Friday, December 2, 2011

My Worst Christmas Ever

My worst Christmas ever was my first married Christmas. While I was doing all the shopping and preparing for Christmas my husband, Bobby, was BITCHING the whole time. He did nothing to help. He didn't lift a finger and whined incessantly about every penny that I spent. It didn't matter that much of the preparations were for his 11 year old twin daughters either.

I ignored him for the most part. Finally it got so bad that I was just plain miserable. Then Christmas came. We had a marvelous Christmas that was so good that my Scrooge of a husband had a most excellent time and I could see him beaming with pride at the wonderous Christmas I had created. Unfortunately he had made me so miserable that I just wanted to punch him in the face everytime I saw what a good time he was having.

The one bright spot was the special porcelain ornaments that my mom gifted us with that year that I still

have. Also, I got much joy from watching my stepdaughters squeal with delight with all their presents - including a now antiquated TRS-80 Radio Shack computer which was top of the line at the time.

Once the big day was over I informed him in no uncertain terms that if he EVER ruined another one of my Christmases I would divorce him on the spot! He knew I meant it. From then on out we had nothing but great Christmases and he fully and enthusiastically participated in each one.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lillian Finally Got the Help She Needs

I am so happy that Lillian finally got some help. Lillian is a 90 year old woman who lives in our building. Her mind has been going for the past year. It tried to get her some help from her doctor and she refused to go. I talked to the building manager and also the woman who is supposedly a social worker for the building as well. No one would help her to help herself.

Consequently I would see her out and I always made sure to speak to her and there were plenty of times she didn't know where she was or where she lived. Then the vultures descended. (vultures are the people in the building who look prey on the weak and helpless) They were knocking on her door at all hours of the night. They were "borrowing" money from her because they knew she wouldn't be able to remember loaning it to them in the first place. They were also helping themselves to her possessions, since she was not alert enough to realize she was being robbed in the first place.

I went to the building manager and the social worker when one of her so called friends told me that she had given them a diamond ring. It was truely disgusting watching people take advantage of her.

She was continuously ill for the last year as well. I used to give her food but I had to quit because she was stockpiling it and she had stuff in her pantry and refrigerator that was years out of date. She wouldn't let me clean out her fridge and she stayed sick all the time from the old food she was eating.

She was a real firecracker when she was young. Hell, she was a real firecracker until around a year ago. She told me she had been married 3 times but she didn't count the 2nd. one. She said she just woke up one morning and the man beside her told her that they had gotten married the night before! She didn't have a clue who he was and promptly divorced him!

Last week she went to the track to play the machines. (one of her favorite pasttimes) While there one of the workers, who was nice enough to look after her when she was there, noticed her state of confusion. He called an ambulance for her and they took her to a local hospital's psych ward.

She is still there. Finally getting the help she so desperately needs. I don't look for her to come back, they will probably put her in a nursing home. I hope so anyway.

My Greatest Christmas Ever

I remember sitting in my third-grade classroom one day right before Christmas break. The kids had surrounded my friend Sheila and were making fun of her for believing in Santa. They were so mean that they reminded me of the reindeer who made fun of Rudolph in the Christmas special I'd watched the night before. For the rest of the day, I wondered if it could possibly be true. I went straight home from school and I asked my mom if there was a Santa Claus. She assured me that he was real. She even told me that Santa did not leave presents for children who did not believe in him. There was no way I was not going to believe!

Christmas Eve came and we made our traditional visit to my Granny's house in Maysburg. I looked forward to seeing the Christ in the manger display on her front porch. (My mother has it now.) Granny would cover her front door with blue wrapping paper "to symbolize the night sky," she told me. On the door was a lighted Star of Bethlehem. We celebrated with a wonderful Christmas Eve feast. Our cousins were there and we played all evening long. When dinner was over, we sat around the tree with a rotating colored light shining on it. We opened our pajamas that Granny bought for us every year, and then it was time to leave. Granny, Mary Ann and Bud stood on the porch and waved until we drove out of sight.

All the way home, I looked in the clear, night sky for the Christmas Star. I looked for it every year, but it had always been foggy or snowy and I couldn't see it. When we pulled into the alley going to our house, I asked my dad why I couldn't find it. He told me that it only came out the year Jesus was born. He explained that it was not supposed to come out every year. So both my mom and dad answered two of Christmas' great questions for me.

We put on our new pajamas while Mom made warm cocoa. Before going to bed, we wrote a letter to Santa and put out a platter of cookies for him. When we kissed our parents goodnight, they promised to stay awake so Santa would not miss our house.

I woke up at 2 o'clock Christmas morning, and raced to the living room to see a room glowing with Christmas glory. The tree was glittering and the stockings were full. The room was so packed with toys that there was barely a path to the tree. There were bicycles for all three of us, games and toys, a racetrack and presents piled everywhere. There was even an organ and a pinball machine.

On the table in front of me there was an unfinished letter from Santa Claus. I thought I must have scared him away because there was a still warm cup of cocoa and one the cookies had a bite taken out of it. Then I saw it. A display case holding 52 Dawn dolls, which were like miniature Barbies. Each was dressed in her own high-fashion outfit, including one doll in a beautiful bridal gown. I picked up the entire case, and went through the house shouting, "He came! He came! Santa Claus is real! He came!" That case of dolls was bigger than I was but I was out of my mind with joy.

I woke up my entire family with my shouting. Billy and Rhonda were just as ecstatic as I was when they saw that roomful of presents. Our parents watched as we cheered and squealed with joy. Wrapping paper flew at the same time we stuffed ourselves with candy. We did not know which toy to play with first. Every year, I look back fondly on that most perfect of all Christmases in 1970, and wish every child could experience one half as spectacular as mine was that year.

Thanks Mommy and DaddyI

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Post Thanksgiving Good Deed Alert

My aunt and uncle, Patty and Gerald, donated all their leftovers to the building. I fed 7 people including myself. They also gave me some venison to give away but I haven't got to it yet. While I was giving out food I learned about a man named Robert. I had thought he was a drunk but I was wrong. It turns out that he had broke his back and his hand and he has been recovering and was not able to take care of himself or to even cook for himself.

I will be funneling more food in his direction.

Also my Aunt Linda donated some clothes. They were very nice and disappeared from the table in the community room in a matter of hours.

Am I bad? I don't think so. I have discovered that the father of my ex nephew (such a strange way to refer to a child) is living in the building. He never lifted a finger to take care of the boy for his entire childhood and the child suffered untold horrors with a mother who wasn't able to take care of him. Although I did every thing I could for Dwayne it was not enough. But last year I ran into him and he thanked me for everything I did for him as a child. He told me I was the one person who showed him that things could be different and he said now that he was an adult that he really appreciated everything I did.

It made me feel wonderful. Now I see his drunken father begging for change and food and I can't bring myself to give him a morsel. In fact I am happy that he seems to be suffering as his child did so many years ago.

When you were young what did you think you would be doing with your life by now?

When I was young I thought I would be a veterinarian, working to save the little animals that I loved so much. I knew I wouldn't have children. I never did want them except for a short, short time many years ago and it was for all the wrong reasons - so it's best that I never had them. I thought I would have a magnificient house of my own design on the beach and a mountain cabin. I also NEEDED a helicopter to fly back and forth between them.

Now I am 49. I am disabled with my heart and I having nothing but my truck. I still help animals when I can and I also do all I can to help those less fortunate than I.

So what happened...

I left college when it became apparent to me that I was not cut out for the rigors of the classes it took to become a veterinarian. I intended to transfer colleges from Ohio State to Marshall University in West Virginia. I didn't see the point in paying out of state college fees for something I could do for a whole lot less money. Even though at that point in my life, money was no object and my parents could easily have afforded for me to stay at Ohio State.

I got in trouble with the law soon after I left and I wasn't able to go to college for awhile. I did 2 years of community service at 16 and 20 hours per week and I also married. I went to beauty school and found out I wasn't cut out for that either. I worked at it long enough to pay for my student loans.

Then I found the love of my life. I got a job training greyhounds. I knew when I stood in the middle of that turnout pen the first time that I was doing what I was meant to do for the rest of my life. I helped change a lot of people's attitudes when I was in the dog business. For the most part the trainers I was around started to think of the greyhounds as animals with feelings - not just livestock. I also learned while I was training that even though I was good at taking care of injuries and sick dogs I really didn't care for it. So it was a good thing I didn't become a veterinarian afterall.

Also they were killing every dog that wasn't breedable at that time. (back in the 80's) One by one I started to give dogs away until between my ex husband and I we gave away around 2000 of them. Over the years with the sucess of my adoptions and other's in the business the attitudes about greyhound adoption changed as well. Now there are still some of them that are put to sleep and there always will be but the majority of them go into adoption programs all over the country.

After my ex and I split I tried to make it on my own in the business. Unfortunately between Bobby stalking me and a series of injuries to myself I had to leave the dog business. I got a job in a pharmacy with the intention of leaving as soon as I found something better. Although I left for better jobs several times, something always happened to bring me back to the pharmacy. Through all of this I kept saving strays and once I saved an entire puppy mill all by my lonesome.

Then one day my heart decided to fail. I've been living with heart failure for the past 5 years and a few months now. Since both the government and the doctors gave me 5 years to live I feel I have accomplished much by just being alive. I am also much stronger than I was a few years ago. My friends see the improvement I have made, unfortunately my family feels that I never lived to my full potential....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why I don't shop on Black Friday

I went to Walmart back in 2000 because I wanted a tv. I had sprained my ankle but even if I could have walked like a normal person I would not have participated in the riot that ensued as soon as they announced they were open at 5 a.m.

I was standing in a crowd of people near a huge pile of merchandise that was covered in paper because they wanted it to be a secret what was underneath it until the opening bell. As soon as they ripped off the paper at 5 o'clock a huge riot started. People started to run and scream and shove and push. It looked like one of those 50's tv shows where they show people fighting over a sale item.

I watched everyone run away and leave their empty buggies while they carried huge computers and tv's and VCR's. People were dropping them and dragging them. There would be no way those things could have worked when they got them home!

As I stood alone in the sea of buggies I looked over and "viola" there were the tv's I wanted. I made my way through the maze and when I got to the tv's I told the girl to put one in the buggy right in front of the display. She actually asked me if the buggy was mine. I told her "no, but I don't think anyone is actually using it." So she smiled and deposted a television in the buggy and then I had to start weaving my way through the morass to check out the tv.

I was fortunate because no one seemed to be interested in the tv's but me. Everyone was going for the computers and the DVD players. I purchased my tv and went to find Sis. She was in the lay-a-way line but she didn't have everything she had been looking for so I set off to find the few elusive toys she didn't have.

We went home. She loved it and has never missed a sale since. I have never gone back again and I won't!

This year the local news ran a story about a man from Chapmanville. I grew up about 5 miles from there. He was at the Black Friday sale at Target when he collapsed with a heart attack. Not only did shoppers ignore him but some of them actually stepped over him. An off duty nurse and paramedic tried to save him but they were too late. He died.

I wish people would get their heads out of their asses!

I also had a friend who works at Walmart. She had to miss Thanksgiving with her family so people could riot over the Walmart version of tupperware. Can you imagine? She said they were actually fist fighting over plastic secure lock containers....pulease!

" You have to make your own holidays"

That was my advice to both my niece and my nephew at separate times in their lives. They grew up having everything done for them which is how it should be. Now they live far away and have their own holidays.

When I have asked each of them, at separate times, how their holiday's were, they both replied, "it sucked." They are young adults now and I told them at some point they had to start making their own holidays or they would always suck.

I hate it that they feel they have no family to spend the holidays with but their mom is dead and they are still feeling their way along. I wish I could help them but I can't. They both know they are welcome at my house anytime but I am too far out of the way for them to visit.

I hope they soon find the holidays that I know they crave and have enjoyed in the past. I'm sure they will start their own traditions and maybe my niece already has since she is a little older than he is.

My ex husband also tried to tell me his holiday sucked after I left him. I asked him why he didn't plan one out? I knew the answer. With the exception of a couple of years when I was hurt or sick, I had done all the work for our holidays. He also thought I would feel sorry for him and invite him over. I told him to go to a local church and eat one of their dinners or go help in a homeless shelter - then he would remember how blessed he was to have a job and work at something he loved.