Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Gasoline Story

Standing comfortably next to my car, I absorbed the morning and my surroundings.  The sounds of the early morning commute were musical and I tapped my toes to the rhythm of the gas pump filling up the tank of my car. Gluhgluglgluhgluh- ka CHUnk- gluhgluhgluhgluhgluh-ka CHUnk.   A busy street to the east, neighborhoods to the west filled with early morning joggers, office buildings to the north; I observed my neighbors in our suburban habitat.  Everyone seemed to be in a rush, that is, everyone except me.  For the first time ever, I had experienced an efficient morning resulting in a leisurely filling up of my gas tank before work instead of hastily going through the process and whispering threats to the pump to "hurry up!"

I suddenly felt a sensation on my leg that I can only describe as being hit with a hot, wet towel.  I had a split second of confusion filled with questions too numerous to answer in such a short time.  Just as I started to look down at my leg, the same sensation came over my left shoulder, across my chest, and top of my thigh.  Out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of the pump nozzle descending after flinging around wildly in the air like one of those flower sprinklers kids play in. It landed on the ground with a loud and embarrassing tink-THUD!  Fuel spilled out on the ground and covered my nearly bare feet and brand new, amazingly cute sandals.  

Somehow,the nozzle of the gas pump had literally shot out of the gas tank and while wildly flailing had drenched me in fuel!  The hot, wet towel sensation was suddenly making sense.  I was covered in gasoline from head to toe.  Whaaaaaaaaaat?!  I replaced the nozzle with the pump and headed swiftly to the driver's seat of my car peeling off my sandals and outer shirt as I walked, or slid to be more precise.  As I started walking, I slipped on the slick lake of gasoline under my feet resulting in an awkward attempt to keep my balance: one leg sticking out, hands in the air, my right foot fighting to find proper stability.  I exclaimed a "Whoa!" that would make Joey Lawrence proud.

Over the course of the following two hours I showered twice, fully clothed, then washed my clothing, set my amazingly cute sandals out to dry, took a real shower and attempted to get ready for the day again.  Everything smelled of gasoline-my apartment, my car, and sadly me too. My only hope was that it wasn't super noticeable to others who would have to be around me that day.  I had a work event to be at so I decided to keep my cool, despite being extremely frustrated and self-conscious about my new odor.  I did pretty well until halfway to the event venue when I saw flashing lights behind me.

"Do you know how fast you were going?"

I handed over my license, registration and insurance.  "Honestly, I was going about 7 over but isn't that within the 'safe zone'?  I'm not going to argue about it, though.  A ticket is fine."  I was already late to work and I wanted this encounter to end quickly.

The officer leaned forward to return my documents and said worriedly, "Ma' your car leaking fuel?  It smells strongly of gasoline."

I immediately deflated.  My self-conscious fears were becoming reality.  I stink! (Not all of my fears became reality, such as my fear that I would burst into flames!). The gasoline story came flooding out (go back and read it without punctuation, don't take a single breath, that's what it sounded like to the cop) and I ended with, "and ironically I'm vegan and I make my own cleaning products and refuse to use lotion and cleansers with certain ingredients in an effort to keep my body free of chemicals and toxins!"

He didn't say anything.  He stood there staring at me and then he laughed.  He laughed some more and then calmly said, "Why don't you get to work and we'll forget about this ticket.  Just slow down." So I did, but seriously 7 over the speed limit?  He must have been bored, but I digress.

The benefits of being doused in gasoline?  It's been two weeks since the incident and I still have silky smooth legs!  I'm hoping to discover that I've gained super powers and not cancer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

It's in the Knowing

I step into my brother and sister-in-law's house and call for them but there's no response.  There is life in the house, my nephew is banging and crashing somewhere down the hallway, I hear the television downstairs, and a hurried, whirring sound coming from the dining room.   I head toward the whirring, hurried sound and suddenly notice stacks and stacks of fabric on the floor, the couch, and as I enter the dining room I see more stacks of fabric piled ceiling high.

My sister-in-law is a wonderful seamstress so I immediately rule this behavior as acceptable, although the excessive amount of fabric is alarming, but assume that she is probably working on making her own wardrobe.  I wonder if I can convince her to make a few clothing items for me?  She is bent over her sewing machine pushing fabric through, cutting thread, and never looking up. 

I begin to browse the stacks of fabric, looking for a color or pattern that might appeal to me.  Upon browsing I feel disgusted.  The prints and color are very childish!  My first thought is, "I have to stop her from making clothing out of this material!  She will look ridiculous!"  I turn on my heel and sprint toward the basement where I am sure to find my brother.  My plan is to convince him to stage a fashion intervention for his wife.  I burst through the door to the den and before I can tell him of the fashion horror I witnessed upstairs, he smiles.  He smiles proudly.  Then, all at once it hits me and I stop.

Breathlessly, I say, "She's?  You guys are having another baby?"

He nods, "And it's a girl."

Then. . . I wake up.

I've had this same dream for three years now, probably twice a year if I had to average it out.  First of all, I am pretty sure it means that I think a little too much about clothes and fashion. . . Each time I've had this dream I have immediately woken up and thought Yeah, that's not going to happen.  I had long since written off the idea of my brother and sister-in-law having another child only because they seemed good with one and never openly talked about having more.

Two weeks ago I had the dream again and when  I woke up I had butterflies in my heart.  Hope, maybe?  Or did I know something?  I tried to forget it but have had thoughts of a little baby girl in their arms (okay, my arms too) ever since.

A few days later, I was on the phone with my brother and we were discussing careers or something.  I wanted to blurt out, "You two should have another kid!  I will help with diapers!" I thought better of it and kept talking about the economy.  Before signing off from the call my brother said, "Oh yeah, and we have  something to tell you."  I excitedly yelled, "Wait!!  Don't tell me!! I want to guess!! You're pregnant!"


I said, "And I know it's a girl, I had a dream about her!"

We won't know the baby's sex for a while so I'm going off of gut feeling and a crazy weird recurring dream.  For the record, my sister will roll her eyes at this because I was so sure that her second child was going to be a girl (so did she) but he's a he :) and I love him.

Anyway, my 5 year old soon-to-be-a-big-brother nephew told me, "I am going to have a sibling!  I want a girl because she will have her own room and play with her own toys."  <---- He's going to have to talk to my brothers about how well that worked out for them with their sister. :)

If you need me, you can find me at Babies R Us.  The End.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Stranger on a Plane

"So, are you from Kansas City or just visiting?"

Mmmmm?  I slowly opened my eyes to see a friendly looking man, next to me, smiling and waiting for a response. The plane we were on had just taken off and up until this point my row-mates had met my expectations for being perfect because they had been gloriously silent.  I always hope and pray when I travel that the chatty people will not sit next to me.  I use flight time to read, sleep or stare out the window.  I love having the opportunity to just be completely silent, for hours, and after an extremely disheartening experience with the TSA in the Phoenix airport, I just wanted to turn the world off and sleep until I arrived home.

Don't be evil, Jessica.  Most people are chattier than you, in regular life, anyway.  I sat up and put a smile on my horribly drowsy face and responded, "I'm from Kansas City.  You?"  And that was the end of any hope that I would sleep or even be able to stare out the window in silence. 

Three hours later I learned that this man is genuinely positive and caring.  He is man who is struggling. He's struggling with the guilt of having everything he could ever need or want, but still feeling sad about life right now. Lately, he tells me, he has found some comfort in the book of Ecclesiates.  On the verge of tears, he said, "I really expected to sit down next to you and- well, because you're young and you have a distance about you, have a topical conversation about nothing, just to keep my mind off of everything and hopefully brighten your day." 

He was silent for a while.  The silence lasted long enough that I turned to stare out the window when suddenly he said,  "Turns out that you brightened mine.  Don't judge a book by it's cover I guess.  Thanks for sharing your experiences and perspective on life." 

Strange, isn't it, how a girl who was feeling very distant and negative could be used to brighten someone else's day?  It definitely wasn't my doing.  If I had it my way I would have ignored the guy during the entire flight, hoping I wouldn't have to step outside of my comfort zone or be vulnerable in any way.  What this stranger taught me is that my experiences and perspective, curiosity and openness are important and valid even when my introverted, self-questioning inner voice tells me otherwise.

Despite the fact that I didn't get to nap, I had one of the best conversations of my life with that man and am glad he benefited too.

Cemeteries and Butterflies

Is it weird to take a picture of yourself in a cemetery?

I went in search of my great-Grandma's headstone yesterday at Memorial Park Cemetery in St. Joseph, Missouri.  I didn't find it due to tardiness.  The offices closed about half an hour before I arrived so I just drove around hoping that I would stumble upon the right spot.  Unfortunately, this is one of those cemeteries that only has flat stones, versus the standing headstones, so driving around is for naught.

Eventually, I came to a spot that I just knew was familiar.  I thought back 8 years and remembered a slight sloping hill. . .?  I walked up the little hill, scanning the headstones carefully.  I went down each row to my left, backtracked to the right and finally made my way up to the top of the hill.  It was then that I realized there were many sloping hills in the cemetery and this was obviously the wrong one.

It was a beautiful day! Light breezes made the 90 degree heat seem a little less, strong gusts of wind were refreshing.  I let the initial feeling of disappointment fade.  I could always come back when the chapel offices were open, but I was still a little disappointed nonetheless.  This was the last place I saw her.

Leisurely, I began walking back to my car thinking about the people buried here, careful to walk between stones, thinking about their families.  Once my car was in site and about 30 yards (I'm terrible with estimating distance) away, I saw a butterfly land on the tip top of the antennae.  I smiled so big and for so long that I ended up snapping this photo.  

I knew she wasn't there but I felt like she was with me.  A beautiful day outside, warm and breezy, the sounds of birds singing and conversing between trees, bees zipping to and from flowers. . .all things that she loved and described in her letters to me.  Then, a butterfly, and she was with me. 

I didn't get to sit next to her headstone, and for some reason I still have this need to do so, but truly I'm reminded of her everywhere and that little butterfly sent me home peaceful instead of regretful.  This is a picture of me and my grandma.  Weird?  Maybe, but that's okay.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I'm So Tired

I'm too tired to think of a catchy blog title so I decided to be matter-of-fact.  I'm so tired.

There are different kinds of "so tired".  Quite possibly, I am the only person who breaks down being tired into different categories but I would be very interested to know if you do the same or if you have your own categories. The main types of tired are:  Angry Tired, Weepy Tired, Whatever Tired, and Crazy Tired.

The worst kind of tired is the Angry Tired.  Angry Tired is caused by absolutely no sleep, too much activity during the day that you can't say no to (you know, like work and breathing), and knowing that you won't be sleeping anytime soon.  You can't even lay comfortably in bed at night.  Coffee doesn't help at all.  When one experiences Angry Tired they have murderous thoughts toward family, friends, co-workers and small children for minor offenses such as existing. When someone invites you out to do something fun, your first internal reaction is, "How DARE they even think I would want to watch a movie?!  Grrrraaaaghhhhh!"  Then, you turn green and explode up into a muscular rage filled monster and start smashing. . .wait, I'm sorry that's the Hulk.  Basically, you turn into the Hulk.

 Fortunately, I am not experiencing the Angry Tired right now.

Another type of Tired is the Weepy Tired.  The Weepy Tired often results in the need to watch sad movies before crashing into a comatose sleep.  Weepy Tired may or may not be hormone related.  I haven't done enough research.  Basically, though, one cannot finally sleep without a good cry, for no apparent reason (*cough* hormones).  It's the easiest to deal with of all the Tireds.

Of course, we can't forget just plain exhaustion.  Exhaustion doesn't really have an emotion to it.  It goes way past Angry and Weepy tired into a realm of indifference.  It's the Whatever Tired.  You know you aren't going to sleep anytime soon or that if you do sleep it won't be restful. Being mad or sad about being tired is too tiring so you just live in a fog of perpetual indifference.  Whatever.  This, sadly, is the state of tired I find myself in the most often.  "Yeah?  So I haven't slept. mlllleeehhhhh."

Presently, I'm experiencing Crazy Tired.  Crazy is used two ways here.  First, it's a figure of speech and means I'm really, really (or crazy) tired.  Secondly, being tired is basically making me crazy.  Crazy Tired is sort of euphoric.  It's the "happiest" of the Tireds because you have the ability to nap or to go into coma-like sleep at night, so you look forward to those times instead of resenting them.  Coffee helps throughout the day and you have hope that soon, very soon, you won't be so tired.

Here's where the crazy comes in: Objects and people begin resembling fluffy, white, down comforters and pillows.  I start to feel convinced that it would be totally appropriate to curl up on my office desk and nap.  Right?  I look at the stacks of resumes, the business card samples, the project plans, industry magazines, certification coursework, workflows and maps, and determine that it all looks strangely comfortable.  I could climb up there, turn around three times and curl up like a cat and nap on all that stuff.

Maybe Crazy Tired should be renamed to Feline Tired?  Ultimately, you mirror the behavior of a cat.

Anyway, that's what I am.  I'm Crazy Tired.  I have happy daydreams about snuggling into soft bedding or thick, green, warm grass in the middle of a field.  I have bursts of goofiness throughout the day, and random urges to sleep in inappropriate places.  The nice aspect of Crazy Tired is that I still have the drive and ability to push through and function although it's usually only because I know that as soon as my tasks are complete and the day is over, my reward is sleep!

Anybody else out there tired?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Promotion Essentials

I've been working on a promotion for a few months now and it was finalized two weeks ago!  Yay!  We've kept it quiet but I've already been designing and building out the role and stealthily setting things up so that the launch of this new department will be smooth.  There's a lot to do, lots of extra hours, less sleep, but I love it!  I love organizing chaos!  Today, my promotion was officially announced to the rest of the company. About an hour later, a co-worker came into my office and said, while chuckling, "So, are those essential to your new role?"  I looked over in the direction that he was pointing and found this line-up beside me:

Hey, at least there is no alcohol nor cigarettes involved! (yet)