I dreamed last night that I went to Walmart in my pajamas

I dreamed last night that I went to Walmart in my pajamas to buy some light bulbs and a bag of ice.  And Kid 2 was wandering lost in the parking lot but later found me in the plant section using a bag of dirt as a table to lean on while I put in my contacts.  Which is just weird.  And if you think this is at all interesting, your summer is going a bit too slow. 

The fact is that we do indeed need light bulbs.  And Kid 1 was just fussing before bed about how dark our house was as he tried to read a Harry Potter book off his little phone.  And I do need some contact lens solution which can also be found at Walmart so there's that.  But I do not currently need a bag of ice.  

This week our power started slowly fading into oblivion which turned out to be two extremely important fuses going out.  And of course with husband at the fire station and Home Depot minutes from closing.  So yes, at that point I considered many uses for a bag of ice.  I also packed an overnight bag for a hotel, but Fireman Dave ran home to the rescue at the last minute.  I thought he ran home out of concern for his family's discomfort on a hot summer night, but I was confusing business with pleasure in that one.  Turns out if those fuses kept making things run at such low levels, anything with a motor could die.  So he actually rushed home to make sure he didn't have to replace our air conditioner unit.  I still think that speaks volumes of love in a family budget kind of way.  

So he blew through the house, in what I would call an irritated/agitated state, did a little family welfare check, and ran off to Home Depot for some new fuses.  But they were already closed.  But the manager must've seen worry in husband's eyes so he let him in anyway.  He told husband that he couldn't sell him anything after hours because all the registers were shut down, but niceness prevailed and he sent us home with the fuses anyway, saying we could come back the next day to pay for them.  How's that for doing something nice for others?  I say thank you Home Depot manager. Thank you for my air conditioning on that hot July night.  And thank you for keeping husband from working months of overtime to buy us a new one. 

And speaking of Fireman Dave.... we saw him and the other brave men of our station putting out a truck fire on the freeway one afternoon.  Which when I think of it, is really like watching superheroes in action.  Now I wonder if they can also leap tall buildings in a single bound.   

And... the most interesting news of all is our brand new.......... SAILBOAT. 

Well it's not really ours but she's parked in my driveway getting a total facelift.  She actually belongs to another fireman and it's a group project to get her back onto her sea legs again.  But for now she lives with me.  And as far as I know, none of us knows a darn thing about sailing but it's keeping husband out of trouble and that's good enough for me.  I just told him that he should really wear a life jacket.  Because.  Because, how embarrassing would that be for him to have to be rescued by some of his friends and coworkers.  

And I am not sure at all that I will participate in the water portion of the boat.  I volunteered my driveway and that may be the end of my contribution, thinking Gilligan's Island and all..... And after a three hour tour of White Rock Lake,  would I rather live as Ginger or Maryann on the deserted island inhabited only by the occasional cannibal and roaming tourist?  I think my short shorts days are past, and I don't know how to make coconut pie.  So I choose Ginger since I wear dresses all the time anyway. 

Y'all.  I searched my blog.  Because my last post made me curious.  And I learned that I've mentioned and/or written about my sister on here 3 times.  Today makes 4.  But I thought it was more.  And maybe y'all thought it was more.  And I mention her in posts on occasion because she is part of my story.  She was part of my story.  But that doesn't mean that I still grieve her death.  In fact I think I've dealt with that very well over time.  I've had plenty of time to do it, anyway. 

But what made me curious was a message from an old friend of my sister's this week.  A very kind, thoughtful, beautifully written message of remembrance, feeling and encouragement - for what must have sounded recently like grief in one of my posts.  And really, I have to spend some time on the message she sent me, kind of like a letter from my sister that I waited 20 years to open.  There's a lot in there to learn and digest.  And I will do exactly that.  When I have the sea legs for it.

(But right now I am all too busy celebrating summer.  And with that, it seems ice cream has been involved in almost every aspect of our celebration.  I heard that the average person consumes 22 pounds of ice cream each year.  And with that goal in mind, the Walters family is trying to get a jump start on our consumption quota.)

But I think love lasts no matter how long you thought it might or actually did.  And so, yes.  I'm sure I mention some people I miss on occasion.  Because at that particular moment, I probably do.  But y'all, I'm good.  I'm not in despair of any kind.  I'm not longing for, or lacking, or for that matter, sitting around filling empty holes in my heart with words of grief - or ice cream.  In fact, we have traveled far and wide to eat our ice cream so there has been fun and frivolity mixed in.  I am actually not a lover of ice cream in its purest form.  But I do claim to be the world's leading chocolate malt taste tester.  

In fact here we are in Waco... at The Health Camp.... a famous little place that has served burgers and shakes since 1948.  Husband and kid 3 gave it a thumbs up in both taste and greasy drive in charm.    

And here we are at the Highland Park Pharmacy finishing up a long summer day of nothing better to do. And no, I did not cut my own hair, despite all appearances in this photo.  But I have since, seen my guy, Gustavo, who worked his magic on me and adorableness is all over the place. 


Love..... what is it?  I thought I loved a fella in high school during my sophomore year musical production of The Music Man.  In fact, today I declare that I did love that young man... for at least a couple of months.... and in a 16 year old kind of way.  He was the stage crew and had beautiful arm muscles.  He also drove an old truck and went fishing a whole lot, and we had rival tans.  

And I loved a fella kinda forever in my last years of high school who ended up coming in and out of my life for way too many years beyond, and then leaving me to think we were an us again, but finding out from his mother that he got married.  To a gal he calls Babycakes.  Lord help me.  

Then there were plenty that I wasted more years of my life on than I can count.  Enough said.   

And so maybe I am not only an expert on all things chocolate malt related, but love as well.  Or at least I've put in my time in the study and practice of it.  A fact that cannot be disputed by any authority.  I did see a sign for a love specialist psychic on the freeway.  Maybe I can be her assistant.

The love of a young girl is so far apart from the love of a grown woman who has learned not so much what love is - but more of what love is not.  

My sister's friend, in her comment to me of late, made me question not so much the love that I had for my sister, but the love she had for me.  And I'm not sure if I should just ignore that itching feeling to look into that possibility, or just leave it in the history books where it belongs.  But I do know for a fact, that I am just like the rest of the world  - not knowing what I had till it was gone.  I thought my heart would fall right out of my chest the night she died.  And really, I didn't know I would feel like that. 

And I think that was love showing up a little too late.  It was realizing a lost relationship and lost togetherness that had, up till that point, been taken for granted.  Taken for granted because I was far too busy looking for love in all the wrong places to see what I already had.  

post script... and with that, I may take a summer break.  Unless I think of something all too exciting not to share.


I try to present myself with grace and dignity in most situations, as I have learned that not much else works anyway.  However this week I believe I have broken at least 2 or more of the Ten Commandments and thought of another one that should've without a doubt been added.  

And I've found along the path of my years, that no matter what the Bible says about being clothed in strength and dignity, that I lose all control when anger, pettiness, worry and the like, slip in like they belong on my life boat.  And this is the point at which, if I were a toddler, I would yell that nothing is fair and then storm off and cry and hit some things.

My friend and I sat out in the front yard the other night.  And we ate cake because it just seemed like a good thing to do.  Especially when discussing our kids and all their faux pas and people who have done us wrong.  And cancer.  Nothing is fair.  

So I started talking about my family and how I heard from them again recently - still with no steps toward reconciliation.  Just a lot of frustration and more tears that I really thought would've dried up by now.  And the conversation led to more of my upbringing and that whole situation, and somehow ended up briefly on a person that I honestly haven't thought about in ages.  A person that swept through our lives like an unwelcome house guest that stayed a little too long.  And ate all the good food.  But the good news is that I said what I needed to say to him a long time ago and got on with living.  The rest just can't be my problem anymore.  But I still wave my flag of unfairness in this particular unnamed scenario... considering the big scheme of people's lives and all. 

But don't mistake my expression of unfairness as animosity.  Because it isn't.  It's nothing.  This is a person that once had a strong hold on my hurt, and gave me an easy blame for my loss.  But that turned out not to be the full truth.  Because if you haven't figured this out for yourself yet, you will someday... We can't blame others for much of anything really, and have it matter or change things for the better.  You've just gotta Let it Go...

To which I must include the brand new George Strait song of the same title because he is amazing.  And I love him.  I really love him.     

One time I won a trip to the island of Curacao.  A Caribbean island, .... crazy gorgeous but not as well known as her siblings, Aruba and Bonaire. It was a week long trip, with everything - I mean everything- included.  And let me tell you, I deserved to win that prize since I had turned in probably 6000 entries; some mailed, some dropped off at the local TV station giving away the trip as a promotion for the island.  It was a contest with Good Morning Texas, and seeing that I was a little underemployed at the time, I had tons time to invest all I had in my campaign to win.  (The employment situation  being a little trick God had up his sleeve and, ... WOW. I. HAD. NO. CLUE.  Because God is indeed, sneaky that way.)

Just days before, I had turned down a wonderful opportunity with a salary that was about a million times more than being underemployed, but something wasn't right and I couldn't figure out what.  That, and I got a parking ticket at my job interview which was hint numero uno that I wasn't meant to be there.  

And right after I declined the position, my sister went into the hospital for her very last time.  And having some extra time on my hands, I was fortunate to be able to spend her final days with her.  She was a mess, looked a fright like nobody's business, but I got to be there.  And I wouldn't have had it any other way.  Thanks be to God.  

So, back to the story....  I was home blow drying my hair one morning when the phone started ringing with the world around me telling me they just heard my name on TV as the lucky winner of the trip.  And in the blink of an eye, I was both 5 minutes worth of famous AND going on a vacation.  

And I finished getting dressed and headed to the hospital for my shift, my turn to sit with my sister as she fought with all she had to beat the devil we call AIDS.  

She was in the county hospital here in Dallas since she had no insurance.  And it turned out to be one half blessing for the wonderful, quality care,  -  plus one half death defying scary to navigate and make it out without incident.   

So I marched into her room telling her that I had just won a trip and that she could go with me when she gets better.  But she was talking nonsense and I have no idea if she ever knew I was a celebrity for a day.  And though I was standing right there just a few feet away, letting the doctors do their thing, she would ask where I was and call out my name like she didn't see me.  Because she was dying.  And with very little oxygen to her brain, let's just say it, she was nuts.  And since I was the only one there, I was the one they asked permission to intubate her.   And I used to torture myself with the fact that I was the last one to talk to her and wonder if I said any of the things that I should've said.  Hindsight, though, I don't think she would've known one way or the other.  She just wanted to know I was there.

But as crazy as she was there in those last breathing moments that she could talk, she managed to tell me not to worry.  Don't worry, Kristi.  We'll always find each other.  

And these are the words on her grave in a little East Texas cemetery.  We'll always find each other.  Which given the circumstances, totally sounds like a God thing to me.  That he could reverse the roles of the weak and strong so the strong one could see a true example of courage.  That he can, and still does, use however short a life to touch deeply the lives of others.  That He could use such small words spoken to a girl that didn't have much more than her sister to count on, and give some comfort that maybe things would turn out okay.  

And what I've noticed through the years is that God has found me just about as many times as I've been lost.  Now granted, I stayed lost longer than I would've liked on more than one occasion, but, whatever.  

He sometimes finds me in the saddest and loneliest of places, and I find Him in the oddest and most surprising ones.  Like in a TV vacation contest win.  

post script...   So y'all.  I still say life isn't fair.  And sometimes you just get the sucky end of the stick in things and have to go on and figure out what to do with it.  And all the people say Amen.  

And I did go on the trip.  I needed the time away after all was said and done.  And when I was there, I got a call that I got a new job that I had interviewed for.  I would start late because of the trip and all, but I would go back home to be the new middle school teacher at a school specifically designed for at risk students.  I was still very much in the fitness business in my after hours, and think that will be the job that will win my Favorite of all My Life award at the end....

But talk about the surprise of a lifetime.... I fell in love with those kids.  And it was the door that opened in my mind, the idea that I wanted kids of my own.  On the job training for motherhood, I've said.  I taught at that school until Kid 1 was born 5 years later.  

I never saw all that coming.

What makes you think of summer?

Looks like I've had a few visits to the blog just to make sure I'm still alive.... which I am.  But it's summertime and the livin is easy, except for the 4 encounters with giant roaches in our house and the fact that I still have to work.

And the most exciting thing to happen in the last week or so is that I hung new curtains to coordinate with our drum set in the living room.  (And if you look closely in the picture you will see a lampshade but no lamp because our crazy dog broke it trying to attack the mailman.)

And I had a little too long a conversation with an older gentleman whose swimsuit was falling down.  Which is not uncommon in that group because of all that senior energy splashing around in the pool. 

So he and I chatted a bit, face to face, and I worried that I may accidentally take my eyes off his and get distracted by the goings on down below.  Then he turned to walk away and though I fought back a laugh, I had a towel at the ready in the event he didn't make it to the Mens locker room before full exposure.  Because I am a professional in my field.  

And today I came home from my last class all disgusting and in 4 hour wet pants to find 5 boys on my couch playing video games.  And a big pile of laundry by the washer.  

So I told the boys to get off that screen and do something constructive.  Which ended up being another screen - the dollar movies to see Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 -  which I heard is prize worthy entertainment if you're 13.  So I dropped them off then ran into Lowe's for something and since there was a crazy person in the parking lot, I decided to stay and shop for flowers.

And the cashier complimented my Prada sunglasses and said I wear them like I belong in Hollywood.... which if not for the cut throat nature of the place and tendency toward substance abuse, she may be onto something.  

And then she asked how much they cost.  And I tried to distract her by discussing the crazy person in the parking lot but then she started playing The Price is Right and trying to guess how much they cost.  And I was ashamed to tell her the truth because just last week we watched a documentary on kids around the world and how they get to school each day.  Two little guys in Africa have to walk 2 hours each way every day - while hiding from elephants in the wild.  Another little girl has to walk 4 hours and carries a live chicken in her bag, presumably so she can cook him for lunch on the way.  So yes, I was ashamed of my sunglasses today though they really do dress up dried sweat hair and no makeup.

Oh, and the 4th of July wasn't much.  Kids 1 and 3 were on the road coming home from far west Texas so kid 2 and I waited for them and then went to eat with Fireman Dave at the station.  He's the full time cook at the station when he's not saving lives and property. 

But we had just sat down to eat when the engine got a run and they all ran out and left me to entertain one of the guy's new girlfriends.  Then they came back and we made a second attempt at eating before the city had another emergency, but didn't make it and the guys all left us again.  So I gave up waiting and decided every man for himself should be the theme of  the evening.  And I had exactly one bite of food and my phone rang - a call from the boys that they had arrived back in town and I needed to go get them.  So I, too, felt just like a fireman for a day and ate like our first responders eat each shift.  About 30 minutes later I came back to cold food on the table, wrapped it up and took it home.  And that was about it for our 4th of July.   

I love summer more than any other season and if I could invite each of you to sit out in my front yard this afternoon in one of my green chairs to enjoy the day, we would listen to the sounds of summer together.... the buzz of cicadas in the trees calling out that they also love the feeling of finally being warm.  

And we would listen to the quiet of the neighborhood and the breeze in the leaves of the giant tree next door.  And we'd drink something cold and talk about our kids and how I just finished the final episode of Bloodline and how now I have no idea what to do with myself.  

And then it would be snack time which today would be the chocolate chip cookies I have baked and waiting on the stove..... Or we could be like my grandmother.... every day each summer we spent with her when I was little. At 3:00 it was a coke, (in a glass bottle that we would later take to the store for our nickel refund), and a Hershey bar.  

I used to like to put my coke in the freezer for a couple of hours leading up the big reveal at 3:00 so when I opened the bottle cap, the frozen pieces would rise from the bottle like a magic coke flavored popsicle.  I loved my Muh and my Granddaddy.  And they loved me.   

Their house was blazing hot with only two window unit air conditioners to cool the entire place.  So I would stand at the sink and run my arms and hands under cold water to cool off.  I also spent a whole lot of time with my face right up in the air conditioner unit trying to breathe.   

And if you and I were younger and not afraid of wrinkling and skin cancer, we would do like I did as a teenager and slather our bodies with baby oil and lay out in the sun until we could only see things in black and white because of all the dangerous UV rays to our eyeballs, and/or until our tan lines were an acceptable shade of dark.

I got so dark one summer that my boyfriend had to stage an intervention.  A heart to heart talk out of love which at the time hurt my savage tanned feelings, but has given me a youthful glow ever since.  I still thank him to this day for my unlined face.

What makes you think of summer?

post script.... there's actually a few other things going on that are not quite as light as a summer breeze.  And I need to think about it some.  And I think I'd like to talk about it soon.  

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