Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001

Ten years ago today Our Nation was attacked.  Where were you?  Most of us will never forget...I know I won't.

I feel like I need to rewind.  2001 was a big year for me.  I've been told before that I'm an "old soul," I can agree with that.  I think it's my life experiences that have made me that way, more mature in a sense.  I turned 21 in March of 2001. That summer I broke up with a long time boyfriend after 3 years.  He was allegedly "The One" but mere weeks later God led me to Chip who turned out to be "The Real One."  That same summer my best friend Meredith and I packed our bags and hopped a plane to Europe where we traveled around from town to town, country to country for nearly a month with no agenda.  I think everyone should have that opportunity at least once in their lives.  It doesn't matter how old you are or how little money you have.

At the end of July my precious niece Hannah was born.  I was able to be with her and care for her and her half sisters until September.  When most college kids were already back in school hitting the books and bars I was at home in Texas preparing for another adventure.  You see I was to travel abroad again to study the Fall semester in Valencia, Spain.  Studying abroad was no new challenge for me.  I'd lived in Quito, Ecuador as an exchange student back in 1997-1998.  I thrived for the adventure.  I yearned for the experiences and memories that no one was able to take away from me, ever.  My independence defined me.

September 11, 2001 I woke up, my bags had been packed for weeks because I was excited.  Ready for a new chapter, another edition to my life's journey.  I was in the bathtub at my moms house when I heard my sweet tiny headed mother yell, "Oh, Shit!"  I ran into the living room half naked and dripping wet because I knew something was wrong.  Terribly wrong, my mother just doesn't blurt out obscenities, ever.  I sat on the couch as I was trying to grasp what was going on.  I was watching, confused, quietly as the second plane came and hit the World Trade Center.  Certainly this is no accident.  It was devastating, people were jumping out of the windows of the skyscrapers.  My mom said something bad was going on, we should call Delta Airlines to make sure my flight from Houston to New York was still on schedule for today....September 11th.

I called Delta airlines and immediately got through to a customer support person.  I asked if my flight was still scheduled to leave Houston Intercontinental and fly to New York.  The airline employee assured me that it was.  I asked if she was aware that "something" has happened in New York.  Two planes had hit the World Trade Center Towers.  I don't remember her answer, I don't know if she even knew.  She double checked the schedule and said that everything was on time.  I hung up.  The world was still unaware that Our Nation had been attacked by terrorists.  That morning no one knew what exactly happened or why.

My mom and I sat in confusion.  What has happened?  What is going on?  Those planes!  Those people!  The workers in the Towers!  Do we pack up the car and continue to the airport as planned? The news caster came on the tv from the continual footage of the Towers.  He said that all airports are shut down.  All planes are grounded.  I called Delta airlines again, the man said everything was grounded and he was unsure when I'd be able to go to New York.  That was ok by me.  I continued to watch the devastation for hours...for days.  These people.  Their families.  I'm safe.  I'm numb.

Ten days later I was able to fly out.  My Aunt Rosemary and mom drove me to the airport.  I was being tough, I was ready, I wasn't scared.  My mom on the other hand was a nervous wreck.  She never showed it, but I know she was as she offered me a valium as we turned into the airport.  She assured me that it would be ok if I'd decided I didn't want to go.  I questioned it for a second but only a second.

Due to new security regulations my mom wasn't allowed to go back to the terminal with me.  They dropped me off outside.  We said our goodbyes and I lugged my luggage to the check in line.  Everything was quiet.  Everyone at one of the busiest airports in the country was solemn.  I stood in the check in line like all the other robots, one by one, quietly we moved through the line.  My heart began to palpitate as the man two people in front of me made his way to the counter.  He was foreign.  He became angry with the airline employee.  I couldn't hear, I could only see their gestures.  He would hold up his duffel bag and the lady would shake her head.  They called for another employee to come assist.  Then another.  The man was angry and I was thinking to myself, "Oh my god, this guy is a terrorist!  He's foreign and he wants to take that duffel bag on the freaking plane and blow us all up!"  I popped the Valium.

The airline employee gazed around the check in line and loudly asked, "Does anyone here speak Spanish?"  Gee whiz, I sighed.  I do.  The man just didn't understand that he had to check his bag.  He planned on carrying it on, but when they tried to take it and send it through he was angry.  I felt as though God was testing me.  Here I was passing judgement on this Hispanic guy - making it out in my head that he was a terrorist.  My God has a sense of humor, but that day he caught me off guard and busted me out on thinking the worst.

I boarded the plane.  Alleged Hispanic terrorist guy was not on my plane.  The flight was long.  I remember flying over New York, Ground Zero was still smoldering ten days later.  Unbelievable. Empty.  Tragic.  Violated.  Those words come to mind to describe the most indescribable site.

Everything else that day was a blur after that.  I don't remember how I got to the hotel, I don't remember where I stayed.  I remember thinking that it was a hole in the wall.  I ordered food from some restaurant down the street and by the time it got to me I wasn't even hungry anymore.  I remember looking out the window and the only thing I could see was a brick wall.  No view, I was alone and I felt alone.  What the hell am I doing I asked myself?

I was to meet my study abroad group from the University of Virginia the following day so we could all travel to Spain together.  I can't give up, other people aren't flaking out.  What if something happens again while I'm out of the country?  What if I can't get up with my family to know if they are ok?  That thought crossed my mind more than a million times before and during my study abroad.

The flight to New York after September 11th and the journey thereafter changed me both positively and negatively.  I hate to fly now.  Yet, I got to see first hand how other countries handled something so catastrophic that happened on our soil.  In Spain I was once in a public restroom and a woman cried to me, tears streaming down her face, about how awful the attack on our country was; and everyone always asked if I knew anyone that was there at Ground Zero.  These people were passionate and sympathetic to the United States.  They felt our pain and sorrow and wanted to share in our grief.

To this day I have my plane ticket from Houston to New York on September 11, 2001 in a frame in my office.  It helps me keep perspective.  Keep my focus.  Don't dwell on the little things.  Life is too short.  Love deep.  It's ok to cry.  It's ok to be scared.  It's definitely ok to take an adventure and don't forget to live life to the fullest because we never truly know how much time we have here on Earth.

God Bless America.   Never Forget.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I Fell Off The Face Of The Earth

I'm sure you're wondering if I've fallen off the face of the Earth.  The answer is, yes...yes I have.  I have been trapped in a tornadic cyclone for 3 weeks.  I can't tell you the last time I've gone 3 weeks without blogging.  I think my insides are about to burst!
So while I have a minute since hubby is in Oxford watching football and tiny boy is napping.... I will vomit all over you the hodge podge of things that we have been doing over the past, what seems like, millennia.  There is no order to these photos, just random what's been going on.  Some of these things I may have already talked about...but just humor me and listen again.

I went all Brittany Spears on my dogs and shaved them.  I'd had enough of their hair and tumbleweeds rolling throughout my house.  I am not too sure why I've waited 9 years to do this?

Foxy Mama - notice her sweet bow on her head.
She felt pretty even though she's all street tough.

Katie Lou stays shaved, but her ears became a big glob of knotted yarn.
So they got shaved.

This is my niece Hannah's back to school notebook.
How sweet that she put pics of Hilly poo on the front!

Jane Claire and the girls came to town to visit.  I don't know why I only have this picture.  We hung out all weekend - shame on me for not capturing all the fun stuff we did!  All the cousins came over Sunday, August 28th and played on the big blowup water slide.  Fun was had by all.  Anyway, you can sort of see that Addie is pushing Hill in his car.

This is my neighbors pimp station wagon.

The other day I stopped to ask them if they wanted to sell it because it just looks like something I need.  They were willing to sell it, but it was more than I wanted to pay for a silly toy.  Seriously, how freaking awesome is this wagon?  Paneling, what!  White walls, shut your mouth!  It has a huge steering wheel, A/C, great interior and the seat in the way back that flips backwards so you can stare at the car behind you on long road trips and pick your nose.  Growing up my best friends family had a maroon one like this.  We use to play hide and go seek in that thing while our crayons melted in the dash.  Hill needs childhood memories like that.  We could load up the kiddo and dogs and just do whatever.  We'd be the Griswold's.  I know Hill would love it if I dropped him off at school in this relic.

Football season has started.  I found my favorite Grove picture in all the history of Grove pictures.  It was taken 2 years ago at the Auburn game.
Colonel Reb & Jesus Christ
I haven't had a weekend with my husband since well, I can't remember.  If it's not fishing, it's football.  If it's not football it's hunting.  Then the vicious cycle repeats every year.  I guess it could be a lot worse.  The fact that he has hobbies is a good thing.  Maybe I'll actually get to go to a few games this year.  I always seem to have something going on too though.

Like I said, this is a hodge podge of pictures...I found this one that is from when we went to Nashville a few weeks ago.  Had to toss this one in on the post because my boys are sweet.

As most of you know, Chip is the cook in our house.  When we have family cooking night he gives me my chore and then usually stands over me to tell me how it probably needs to be done the way I'm not doing it.  So I take pictures instead.

Hill is in charge of putting on the pepperoni on home made pizza night.
I did scatter the cheese on it.  See, I can cook.
Then we planted sunflower seeds...
Katie Lou being nosey while Hill looks on.

Hill gets to put the seeds in.
We are now to the point where attending church with our 19 month old son is a chore.  Weekend before last he was doing great until he pulled out the crayons and was 2.5 milliseconds from coloring in the Hymnal. So, I loaded him up and we went across the street to play on the playground until church let out.

Hill's obsession with shoes has not gone away.  Still the same routine - wake up, change diaper, put on shoes.  Shoes is the first word out of his mouth when he wakes up.  We nap in shoes because I'm not willing to fight that battle.  It's no easy task explaining to my son that it's not a good idea to sleep in your rain boots...or tennis shoes...or sandals.  So he dubbed his cowboy boots his night night shoes.  I HAD to get the boy some house shoes.  Wal-Mart only offers kid sized slippers of the "fun" character fashion.  We settled for 'Cars.'  He calls them his "Car Shoes" and never wears them for more than 27 seconds.  Sigh...
Aren't they cheesy tacky cute?

I love his 3 inch long legs.
They make me smile.
Week before last Hill had strep.  The doctor says that if he gets it one more time this calendar year he will have to have his tonsils removed.  Pray for no more strep, please.  So not only did Hill have strep it was the week from doo doo when the proverbial tornadic cyclone went into full effect.  Chip was in Texas fishing with my dad and then had a conference to go to.  He gets sick.  Stuck in not his house and not his bed sick.  So here I am with sick child and sick husband located 750 miles away.  Someone has to bring home the bacon around these parts so I must work.

Thank Heaven for Chip's step mom or I'm not sure what I'd have done.  Nana stepped up to the plate that Monday when daycare called and she took him to the doctor for me so he could get on antibiotics right away. (side note: we went to the doctor every week in August and part of July with random ailments.  Seriously, it's embarrassing.) He was out of daycare Monday and Tuesday.  Went to school Wednesday and then started throwing up again on Thursday so he was out Friday too.  He had strep like I'd never seen.  It made him nauseated and he would only eat Nacho Cheese Doritos and fruit roll ups.  I think I'd probably throw up too.  Anyway, he overcame it...we think/hope.

He felt so bad he didn't want to eat.
Only sleep.

I was able to get a little substance in the boy.
He's a sweet mess.

Meanwhile, the Wednesday that he did go to school I had to go to Jackson to get a tube put in my ear.  Yes, I'm the 31 year old that has tubes in my ears.  It's weird to tell people that because they usually associate tubes with little kids.  So I usually don't say anything because I get a crooked look as they say "Really?" as if I were a 31 year old that still breast fed or something.  

I was a big girl as I got the tube in my ear.  No anti-anxiety meds because I was alone and the sole caregiver to my son should he fall ill again and need me.  Before Dr. House put my tube in he stuck this sucker thing in my ear - like when you go to the dentist and it sucks your spit - but he stuck it in my ear to get out the fluid (vomit right?)  Well it gets better.  I could feel it sucking my breath away from my throat through my ear!  Then my sinus' were all dried out.  Whoa.  I know - it felt just as weird as it sounds.  Ok so maybe I am a kid.  Whatever, now you are judging me.  See this is why I just don't tell people I have tubes in my ears.

After the procedure which took a nano second EVERYTHING WAS SO LOUD!  Oh wow it was loud.  I told Dr. House that this was going to take some getting use to.  He told me that some people are so use to not being able to hear that they can't take it once they are able to hear all the sounds.  He assured me that if I hadn't adjusted in a couple of weeks he could take it out.  How odd that I'd rather be partially deaf than subjected to this continual rock concert volume 24-7.  My ear did settle and by that night it had popped or something and I adjusted way better.  The tube has made a cozy home in my ear.  THE END....don't you just love that story?  Weirdo.

Moving on ~

When I worked from home I had my office in the side room off our kitchen.  It then became the "dogs room" once I went back to work within society.  For the past forever Chip has had his office in our guest bedroom.  We decided that when guests come it would be nice for them to have their own room and not have to boot Hill out of his room.  I secretly think it was a way for Chip to get me to clean up all the crap I stored in the corner of the dogs room.  So the office renovation began....

Chip's step dad is really handy and thrify.  He said he could build us a desk for mere pennies - - and that he did!  I love it!
Before:  Foster getting one last rest in his old room before construction begins.

During:  Hill and I using power tools.
(Don't look up my shorts!)

During: Ed & Hill finding studs.
Wait, they are the studs.  Sorry I couldn't resist the cheese of saying that.
 Especially Hill with no pants on.

I like to call it the Mission Control Room
left to right: Chip's Mac laptop, my Mac desktop, my Dell laptop and Chip's work laptop.
During renovation redo week we also hung a TV outside on the patio.  I have to brag on hubby for a second.  I knew his intentions when he broached the subject on wanting a tv outside - He had football on the brain.  But I've got to give it to him.  He researched and found a brand new 28" LCD flat screen tv and wall bracket for less than $200 at  Why the heck not?  I refuse to take a picture until the wires are all in place and I have decorated.  Well, I take that back.  I did take a picture and it looks stupid because it's like "Hey, I'm a tv on a wall" and doesn't do the set up justice.  I have to admit that Hill really really enjoys watching Mickey Mouse outside while putting sticks in his wagon.  Ridiculous, I know.  He can also watch cartoons while.....

Playing on the "tractor"
Last weekend was Labor Day weekend.  Our friends Elizabeth "Ed", Mike & Ava Kaiser came to visit us from Nashville.  Ava and Hill are days apart which is neat because Chip and Ed have been BFF forever.  The kids played together like they were BFF.  It was sweet.  I have no less than a million pictures from when they were here so I will share those in another post.

So now do you see why I haven't posted in 3 weeks?  Do you forgive me?  Have you abandon me as I have you?  There is much more to talk being one of them.  I don't really like to talk about work on my blog but once I get settled I'll give you the latest on my bitter sweet transition.

I leave you with this picture.  It describes how I feel lately, tired.  We went over to our neighbors house, the Davis', to watch the Auburn vs. MS State game and Hill played and played and came home to conk out.  I'm sure I will regret his napping at 4:00 pm and it's now 6:30 pm and he's still asleep.  Oh well, it was worth being able to get to blog for a bit.