feel free to add music and sing along

I have to admit that I have better days than others.  And sometimes I handle it well enough.  But sometimes I don't think what I do would even come close to handling it, or anything.   And yesterday was one of those "seen better days" sort of days where I decided to help the mood with a little personal pampering/beauty treatment.  Which sounds greatly relaxing... until you move on to paragraph #2....

I chose the DIY at home bikini wax kit at Target.  Because, of course.  And basically it turned out to be a most frightful disaster.  Things that I don't even remember touching are sticky, and the waxing instructions lied about every. single. thing.  And truth be told, my right inner thigh looks like it's been in a horrifiic, one thigh accident.  I only share this with you, because you, dear readers,  are my people, and this blog is built on tragedy, truth and the Walters' uncanny ability to get into all sorts of trouble.

And since I was asked recently to quit being so depressed and get back to the business of some good Kristi style story telling, .... what better tale to tell than a true life, one woman show set in my bathroom .....

Because I am nothing if not a lady, I will spare you the exacts, but imagine if you will that you left a big package of bubble gum out in your car in the 105 degree heat of our recent days.  Now go sit on it.  Then try to figure out how to remove the gum from your undercarriage without any help.  Please know that I have never in my life used the word undercarriage until today.  

And I think that had I still been able to use my free 911 hook up and call upon Fireman Dave to assist in said situation, he would've had, very possibly the best laugh I ever gave him in his too short a life.  Though I feel all romance from that point on would've come to a screeching halt and he would've never been able to look me in the eyes ever again.  We shall never know. 

Y'all, how hot wax ended up between my toes is the mystery of the whole thing.  And add in the cost of the destroyed bath mat, two towels, and my dignity  - and lesson learned about budget cuts and beauty.  The end.  And please let's never speak of this aloud.

I also this week made my second trip to the Waxahachie, Texas DMV to return Kid 3 for a second try at passing the eye portion of his learner's permit.  And praise Jesus, he did.  Now if he could just learn to drive.

Y'all, I just finished Season 2 of the Netflix original series, Ozark - short version:  money laundering family for a drug cartel meets backwoods ne'er do well clan in Missouri.  The back woods family has a kid named Three.  Y'all, his name is Three.  And I felt an immediate bond with them as I also have a Kid 3 as well as a 1 and a 2.  Yes, I number my kids, but mostly for the blog and to shield them from the public scrutiny of having a tell-all blogger as a mom. 

And earlier in the week the Walters went on a road trip to Jackson, Mississippi and it went a little something like this:  Feel free to add music and sing along.

We took 2 vehicles - my car and Kid 1's truck  There had been some debate of late about whether to let the kid take the truck to school -  and my executive decision went with yes.  Refer back to a prior post when I mentioned one kid acting the fool.  Now look at Kid 1 and do the math.  But y'all, despite the caring input and advice I receive from various sources, it all comes down to how life changed for us 9 months ago and the fact that I no longer have go-to reinforcements at the ready.  So when a two parent, two kid family handles something one way, it's not really the same as a one woman show vs 3 kids.  I would describe my mothering of late as sort of a Man vs Wild situation on many an occasion, and when that happens, I have learned to just let nature take its course and trust that what Fireman Dave and I already invested in these kids had already crossed them over the line from primitive animals to good humans.  Is it the correct mom move?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But we'll only actually know if and when we all make it out alive.

But anyway,  word on the Interstate is that Mom is pretty much a bad-ass Nascar driver and when Kid 3 and I were taking this fun picture in front of the Mississippi River, Kids 1 and 2 were still at a Cracker Barrel pit stop somewhere in Louisiana.  Why am I wearing camo in every picture when I'm not even a hunter?  There appears to be a consistent fashion theme.  

We all met up at the hotel where I totally budgeted the situation and only reserved one room so then all three boys fought over who had to share a bed with their mom.  It made me feel very loved and wanted rejected in a mom of three teen boys sort of way.  They also entertained me with stories of a fat, barefoot kid sitting on the toilet at a Wendy's.  Their words, not mine.  I would totally be more politically correct and refer to the child as unfortunately heavy set and then spend a lot of time wondering why he was barefoot and where was his mother. And I laughed like I haven't in a long time.  God bless them, every one.  

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that all 3 kids were sickly the entire trip and whoever stays in room 408 of the downtown Jackson Hilton better hope that the housekeepers actually disinfect.  I did get Kid 1 into an urgent care appointment the morning of dorm move in, as I could see his first week of football camp going up in flames with a feverish sinus infection.  Another crisis averted.

Football report time was 3-5 pm Monday at exactly at 2:45 pm when the truck was all loaded and headed toward campus, this happened:  

So we parked under the carport of a hotel till safe passage was available.  But it messed up my well planned hair that I had fully considered in the event I bumped into that charming, yet distant football coach.  Best laid plans and all.  Anyway, we got the kid all moved in.  The work on my part was to carry a few lighter things in from the car and then step out into the dorm hallway to watch my son take his first steps toward some real growth.  My theory being that I'm not the one living in that room, so I shouldn't be the one setting it up.  

Enter roommate and his parents - who told me how difficult it was to decide what to bring from their 5600 square foot home.  Y'all I held back my commentary on that one - as we all know that one Walters sleeps in the living room and another in the dining room of this old house.  We're not a proud people.  Just functional and hopefully on most occasions, nice.   Roomie's family chose a 50 inch TV, a fridge of his very own, an ergonomically correct desk chair, blender, Keurig coffee maker, XBox gaming system and enough food and supplies for him to live off the grid for 6 months.  Me?  I was totally like, Here's a 3-in-1 body wash, shampoo, dish soap combo.  Make it last, buddy.  

And see his desk chair that came with the room?  I'm really holding out hope that all of that is coffee stains.  But we covered it in a quilt attached with chip bag clips and made ourselves walk away.  

Kid 1 called that night about 10pm to tell me that his roommate's parents were still in the room and that he just wanted to take a shower and get settled.  My advice?  Do what you need to do, sweet angel,  then drop that towel. That'll make 'em leave.  Follow up:  the towel worked, visiting parents gone.  

And I think it all comes down to how we choose to parent our own kids.  I refuse to send a young adult  off to become a better adult then stand there and unpack his clothes for him.  I stopped changing his sheets at the beginning of the summer to get him ready for his own share of dorm chores.  He chose to sleep on the mattress pad the entire summer.  His choice and less laundry for me.  Win. Win.  

And I will share the actual words of wisdom that I gave to Kid 1 when he was crazy nervous on move in day and even before - but another time.  I think the biggest deal of it all was my other 2 boys when we got home.  I'll respect the privacy of  my conversations with those 2 darlings, but know that it is a continual healing process around here.  There is still an open wound that just seems to ache more on some days than others but God gives us the blessing of us not all losing our stuff at the same time.  

Y'all, loss tends to compound loss.  But we did it.  And we're looking forward to our next trip to see brother play football. 

It's definitely been a week.  

see if you can keep up

I actually thought about making this post into a big ol' game of Three Truths and a Lie... but sadly, none of these events are a lie... though I still lie in wait for that day. And time pretty much runs together for me anymore, so my timeline may or may not be 100% correct, but in the past days, week, weeks.... pick your favorite, the following things have occurred:

See if you can keep up:

1. One Kid acted the fool, tried his hand at dishonesty with this Mom and lost his form of transportation for approximately ever.  Plain English?  He messed up and crossed the wrong gal.  

2. My computer broke - though it likes to work fine for the computer repair place as well as the entire Geek Squad at Best Buy.  Hello new computer someday soon for me?  I say this as I sit at Kid 2's desk, using his gaming laptop and staring at a big poster of Spider Man.  

3. My dryer went crazy and may or may not have been a tremendous fire hazard for longer than it should've been.  

4. Got fired and re-hired as contract labor in the name of budget cuts.  Stupid budget cuts.  

5. Drove to an out of town DMV with Kid 3 to save time instead of waiting for 6 hours at the big city office like I did, me myself and I,  in March - only to have him fail the eye exam portion of the Learners Permit Test and now I get to get him to an eye doctor and return him to the DMV on another, hopefully better attitude day.  

6. And hooray!! I am getting a new roof.  My excitement in the prior sentence is totally fake as I actually had no idea that I even needed a new roof. Kind of like earlier in the year when I had to get an entirely new shower to keep me from falling through the decomposing floor of the existing one and into the underbelly of an old 1956 ranch style house.  I would totally rather have a vacation or a year's worth of beautiful hair highlights. 

And basically the last 8 months have shown me that not only can I not take care of the yard, the housekeeping, the laundry folding plus hold down a job and try to keep 3 teen boys fed and out of jail, I really need a person to just pop over on occasion and do a random safety check on the Walters.  I have a friend that believes that Fireman Dave can and will show himself to me in interesting ways - the smell of his cologne?  His flip flops appearing out of nowhere next to our bed this morning?  Yep - Weird.  But to that I simply say, if that man decides to make a surprise visit, he needs to stay long enough to mow the yard and fix the hot water heater that sounds like a bowling team in my hallway.

But for the Walters, this weekend is bringing a mix of emotions yet again as we take off to move Kid 1 into his college dorm in Mississippi.  And the way things have been going for said kid and I of late, I know and understand that it is truly God's plan that children grow up and fly away - so that the mom doesn't have to kill them.  But when that day comes, especially when it comes to a family that still feels the sting of loss and change, the going off to college experience gets mixed reviews.

We've done all the shopping, gotten the bedding and storage and all the things - thanks to a wonderful friend who contributed greatly to his dorm needs - you know who you are and it is not said enough how special you are to the Walters.  But what I've learned so far - as of this writing underneath my motivational Spider Man poster - y'all, I think we could prepare all the live long day, and still not be fully prepared for the the missing piece of Fireman Dave in this experience.  

I go back again and again to something a lady said to me shortly after we lost him - when she said she had no idea how I was even putting one foot in front of the other.  And I think at the time, and maybe even on occasion now, that I'm not 100% sure of that either.  But my answer to her was this - because I have 3 boys watching to see if their mom can put one foot in front of the other.  And more than anything - more than dorm supplies and any and all best laid plans that we try to make for ourselves - it all comes down to a giant leap of faith.  And today seeing that I am a bit on the tearful side of life, I am resting in what is left of mine.

And I am trusting that David and I poured into these kids enough of us to keep them within our gentle reach and out of the million other possibilities waiting for them out in the world.  And yet again, as my email sent me more years gone by Shutterfly photo memories this week, I found a few that made me remember exactly when and why I knew Fireman Dave would be the one I would spend my life with.  Take that, college boyfriend who probably became rich.  And it's old news that I already loved him - we were childhood friends, proverbial partners in crime from early on.... but I knew I loved the man he had become the day I saw him with his young niece who had gotten a little scrape, bump or bruise while playing outside.  And as I watched him kneel down to her eye level, kiss her little invisible to the eye wound, and wipe away a tear - my heart and mind knew right then what love looked like.  If you remember, I didn't have the best example of any of that set for me growing up, so when I went looking for love - and too many times to count -  and in all the wrong places ..... I didn't even understand what it was that I was looking for.  But suddenly I did.  And this week I saw some old pictures of the father that my husband was to our boys.

About a month ago at college orientation, I struggled a bit with watching the 2 parent families handling all the things together.  So I skipped out on a few of the meetings and sat in a rocking chair under a giant tree on a college campus in Mississippi and tried to pray my way out of ruining my mascara with an ugly cry.  And as I try to get through the next few days of another change, I just may need that chair and shade tree again.  And I just may need some reminders that I am strong enough to put one foot in front of the other.  I feel sure that God will provide some lessons for me on that subject.

2 deaths and an Abduction - a year of being a Walters

Obviously my last post set off some alarms around town.... causing worry, fear and texts to my children to hide the knives and/or any other sharp objects as their mom is on the brink of disaster.  To which I say, um, ... that is so yesterday's news.  I've been on the brink of lots of things these last months, and when I sit at my computer and use my dear, departed husband's death certificate as a mouse pad for all the crap I have to do each and every day,... the brink is pretty much the X on the map of my life about now. 

But I am here to state publicly, that though we Walters are typically a hot mess - and I mean that in every sense, as they boys will tell you that we now set the thermostat to a balmy 80 degrees in this here hot summer - not just so I can hear them yell, It's SOOOOOOOOO hot in here!!!!!!! - but so I can not worry about $400 electric bills till said time that I am able to stop worrying about $400 electric bills - that I have no intention of quitting this mom job before it is complete.  And an aside,... thank you God for the inventor of the ceiling fan, long, long ago who thought ahead to our sweaty summer and got right down to business. 

So on a more upbeat note than my last post discussing all things life and death and their ultimate value in the big scheme of Kristi Walters, I was asked to please share a few true to life tales, but for the love of God, lighten them up a bit.  And so I promised one particular reader that I would tell the tale of how I had to use the mens' room in a Taco Bell in tiny town Louisiana because whoever was in the one holer women's establishment had obviously moved in.  I could hear noises, and I knocked  - like a lot  - for whatever was going on in there to wrap it up on the double - but I finally had to give up and trust the cleanliness report of Kid 1 as he had already come and gone out of the men's and suggested I do the same and get on with life.  And y'all, that's pretty much the whole story of it - but if you know me, the emphasis is totally on the words Mens room and Taco Bell - which brings me full circle back to the major point in my lead up to it all.... that life has me constantly teetering on the brink of either disaster or adventure anymore.  Please someone tell me why. 

And this week I got a big ol' V shaped cleavage tattoo - where otherwise I actually have little to no cleavage - in my attempt to squeeze all the mom and kid fun out of every available day.  And sadly I feel women readers everywhere are now all a buzz about where they, too, can get a big V shaped cleavage tattoo like mine.  But y'all, it's really just a sunburn in the worst of places, along with a weird, boy short bikini line only on my left hip.  But fun is fun and it was one of my special days with my kiddos this week.  I think Kid 3 only went to the pool with us because he wanted to even out what he refers to as his farmer's tan that has him all stressed - but I'll take the love and attention in whatever form or for whatever reason. 

And one day we all went back out to Ham's Orchard and sat in some rocking chairs and did not much of anything else.  Was it forced fun week?  Very possibly.  And we tried to look cute doing it.  

Now on the more dramatic side, one day last week I got reports of Kid 2 being missing from work which in my mind meant nothing short of a mid-day kidnapping.  And the weird thing is that my mind was already blogging about our newest adventure and titling it something along the lines of "2 deaths and an Abduction - a year of being a Walters."  

Anyway, it started with Kid 1 getting an alarming text from a concerned, yet confused friend about Kid 2 not showing up for his job, and would he know where his brother may or may not be?  So after sleeping another hour or two, Kid 1 decided to become caring and alarmed and went searching for Kid 2 - whereupon he found brother's truck at his swimming pool of employment, but still a worried text from the friend saying he was missing.  Then Kid 1 called me and we collectively panicked, but chose to, one last time before alerting the authorities, check the lifeguard stand where Kid 2 was supposed to be yet reported to not be.... and yep.  There he was.  So we all breathed a sign of relief and then went to see the new Lion King movie.  I actually think Kid 3 slept through all of the drama and I feel lucky that it was not my life in danger and me dependent upon these children to save me.  

And y'all, Kid 1 is currently hitting the panic button about moving away to school in 2 weeks, and there's that.  And Kid 3 wants a tattoo to memorialize Fireman Dave, to which I can just feel David shaking the entire earth in a giant, resistent, please God NO... but yet, I am considering it.  Especially since Kid 3 has been the hardest to grieve our loss, and he feels that this will be something about his daddy that he can always have with him.  And the fact that I just this week got sort of a giant V shaped cleavage tattoo of my very own, who am I to say no?  So we are currently researching the possibilities and if it rains on the day we choose to do it, it may indeed by Fireman Dave crying about my parenting choices.  

And finally, I went on a non-date sort of date.  A really, really, really non-date sort of event as the gentleman in question is a retired fireman who will always see me as the wife of his dear friend, and who made sure to announce his non-agenda right in the middle of his invitation.  Yes, he used the words, no agenda.  To which I told him to get down on his knees that very minute and pray that someday, someone will actually have a Kristi agenda before I get too old to know what to do with it.  (A good and honorable one, of course.)  And I may or may not have told him my big fear of being the old widow lady who goes to the grocery store every.dang.day to buy a single can of soup - half to eat now, half for later.  Dear matchmaking Jesus, please take the wheel of love and someday find me the second best man in the world to love.  

Anyway, I made sure to tell him that I was gonna pretend that we were on a for real date so I could practice for the someday that I decide to do just such, and he pretty much said, Okay, Kristi, whatever, and we ate and talked and had a nice time. 

Maybe I'm hideous.  Or borderline offensive.  Or just married forever in the minds of people who saw our sweet family and made note that we were one of the unique ones.  But the hamburger was good, and the company even better.  And another week went by with 4 Walters still standing.

post script for those confused among us... the 2nd death in my proposed title belongs to my mom who died 4 months prior to Fireman Dave.  And I hope she is in Heaven fixing him that lemon pie that he likes and that I never figured out how to do.  
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