A man friend and a 12 pack of gatorade

a little throwback to way back when


As I sit here on a rainy Sunday afternoon and pore over the fascinating article titled, Pulmonary Function Decline in Firefighters and Non-Firefighters in South Korea, a lovely little read about all the crap that firefighters' bodies go through and people don't even know it..... I thought I would pop on in here and catch y'all up on some things.  

I guess #1 would be that I still read things, things and more things like, Pulmonary Function Decline in South Korean firefighters.... not because I want to actually know anything about any of it, but because I just have to.  I'm smack in the middle of Year Two of this battle for benefits and basically, all I have is me to wave the battle flag. The Workers Compensation insurance carrier for the City of Dallas has turned down my claim for death benefits regarding Fireman Dave.  And go figure, but the attorney that I relied on to help me file the appeal doesn't like or appreciate me very much as a person - but I'm really sweet down deep inside, I want to yell at him... but I think he blocked me and applied for a restraining order.  And in short, y'all, I need him every hour, sort of like the good ol' song talkin about Jesus - but in this case his name is Randy.  If y'all see Lawyer Randy out and about, put in a good word for me, please.  

And #2 would be to catch y'all up on some family things:  

We had to make the very difficult decision to put our beautiful dog, Rita, to sleep a few weeks ago.  And it hurt my heart more than most anything should because it seems like every little piece of what we used to be as a family just goes away so darn easily.  That sweet dog hair shedding girl sat with her Mama and listened to me cry a whole lot of late, and I sure miss my sweet friend.  

And there's this.... I backed into a construction vehicle while trying to get out of a parking lot - a retail spot where I had specifically gone to get the very best Valentine cards for all my little loves.  Which reinforces my entire theory on love these days -  It's such a dangerous business.  But I did send a sweet Valentine gift to my angel friend, Loyce, in Uganda, and got something for each of my sort of darling boys. Kid 1 has specifically asked for soap and toothpaste, which is a very untraditional Valentine, but there was that year I got new closet doors from Fireman Dave for the Day of Love and it was the best gift ever.  Love is love, I say and if Crest whitening toothpaste says it, I'm all about it.  

And announcement #3 I guess would be that I am the proud mom of Kid 2 who has been accepted into two different universities so far and waiting on possibly another.  But we are pretty much stuck on the what's next portion of that show.  He tends to be a lot like his daddy and feels so many things.  And he's  expressed concern over leaving me here alone, plus some other issues about going off to school - things that we're trying to work out.  If I could snap my fingers and make each of them about 4 years old again when they dressed up like Spiderman and wanted to marry me, I would totally consider it .... for about a minute, then let them grow up to be the men that God has planned all along for them to be.  So I remind Kid 2 that I got to be 18 years old and go off to college and all that jazz, and now it's his turn.  We're all a work in progress, it seems. 

I think losing a huge part of your security and confindence in how life is supposed to work at the early age of 17 makes what should be a mid level decision actually bigger than maybe it should be.  I get that.  My last 14 months have been all about heavy, dark decisions that I never wanted to make, but yet here I am ....  Still about the business of ridiculous and trying to figure out why.  Y'all, as Fireman Dave sits in Heaven probably in a recliner watching Sunday afternoon football, thank you very much.  

And time to brag about Kid 1 - my college baby - who made it onto the Southern Athletic Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll for his wonderful Grade Point Average his first semester while being a full time student athlete at Millsaps College.  That one can irritate the life out of me, then turn right around and charm me with stuff like this.  God made sure to put a healthy mix in him early on to make sure I wouldn't kill him.  

And Kid 3.  Oh dearest Kid 3, whom I adore with every breath I take.  And the one who is our lead in today's story....

Enter Stage Left ...  into the basketball gym at the high school, me and my "Friend Who is a Man."  From now on to be referred to as Man Friend.  And poor Man Friend who happens to be polite and kind and believes in opening doors for ladies and all the gentlemanly things, thought it best that he be the one to carry in the 12 pack of red Gatorade to the gym as it was Kid 3's required contribution to the concessions sales that day.  And Lord, had I known that a 12 pack of red Gatorade could and would cause such a stir, I would've just made a big ol' monetary contribution to the team and left it at that.  

So we walked in, got body searched by the coach with the hand help metal detector to make sure we weren't bringing in weapons of mass destruction  - as that could erupt into chaos should our team suffer a tough loss.  But turns out so can walking into your kid's basketball game as a recently widowed woman, followed by a man who is not my husband, carrying a 12 pack of red Gatorade.

And I had already made sure to tell Man Friend that he should sit no closer than 18 inches away from my person in the bleachers as not to incite gossip of any sort, as I am a respected member of this community - but I know for a fact that I got the reviewing stare from the boys' Biology teacher and a couple of others as they mentally recounted the sad walk of shame of Hester Prynne and her literary Scarlet Letter.  

And Kid 3 gave Man Friend the teen version stare of "Carry that 12 pack of red Gatorade for my mom again and I'll cut you"  ... and then later texted me with this,  

"Is bringing a random guy to my games going to be a regular thing now?"

To which I replied, "I think if I were to just pick up a random guy and bring him to your game, I would expect to be paid for that.  I am not in that profession." 

Y'all.  I've had to really pray about this.  These boys are my absolute top priority.  Have been and always will be.  And that means that they need and expect me to be here when they get home from school and games and whatever else.  They expect me to be in my mom place waiting for them no matter what, where or when.  But I've come to the sad acceptance that Fireman Dave is never coming back.  And talking to myself is sort of not fun.  And seriously, my day after day consists of going to work and coming to home to read about lung crap and firemen's arteries until I fall asleep.  

So I made the choice to say yes to Man Friend a few weeks ago when he asked me to dinner and to a movie and then to dinner again.  And I made the choice to step out of my comfort zone and out of my normal comfy sweatpants outfit and try to grow a little bit beyond where I've been stuck for a while.  I will say, however,  that I went to a late matinee movie on a school afternoon last week and I totally regretted not being here when Kid 3 got home from school.  And I had to give that one a lot of thought to make sure I keep my priority on raising these boys before and above anything else.  

I seriously never wanted to make these decisions.  I never wanted to read about lungs and arteries or know how to correctly decipher a death certificate.   But I never wanted to be sad and alone all the time, either.  Does that make me the East Dallas Hester Prynne with her Scarlet Letter?  I actually think David would be happy that I still make people stop and think about things.  
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