This Is As Good As It Gets

I don’t have a very good memory. Things that go into my head get lost a lot.
I like to think that it’s because I’ve got so much knowledge from all my years of living that there just isn’t enough room, and so I have to filter out a lot of things.

But the reality is that it’s mainly just useless Disney trivia, a lot of facts about Abraham Lincoln, and the entire script to Forest Gump.

Either way, I don’t have a lot of moments that stick out in my mind, so the ones that do usually mean something.
I have this distinct memory of a field day in the fourth grade. Mom took off work for the day to volunteer at the parent booth, and the Italian ice truck came to the school just for us. I ran in the sack race and won a medal, and momma was there cheering, and I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I have a distinct memory of a Friday night my senior year of high school. About eight of my closest friends were all crowded onto a single trampoline with a bunch of comforters. We were staring at the stars and waxing poetic about the fear of graduation and the future and how much we loved one another, and I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I have a distinct memory of sitting in the front room of the house on Chestnut Street my junior year of college. I was surrounded by the greatest women in the world and we were all singing along to ‘Forever Young’ and with one another, thinking it could be true. We really could be forever young. I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I remember walking through the Colonnade after a Saturday afternoon tailgate and football game, holding hands and laughing with a cute boy with dimples and the bluest eyes I’d ever seen. We ran through the fountains and back to the Castle, and I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I remember walking down the aisle of a church with that same blue-eyed guy waiting at the end. I remember the part of the service that he leaned down and washed my feet to promise he’d always love me and serve me. And I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I have a distinct memory of walking on a park track, 9-months pregnant, holding the dog’s leash while the sun was setting, huffing and puffing attempting to encourage Rosebud to just be born already. We got in the car to drive home, and Doc said: “This might be the last day when it’s just the two of us.” And it was. And I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I remember having contractions and thinking: “This is absolutely as bad as life gets.”
Pause. Shudder.

I have a distinct memory of being in the hospital the night after Rosebud was born and looking over to see Doc holding her and staring at her for hours. And I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

I have a distinct memory of a summer afternoon that we all three spent together, working in the garden, swimming, and the smell of Doc’s grill. We spread out a blanket in the back yard and had a picnic, and ended the day on the patio swing. It felt like nothing in the world could touch the three of us. And I clearly remember thinking: “This is as good as life gets.”

Now. Please don’t get me wrong. These perfect days–more like snapshots–were surrounded by moments and days where I just didn’t know if I would make it through. But memory often colors those bad days.

In every season of life, I keep thinking I’ve peaked. Nothing could be better. My heart it so nostalgic, and it  aches to see chapters close and these seasons end. I forget to look ahead toward what good could come, and instead I dread the unknown.
I fear the things I can’t see.

So if today you’re sitting on the cusp of the unknown–take heart in knowing that there are good days ahead. Even if you think that today is as good as life can get.
Rest in the peace of the One who knows exactly what tomorrow holds.
Rest in the peace of the One who is preparing you for your best day. When it really will be as good as life could get.

And take heart in the fact that somewhere out there, I’m just as scared sh*tless as you are.

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

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Spring Break As a Mom: Heavy on the Spring, Light on the Break

Along with real housewife, mom, landscaper, maid, nurse, and official backyard pooper scooper I also wear the student hat. That’s one I just can’t seem to take off. 20 years and counting. And last week was Finals Week: where everything that can go wrong will.

We run on a full time block schedule. So we take courses for 8 weeks, have finals, then begin our next 8 week block. It took some adjusting to because my body was stuck in semester and you can’t teach an old sorority girl new tricks. It’s super fast-paced, and pretty intense and that’s the way I like life, so I get by. Also. If you have a really terrible professor, you’re only stuck with them for half the time. Heyyyyyyy.

I always have the best intentions to begin preparing for my finals far in advance. But after working 20 hours, cooking enchiladas, and trying to fit in some solid time with Doc and Rosebud, the time gets whittled away and I’m left scrambling.

Then, and here’s the kicker, I scheduled an interview, a conference call, and a dentist appointment all in one week. Guess which week. Go ahead, guess. Yup. Finals week. Because apparently I’m an unconfirmed sadist.

But I wasn’t panicked. No. I can get this all done. Where’s my cape? Hand me my cape! Watch me work(fail) mere humans!!! I was feeling cocky. And pride always goeth before the fall. And before the emotional breakdown.

Rosebud turned on me. The Benedict Arnold spiked a fever Sunday night and the days dedicated to studying started to look less hopeful. I should’ve known. It’s the curse of finals’ week. So everyday that week I spent at home with my snotty, grumpy, feverish 2-year-old, all the while making calls and doing policy reports for work and attempting to study and complete final exams and 15 page reviews over education finance laws. Gag me with a peanut butter covered spoon.

But there was a light at the end of this tunnel: Spring. Break. I knew that if I could only make it to Friday at midnight, the week from H.E.double L would end, and I would immediately slip into the cuddly comfort of sleeping late and relaxing on my very last Spring Break.

Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Yeah. Right.

The weekend leading up to Spring Break was spent in bed alright, sick as a dog. Rosebud breathed on me just one too many times. Started off with a real bang.

Monday: I spent an hour on the phone with Best Buy trying to figure out where my Grandmother’s t.v. that I ordered her was. For the record, nobody knew. And then the next six hours catching up on the mending/hemming I’d been putting off for 6-months. I hemmed 10 pairs of John’s dress pants, 2 of Rosebud’s dresses, and fixed a few loose buttons. Then I went……….grocery shopping. DUH DUH DUNnnnnnnnn. We needed to hit up the whole shebang-Sam’s Club, Kroger, even Wal-Mart (where Rosebud found a pack of clearance big girl panties for $4.50 and wouldn’t put them down because apparently every 2 year old needs panties with birds on them, and “Mommy, I not has any bird panties at home.”) Home. Dinner. Got Rosebud ready for bed. Worked on policy reports for work. Went. to. bed.

Tuesday: I went to work. Got home and saw that Grandma’s new chair had been delivered, so I put the chair together. Made some homemade salsa, so the cilantro wouldn’t wilt like Rick Pitino’s career, then started dinner. Doc and Rosebud got home, we loaded up the glider and ottoman into the car and headed to Richmond to see Grandma. Got her laundry to wash and a list of things she needed. On the way home she calls to tell me that this chair just “doesn’t suit” and I’ll have to come back and pick it up. Tonight. I said no, because I’m trying to stay out of jail and I didn’t want to be the focus of an episode of Snapped. Got home. Ate the dinner I’d cooked at 4:30 (reheated chicken is yum) gave Rosebud a bath, helped her fill out her bracket for our family tournament, and put the babe to bed. Time change is a real friend to mom’s everywhere, and so Rosebud was up every 10 minutes for the next hour and a half. “I need to pee-pee.” “I need to go poo.” “I need some water. I sirstee.” Finally, bed. Also, Marco Rubio dropped out of the primary race so I spent a good hour mourning the loss of the Republican Party to Donald Trump. RIP.

Wednesday: I went to get a hair cut. Which every busy woman knows is basically a vacation. I spent 2 1/2 hours getting pampered, and walked out feeling like a new woman. Sigh. I wish everyday was haircut day. But then reality put its foot back up my butt and I started working a thesis assignment, and doing work for my real, out of the house job. The day hit a  high note with a trip to McAlister’s for dinner with a best friend. Then we went to Best Buy, picked up Grandma’s t.v. and headed home. Rosebud went down fairly easily, and I helped Doc edit a personal statement for a rotation application and took his picture so he’d have one to attach. (Note to self: Add Professional Photographer with focus on portraiture and headshots to resume.)

Thursday: Doc insisted that I sleep in today and relax. It’s so cute when he’s oblivious. I slept in until 8:00. When my phone started ringing off the hook. It’s currently 12:15 and I’ve had 5…wait. now 6. calls from Grandma/the nursing home. In between answering the phone, I cleaned out and organized the storage building, started my billion loads of laundry for Grandma and us, and got our spring/summer clothes out of storage and put our winter things away. Took a break to blog and eat a turkey sam. I will follow that up with an exciting afternoon of preparing our tax documents because we will be going to get our taxes filed this evening at 6. After that we’ll drive to Richmond, and I’ll hang up/put up Grandma’s laundry, pick up that chair and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine return it to Target, and get home just in time to put Rosebud to bed and watch Doc chew off his fingernails during the Cats’ first game.

Friday: Tomorrow I’ll be spending what I’m sure will be a lovely day at the office of community based services where I will spend hours fills out Grandma’s long-term stay Medicaid application. Whenever that is complete, I’ll finish my spring cleaning.

Saturday: We’ll be taking Rosebud to an Easter egg hunt and to meet the great bunny himself at Grandma’s nursing home, so that Grandma will be able to argue with all of the other old women there about whose grandkid/great-grand-kid is the cutest and the smartest.

Sunday: Church. And then I will be spending my day of rest on the couch, watching House of Cards. (If this actually happens, it will be a miracle.)

So here’s to all you women out there experiencing the joys of spring “break”. Shoot. I’ve worked harder this week than the rest of the year combined. Head up–summer is just around the corner. Oh wait. No summer break? I’ll graduate and have a real job instead?

Well. Dang.
C’est la vie, my friends. C’est la vie.

Love and Other Drugs,
E. Hunter W.

 

 

 

Why I Refuse to Vote for Hillary Just Because She’s A Woman

Hillary Clinton is running for President.
I’m sure you already knew that. I really hope you already knew that.
And she really, really wants you to vote for her. Especially if you’re a woman. Because. Well. We should stick together and all that jazz.

Hillary thinks that it’s high time we had a female President. And boy, oh boy, do I agree.
But should it be her? “No. No. Definitely not.” (Mr. Ollivander)

Can I tell you what is more damaging to women and feminism than anything else? Giving something to a woman just because she’s a woman.

When I was 10-years old, I hated typically “girly” things. I didn’t have the imagination for dolls and Barbies. I knew that they weren’t real and that this chick wasn’t really a veterinarian and so what the heck was the point in pretending?
I wanted to read books–they made up the stories for me, and were way better anyways.
I wanted to be outside–digging in the dirt with the spoons I stole from the kitchen drawer.
I wanted to build combustion engines and look through my microscope at slides of chemicals that I couldn’t pronounce.

……………..
Moving on.

I didn’t really travel in the girl circles. All of my little friends growing up were boys. So at 10-years old I was just “one of the guys.”
At recess in elementary school we would always line up for races. One end of the chain link fence to the other.
Most of the other boys would run with all of their might against me. They wanted to beat me as badly as I wanted to beat them. As badly as they wanted to beat each other.
But there was one boy–Adam Johnson. He would let me win because I was a girl.
Every. single. time.

It was absolutely infuriating.
Because even if I ran my heart out, even if I beat him fair and square, it was still assumed that he let me win.

There are always going to be people that think I shouldn’t have/do something because I am a woman.
And the satisfaction of proving them wrong is a beautiful feeling.

But far worse than these people are the ones that want me to take the easy way out.
The ones that want to hand me something because they assume I can’t take hold of it for myself.

The thing is, I get Hillary.
She came up in a time and in an industry that women were largely ignored. She fought hard to get where she is. For a long time she was “Mrs. Bill Clinton.” And that’s the worst.
I respect her fight.

But unfortunately, I don’t respect her ideologies. I don’t respect the decisions she’s made. And I don’t respect the plans she has for our country.

Above all, I don’t respect the fact that Hillary and her supporters have the gall to insinuate that as a woman my vote should automatically go to their campaign.

In doing so, they assume that I’m not intelligent enough to assess the issues and stances of each candidate and align my ideologies with the appropriate person, male or female. Instead, just pick the woman. Because she’s a woman.

In doing so, they ask me to undercut the hard work that women all over the world have put in to be treated as equals. Because asking for and receiving special treatment based on our gender is as bad as being belittled and ignored based on our gender.

And to be perfectly honest, it undercuts the hard work that Hillary Clinton herself has put in.

Hillary, I respect you as a woman. And because of that, I will not vote for you. Because I deserve better than that. My daughter deserves better than that.

She deserves a candidate that says “Vote for me because I am the better choice.” Not “Vote for me because I am a woman.”

If you are one of the men or women voting for Hillary Clinton because you feel she is the best candidate for the job, because she will push through the policies you support, kudos.

If you are one of the people voting for Hillary Clinton because she has two x chromosomes, stop and reconsider your priorities.

I will bust my butt to get where I want to be in life. If that is made more difficult by my gender, I will work harder. I will attempt to change that.
If that is made easier by my gender, it will weaken me and the generations of women that will follow.

And when/if Rosebud runs for President of the United States, I’ll refuse to allow her that cop-out.
“Vote for Rosebud because she is bi-partisan, she can push through real immigration reform, can fix the healthcare crisis in our country, and can create a balanced budget.”
Not “Vote for Rosebud because of some twisted notion of a shared bond thanks to our anatomy.”

Love and Other Drugs,
E. Hunter W.

 

 

When You’re a 20-Something Feeling More Like a 60-Something

Yesterday I was driving down the road. There was a cute white jeep in front of me with a monogram plastered in the back window, a “Life is Good” bumper sticker, and a dream catcher hanging from the rear view mirror (DOESN’T SHE KNOW THAT’S DANGEROUS?!) A perky girl with a messy bun bigger that my toddler’s head was driving along, bouncing–why do they all bounce?! and singing along to some really loud pop music. She was texting at the red light and so sat there when it turned to green, when she finally noticed, she squealed tires and went 0 to 60 in 4 seconds.

I sat back in my champagne colored, family friendly SUV while John Mellencamp crooned to me and assessed the situation. She could be in college, I thought to myself. But possibly graduated. Ugh. She’s probably one of those “20-somethings”.
Hmph. Kids these days.

It legitimately took me 6 minutes, 2 more miles, and three sips of coffee to realize THAT I’M ONE OF THOSE 20-SOMETHINGS.
#gross.

But let’s face the facts people, pay the piper, lay it on the line, put up or shut up: Hello, my name is Hunter, and I’m a crotchety old woman.

I submit Exhibit A to the court for identification: I say or think some version of “kids these days/young people these days/young punks/this generation” while rolling my eyes and sneering at least twice a week….a day.

Exhibit B: If I drink a soda after 6:00 p.m., I’ll be up all night.

Exhibit C: I say “soda.”

Exhibit D: I yell at the people shooting off fireworks after 10:00 when the Fourth of July WAS FOUR FREAKING DAYS AGO, because “DON’T WAKE UP MY BABY, TRICK.”

Exhibit E: I have to Google search hip words and phrases like “on fleek” and “basic”. I’m just still trying to make fetch happen, okay?

Exhibit F: I once called someone a “hooligan” and everybody knows you can’t say hooligan until you’re at least 40.

Exhibit G: My “squad” is a 2 1/2 year old, a nerdy doctor-to-be, and an overweight dog with uncontrollable flatulence that refuses to exercise.

Exhibit H: I wear a bathrobe while I sip my coffee and curl my hair. Not a silky, sexy bathrobe–like a thick, fleece, anything could be under here bathrobe.

Exhibit I: I fix tech issues by blowing in or hitting the broken article.

Exhibit J: I know how to make gravy.

Exhibit K: I see teenagers running around with shorts or sandals on and yell: “PUT ON SOME CLOTHES, YOU’RE GOING TO CATCH PNEUMONIA!!!”

Exhibit L: On Friday nights in high school, I’d hang out with my grandparents and their friends while they drank gin-and-tonics instead of with the rest of the 17-year olds in a field somewhere. I can mix a mean gin-and-tonic for any of you thirsty 70-year-olds out there.

Exhibit M: One time in college, I was in a car with friends, and they swerved on purpose to mess with me and I yelled “THIS IS HOW YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE WRECKS.” They all looked at me like the ghost of Great Aunt Sally had entered the vehicle.

Exhibit N: I yell at the tv. A lot.

OKAY. You get the picture.
I’m an 80-year-old white man that yells at the kids to get off his lawn and tells the Democrats they’re running the country into the ground.
We could go at this all day, but we’re eventually going to run out of letters.
I’m old.
AF. (<<—Googled it.)

Growing up it was cute to be considered an “old soul”, I was just mature beyond my years. Now I’m just a boring has been that likes bras with wide straps and hot tea, that falls asleep with her heating pad on her feet. So I see these viral articles targeting “20-somethings” and yelling that the time is now and blah blah blah, and I read them and nothing applies to me and I’m just like: um. okay, I must not be a “20-something”.
But I’m not really into playing Bingo every Thursday night, either.

So where does that leave me?
Well… I’ve decided that acceptance is key, here. No need fighting a losing battle.
Da nile isn’t just a river in Egypt, honey child. (wut.)
And honestly, I’m probably too old and crotchety to give a rat’s……

Shout out to my fellow oldies, but goodies. May we always be in bed by 10 and thank God for control tops.

Love and Other Drugs,
E. Hunter W.

 

If You Don’t Have Anything Mean to Say to Me–Don’t Say Anything At All

I have never mastered the art of graciously accepting compliments. Whenever someone tells me something positive about my appearance/work/anything, my brain trips over itself and I turn into a lipsticked version of a caveman and garble: “Asdfghj.  Me no cute. No. Blind. You. Akjflkgjlkd. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MY HANDS.”

Why is that we immediately brush off any praise or flattery that we receive? Instead of a gracious ‘thank-you’, or the acknowledgement that yeah, you spent $80 bucks and 2 hours to look this good, we deflect it with a nonchalant “oh this old thing”, or we reverse the compliment to the other person. “ME?! Oh my gosh no. You. You are perfect. I am but a humble peasant in your presence.”

What is so wrong with saying “thanks for noticing that my hair is on fleek today.” (Side note: had to Google the correct usage of ‘fleek’….so. old.)

Example: When someone tells me how perfect/cute/precious/awesome Rose is I usually answer with some version of “Ohhh. She’s a mess.” or something equally blasé when what I really want to do is grab them by their shoulders and yell: “OMGIKNOWRIGHT!?! I can’t believe I made her and she’s awesome and perfect and the coolest/best/smartest kid on the FACE OF THE ENTIRE PLANET.” (catches breath) So there’s that.

Maybe that reaction is a bit over the top–and not really at all gracious, but neither is it gracious to take one’s compliment and unceremoniously brush it aside.

I find that I do it most with Doc.

“Wow. You look pretty.”
“I like your hair like that.”
“You’re awesome and perfect and always right and know everything.”
(Tossed that last one for posterity.)

I all but scoff at him.
And how wrong is that?
Answer: really, really wrong.

If you find yourself unable to accept a compliment, perhaps it’s for a deeper reason than just general awkwardness. Maybe it’s because you (I) find it impossible to believe these awesome, really wonderful things about yourself (myself). Maybe we should all take a step back and try to see ourselves how others see us.

Like when Rosebud walks in the room to see me getting dressed in yoga pants, a sweatshirt, and fuzzy socks and says “Aw-ww-ww. You look soo cutee, Mommy.” I don’t see anything special in the old, college sweatshirt and the fading pants with stretched fabric, and honestly she doesn’t either. She sees something special in the mommy wearing them.

And when Doc tells me I “look beautiful with my hair like that”–the right answer is not: “I always fix my hair like this.” Again. He couldn’t care less about my hair. It’s me. He sees me.

Don’t be afraid to accept just how incredible other people know you to be. Even if at that moment, you feel like you wouldn’t know beautiful and powerful if it bit you in the butt. Don’t brush aside their words, cherish them.

You are only as powerful as you believe yourself to be, so become your compliments.
It might be awkward at first but just. say. thanks.

And well…”if you can’t say anything nice about anybody, come sit by me” -Steel Magnolias

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

 

My Coffee is Always Cold: Memoirs of a Woman

Doc always makes fun of me because I have to microwave my coffee an average of 11 times before I drink it. I’m always indignant that it’s not my fault. Because here’s how my morning goes:

My coffee is nice and hot and toasty. Take a few drinks. Enjoy it. Savor it.
“Mommy. WHERE ARE YOU.”
Rosebud is awake. Take Rosebud to potty. Get Rosebud dressed. Fix Rosebud breakfast.
The coffee is neglected. The coffee is getting cold.
Microwave (#1) the coffee to warm it again.

Take Rosebud to school, sipping my lava coffee. By the time I get back out from running her in to her classroom, lava coffee is ice coffee.
Get home, microwave coffee (#2) to warm it.

While the coffee is in the microwave, I see the cilantro sitting out and remember that it will wilt if I don’t go ahead and make the homemade salsa. So I drag out the food processor, start chopping peppers and squeezing limes and forget about the poor tervis with the pink ‘W’ sitting lonely on the counter.
Finish the salsa, microwave coffee (#3) to warm it.

Open the refrigerator to put the salsa in and see the roast. Remember that we’re having roast, potato, and carrots for supper and I need to start that. So I get my pots and pans, start peeling and chopping and my poor coffee never even makes it out of the microwave this time.

Finish the supper preparations, and add two minutes to reheat my coffee (#4), but the sink is full of salsa/roast dishes. I get in the cabinet under the sink to get the dish soap and it’s in disarray thanks to my unorganized really handsome husband, so I take a minute and clean it out.

While I’m doing the dishes, I remember an email I needed to send out about a Thursday meeting. So I finish up the dishes and get my laptop and send the email. While I’m emailing, I remember a cover letter I need to type. Type the cover letter. While I’m typing the cover letter, I hear the Christmas garland around the door knocking in the wind. Finish the cover letter, get a hammer and go outside to nail it down.

Where’s my coffee?
Oh yeah. In the microwave. As cold as Shonda Rhimes’ heart.
But two minutes (#5) is a long time, and I could totally sort the laundry and get a load started during that time.
So I do.
But Doc’s white coat has a stain whose origin I really don’t want to even consider, and so it takes some special Shout and elbow grease, and by that time my coffee is cold again, and that’s okay, because I just remembered that it’s trash day and we forgot to take the trash out the night before.
So I do that.

And then I remember that my Amazon rented text books are due soon, so I get my laptop to print the return shipping labels and prepare those.
And the chances of me drinking that precious elixir are getting slimmer and slimmer.

I press start on the microwave for the sixth time (for those keeping count) and run out to the mailbox.
I come back in just as the microwave is beeping, take it to the living room, plop down on the couch and before I take the first drink, my phone rings.
It’s the nursing and rehab center calling to talk about Grandma.
By the time I get off the phone, the coffee is cold, and I’m considering trading it in for something a little stronger.
Is it really only noon?

I pop my coffee back into the microwave (#7), and the washer beeps, ready for the laundry to be switched to the dryer. I do that.

But in the time it takes me to walk from the dryer to the microwave, the doorbell rings and it’s the mailman dropping off a package. I sign for it and realize it’s lunch time, so I fix myself a pepper salad and I sit down to enjoy my long awaited, and very cold tumbler of coffee.

Here’s to the neglected tumblers and mugs on countertops around the world, and to my ladies drinking cold coffee at noon.
But ya know something, the cold never bothered me anyway.

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.