In a Sea of Strangers

It sometimes bothers me how long this memoir project is taking. I’ve been working on it now for more than nine years, on again off again, like one of those annoyingly tumultuous relationship storylines on General Hospital or Days of Our Lives. Yet part of me knows that it’s not exactly healthy to completely immerse myself in this particular project. It’s not easy to dive head first back into the worst days of your life, to dig down and dredge up all the pain and the uncertainty and the shit that you worked so hard to overcome and deal with and leave behind.

So, for nine years, i’ve been easing myself into it, working my way through the manuscript and the memories bit by bit, piece by piece, dissecting my life and the moments that have defined me with a surgeon’s precision, and bring it all up under the lights–the good stuff, the ugly stuff, and all the stuff that fell somewhere in between.

It’s interesting what you find when you go back through your life with a magnifying glass and a fine tooth comb. And the longer I work on this project and give shape to the story, the more I think about all the important moments–both good and bad–that ultimately define me.

But the one thing I never do is play the “what if” game, or look upon any of it with regret, because without those moments–all of those moments–I wouldn’t be here now with my hubby and my hound and my babies tucked snugly in their beds.

So, I am thankful for all of it–the shit and the sunshine–because it’s raw and it’s real and it’s mine. And I’m ready to dive back in again and keeping writing, keep writing, keep writing to fill in the rest of the holes and finally share my story.

In the meantime, if you’d like to follow along on the journey as I complete the project, you can find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/InASeaOfStrangers

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A Damn Good Place To Be

I can give you a long list of reasons why I haven’t finished my memoir–we moved (multiple times), bought a house (or two), got a dog, had a kid. We both have full-time jobs. Steven took a class two nights a week. I started a photography business and have a pretty regular influx of freelance writing jobs. On top of that, I like to hang out with family and friends, and actually spend quality time with Steven and Cadence when we can find a few free hours in the chaos.

There’s always something standing in the way, always some excuse.

But what I have realized, more and more, is that there is a part of me that has given into the excuses, a part of me that always willingly pushed aside the project. As much as I long to tell the story, I know it is also going to take me back to some of the darkest, loneliest, and most uncomfortable times in my life. I know it’s all in the past. I know that I’m in a different place. I know that I’ve worked through my issues and successfully battled the demons that I ran from and fought for so long.

But even if my brain knows that I’ve moved passed it all and found balance, there is still that part of me that is terrified of descending back into the abyss, even if I am walking in older, wiser, and fully-armed.

And it’s that part of me that has been quick to put the project on the shelf and tuck the manuscript away in the drawer anytime some relatively valid excuse presents itself.

So why haven’t I finished writing my story?

Yeah, I have no good excuse. I have allowed my fear to get the better of me.

It’s time to stop running.

With the dawn of this new year, I’ve decided that enough is enough. I’m calling my own bluff. The only thing standing in the way of me finishing and publishing my story is me, and I have stood in my own way long enough.

The past can’t hurt me. In fact, I am thankful for it, because every experience, every decision, ever step I took (not matter how painful or difficult) was one step on the path that led me to this place I am right now…and this is a damn good place.

So, I hope you will all come along. It’s been one helluva ride, but it brought me here. And I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be.

You can follow my memoir project as it continues to take shape on the In a Sea of Strangers page on Facebook.

In a Sea of Strangers

And feel free to drop by my latest post and let me know what you think…

June 1998 – Dear Mom

Another Year Goes By

The clock keeps ticking, and in just 2 hours and 4 minutes, it will be 2014.

Seriously, how did this happen?

2012 was a helluva year for us. We ran ourselves to the point of exhaustion, worked too much, traveled from the northeast to the west to the southwest and back east again. And in the midst of it all, we lost Stevie’s mom. By the time the summer ended, we just wanted the year to be over.

When 2013 began, we were optimistic, simply because it wasn’t 2012 any longer. We knew that it couldn’t possibly get any worse. And we were right. Things looked up for us this year. Cadence started (and LOVES) full-time preschool. I got a new job and have been absolutely swimming in freelance work. Steve started taking classes and is looking forward to diving into more programming. We took an amazing family vacation to Disney and had a blast. We have been saving. And we’re starting to feel comfortable.

After the long hard road we traveled in 2o12, we feel pretty good about where 2013 has taken us. And we’re looking forward to where 2014 will lead.

We’re moving in the right direction, and we’re in it together. If you ask me, it’s a pretty good place to be.

And while I don’t really believe in making “resolutions” per say, I do have one major goal that I intend to accomplish in 2014, and I hope that you’ll all come along for the ride…

Ater reuniting with my birth family in 2002, I knew that the very first book I would write would be the memoir of my adoption and reunion and all the tumultuous years in between. I started writing the story in 2008 and have yet to finish it. This year, I pulled the half-written manuscript out of my desk drawer and started writing again. In the next few weeks, this blog will be undergoing a major renovation, and part of that will include a space for me to share excerpts from the story as I finally bring the project to a close. In the meantime, I hope you’ll join me on the Facebook page I created for my upcoming memoir, In a Sea of Strangers.

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Whatever the new year brings, I know it will be one helluva ride. And I don’t know about all of you, but I’m looking forward to it.

Dear Best Buy, I Want My 2.5 Hours Back

Well, it had to happen one way or another. I’ve been so busy with the new job and the craziness of life that I haven’t had much time left for blogging. And then, tonight happened, and Best Buy pissed me off. And what better way to blow off a little steam after wasting the last 2.5 hours of my life on hold, than to blog about how poorly managed the customer service is when I can’t even get a schmo on the phone to schedule me for a simple appliance repair covered in that amazing Geek Squad Protection Plan they try to sucker you into buying every time you buy something in one of their stores that has more than two moving parts.

Seriously Best Buy? For a multi-million dollar corporation, you sure as hell should be able to coordinate a simple repair request in less time than it takes to have a hernia operation.

Am I wrong here?

So, as I closed in on the 2-hour mark, damn near falling asleep in the chair in my living room, waiting for the fifth or sixth agent of the night to discover me still waiting on hold and politely ask what they could help me with this evening, a little recorded voice broke through the music, encouraging me to head over to the Best Buy Facebook page to share my experience.

So, I did.

Here’s how it went…

Best Buy

And just in case the print in the screenshot is too small, here’s what I wrote…

So, I’m on hold with Best Buy right now…In fact, I’ve been on hold for 1 hour 17 minutes and 21 seconds, and counting. This is my second call tonight. During the first call, I was on hold for over 37 minutes, before someone in the scheduling department apparently hung up on me, prompting me to call back. And then…well, this.

Still holding.

I’ve talked to at least 6 different people tonight. I’ve listened to the same track of bluesy elevator-style music over and over so many times I’m afraid it’s going to haunt my dreams. All I really want to do is go to sleep. But wait…I still haven’t scheduled my dishwasher adjustment. That’s right. Adjustment. The dishwasher works. But apparently the Geek Squad folks who installed it didn’t bother to make sure it fit properly beneath the counter so the door would close. And now, I’m on hold.

A little recorded voice just broke through the music, encouraging me to head over to the Best Buy Facebook page and share my experience. Boy, that was dumb.

Wanna know about my experience Best Buy? My experience is that if it takes your employees almost two hours just to answer the phone and schedule a freakin’ dishwasher adjustment, you might want to consider rethinking your customer service model, because that shit ain’t working. I’m giving you five more minutes, and then I’m going to send you a bill for my time and a formal request for a refund on that amazing Geek Squad protection plan.

And wouldn’t you know, a gal named Tricia promptly responded to me the way she responded to every other complaint on the company’s Facebook page–telling me how sorry she was for my inconvenience, and that Best Buy really cares about me as a customer.

Oh, Tricia. You must feel so dirty at the end of your shift. I sure hope they’re paying you enough to ease your conscience.

In the meantime, I do hope the girl named Agent Nicole gets the big, fat raise she deserves for finally hanging in there with me to get the service scheduled, instead of just passing me off and putting me on hold for an incredibly inconsiderate amount of time.

Nicole, you rock!

Best Buy, not so much.

Project Life 365 – Day 89 – Collage

A little collage from our egg-dyeing extravaganza today…

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And just because Facebook is being a pain in the butt and not letting me upload photos today, here are all the egg dyeing photos. Enjoy!

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Last Chance to Vote!

Okay, so I know I already posted soliciting votes for Electra, but the voting ends tomorrow (the 27th) and we are neck and neck with the fuzzy terriers!

Aaaarrrrggghhh! The terriers cannot win!

Really, I’m not much of a competitive person by nature. Sure, I enjoy a good challenge, but really I’m much too easygoing and far more interested in having fun than pounding my opponent into the ground.

This Cutest Pet Contest has got me all fired up though, and I’ll tell you why…

It’s not really about the terriers. Well, not the terriers in the contest anyway. Really, I have nothing against them. I do have something against this terrier, however…

That, my friends, is the Devil incarnate (otherwise known as Indiana). Indy belongs to our friend Foerth, and if you’d like to read up on either one of them to get a little of the back story (and a few laughs), here are a few links…

I Have Seen the Devil and His Name is Indiana

But…I Looked It Up Online

Antiquing

Go Fish

A Fistful of Condiments

For those of you who don’t know the story, our buddy Foerth moved out to Arizona about a year after Steven and I moved there. He got a teaching job, and needed a place to stay while he got settled and found his own place, so he moved in with us.

Unfortunately, Indiana moved in with him.

Now, I’ll admit, I was actually sort of excited that there was going to be a dog in the house. I thought maybe having Indy around would soften Steven’s resolve against us having a dog of our own. Honestly, looking back, I don’t know how I ever talked Steven into actually adopting Electra after having Devil Dog around.

When we first brought Electra home, all she wanted to do is what she does best…sniff the yard and sleep on the couch…

But, every time she tried to settle in, Indy the Asshole was there to pester her, nipping her cheeks and ears, yipping at her with his shrill doggy voice. After almost a week of almost constant torture, Electra finally fought back and put Indy in his place…

But even a good ass-kickin’ didn’t stop Indy from constantly seeking opportunities to nip and chase and pounce. And if that wasn’t enough, Indy made a point to destroy all of Electra’s toys, chew up books on our bookshelves and my jumpdrive with all of my notes, handouts, and students’ papers on it, and just routinely make a nuisance of himself.

Hell, we couldn’t even take a cute picture of Electra without Evil Indy lurking in the background…

Seriously, that dog is not normal.

So, you see, it’s not about Electra losing the Cutest Pet Contest, and it’s not even about winning, it’s about not getting beat by a couple of fuzzy terriers that resemble Devil Dog. I’m sure those pups are sweet, and I know their owner loves them. And hell, I know she wants to win the contest because she’s gone out and solicited over 150 votes for her little doggies. But here’s the deal, folks…

ELECTRA MUST NOT LOSE TO THESE TERRIERS.

End of story. Let her lose to any other mutt in the contest. Hell, let her lose to any of the cats. I don’t care. Just don’t let her lose to the terriers that look like Indy the Evil.

So, I’m begging you, click on the photo below, log into Facebook, and cast your vote by “Liking” Electra’s photo. And better yet, share it with all of your Facebook friends so they can vote too. Right now, Electra and the fuzzy terriers are tied, and you know they’re going to be pulling out all stops to win before the contest ends in a few hours. So, let’s go people. Show this sweet ol’ hound dog some love! Click the photo and vote Electra! 🙂