple Life Journey around her office on Monday mornings for a good laugh.  Here's to Shanon's office at Austin Peay State University in good ol' Clarksville, Tennessee.  Go APSU! 


[Photo Source: Cheatingpartners.org]


There are certain expectations, or “rules”, women have for men. 

We want them to be able to read our minds, telepathy, if you will, transferred by the look of an eye.    

We want them to listen to our problems.  I mean really listen, as if they were watching a football game.  

We want them to pick up after themselves.  Those little tightie whities aren't as cute when they are lying on the floor. 

We want them to be honest with us, but not too honest when it comes to our physical appearance.  Do you think I look like Megan Fox? 

And the list goes on and on and on.   

Well, my pastor was doing a series on relationships, and he threw out a topic, attempting to persuade us women to let go of.  The topic...

Men not putting the toilet seat down. 

I could see all of the wives begin shifting in their seats, leaning forward, like they were preparing for battle.  The church became still, a dead calm.  From the pulpit I heard the pastor pondering as to why this would be the cause of great strife in marriage.  Why couldn’t a woman be so kind as to take care of that small issue for her man?  A sweat bead began to form on my lip and brow.  The side of my upper lip lifted into a slight snarl.  My palms and pits became clammy.  I looked down at my sides; two wet rings had taken shape.  You know, I might agree with him on other topics such as picking up his socks for him or taking up his dirty dishes to the kitchen sink.  I would not love to do these things, however, I would do them.  Ohhhhh, but as for the toilet seat issue, I am not sure that my pastor is aware of what can actually take place to a woman when a toilet seat is dangerously left ajar. 

It was the middle of the night.  You know, the time when you should be sleeping your finest sleep but your bladder keeps nagging at you until you finally concede.  “Okay, okay,” I said to my bladder with irritation.  It demanded relief, and if I did not give in, we would be having a different problem, all over the bed.  I sleepily made my way to the bathroom, avoiding any turning on of lights that might sting my eyes and awaken me anymore than I was.  I was attempting to stay partially asleep by tilting my head to one side, keeping my eyelids closed except for a tiny slit of vision so I could see where I was going.  I was trying to trick my mind that I was still in a sleeping state.  I will take care of this fast.  It will hardly be an interruption to my slumber, I said to myself.

There the toilet was, my thrown, awaiting my arrival.  I turned around, slowly, gracefully lowering myself down upon it. 

Suddenly, the crescent shaped slits of my sleepy eyes took the shape of two full moons.  Because at that very moment, like a submarine, my butt experienced submersion, submersion into the cold, icy waters.  And before I knew it, my bottom was splashing wildly within the toilet’s chambers.  Water was splattering all over me, all over the walls, like a blender without a lid.  I almost became frantic.  Why can't I get out?  My butt was acting as a cork; the suction was too strong!  "Freedom!" I called out.  And at that instant, the toilet decided to liberate me from his clutches.  I was spit out onto the floor before me.  I lay there in a puddle of toilet water, one of the lowliest places a woman could find herself.  I tried to pick up my heavy head.  Slowly, with my hand, I wiped the wet hair from my eye.  I took a moment to collect myself, to rally up enough self respect and strength to pull myself up off of the ground.  Once to my feet, I ran as fast as I could to the shower, leaving a filthy toilet water trail on the floor behind me.  I was just doing the backstroke in the toilet, and my body needed complete disinfecting.  Where's my homemade disinfectant vodka spray when I need it the most?  So I set the water temp as close to the boiling point as possible.  “Ouch.  Ouch,” I called out as the water burned my skin.  

My husband must have heard my cries because he was standing at the shower door half dazed and confused.

“What are you doing in the shower?” he stood looking at me, mouth wide open, baffled at this unusual activity of bathing in the middle of the night.

“I fell in,” I glared at him when I said it.

“You fell into what?” he asked confused as to how someone could fall into taking a shower.

“I fell into the toilet, Dan, and I almost couldn’t get out,” I said, making my voice sound as angry as it could.  “My butt was just submerged in a cesspool.”

Leaving the toilet seat up is not a silly little argument between the sexes.  No, it is actually a major safety issue. This is a very, very dangerous behavior of a man.  And this may be happening to many wives.  I don’t know.  It’s kind of embarrassing to talk about, so I don’t just tell everyone.

So this is to my pastor:  Men leaving the toilet seat up is a big deal, a very big deal.  Pastor Ken, pick a different issue for us women to let go of.  But, PLEASE stay away from my toilet seat.

Because I might not survive almost drowning again.



 It might look harmless....
butt beware.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

An Eligible Bachelor


My husband Dan met Lou when they were both in junior high.  I met Lou for the very first time when I began dating Dan.  I was 17 years old.  Lou was like our chaperone.  He went everywhere with us, and he kept our passions in line.  You would not make out when there is Lou sitting next to you and your boyfriend, now would you?  Every high school kid needs a Lou.  


 Because Lou is always with you.


Dan and Lou were in their first year of college, and I was a senior in high school.  We had the best times together.  The guys started kind of a guy club, and I started kind of a girl club, and we all hung out together constantly in our college years.  But Anita and Lou wouldn’t find love with each other yet because Anita thought she was getting married to this other guy, a guy I did not approve of.  I tried my very best to stop it, but Anita decided to ignore all of the blazing, florescent, orange flags that were whacking her across the face, blinding her visuals.  I remember helping her try on wedding dresses.  She couldn’t decide between two.  As she was stepping into one of them, she said to me in exasperation, “Janna, I can’t decide.”  My response, which really had a deeper meaning, was, “Anita, what if you don’t have to decide?”  She knew what I really meant, what if we could ditch this whole wedding idea, and we both started laughing out loud.  The mother of the bride and all of her bridesmaids, who were outside the dressing room door, inquired, “What is so funny?”  We just responded, “You know, just dress issues.”

It left me puzzled.  How could she marry a guy whom she really didn’t want to marry, whom she really didn't love?  Then, as the wedding drew closer, she finally found enough strength to break up with him.  Boy, that was a day to celebrate.  She cried for ten minutes, and then we ran around the room screaming and laughing, relieved from what could have been.

Within weeks, her affections would shift to Lou, whom she was already friends with.  And he was a very eligible bachelor...



with whom she would be engaged to six months later.   

Whoo hoo!  There would be a wedding, and I would be in it!  It would be perfect.  We would be in each others lives forever.  Our husbands best friends.  Us best friends.  This relationship, this wedding would be the best thing ever for our friendship.  But in reality, not really.  Conflict was just around the corner ready to attack us like a boxing kangaroo.  

We would be wanting to strangle one another.     



Literally.
  
And I am not exaggerating.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A New Land Exists!!!


We saw a life that attracted us, a simpler life.  A life in the country.

We came home all excited of what else was out there and wanted to tell everyone about it.

As we walked through the front door of Louie and Anita’s house, our closest friends, we were eager to share. 

“What happened to your hand,Janna?”  They exclaimed when they saw it all bandaged up.  But that wasn’t important.  “Long story,” I responded, “I will tell you later.”  Right now I couldn’t wait to tell her what we were so excited about.

I was like Columbus talking to the queen, wildly swinging my arms from all my excitement.  “A new land exists!” I was practically yelling in her face.  Her hair was blowing back from the air of my breath.  I think I spit in her face because she flinched away.  I stumbled over my words trying to get them out as fast as I could.  “Anita, we could live in the country.  We could have cows and chickens, and a tractor.  We could live in a house on a rolling hill!  A rolling hill, I tell you!!!”

But as I was telling her, the expression on her face was not what I had expected.  She was scrunching her face up and looked appalled.  I saw concern on her face. 

“What?” I was confused.  “What’s with the unattractive facial expression?  I don’t think you should do that face.  It isn’t very pretty.”

I saw the worry in her eyes, but I ignored it.  It will be fine, I thought, she just has to get used to the ideaAnd then we will all move together.  It will be great.

Then a few days later, there came “The Talk.” 

The Talk

“We are like a family.  Our kids are like cousins.  We are supposed to grow old together and be put in the same convalescent home,” Anita and Lou sat before us, their eyes filled with worry.

It was true.  We had always thought we would be around each other, like family.  When we bought our house in Long Beach, they bought a house in Long Beach soon after.  We were walking distance from one another, and it was awesome.  "Do you have any sugar I could borrow?" and then I would run over to her house to fetch it.  We planned to be close our whole lives, living life together.  So when she reminded me about living in a convalescent home together, it sounded like so much fun.
  


My excitement started to waver.  My dream had been poked by a sharp pin and life was slowly seeping out of it.

Pthththththththth, the air escaped, almost loud enough for me to hear.

This talk was making me feel loved and wanted.  And deep down that is what I desired most.  Isn’t that what we all desire?  To be loved and wanted?  Here sat Anita and her husband Lou, people with whom our lives were deeply intertwined, they didn’t want to lose us, and I did not want to be lost.  The history of our lives together ran so deep.  Lou was like a brother to both me and Dan, and Anita was like the sister I never had but always longed for.


 
Dan and Lou


Me and Anita

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Don’t Ever Measure the Length of Your Husband’s Bow


We were home!  Home at the beach, our temporary haven.  We had just come back from seeing a wonderful life being played out before us in the country.  My husband was dreaming of hikes, hunting, and having “a wall” of his own.  Oh, to have a wall of animal heads in my future home, I couldn’t wait. 

“We are going back there, Janna.  We have to.  I want to hunt with your cousin Jeff.”  My husband said as he walked up behind me. 

“So you want to start hunting,” I responded with a smirky tone as I stood in the kitchen chopping vegetables.  I hadn’t turned my head to look at him for fear I would cut myself, which was a lesson I had learned before- always look while you are chopping with a knife.  It’s a good rule.  I set down the knife and turned around only to be shocked by my husband standing before me with a large bow in his hands.


 

“My word, Dan, where did you get that?”  I inquired.  When was he buying weapons and how did I not know this information, and what other weapons was he hiding from me? 

“What else do you have?”  I asked sarcastically, but to my surprise, he answered,

“I have a shotgun too.”

“Whaaaa?  We live in the city, Dan!  When are you going to be using all of these weapons?”  I asked, seriously wanting an answer.

“When we move to the country,” he said, while grinning from ear to ear as he looked at my face knowing very well what my response would be.  I rolled my eyes and puckered my lips to the side as to say, “Yeah, right.”  Deep down I really didn’t believe we would ever actually move out of the city.  The consideration of it was only a dream.

“Would you help me measure my bow?” he asked me with a tone.

I laughed as I walked over to him and his bow. 

“I need arrows for it and I need to measure what size I need to buy,” he said. 

He then explained his simple plan of measurement, “Okay, I am going to pull back the string as far as it can go, and I need you to use a tape measure and tell me how many inches it is from the back of the string to the front of the bow.”   

It sounded easy enough.  I would do this quickly and then get back to my chopping, so I thought.

He pulled back the bow as hard as he could.  “Hurry,” he moaned.  I could hear the urgency in his voice suggesting the intense energy he was expending just to hold it back.  I was in the middle of measuring it, being a good wife, assisting my husband, when I heard a very loud SNAP!  What was, I thought to myself, thaaaaaat?  By the word “that” I knew very well what it was.  He had accidentally let go of the string and its 65 pounds of pressure right at my hand.

I grabbed my hand and fell the floor with a pathetic girly scream, “Ahh.”  It sounded like a whisper scream because it hurt too much to expend a significant scream, and my body was going into shock.  “I need a bowl,” was all that I could gather myself to say.  I knew what was coming next.  I would be throwing up.  You see, every time I experience pain, my body decides it needs to throw things up.  I cut my finger, grab me a bowl.  I stub my toe, grab me a bag.  Someone steps on my ingrown toe nail, where is the trash can? 

He carried me to the couch with my bowl, a gesture which would have been heroic if he wasn’t the one who just attacked me.  I was white as a sheet.  A welt the size of a tangerine immediately emerged on the top of my hand. 
   



Dan began pacing back and forth, back and forth.  He then ran to the phone and called my dad.  “I hurt Janna.  I hurt Janna.”  My dad responded so loudly in the phone I could hear his voice on the other end, “What??!!!  What??!!!  What did you do to my daughter?!!!”  He sounded like a crazed chipmunk.

I lay there going in and out of consciousness.  I was actually kind of dying.

I waved Dan over.  “Hold on,” he said to my dad, “she is going to say something.”          

He came close to me; I waved him even closer.  I put my lips so close to his ear that they were actually inside his ear.  “I.  Will.  Never.”  I paused and then I pressed on to continue, “Measure.  Your.  Bow.  Again.”   

And then I laid my head back, and I was gone.    

Those were my last words.

For a very, very long time.

When my son was asked at school, “What happened to your mom’s hand?”  His answer was…

“My dad shot her with his bow and arrow.” 


 

Which was pretty much the truth.