Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Am Planning To Continue Blogging....

    I am planning to continue blogging but I need a normal schedule before I can do so.  Right now I am in orientation for my new job and I do not know how some of you work 5 days a week!!  I cannot wait to be finished with orientation and only working 3 days a week.  Work is just taking up too much of my time and I can't stand that as soon as I get home I have to workout, then shower, then cook, then clean, then time for bed and repeat.  What is the point?! 
     At any rate it will probably be the weekend before I sit down to really blog again because I am just too stressed out right now.  I know, I'm crazy; but it's true.  I realized today that one of the reasons I'm having so much trouble with anxiety the past week is because, I think, this is the first time I have been back in a hospital since Jon's spleen ruptured and nearly killed him at the beginning of the summer.  And then I got caught up in the wedding planning drama.  This is the first time in a long time I've had time to think and it's causing me all kinds of anxiety.  I've always, always had trouble adapting and making changes whether it was the first day of school or first day of the semester, etc.  This has been particularly rough on me and I am hoping it goes away really soon because walking around all day feeling like you can't breathe isn't very comfortable. 
     Yesterday I even skipped working out and came straight home, took a bath and got in the bed and pulled the covers over my head and except for a small snack, didn't get up until this morning to do it all over again.  Today I realized the whole thing about being back in a hospital and I just kept remembering Jon being so sick and how he almost died, etc. and then wouldn't you know it, a pastor came in to talk for an hour about death.  About how the families feel after someone dies, what our views are of death, how the patient feels etc.  There I was already down and boom it all came hurtling at me again.  Some things he shared were very touching and I had tears in my eyes thinking about it all.  And then I drove home in the pouring down rain.
    So I will return to my more entertaining posts........I just need a few days.  And a routine.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Last One Up To Bat-part 3

     I lived in my cute, little apartment for one year.  I had been considering purchasing a home at some point but then again, wasn't sure it was for me or what I could afford.  To tell you the truth I liked living in my little apartment.  But my friend across the hall decided she was going to buy a place and her mother was kind enough to enlist a real estate agent to help us both.  I was still apprehensive but it seemed like the right thing to do since I found I that I could afford to own a home for just a little bit more than my rent was costing me.  I ended up buying a 2 bedroom, 2 1/2 bathroom, 2 story townhouse that was the perfect amount of space for a single girl like myself.  It was the only place I looked at; true story. We drove past a few others but I wouldn't even get out of the realtors car because I didn't like the street, etc.  I walked into this townhouse and I thought, well, it doesn't really need any work and it meets all of my needs, so okay.  I wasn't excited and I wasn't upset; I was more like, whatever.  I was scared to death of owning this place and had absolutely no idea how to paint or fix anything.  My bff Brandy, I can recall her saying, "girls aren't supposed to buy houses on their own, they are supposed to get married first and then buy a  house with their husband, or move into his."  I said to her, "well, that's what we've been taught but I'm almost 27, the mortgage is just a little bit more than my rent, they say it's the smart thing to do."  And besides Mr. Right had not come along and I didn't see a need to put my life on hold just because he couldn't hurry up!  I closed and moved in at the beginning of May, 2 weeks before my 27th birthday.  The real estate lady told me, "there will be lots of things you will learn to fix and do"; she said this with a smile.
     So my birthday came around, I was off for the day and had plans to meet up with some friends for dinner at Virago.  That afternoon I painted my nails and fixed my hair and put on my makeup and all that was left was to slip into my dress in a couple of hours and head to dinner.  There had been a drip in the master shower that was bothering me and I had tried a new knob and that didn't work.  I had some time to kill and thought I would run to Lowe's and exchange the knob.  I was also keeping a friend's dog on this day; a very sweet dog that does volunteer work.  I took the dog with me into Lowe's (they will let you do this!) and she sat there in the aisle while I looked over the various fix-it items in the plumbing/bathroom section.  I thought about calling a plumber but the realtor's voice kept talking in the back of my head, "you will learn to do so many things."  A nice older man who worked there helped me quickly diagnose the problem I had and it turned out all I needed was a $4.00 spring that went behind the knob and  into this little hole; he showed me how to fix this on a little model they had.  Simple as that and I thought, "see, I can do this!"  The dog and I went home and I decided to give this a try, after all, it was my birthday, I was 27, a single, independent woman and a home owner!  To make a long story short, I pulled something out behind that knob that I should not have pulled out..............WITHOUT TURNING THE MAIN WATER OFF FIRST!!  THE WATER CAME SPRAYING OUT LIKE A FIRE HYDRANT!!!  The water went all over the place and I couldn't stop it.  I raced around the house opening closets looking for a way to shut this water off and could not find it.  Finally I ran outside and knocked on every neighbors door looking for someone to help. I finally found a young man next door and he reluctantly offered to come over and he walked in and saw the water pouring through the ceiling and just stood there.  Eventually we got the water off and then he left.  I called my dad crying and panicking.  The insurance company sent over some men who tore up my house and left these large industrial dryers everywhere and other equipment.  My birthday dinner was cancelled and we sat in my living room amongst the debris eating pizza instead.

     There is more to that story but I said I would get to the me finally stepping up to the plate to get married in this post so let me keep moving.  After flooding my home I was traumatized.  I was already uncomfortable being a home owner and now I had ruined it.  I couldn't stand the sound of running water unless I was right there watching to see where it went.  I spent several thousands of dollars in home repairs, yes, I had insurance but if you're replacing something you might as well upgrade I say!  I had constant visions of mold that I was just sure was starting to grow as a result of the water (that was never true but that's what I kept imagining).

      The saddest part about all of this is that I was having a really hard time dealing with owning a home before this flood occurred.  I had found myself falling into a depressive state before I started looking for a home and after I found and bought one it didn't get better.  I had been to this place in my mind before and I didn't like feeling like this.  My parents gave me a dog........it tore up my new home, I returned it the day before my birthday.  On the morning of my birthday I had actually decided to call a psychiatrist and make an appointment, I felt like I was getting in over my head.  Who would have known later that day I would flood my new home.  I had already admitted that morning that I was down and waving my white flag and then came the flood on top of it all!!!  The psychiatrist gave me an antidepressant but the best prescription she gave me was a therapist.
    I worked with this therapist for probably six months and then I graduated.  I did all sorts of exercises to get over my traumatic experience; she was very good and it worked.  One of the things she had me do that I absolutely hated at first was yoga.  I ended up loving it; it brought a lot of clarity to my mind and a lot of calmness to my soul.  It is something I am hoping to return to because I was a lot better person with it.  On a side note she also had me buy one of those little waterfall things that sits on a table for my house and I would have to lay and listen to the water running while I did these mental exercises that calm the mind.  (which sounds relaxing, unless the sound of running water makes you anxious! it was a very tough exercise for me!)
  These were some things that began to calm me and settle me down from my wild ways.  My friend was living 15 minutes away, rather than 2 feet away, and working at a very busy new job; so gone were the late night chats.  I also was channeling my energy more to focus on me and being a better person.  I guess the flood, the therapy and the yoga kind of mellowed me out.  I did go on a few dates during this time but not like I did before; frankly I didn't have the energy and they bored me.  I decided at that point that I was not going to associate with or participate in anything that didn't bring me up rather than down.  I also borrowed a friend's not-wild dog a lot and went hiking.
     The Fall season came around and I started socializing with different people that were not so wild.  It's a long, complicated story how Jon and I met really so I will try to summarize. Someone we both had in common introduced us briefly and from there Jon called me to ask me out on a date.  I had never really had a conversation with him and frankly I wasn't sure we would hit it off but he seemed nice enough and I had made up my mind about a month or two before that I was going to date cautiously and selectively (and it's amazing how few dates you will have after you set that rule!).  Jon asked me to dinner on a night that I had to pick up one of my best friends, ken, from the airport (he was planning his move to New York:(.  I refused to a dinner date, having to sit down and eat a meal with a man I hadn't really had a conversation with made me too nervous.  Finally I talked him out of dinner and into just having drinks at a place we both knew.  I got there early so that I could go ahead and get a drink and sit down and try to get comfortable.  The place was packed and I can't tell you how many people were giving me crazy looks; there I was, this girl sitting all alone at a table.  Some really drunk guys said, "hey, you're all by yourself, why don't you come and sit with us."  I said, "no thanks, I'm meeting someone."  A minute later one of the guys was so drunk he fell over in his chair......  The place was loud and wild; I was not.  I was beginning to regret getting there early and was quite uncomfortable and nervous waiting on Jon's arrival.  I kept looking back and forth from my phone to the door, looking for Jon.  Finally I saw him walking towards me; I stood up and practically threw myself into his arms (remember, we didn't really know each other, we more or less just knew of each other from our friend).  I exclaimed, "oh my gosh, I am so glad you are here, thank you for saving me!".  Little did I know how much those words really meant.  We sat down and I apologized for nearly knocking him over and everything and he looked around at the crowd and said, "no, I understand, I see what you mean."  I learned so  much about Jon in those first 2 hours.  He had excellent manners, it was obvious he was intelligent and he was funny.  The best part was I guess we were both maybe at a place in our lives where we were ready to be better and be with better people.
     It seemed like there were no questions we shouldn't ask or answer.  I had never experienced this before.  We were able to discover that we both came from nice, loving families; we both had loving siblings that were good people; we both liked dogs; we were both Christians; neither one of us did drugs and we had some of the same hobbies.  I don't know, it is really weird but we just clicked.  All of our core values were the same; all of our goals for the future were the same.  Jon offered to accompany me to the airport to pick up Ken; the smart girl in me was thinking, "i don't know, you don't really know him and you're going to get into a car together...."; the heart in me said, "it's just Jon, what are you afraid of!".  On our drive to the airport we just started making plans; and it wasn't like he said, "I  always go to Easter at my parents house, would you like to come with me this year?"  It was more like we just started meshing our calendars together, JUST LIKE THAT. This first date occurred on November 30, 2007.
  This is Jon on Christmas Day 2007; less than a month after we met.  I had to work that Christmas so I was at home rather than in Alabama with my family. Jon came over that morning to spend some time with me before he went back to his parents house in Hendersonville to celebrate Christmas.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Last One Up To Bat-part 2

     So here we are, May 2006, Nashville Tennessee; I have just arrived in this city and I am living all by myself in my very own apartment (prior to this I had spent 3 years sharing a living space with my brother in Auburn, prior to that I lived for 1 yr back in my parents home after I finished college, and before that I had had a roommate one time in college, Sara and Trent.....the 3 of us lasted a summer together; Sara and I knew we were both meant to live alone).
     I had left Auburn without a whole lot of preparation or thought given to the idea of moving to Nashville.  Prior to this the plan had been for me to stay in Auburn and live and work at EAMC on the psychiatric unit I had been working on during nursing school and continue living with my brother for a couple of years.  But a series of unfortunate events which I won't go into at this time helped to fuel my desire to get out of there sooner rather than later.  I had pondered the idea of moving to Nashville before but was planning to put it off a few years.  So off I went!  Of course everyone I first met in Nashville presumed that my spontaneity for just up and and moving must be because I'm a music artist.  Imagine their surprise when I explained that no, I was not in the music industry, I just needed a life!!  Seriously, I had no dating life to speak of in Auburn; everyone my age was either in graduate studies (which I was not) or already married.  I was the outcast!!
    So let me just preface by saying that my first year in Nashville is somewhat of a blur to me now.  I didn't spend it completely drunk and I certainly wasn't doing any drugs.  I've never been arrested or anything jerry springer-like.  But I did burn the candle at both ends.  As it turns out, I had a lot, and I mean a lot of get-up and go that hadn't been let out yet.  I assume it was because at Miami we were very focused on our academic studies; yes we got out, yes I did stupid things while there but at the end of the day, I studied and so did everyone else.  I had a strong desire to tryout for the Real World during my Miami days but I never did so because I was afraid of the girl that would emerge and I was afraid my parents would ground me forever and not pay my tuition or my miscellaneous items that they so generously paid for. True confession.  But hey, whatever motivates your kids to stay in school and do a good job I say; even if it is the fear of being cut-off financially!  So I came to Nashville and I was like a loose cannon firing all over the place.  I had done some living while at Miami  but then I spent four years, count them, four long years pent up like a teenage boy in an all-boys school!
      I suddenly went from speaking to no one my age and not having any dates to being a completely wild woman full of numbers and addresses!  I was so wild from May 2006 until the late Summer/Fall of 2007 that I don't remember it. Again, not because I was drunk all the time, although I did do my fair share of promoting the drinking establishments here in this city, but because I was burning the candle at both ends and they were burning very quickly. It was like I was on a mission with two goals: to see how far I could go and how much I could self destruct and to experience this entire city in  one year.
     I was fortunate enough to have a very nice girl move into the apartment across from me.  She was quiet, she stayed up late, and she liked to talk.  So we got along well.  Throughout this whole year she did not approve of my being out of control; but in some way, I think she understood why I had to do it even though I at the time did not understand at all, nor did I see it as a negative in my life.  I am going to have to give her props for letting me be me, for expressing her distaste for my "adventures" (she was keeping it real :) but for not ever leaving me stranded or closing the door on me for the way I was living.  We went to the pool almost every morning that summer (I worked 3p-11p).  I would get up and hike/jog the trails at Percy Warner (until her mother scared me with the stories of girls that kept getting kidnapped and raped from the park!), come home and eat a snack, we would go to the pool, i would quickly shower and then head to work.  Once I got home from work I would walk the 2 feet to her door and we would sit on her porch, she drinking tea, me drinking sometimes tea and sometimes Jack Daniels and we would talk for hours until one of us decided it was time to call it a day and I would walk the two feet back to my door and get up and life would carry on.
    Thankfully this girl across the hall also went out; although not as often as I would have liked!  I wanted to go out Friday, Saturday and several nights after getting off of work at 11pm.  When I say I finally fulfilled my dating needs, I mean that I finally and completely fulfilled my dating needs that first year.  I dated short guys, tall guys, skinny guys, fat guys, bible thumpers, atheists, smart guys, dumb guys; you name it, and I dated him!  In between all of these guys when I had moved to Nashville I had had a crush, okay, maybe a little more than that, on a guy I had known for a while, even while I was at Auburn that I knew from here in Nashville.  And that was it's own screwed up chapter in a book.. This was a guy I learned a lot from.  I learned to not force a relationship that isn't there.  I learned that you must have similar beliefs and value systems (yes, despite my wildness I still had values, deep down, somewhere inside of me!), similar life goals and things that you expect from the other person and that YOU CAN'T LEAD A HORSE TO WATER.  I sat in a car with him for a few minutes at Centennial Park shortly after I moved here so he could fix something on my computer or something like that, it was my birthday that day, he had no idea, even though we had known each other for a couple of years.  I spent that day entirely alone.  Read between the lines Jennifer:  He's just not that into you if he doesn't even know it's your birthday! 
   At any rate, I was trying to write about my first year here but I realized that I couldn't remember most of it so I went back looking through emails; there weren't many on my email account.  I looked through facebook, apparently I wasn't a member.  I hit the jackpot with MySpace!! LOL!!  I had to have my password sent to me to unlock the darn account.  My friend and old roommate Sara had written me about a month after I had moved to Nashville, "are you still seeing that guy??  Probably doesn't matter cause there are so many singles in Nashville."  Wow, was she dead on or what?  Who knew?
     Did I mention that I even dated people outside of Nashville that year!?  The girl across the hall and I, we had two guys (one that she knew in school) come up one weekend and the four of us went camping.  I hit it off with the friend that the guy she knew brought with him.  I ended up with a very painful bladder infection 2 days before they came to Nashville.  While we were camping the night before we went rafting I kept experiencing a lot of pain in my lower abdomen and I kept thinking it was just that bladder infection, oh no it wasn't; yep, you guessed it, I started my period right then and there on that camping trip on top of the infection!!!  Thank goodness both of those kind boys were nurses; not that they enjoyed or welcomed the visitor I had but they understood on a scientific level that it was beyond my control.  And I won't even go into the events that happened as a result of that at this time, let's just say, I was definitely humiliated a couple of times that weekend.  I was really into this guy; he was a nice guy but he lived in Mississippi.  We had made arrangements and plans for me to visit.  Then he suddenly had to do a class at work the weekend I was supposed to visit and then boom, out of nowhere he started dating this girl and got engaged and got married.  Left again!! 
   At any rate (this is getting to be a long post) I dated a lot of guys in a very short time.  One of which started out being called, McHockey but was then changed to McLovem' and Leavem'!  We got a real kick out of that one!  I had totally forgotten about that until my research today.  I also dated a younger guy that bought this stupid, stupid car!!  It wasn't like someone bought it for him and he should be grateful; it wasn't like he bought it used with the little money he had; no he outright bought a stupid stupid car!!  I am starting to realize that the craziness of these boys is for another post; you will probably wet yourself laughing when I tell you about some of them. And I will have to tell you my story about going with a friend of mine to Cafe Coco for my 3rd and final time.......I will never ever go back to that place.
    I promise my next blog will be more about how/ what got me to settle down and to be ready for Jon when he came into my life.  I really will tell you.  I just didn't realize how long this would be.  Maybe I ramble too much or maybe there is just that much to tell, who knows.  But......at the end of my year and a half of dating I was still not married, not even in a relationship!!  Still coming in dead last!


I should have put this first but again, hindsight! :)

     You should know that this blog  isn't what I would call a "cute blog."  I can't say that it won't ever be "cute".  It might, you never know how or which direction something will grow.  But for now this isn't your typical family blog.  In our household we currently do not have: a new baby on the way-biological or adopted; we have not set out on a quest to reach a certain life goal; we do not have any terminal illnesses that we are aware of; we do not have any new pets; we are not survivors of any major disasters nor have we recently experienced any major losses of any sort. 
     I hope that at some point we do have some major life events (positive ones) that I can blog about and share; but until then you're stuck with me telling stories about things that have happened to me that leave me asking "why me?!" or random observations that I find humorous in some way or enrage me.  But the truth is: I can't really say what this blog will ultimately become.
    What I can say is that I am going to refrain from using profanity in this blog, unless it helps to add detail to the particular story.  I am going to refrain from expressing my personal thoughts on politics and religion and all of those other things that get us all upset and enraged and cause arguments.  I am also going to refrain from humiliating anyone but myself.  If I tell any stories about anyone else I aim to show them in their best light; if they did something funny that won't completely humiliate them and I know that they would share the story themselves, I might tell it.  But I am not seeking to dish out information about others that just shouldn't be told.
    I realize that some of you may not always agree with me and that's fine, I get it.  Some of you may not like what I have to say or want to point fingers at the way I say something and again, that's okay.  All of this is meant to be in good fun and taken with a grain of salt.........so don't get your panties all in a wad!  We are all entitled to our opinions and therefore I will likely be expressing mine.  If it differs from yours, it doesn't mean I don't love you still, it just means we are different in some areas and that is okay.  I hope that you will still love me too.  At any rate, this is not my post for the day, this was just something I was discussing last night and felt like I should put out there, a disclaimer for this blog.  In these times where everyone seems to get offended by something all the time.......you just have to put the disclaimer out there!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Last One Up To Bat-part 1

So....I finally took the big leap and got married in late October 2010.  Yes I know some of you will classify this as a shocker of sorts! "Jennifer got married?!"  And I will say that the reason I wasn't married before was not because I didn't want to be married; I just hadn't found that person yet.  I now realize it was all in the plan God created for me from the get-go but I was just too stubborn to let it be......hindsight..........(I say this as I'm shaking my head back and forth).  Somehow everyone else seemed to know it too....I am suddenly reminded of the Summer of 2001 (I think it was 2001, not any later than that).  Scene set at: Miami University, Oxford Ohio.
     I had 2 roommates that summer, Sara and Trent, the three of us were sharing a 4bed/2bath apt.  On our first night there we were sitting around the living room enjoying a few adult beverages and for some reason we started talking about who would get married first and to whom, etc.  I was involved in what I thought was a serious relationship at the time and I loudly proclaimed that I would be getting married first and from the way I saw it, it would be within the next year or two and Sara and Trent should just accept this because it was the truth.  At that particular time Sara was sort of seeing someone (I think she was seriously seeing this someone but I'm not going to be the accuser!) and Trent was seeing no one.  I should also mention that I was also nicknamed Martha (after Martha Stewart) which further proved to me that I was the one that was ready to be married.

   Immediately Trent and Sara both agreed that I would not be the first one out of the three of us to be getting married.  I couldn't believe it; how could they not see that I would be the first?  The result of the discussion was that Sara would get married 1st, Trent 2nd and me last.  I disagreed entirely and I'm sure I put up quite the fight.  We graduated in 2002.  Sara got married.
    I moved in with my parents for a year after graduation, they happened to be living in Pittsburgh, PA at the time.  Yeah, a banner of a city for hospitality, not.  I worked at the local hospital as a nursing assistant; I think every old person in there talked to me about their "perfect grandson......that lives.....1000 miles away" (or was unemployed or just out of high school!)  I went on one, count it, one date that entire year.  I agreed to a date with a guy I didn't know that if memory serves me correctly was a cousin of a friend of mine.  Anyways, he was a big manager or something of a casino and was really busy all the time.  What would a girl like me do with a guy that works for a casino?  Nothing.  I knew that was a train going nowhere. And it didn't.....again, hindsight.......
    After one year my youngest brother, Wesley, and I moved to Auburn, AL so that he could start his freshman year of college and I could go back to college to become a nurse.  (that family studies degree I got in Ohio just wasn't taking me anywhere, imagine that!).  My dating life peaked from time to time but overall was pretty stagnant during my time at Auburn as well.  My mother was just sure that I was "going to find the person you're supposed to marry while you're in Auburn."  After all, this was a place just oozing with young people.  Unfortunately I didn't make a lot of contact with these young people.  My first year I was taking pre-requisites for nursing (surprisingly, ha!) a degree in Family Studies does not arm you with enough science courses to major in  nursing.  So....there I was in classes full of 18-19 year olds.  Not exactly the population I would consider for my dating age range.
   While living in Auburn I did have a few dating prospects though:  I dated this one guy from Dothan for about 2 months, that was the longest of any of my dating experiences while there.  With this one, once again.....hindsight, whew!  He was not that intelligent and was a pretty reckless person with too much daredevil and too little class.  One night while I was at work I called him and I said to him point blank, " (name), you and I both know this isn't working out but neither one of us will admit it, so I'm going to take one for the team here and call it quits, okay?"  He started laughing and said, "you're joking."  I explained that no I was not joking and he laughed some more and said that he had never had anyone say that before and that breakups were supposed to involved yelling obscenities and hanging up the phone.  I told him there was no need for all of that we just simply didn't need to be anymore.
     I had a few other experiences in Auburn, but by few I mean I can count them on one hand.  And I won't bore you with those details.  Most of it bored me too and the rest is scandal.  I ended up transferring to Southern Union to finish my nursing degree, it just made sense, academically and financially. I just wanted to be a nurse, not a rocket scientist, not even a higher practicing nurse, just a nurse. It was the right decision (finally, got something right).  And I graduated from there in 2006, left town, moved to Nashville on a whim......single, still unmarried. To my mom I said, "I am not going to find the person I'm supposed to marry here in Auburn!"  "They are all too young or already married".  Somewhere during this time my old roommate Trent.....yeah, you guessed it......found the love of his life and got married.  At least now the competition was off, I had come in dead last and I couldn't change that.
      This is part 1.  I would finish the story now but I have to go and workout.  More later.
   This is Sara and I at my wedding reception in October.  I probably have some photos from college somewhere but they are also probably in a shoebox somewhere.   I did not have a digital camera back then.  I'm not even sure you could get a cd with your developed pictures back then. But aol IM and napster were all the rage!