Archive for the ‘Minga Moo’ Category
“Everybody’s just a stranger. But that’s the danger in going my own way.” - John C. Mayer
Confession time: I don’t have a lot of friends. Please don’t feel sorry for me…I don’t. Well, most days I don’t. I don’t have a lot of patience for whining, complaining or negativity, and I would rather be home cuddling with Luna and David than anywhere else. My zero tolerance policy for people who aren’t optimistic AND clever AND fun affects my ability to form lasting relationships. I’ve had friends all my life, but those friends have changed throughout the years.
In high school I went to a church in another city. My church friends were my best friends. Sure, I had groups of friends in Hudson, but I spent almost every weekend with my other friends. Then I started dating an older guy– a guy in college. If I wasn’t hanging out with my church friends I was hanging out with him. It was uncool in his mind to do high school stuff, like go to dances or hang out after football games. Instead of going to Sadie’s my senior year I went to Toledo to visit my boyfriend. I only spent 20 minutes at prom, and I only danced to one song.
By the time I got to college I knew I had to shake things up. My roommate freshman year spent nearly every weekend visiting her boyfriend, so I quickly found other friends. By the end of freshman year I had a tribe. I had the kind of friends you see on sitcoms, like on Friends. As lame as it sounds I thought I had found my BFFs for life.
Funny how things change. By the end of sophomore year I was literally not speaking to a single one of my so-called friends. A dispute (and some conniving, and multiple lies) over our living situation caused a major riff that just grew deeper and deeper. I’m not really one to forget what people do and say to me, so the demise of our friendship was irrevocable. Unfortunately I still had to live with these people, which was really just like rubbing salt in the wound. It got so bad I couldn’t sleep at night. I would nap all day to make up for the insomnia, then go home on the weekends and sleep for 14 hours at a time. I couldn’t stand to be in my own room, so I went to the gym every single day. I lost 15 pounds that semester. I also lost all my friends. Guess that’s what I get for putting all my eggs in one basket. I remember I was practically moved out by the last week of classes, and that I only had to lug a few tubs of clothes out of the dorm to be free of those people. I left school that year with a good riddance attitude and a pledge to make real friends my junior year.
That summer I spent a lot of time alone (not too many friends from high school to hang out with, remember?), hopeful that the new school year would be different. I was going to live alone (“When I grow up and get married, I’m living alone! I’m living alone!”) and I was going to get more involved with extracurriculars. Three weeks before classes started my little sister was diagnosed with cancer. Junior year took me down an entirely different path. Instead of attending classes on a regular basis I curled up in bed, in my apartment alone, paralysed with anticipatory grief. Instead of going to parties on the weekend I spent the night at the hospital, unplugging my sister’s chemo drip and helping her to the bathroom. Instead of making friends I turned inward, dealing with the situation alone. It’s probably for the best I didn’t have any friends during that time– I would have neglected them and burdened them with my woe-is-me depression.
Moving on. Senior year things got better–people I worked on projects with turned into people I joined for happy hour. Acquaintances turned into friends. I made more friends senior year of college than I ever did in my life. The problem with making friends senior year of college though is that those people already have friends: they have BFFs and they’ve formed their tribe. It’s one thing to have friends… it’s another thing to have BFF LYLAS 4EVAH friends for life.
My best friends today are my mom and my husband. Oh, and Luna. Luna is one of the three best friends that anyone could have.
Nowadays I have more long-distance, Internet friends than anything else. There’s Rachel, who I text on a regular basis, talk on the phone with now and again and see every once in a while. Whether on Twitter or on our iPhones I have contact with her at least once a day. Then there’s Carrie. Carrie is someone I just sort of knew in high school, but that I have a major girl-crush on as an adult. As our lives have continued to parallel (communication jobs, puppy parents, newlyweds…) our friendship has grown. Carrie knows things about me that very few people know. She gets me.
As much as I love my long-distance friends sometimes I worry they’re not “real” enough. I don’t want people to think I have imaginary friends. A few weeks ago I was telling David about something Carrie posted on her blog. I started with “Well, my Internet friend Carrie said…” then stopped myself.
“Wait, you know I’ve actually met Carrie before, right? I knew her in high school. Do I have to keep saying ‘my Internet friend’ or will you just know when I say ‘Carrie?’”
David assured me he knew Carrie was (most likely) real, and that I didn’t need to introduce her as ‘my Internet friend’ each time I mentioned her. What a relief.
So what have we learned here today?
1. I’m friendless by my own self righteousness.
2. My best friend pees outside.
3. I’m a charming conversationalist and my husband is so lucky to live with someone so scatter-brained.
In all seriousness, thinking about Internet friendships has me thinking: how does technology, specifically social media, affect our friendships? Some of my friendships wouldn’t even be possible without the existence of blogs, Facebook and Twitter, yet I know people who have lost friends because of these same platforms. How has social media changed your friendships?
“Cwacka Jacks!” she’d scream, ducking down as the vendor scanned the crowd, trying to locate his next sale. Giggling, my 4-year-old sister would fidget in her seat until the Cracker Jack man moved on and the coast was clear.
I looked up at my dad, expecting him to scold his youngest child for misbehaving. Instead of sporting the Luther grimace my dad was smiling. Arms folded, he continued to look at Molly and just laughed.
The year was 1999.
Dad would get Indians tickets from work on a regular basis. Four tickets meant we’d leave mom at home and head out on an adventure to Jacobs Field, just dad and us kids. We always had great seats, and once sat directly behind the visitor’s dugout just 3 or 4 rows up.
Jim Thome played first base. I was in 10-year-old heaven when we had seats behind the dugout. I loved Jim Thome. I loved him more than Kenny Lofton and I loved him more than Manny Ramirez.
The only man I actually loved more than Jim Thome was the man who would surprise me with tickets to an Indians’ game then drive the “fun way” home past the women’s correctional facility in Cleveland. Sandy always hated the fun way, but I didn’t mind it. I was with my dad, so I knew I was safe.
On my 11th birthday my dad called as soon as I got home from school.
“Abby, get your homework done right away,” he instructed. “We’re going to the Indians game tonight, just you and me.”
I rushed through my homework and quickly finished the supplemental spelling assignment Luther issued me each week. I scarfed down dinner, excited to go to the Indians game as an only child.
We had loge seats that night and stayed for the entire game, even though it was a school night. Between innings they started displaying “Happy Birthday” messages on the jumbotron. I remember looking up at the board, silently rationalizing to myself that dad just got the tickets that day, so of course my name wouldn’t be up there.
Then I saw it.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ABBY!”
“That’s for me, right Dad?” I asked excitedly.
“Yep, that’s just for you, Suggy,” he replied.
Jim Thome may go down in history as a local legend, but it’s Luther Millsaps who will always hold the number one spot in my heart and mind.
The 2010 Hamsaps/Millsaps Magical Holiday vacation was an overwhelming success! It started off with a LOT of delays– we spent 11 hours on airplanes and buses when it should have only taken 4-5 hours. It didn’t matter though– we got in, got settled and went straight to bed. We stayed in a one bedroom villa, and although the room layout and theme was awesome, the bed was barely a bed. It didn’t bother us too much though– we were IN DISNEY WORLD!
I woke up in the middle of the night to help make a little magic happen… Look what Disney Santa left for us! When I got back into bed at 3:00 a.m. after spending half an hour in the bathroom Ethan asked if I was okay. He understood what was going on in the morning
UPDATE: After re-reading this post almost two months later I realized some clarification was in order. Ethan, David and I all slept in the living room of the villa. Ethan was on a pullout chair, David and I were on the pullout couch. I was NOT in bed with my grown brother, as the above description implies. Durp.
The next morning we were ready to go! Staying is such a large villa made it hard to coordinate or un-coordinate outfits for that matter, and this is what we ended up with…
We headed to World Showcase in EPCOT to learn about holidays around the world. Oh, and to eat A LOT of food. That seemed to be the theme of our entire vacation: see lots of stuff, eat LOTS of food. And drink lots of Chocolate Milk. Don’t judge… where else it is acceptable for a 22-year-old young professional to drink all the chocolate milk she wants?? Only in Disney.
Later that night we decked ourselves out in obnoxious holiday outfits and headed to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. We stuffed our faces some more, drank hot cocoa and watched Holiday Wishes. Oh, and it snowed on Main Street. How cool is that??
Later that week we celebrated Molly’s Sweet 16– we surprised her with a pin and a sash and a few gifts. Disney made her birthday extra-special by giving her a Birthday button to wear. Everywhere we went cast members exclaimed “Happy Birthday, Molly!” A few sang to her, and the restaurants treated her to extra dessert. Sweet 16, indeed!
She even got a special birthday visit from someone on the naughty list!
David and I love Stitch, so we had to get a few pictures, too. During this trip we saw so many characters out and about. Usually we visit Disney during value or regular season, so it was nice to see what all the peak season fuss was about. There was a character in our hotel lobby every night (either Santa Stitch or Ugly Sweater Donald) as well as characters all throughout the theme parks and around World Showcase. A few times we even walked right up to the characters without waiting in line. Magical!
As much as we love Stitch, nothing compares to getting our picture taking with Mickey & Minnie– TOGETHER! For all you non-Disney freaks out there, a picture with both the mice is a highly coveted shot. Of course, we had to wait until 1 a.m. to get it, but we didn’t mind.
Overall we had a fabulous family vacation. It was so cool that David got to come on this trip, and although we had a great time in the theme parks the very best part was being in the most magical place on earth with my family. Everyone together now: **Ahhhh** Only in Disney World can you find something for everyone in the family to enjoy together, regardless of likes, dislikes, age or preferences. Now that’s what I call magic.
Ever since Molly had cancer I’ve tried to be more sympathetic and more understanding toward other people. I constantly remind myself that most people are doing the best they can, and that today might be the worst day of their life. Seriously, think about it. Have you ever felt so sad, stressed, or overwhelmed that you didn’t even think about your actions or your tone of voice? Some days I would be so wrapped up in Molly’s blood counts or our impending weekend at the hospital that I couldn’t waste another ounce of energy pretending to be nice to someone. People were understanding and unnecessarily kind to me when Molly was sick. Therefore it’s my responsibility to pass on that kindness, and to try to approach everyone with an open, understanding heart.
I didn’t wake up one day glowing like Mother Theresa, though. It took a long time and a lot of reflection to not want to rip someone’s head off anytime they posted about how they’re getting a head cold on Facebook. It’s hard to describe how it feels to have a gut-wrenching secret bubbling inside you while others go about their day-to-day routine, complaining about the weather and whining about their commute. I developed a strange mix of self-pity and annoyance with other people while my sister was undergoing treatment– it took all my strength to not thrash out irrationially anytime someone complained about something petty.
You hate your job? Shut up and quit. You gained 2 pounds? Get on the treadmill, Wilbur. Your toddler wet the bed last night? At least their pee isn’t orange from the chemo coursing through their body. Your part-time job is so stressful? See job advice, above. You have a big test coming up that you didn’t study for? No one CARES.
And those were my nicer, PG-rated thoughts.
The tipping point for me happened in early December 2008. That Friday I attended my classes, hopped in the car and headed to Akron Children’s Hospital. On my way I picked up food for mom and dad (Molly hated all food while in the hospital) and settled in for a long night of unplugging Molly’s IV and wheeling her to the bathroom every 47 minutes. No, really. They were pumping her with fluids and I timed it one night for fun.
This was our typical chemo-weekend routine. I would spend Friday evening/night with Molly, then mom would come relieve me after work on Saturday. I would usually hang out for a few more hours, then head back to Alliance in the evening, balling my eyes out the entire way.
This Saturday though I decided to stop at The Strip in Canton to pick up a few Christmas gifts. I figured I was right there, and a quick run into Best Buy wasn’t going to set me off schedule. Once in the parking lot I realized just how packed the shopping center really was. People littered everywhere, cars trolling for the closest spot. I was coasting in my car looking for one of those coveted spots when I pulled up behind an SUV. The SUV was stopped, with its turn signal on, ready to pull into the soon-to-be vacated spot. The lot was crowded and it wasn’t worth the risk to try and go around the SUV, so I waited. While waiting another couple got into their car and started to pull out. I put my turn signal on, excited that I was going to get a close spot, too. See, patience does pay off!
As soon as I clicked my turn signal on I saw it: the red brake lights of the SUV lifted, and the large vehicle started traveling backwards. The SUV had to see me back here, right? Where did they think they were going!
Once I realized they weren’t stopping I laid on the horn. Surely if they didn’t see me they would hear my horn! Nope. Next thing I know, my car was bouncing on its tire shocks, and I had been hit. This is where the story gets interesting, and this is why I knew I had to change my attitude and overall outlook towards others.
The SUV driver jumps out of her car and runs back to see the damage. She had one of those awkward tire cases with a picture of a lion on it attached to her rear-side, and because of its placement my car was more smooshed than smashed. I stayed in the car, not moving, and called my dad. I told him what happened, and he confirmed that I should call the police because it needs to be on record that the SUV hit ME. Still in the car, I called the police. Once I knew an officer was on the way I finally got out of the car.
“Oh my god, I can’t believe I just did that. Of course this would happen to me. This is the worst day ever. Oh and I have my dog in the car and now she’s all upset.”
“Do you have insurance?” I asked.
“Yes but my husband has my card and he’s coming to bring it to me. He said that we should move and that when he gets here he’ll take care of everything. Don’t worry, we don’t live far from here. He’ll take care of it.”
“I already called the police,” I stated. Fumes started to puff out of the woman’s ears.
“My husband said not to call the police because it wasn’t a big deal…”
“I already did,” I interjected.
The lady insisted on moving our cars to the back of the parking lot where it was less crowded. I insisted on taking a few pictures first to show the police when they arrived.
Needless to say, this lady and I were never going to be friends. For the next 20 minutes I listened to this woman bitch and moan about what a horrible day she was having, how upset her dog was and how her husband was going to be mad. Keep in mind, this woman hit ME. And she hit me because she was inpatient and greedy and wanted a freaking parking spot.
It took all my strength to not start screaming at her to shut the f— up. Had she been up for the last 24 hours watching her sister get chemo? Did she spend all afternoon listening to doctors talk about white cell counts and plasma? Did she really think that everyone else’s life was so peachy keen compared to her own situation?
After a lot of reflection (and clearly a lot of angst) I came to the conclusion that it didn’t matter. She didn’t know what I had been through that day anymore than I knew what she had dealt with. That day could have very well been the worst day of that woman’s life.
There’s a quote which I will now paraphrase, botch and not properly attribute. But I think it captures the essense of this post: “Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is facing some kind of battle.”
So true. So very, very true.
My darling sister Molly and I have a secret phrase. We learned it at the hospital a few years ago and it describes our relationship perfectly. Of course, you have to understand the whole story to really get it.
While Molly was undergoing chemo at Akron Children’s I would stay with her on the weekends. I usually took the Friday night/Saturday morning shift, because it helped my parents out and because the cafeteria served really good breakfast on Saturdays. Oh, and because I lurve my sister.
Each morning, just like on TV, the doctors and residents would complete their rounds. Rounds sound much cooler than they really are. It’s basically a group of 5-8 doctors huddling in your room, reading aloud your weight and pee levels and asking if you have any questions. Fun, fun.
One morning a group of residents came in led by Dr. L. One guy (a ginger, nonetheless) confused his resident title with “resident funny guy” and tried to crack a joke.
“Wow,” he exclaimed, looking back and forth between me and Molly. “You guys look identical– practically like sisters!” Good one, wise guy. Molly and I basically look the same. The only distinguishing features are that I have more freckles and she has nicer nails.
Not picking up on the joke, Dr. L looked back at the resident, confused. “Sisters,” he tried to explain in his thick Chinese accent to the resident. “75% genetic match.”
75% Genetic Match. A humorous and frequent reminder that Molly and I are more the same than not. That measly 25% does rear its nasty head quite often, but the other 75% balances it out.
Genetic match, indeed.