Monday, April 23, 2012

Dear Officer

Dear Officer,
I'm sorry I acted like a total chick tonight when you pulled me over. I'm sorry for the tears and the crazy eyes I'm sure I exhibited. I'm also sorry I inadvertently made you feel like an ass. It wasn't my intention. Any other day, I'd have found you funny and perhaps even charming. You just caught me on a really bad day at the end of a really bad week. Please don't let this incident damper your usual sense of humor and desire to have fun with your job. I'm sure almost everybody else appreciates it.

The sobbing hormone case on Parker Blvd.

Now, a little back story for the rest of you.

Let me preface this with a few facts.
1. I never cry in front of cops, much less to get out of a ticket. I figure if he's pulled me over, it's because I deserve the ticket and I take my lumps. For every speeding ticket I've gotten, there have been a least two hundred times I haven't been caught. I suck it up, I take my ticket and I thank the dude for doing his job.

2. I also have always despised this particular town since I was a new teenage driver over 20 years ago because the cops there are reputed to be assholes. They've been known to pull you over for going under the speed limit because it's a tiny town and all they have to do is fuck with non-residents. I try to avoid it at all costs, but tonight I just wanted to get home, so I went straight through it. Like an idiot.

So, the other day I realized that I have a burned out headlight on the car. Unfortunately, I realized it at 10pm on Thursday and was leaving for Chicago bright and early Friday morning and didn't have the time to fix it. I knew we wouldn't be driving much at night in Chi, so I didn't worry about it and figured I'd get it fixed first thing Monday. No big deal.

Tonight, when Cheese and I got back from Chicago, I dropped her off and went to pick up Big Man for his birthday dinner and our movie date. We spent several hours together hanging out and having a good time and I dropped him off then headed for home.

Now, between his house and mine, there's just one little town.

That little town. And as I drove by the one road that could bypass it (and take me through a different little town, much less populated by cops), I thought to myself, "Shit, I should've turned there. Oh well. I'll be okay."

I eased into town and turned left on the south edge, hoping to skirt around the perimeter and not penetrate the town square where the cops usually set up shop. I went about a half mile and turned onto the next street (just one more to go!) when I saw headlights come flying up behind me. Sure enough, I looked in my mirror and caught a side view of the car as it turned the corner behind me.


My speed was fine ( stranger to this little donut hole of a town) and I drove the limit as I waited for him to run my plates. A minute later, he popped the cherries on and I pulled over. While he was getting out of the car, I pulled my license out and opened the glove box to get my registration and proof of insurance.

I can't find it.

No, seriously. I can't freaking find it. Now, in the state of Iowa (as it is with most states), it's a big deal not to have proof of insurance. Like $500 worth of big deals. (Ask me how I know.)

I hear his car door shut and see the flashlight in my mirror and know that having a driver digging around in their car can scare a cop, I stop and wait for him to come up. I hand him my license and he's nice as can be. 

Cop: Hi, ma'am. How are you tonight? Did you realize you have a headlight out? That's why I pulled you over.

Me: Yes. I'm sorry. I realized it when I was out of town and I'm just arriving home after being gone all weekend. 

Cop: It's okay. It happens. I just need your registration and proof of insurance.

Me: Yeaaaaah. (as I look at the pile of crap I've pulled from the glove box) I don't know where my registration's at. It's usually in the glove box, but all I can find are my car repair receipts (apparently, every single one for everything that's ever been done to this damn jalopy).

Cop: Okay, no problem. It's not as important as your proof of insurance.

Me: *sadly* It's with the registration. We keep them together.

Cop: Okay, well, you keep looking for it while I go run your license real quick. If you find it, just hold it out the window, okay? *sparkling smile* (Hey, I was stressed, not totally blind.)

He retreats to his car and I continue looking for my registration. Did you know we had the wheel bearings replaced in our car in 2008? Huh. I'd certainly forgotten. Oh and the oil change I just did? Well, I've got the receipt from that tail light they replaced, too. OOH! Registration! YES! *happy dance* 

I pull out the registration. And the insurance card.

From 2009. 

At this point, I realize I'm going to have 500 new reasons to hate this little town. Given the week I've had, it's safe to say this is where I come to the end of my rope and the tears I've been fighting all weekend start to bubble up. Using one of the McDonald's napkins I unearthed from the glove box, I start wiping my eyes. I prayed that even if he did give me the ticket that he wouldn't impound the car. They've been known to do that, after all. And I didn't know how I was going to wake my husband up to come get me because he turns his phone off when he goes to bed. I try not to panic as I wait for the cop to return to the car.

When he does, he sees me holding my registration.

Cop: Ahh, found it?

Me: Just the registration. I still can't find my insurance card. It's usually with my registration and I don't know what happened to it.

Cop: Hmm. That's not so good. I'm afraid we're going to have to impound the car and take you to jail.

Me: *in a high-pitched shrieky voice, all one word* OHMYGODAREYOUSERIOUS?!

Cop: Actually, I'm quite...*his smile spreads from ear to ear* ...not serious.

Me: *exploding into tears* 

Cop: Oh, ma'am! I'm so sorry! I was only joking. I'm sorry! 

Me: *still crying* *sob* You..*hic* have no *sob* idea how *sob* UNFUNNYTHATWAAAAAAAS! *sobbing*

Cop: I am SO very sorry, ma'am. It's just a warning. I swear. And I'm only giving you that much because we have to document all stops.

Me: *nodding and sniffling and completely mortified at this point, because again...I don't pull the girl card when it comes to traffic stops* 

Cop: I just need you to sign it here. *hands me the book*

Me: *nodding more as I sign it*

Cop: *tearing it off and handing it to me* This is pretty much just a souvenir at this point. You don't have to do anything with it.

Me: *sniffling* I'm sorry. I swear, I'm not one of those girls who cries to get out of a ticket. It's just been a reaaaaaaaaaally baaaad week. 

Cop: Again, ma'am. I'm so sorry. Usually, whenever I say that people know I'm joking.

Me: *trying to chuckle so he doesn't think I'm a complete lunatic* I'm sure if it were any other week I'd have found it hilarious. I've got a great sense of humor usually.

Cop: I can't apologize enough. Is there anything I can do for you? Do you have any questions?

Me: No. I mean, I just wanna get home. Am I okay to do that?

Cop: Yeah. You'll be fine. Just drive carefully, okay?

Me: Okay.

Cop: Again, I'm really sorry if I made your night worse.

Me: No. It's okay. Besides, this'll make really great blog fodder for later, when I've stopped crying. 

Cop: *chuckles because I don't think he realizes I was serious* Okay. Well, drive safely, ma'am.

Can I just tell you how very disgusted I am by my own lack of a sense of humor? Normally, I'd have fired back some flirty "Frisk me gently" come-back and we'd have both had a good chuckle and I've have been on my way. This only goes to show how very little funny I have left in me right now. I'm sure a month from now, this story will be fucking hilarious. Right now? It's just the cherry on my shit sundae.

Lessons learned: ALWAYS print off an extra insurance card before you leave town. ALWAYS go directly to a car repair shop and buy a new headlight the second you find yours is burned out. And ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS take the road that bypasses Cop City.

P.S. Thank you, Officer for not giving me 500 new reasons to hate your little town, which is otherwise lovely.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Everything happens for a reason

I've always been a firm believer in this motto.

I don't always expect to know what the reasons are, but I do believe everything that happens to us happens for a very specific reason.

In early January, I blogged about how the timing in moving to New York wasn't working out. I talked about it didn't mean I wouldn't get out there eventually, but that for now, the moment had passed me by. At the time, while I didn't know why it wasn't working out, I did decide to focus my energy on what I could do to get there.

Now, as I look a second surgery in the face in the coming weeks, I realize that I wasn't meant to be in New York right now because if I were, I'd be facing this alone. My husband and kids would be back here, as we'd planned to be "bi-coastal" for a while. My best friend, my family (immediate and extended) and other friends would all still be here in Iowa and I would be virtually alone in a new place where no one could help me recover from major surgery. I'd have friends in the city, of course, but nobody that didn't have work or family responsibilities and certainly no one to take care of me around the clock like I'll need that first week after my operation. 

God also seemed to know what He was doing when a job offer fell through for my bestie a few months ago. If she'd gotten that job, she wouldn't be able to help me get through this either. My husband and kids can help me in the evenings, of course, but during the day I would be alone without AM. Of course, it doesn't help her pocketbook to be unemployed right now, but I am so grateful to know she's available when I need her.

I try very hard not to question the "Why's" of things, though I know I sometimes do. I'm starting to realize if I just wait a little bit, God will reveal Himself to me little by little and things begin making sense.

If only I had that patience in other aspects of my life!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

You don't like it? Change it!

Being as involved as I am with social networking, my timeline is frequently bombarded with people complaining about their lives.

I'm not talking the occasional bad day or crappy situation that has them down - it's a given that we've all been there. I'm talking about the constant "My life SUCKS!" "My family SUCKS!" "This job SUCKS!" "YOU can SUCK it!" attitude.

First off, let me make the disclaimer that I am, in no way, shape or form, trying to tell you that you can't complain about your life or vent about something shitty that happened. If that's what helps you feel better about it, then bitch away. Bitch all day, every day if it helps. But don't expect me to listen to it. You have the right to say what you want to say, but I also have the right not to listen to it. And I won't. If I unfollow you, it's not because I'm trying to control what you say, it's because I don't give a shit about hearing it. Again. Furthermore, if you think I'm bitching too much, I fully expect you to tune me out. I try not to be that person, but I'm realistic enough to know that there are times when I can be too much.

The majority of my cynicism, however, is for the purpose of being funny. To make people look at what I say and think "Huh. My life isn't so bad after all." Because honestly, kids? My life is fucking amazing. I have stupid shit that brings me down, but over all, I'm a happy girl who's been blessed with some incredible opportunities and I cherish those things. So when you see me say things like "Oh good, a Kardashian is here today," it's not because I'm upset about it. It's to set the foundation for material to joke about for weeks to come.

That's not the intention of the people I'm talking about today, though. Their intention is to bitch. Plain and simple. They hate their job, their boyfriend, their sister, their neighbor, their dog, their kids, their cable company, their airline....whoever the focus of their bitterness is that day.

And really, isn't that all it is - bitterness?

Honestly, if you're that unhappy about something, why don't you change it? Leave. Move. Break up. Stop talking to someone. Cut ties. Quit. Or...better yet....change your attitude. Your actions. Your behavior. Your mindset.

Three years ago when my marriage was in the shitter and my relationship with my kids was one of constant turmoil, I didn't continue bitching and complaining, I did something about it. I identified the problem and I fucking fixed it. I don't have any super powers. I don't possess some secret gift to fixing my life. I just saw what was wrong and I did something about it. You can too.

If you're unhappy, it's your own damn fault. You can try to blame others, but honestly, if you've got more than one shitty area of your life or it's been going on for more than a few weeks, chances are it's not someone else's issues - it's yours.

So fix it.

Until then, don't be surprised when I boot your negative ass from my timeline. I'm too busy enjoying the good life to listen to you whine about not having one.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The List

Many people have asked me what's on my bucket list and how I came up with the things on it. 


There are over 300 items on the list and I continue to add to it. There are big things, small things, crazy things, normal things, things I'll have to be drunk to accomplish and things I'll have to save for total sobriety. I live my life out loud and use my own voice to do it, so when I see something fun or cool, I add it to the list. 

Take #244, for instance. It came about because someone in my Twitter timeline told me that most people from Boston don't take kindly to friendly "outsidahs." Psssh, I said. So I added "Hug a stranger in Boston" to my list.
(Still one of my favorite hugs of all time and I've had some pretty spectacular hugs.)

The complete list is as follows (but is constantly being added onto):
  1. Get tickets to the Ellen DeGeneres show
  2. Road trip from NY to CA
  3. Try Yoga
  4. Visit Key West
  5. Adopt a Sphynx cat
  6. Cry at the grave of someone I never knew
  7. Have 1,000 Twitter followers
  8. Sing the National Anthem at Fenway Park
  9. Ride in a hot air balloon
  10. Tweet 10,000 times
  11. Read 1,000 books
  12. Learn how to surf
  13. Participate in a Color Run
  14. See the Northern Lights
  15. Get Mark Zuckerberg's business card
  16. Own a typewriter
  17. Get locked down with the Ghost Adventures crew
  18. Meet Clay Aiken
  19. Hug Reba McEntire
  20. Order off In-n-Out's secret menu 
  21. Receive roses from a secret admirer
  22. Plan my best friend's wedding
  23. Paint my front door red
  24. Participate in a 3-day Walk for the Cure
  25. Get Lasik eye surgery
  26. Learn how to knit
  27. Have a book I've written be made into a movie
  28. Get my pre-pregnancy body back
  29. Shave my head for someone with cancer
  30. Cook with Guy Fieri
  31. Go to a Boston Celtics game
  32. Go to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
  33. Bake perfect Christmas cookies
  34. Swim naked in the ocean
  35. Finish a "Wreck this Journal"
  36. Get a "Breathe" tattoo
  37. Do a NOH8 shoot
  38. Own something from Tiffany and Co.
  39. Find the perfect LBD
  40. Tell them they saved my life
  41. Be a healthy weight
  42. Get rid of all the negativity in my life
  43. Ice skate in Central Park
  44. Have a song dedicated to me
  45. Meet Ashton Kutcher
  46. Make him love life again
  47. Spend the night in a haunted mansion
  48. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge
  49. Autograph something
  50. Have drinks with a celebrity
  51. Be his bride
  52. Meet Adam Levine
  53. Pay a stranger's tab at a restaurant
  54. Get a matching tattoo with my daughters
  55. Spend an entire day watching Disney movies
  56. Have my favorite author sign my book
  57. Learn how to tie a cherry stem in a knot
  58. Put together a family cookbook
  59. Work for a magazine
  60. Go on vacation by myself
  61. Be in two places at once
  62. Have abs
  63. Be married to the same person for 50 years
  64. Have a best friend who'll never let me down
  65. Go parasailing
  66. Ride a horse on the beach
  67. Be the MOH
  68. Visit the Titanic in a submarine
  69. Try foods I wouldn't normally try
  70. Go for a run in Central Park
  71. Perform on Broadway
  72. Ride first class
  73. Be in a fashion show
  74. Party all night without stopping to sleep
  75. Get my nose pierced
  76. Go on a cruise
  77. Love him til I die
  78. Go to at least one place I've never been before
  79. Pet a fox
  80. Star in a movie
  81. Ride in a private plane
  82. Ride in a helicopter
  83. Take a carriage ride in Central Park
  84. Visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  85. Explore an abandoned amusement park
  86. Open my own business
  87. Watch the ball drop in Times Square
  88. Invite someone without family to my holiday dinner
  89. Go camping with all my friends
  90. Go an entire day without using technology
  91. Tan on a nude beach
  92. Make a perfect Thanksgiving turkey
  93. See my hip bones
  94. Try Chicago-style pizza
  95. Photograph a nude photoshoot
  96. Complete a Man vs. Food challenge
  97. Make my best friend's dream come true
  98. Kiss on Bow Bridge in Central Park
  99. Go on a family vacation
  100. Stay at a Bed & Breakfast
  101. Slow dance in the rain
  102. Be able to walk well in high heels
  103. Ride in an airplane
  104. Be kissed unexpectedly
  105. Buy flowers for someone for no reason
  106. Feel confident in a bikini
  107. Become a cheerleader
  108. Get a boob job
  109. Eat spaghetti in Italy
  110. Visit the beach every day for a week
  111. Take my kids on an amazing vacation
  112. Write a novel during NaNoWriMo
  113. Visit Niagara Falls
  114. Live in an apartment in downtown Manhattan
  115. Meet Adam Lambert
  116. Visit the Full House home in San Francisco
  117. Go on a road trip with friends
  118. Visit the Mall of America
  119. Go to prom
  120. Be present during a birth
  121. Chase a tornado
  122. Take a homeless person to dinner
  123. Make it in NY
  124. Attach a lock to a love bridge
  125. Go to a spa
  126. Publish a best-selling novel
  127. Run a marathon
  128. Have my poem published
  129. Dance with my kids in the rain
  130. Dye my hair red
  131. Go to Canada
  132. See the Golden Gate Bridge
  133. Pay for a stranger's groceries
  134. Get a matching tattoo with my bestie
  135. Meet my idol NKOTB
  136. Travel alone
  137. Personally thank a 9/11 firefighter
  138. Have a beach wedding
  139. Meet Kate Middleton
  140. Overcome depression
  141. See gay marriage legalized in the United States
  142. Be on a billboard in Times Square
  143. Write an article for the NY Times
  144. Own a white kitten
  145. Dye my hair pink
  146. Meet Taylor Lautner
  147. Have my daughter be "One Less Lonely Girl"
  148. Meet Justin Bieber
  149. See a Broadway play
  150. Live to meet my grandchildren
  151. Design my own dream house
  152. Kiss at the top of a ferris wheel
  153. Learn to play piano
  154. Move to NYC or Boston
  155. Learn sign language
  156. Visit Ground Zero
  157. Attend a gay wedding
  158. Be on TV
  159. Write a book
  160. Swim with dolphins
  161. Skydive
  162. Visit Disneyland/World
  163. Visit all 50 states
  164. Fall in love
  165. Finish an entire coloring book
  166. Be on the cover of a magazine
  167. See a lantern festival
  168. Visit a castle
  169. Watch my children get married
  170. Visit the Philippines with my bestie
  171. Ride a subway in NYC
  172. Try every flavor of Ben & Jerry's
  173. Have a "usual" somewhere
  174. Have a pet rabbit
  175. Go to the airport and buy a ticket for some random flight
  176. Go to Bora Bora or Fiji
  177. Test drive a Ferrari
  178. Write a letter to myself and open it in 10 years
  179. Go on the Skydeck in Chicago
  180. Ride the London Eye
  181. Go on a road trip to Canada
  182. Have a Christmas without any drama
  183. Give a homeless person a Christmas present
  184. Become a photographer
  185. Have my 11:11 11/11/11 wish come true
  186. Kiss in a snow storm
  187. Chop down my own Christmas tree
  188. Find and go on the largest roller coaster in the world
  189. Go to a hot air balloon fest
  190. Go to the Caribbean with my bestie
  191. Be a homeowner
  192. Be a good parent
  193. Go on a no-budget shopping spree in Sephora
  194. Get a white-ink tattoo
  195. Walk through Central Park in the snow
  196. Swim with Beluga whales
  197. Dance under the Eiffel Tower
  198. Go to Rockefeller Plaza at Christmastime
  199. Stop biting my nails
  200. Kiss at the top of the Empire State Building
  201. Go to a New England Patriots game
  202. Party on a cruise ship
  203. Attend a midnight movie premiere
  204. Walk a red carpet
  205. Swim with a sea turtle
  206. Celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans
  207. Go snowtubing
  208. See the Rockettes
  209. Do a boudoir sitting
  210. Take a family trip to Colorado
  211. Visit Boston
  212. Have a conversation with my favorite actor
  213. Visit Martha's Vineyard
  214. See NKOTB's childhood homes
  215. Meet Ellen Degeneres
  216. Go ziplining
  217. Write a screen play
  218. Learn to ski (water or snow)
  219. See Prince in concert (RIP, Prince)
  220. Buy a bicycle and ride it regularly
  221. Run a 5k
  222. See Madonna live
  223. Join a critique group
  224. Do RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa)
  225. Go on a long-overdue honeymoon
  226. Visit Yellowstone
  227. Spend a weekend in an isolated cabin
  228. Have my portrait painted
  229. Drive up the Pacific Coast highway
  230. Visit the Smithsonian
  231. Nap in a hammock by the ocean
  232. Get back to my high school weight
  233. Visit Los Angeles
  234. Meet Janet Evanovich
  235. Redecorate my bedroom
  236. Put my feet in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
  237. Have one of my photos displayed publicly
  238. Meet Shemar Moore
  239. Kiss someone famous
  240. Go to a game at Yankee Stadium
  241. Go paragliding
  242. Eat at Ellen's Stardust Diner
  243. Learn how to ballroom dance (especially the quickstep)
  244. Hug a stranger in Boston
  245. Get at least 5 stamps in my passport
  246. Move to New England
  247. Kiss on Lagoon Bridge in Boston
  248. Spend a weekend in Cape Cod
  249. Do a tequila shot with Michael Cudlitz
  250. See all the NKOTB homes today
  251. Witness Fleet Week 
  252. Go SCUBA diving
  253. Hold a hummingbird 
  254. Visit the Pollock-Krasner House & Studio 
  255. Go a week without using my phone
  256. Spend a day holding a "FREE HUGS" sign
  257. Get every member of Midnight Red to follow me on Twitter
  258. Star in a local theatrical production
  259. Going line dancing for old time's sake
  260. See a Pink Floyd laser light show
  261. Ride in a glass bottom boat
  262. Dance with Zac Efron
  263. Photograph an Atlantic sunrise
  264. Photograph a Pacific sunset
  265. See P!nk in concert.
  266. Have wings at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo.
  267. Have my book published.
  268. Meet Bret Michaels.
  269. Dance in the rain in the mountains. 
  270. Visit Lake Nipissing 
  271. Go camping in the mountains 
  272. Move to Colorado
  273. Restore someone's faith in humanity
  274. Get a Brazilian wax 
  275. Learn to ice skate
  276. Discuss screenwriting with Frank John Hughes 
  277. Visit an elephant sanctuary
  278. Take a ride on a motorcycle up the PCH
  279. Visit the 9/11 Museum
  280. Visit the OKC Bombing Memorial
  281. Drive a Corvette
  282. See Jimmy Fallon Live
  283. Publish my "Time After Time" series
  284. Appear on "Jeopardy"
  285. Have front row seats for a NKOTB show
  286. See Janet Jackson in concert
  287. Try raw oysters
  288. Ride a trolley in San Francisco
  289. Go to a drive-in movie
  290. Meet Judy Blume
  291. Ride the ferris wheel at Navy Pier
  292. Ride the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island
  293. Take a train ride on Amtrak
  294. Get a semi colon tattoo
  295. Stay at the Hoshi Ryoku Hotel in Japan
  296. Have my mom's wedding rings redesigned
  297. Get a henna tattoo
  298. Visit the "Dirty Dancing" resort in VA (Mountain Lake)
  299. Go snowmobiling
  300. Scrapbook all my childhood MN vacations
  301. Get courtside seats for a Celtics game
  302. Tell my freshman English teacher what an inspiration she was to me
  303. Visit Graceland
  304. Visit Paisley Place
  305. Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame
  306. Witness Manhattanhenge
  307. Go tubing in Kauai
  308. See a real southern plantation
  309. Visit Margaret Mitchell's grave
  310. Visit Margaret Mitchell's home
  311. Meet my sisters
  312. Learn how to crochet
  313. Visit the grave of Princess Diana 
My list is long and the likelihood of my actually completing everything on it is not very high, but the way I see it, if I keep trying to do these fun things, then my life will always have a purpose, even if it's to do something silly. I'll never be the person who cures cancer or gives peace to the Middle East, but I do intend to bring a smile to the face of every person I meet, and if that's my greatest accomplishment in life, I'm okay with that. 

Now...what's on your list?

(updated 12/30/2017)