In February of this year when I could finally leave the house without fear that my bladder would explode or decide to shut down on me, I started planning various trips.
The library gave me many good ideas. Yosemite, walking trails, San Francisco and a couple on camping. YES! I could go camping!
I googled, I plan advisored, I read the local campsite reviews on a daily basis. After a few days I decided we would take our family to Rollin’s Lake. They had everything we would need.
…and then the world came crashing in.
When all the plans I had made for my life came to the forefront of my mind, the camping trip was a big one, “DEAR GOD! I ALREADY PAID FOR MY CAMPING TRIP IN JULY!”
Megan and Nancy took turns making sure I wasn’t alone those first couple of days. It happened to be the changing of the guards when I envisioned camping all by myself.
Over a short period of time, they had learned to communicate through glances and slight hand movements as to not spook me. I saw Nancy grimace and look at Megan for help.
“We will go!” Megan offered.
“Yeah, you guys can go.” Nancy is, hands down, an awesome friend…but she doesn’t camp. Her camping involves free bottles of soap and fresh towels in the morning. You can’t wrong her for that.
As the days passed and I found myself doing all the things I planned to do…I started to get excited about the camping trip.
On Friday I packed up all my gear; my lantern, stove, mummy bag, tent, air mattress, hammock and the kitchen sink. We headed out to Rollin’s Lake with 2 packed cars, 3 adults and 5 kids.
How was it?
The first night I made my way to the kids tent, narrowly avoiding falling down the hill. Once inside I changed my clothing and grabbed the zipper to let myself out. I zipped the screen. I zipped the main flap. It did not open. I grabbed the zipper and slid it over and then grabbed the other zipper and slid it down to the first one. Nothing…i’m STILL in the tent and it’s no closer to being open.
“how the fuck?” I try the zippers again with the same result. “are you freaking kidding me?” ONE MORE TIME. Same thing.
The embarrassment of having to ask my daughter to get me out of the tent is up there on the charts. This won’t seem so bad when she’s changing my diapers when I am 98 years old, but right now…it just sucks.
We ended the night with S’mores. I didn’t even hesitate when I made one for myself. It has been since the middle of March since I have ate chocolate. I was oddly proud of that fact.
Megan’s son ate his own body weight in chocolate and talked non-stop for 4 solid hours. Scott would randomly say, “7 seconds of silence please.” we would turn down the stereo and listen to him in the tent with the girls telling stories about how his Dad’s house was eaten by bears and that he had only a t-shirt and underwear to his name.
Saturday morning I was awoken with what I can only describe as low flying pterodactyls. After that, things can only get better.
That afternoon was spent floating on the water and watching people zoom by on their wakeboards. We would all look at each other and silently wish we were either in the boat or gliding behind it. I had to remind myself that even though I wasn’t on a nice boat, I was healthy enough to be out of the house and exactly where I wanted to be.
Walking back to the campground it started to rain. IN JULY. I was tempted to yell out, “IS THAT ALL YOU’VE GOT!?” but didn’t want to piss off the god of rain and start a monsoon. “I am not trippin’ on the rain. No stress. It’s just water falling from the sky.” I was trying to remember if I packed the cover for the top of my tent and sad that I wasn’t going to be able to fall asleep staring up at the stars like I did the night before. The rain stopped and the blue skies peeked around the trees. “thank you, rain god.”
We found out that modern technology is a good thing when needing to call to check on the dogs…not so good when your teenagers had google at their fingertips and found out that snipe hunting was nothing but a practical joke.
That afternoon, Shea asked if she could ‘cuddle’ with me at night, and I was excited to be camping with her for the first time she could remember. “Of course, Princess!”
I never realized what a cuddle bug she was. She snuggled in right next to me and as we were starting to tell stories, I fell asleep.
Sunday morning I woke up to more rain and decided to just stay in my tent until it was gone and when I got up I wouldn’t complain too much about the mud. Strange as it sounds, the only sign of rain was the drops on our cars. We packed pretty quickly and headed home.
Now I had said this on my facebook page, —skydiving, scuba diving and sex don’t beat a hot shower after 3 days of camping. I was flooded with, “then you’re not having sex right!” to which I responded, “then you’re not camping right!”
I swear when I got into the shower today I was shocked by the amount of red dirt that filled the bottom of the tub. When I shaved my legs, I had more dirt than hair come off in the razor!
When I took my ponytail out, my hair didn’t even have the courtesy of falling down! It stayed there until I got it wet, and when I did I could smell campfire and bacon grease!
Now the weekend is over, the girls are mom’ed out and went to stay with their daddy.
I’m hoping the unloading fairies come to my house and unpack my truck. I’m not thinking it’s going to happen, but a girl can hope.
So, many of you have asked, “What’s next?”
Thursday I have my wind tunnel training. A trip to the ocean. 2 weekends of AFF training so I can sign off to jump out of a plane without my instructor there with me. A rafting trip down the Truckee river. Another weekend of jumping out of planes. A trip to Oregon (crossing fingers) to run a 5k.
Then I am going to spend the next 4 weeks looking for 2 more jobs to pay for all of it ;)
My life…is good.
Today wasn’t one of the better days. In fact, at the end of the day on the way home I decided it was time to just lose it. I cried the whole hour plus on the way home. I’m sure if you were one of the many unfortunate souls that had to drive next to me, you would be thinking I had just lost a whole football team in a tragic plane crash.
It wasn’t just the tears that were streaming down my face, but the body shaking sobbing that accompanied the tears.
I questioned every thing I have ever said or done in the last seven years of my life.
As I approached the entrance to the freeway, I decided to take the long way home. Dan had called and said he had picked up the girls and was taking them to karate. The house would be empty when I got there and the depression that I had not experienced in nearly a year came flooding back with a vengeance.
It was then I decided I was going to take a left and go my old stomping ground; an old folks bar that had one time been my second home. Surrounding myself with strangers that could look at my life and giggle and say, “Sweetie, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve survived the depression, wars or putting your parents to their final resting place.” sounded exactly like what I needed. It was the place you go where everyone knows your name. “The Tree”.
As I walked in through the back doors, I still had tears in my eyes and my make up was on its last legs. Across the bar I saw what I can only describe as a figment of my imagination. He stood up and the smile on his face assured me that it wasn’t a figment, but God’s way of saying, “I know things are hard right now, here…this is for you.” I walked around the bar into the open arms of a friend I haven’t seen in probably eight years.
“WHAT IS UP!?” He sat me down and saw that I had lost my spirit and the string that was holding me together had clearly snapped.
“My husband left me and my whole world sucks balls!” I sobbed out. He then laughed at me.
“Well, you’re done crying.” He laughed again and ordered my drink that I wasn’t going to drink.
We spent the next five minutes in the smoking section where I sat in awe as he made me laugh at the old times we had been the best of friends.
I grabbed my phone and said, “This isn’t right until we have our other friend here.” I called up the third part of our three musketeers and he said, “I’m on my way.”
If you would have told me an hour before I would be laughing so hard I had to spit my drink out, I would have never believed it. There are no words that could have consoled me.
We gathered the last part of group and things were finally complete.
“We got the band back together!” He laughed with us.
The odds of me finally snapping, turning my truck into the old stomping ground, him being in from out of town and our other friends able to set everything aside to get together for two whole hours was not a sign from God that everything is going to be alright….it was a billboard.
I had lost my faith on my way home today. In that poem it says, “I was walking along with you the whole way.” but sometimes it’s hard to see the footprints when the waves are crashing around your feet. Tonight I saw all the footsteps. I thanked God on the way home. I thanked him for not just being there for me right now, but for showing me he was there.
Do I believe that because I had a chance encounter with an old friend that things are going to be alright and we are all going to be able to hang out and we are all going to be there to heal each other again? No. We all have our own lives to live and that time years ago when we were best of friends, we were healing each other from the disasters that we were in the middle of. Things have changed and we all grew up.
For two hours though, it was as if the seven years we were had been apart were never there. All the same jokes and one liners were caught and delivered flawlessly. We fell into the place where we all felt like no matter what happens next we were all okay with.
Friendships were mended and hope was restored.
For two hours I laughed. I laughed on a day when I thought I would never be able to laugh again.
My friends said, “Good things are coming, Kristine. Good things.”
I believe it.
This week Stuff Portrait Friday is Hero. I had several days to think on it and as the hours came down to minutes, I realized that if you have been reading this blog for anytime, you know who my heroes are.
1. My Mother: You know that saying, “you’ve come a long way,baby.”? I’m pretty sure that was made up for her. Her road isn’t a road I would wish on anyone. I wish over and over she could see how proud of her that I am. To see her at rock bottom and not only pull herself up, but bring those around up with her is awesome.
2. My sister: I get googled, kid you not, EVERY SINGLE DAY for this entry. I’m not sure if someone just likes reading it, or if there are people out there that are writing letters to their sisters and need a little help. I’m pretty sure they can’t say the same things about their sister as I can say about mine. She’s special. I’m her only sister and she makes sure that means something.
3. Martin Luther King Jr.: His words. My world changed when I began reading his words. The way he looked at people and their actions made all the sense in the world to me. How could we not all live in THAT world he describes with such passion? To live your life with drive and ambition for GOOD and love.
These are the people you know are my heroes.
There are other people in my life that are too. My brother, Barry. (dorky one in the back) My brother, Jerry (dorky one to my right) and my dorky brother, Michael (not in picture) and the people that love them. Today my brother Michael turns 41. To me, he’s still 10. He’s still that mean ass brother that picked on me and also made sure that my first day of school I wasn’t crying the whole time. He would peak through the window of my class on his recess break to make sure I was okay. My husbands; Ex and Current. Shit, they put up with me. Do you know how much restraint that must take them?
My friends; Really, come on…you think you have to hear me bitch? You get the Cambells soup version of what they have to hear. My husband’s ex-wife; We take turns being the evil one. I think today was my day. Sorry, Tabitha. Old friends that no matter what I did or said to them STILL love me. You have no idea what your forgiveness means to me.
So who’s my hero? Me.
It’s who all those people that I love SO much and look up to would want me to call my hero. Myself.
It’s who I want my daughters to call their hero. Themselves.
Noooooo, they certainly didn’t have it as bad as that group of people in the picture that share a last name. NOT EVEN CLOSE. If not getting to go on the ‘East Coast Trip’ or getting your cell phone taken away is as bad as it gets, count yourself lucky.
I’m a survivor. I didn’t do it alone. I’ve had hundreds of hands (my family…and YOURS) pick me up and dust me off. At the end of the day, I have to live this life the best way I know how. I think I might be doing okay.
Now, I am going to force myself to go to sleep because tomorrow I am going with Dan and the kids to Redding to watch my step son in his last play of his high school career. Ryan hasn’t been my ‘official’ step son for the last 8 years, but that doesn’t change my love for him and how I will always support him in no matter what he does in life. It also means I will need to take about 6 xanax to be able to sit with his mother who thinks I am satan in a pair of flip flops.
So, who’s your hero? You picked me huh? Yeah…I thought so. DID YOU PLAY???
During my first marriage I learned many things that I never thought would form me into the person I am today. Some of them are stupid things, but some of them are the core of who I am.
Car maintenance was the number one thing. I was the horrible one in the relationship when it came to remembering to get the oil changed. Dan would hand me a coupon to get the oil changed and would hound me until I gave him the receipt from the mechanic. He made sure the brakes weren’t getting to thinned. He could diagnose the problem of the car by the sound it made or the smell it made.
The only thing I had a pet peeve over was the wind shield wipers. In fact I could tell you if I could be in a relationship with someone by how well their windshield wipers worked.
I’m not kidding. Seriously. I can handle many things except two things; Crappy wipers and dust on the dashboard. You can have the boogie monster blowing sulfur out of his ass in the backseat…but I better be able to see out of the windshield.
Tonight on the way to drop of Tyler, the wiper blew off The Car From Hell (aka: Shaun’s car) I could see exactly 3 inches of the road. Every single light became a crazy acid flashback.
Guess what happened then? Yep, anxiety attack from hell. I finally got home and kissed the oil stained driveway. Then I called every I knew to help me get the girls home from the dance, because as it was, I would rather walk all the way to the high school in the rain then go get them in the car.
My friend, ‘Cita and her husband went to Wal-mart and bought me new windshield wipers and installed them. Of course, by the time I had to go pick up the girls from the dance (yes, a dance every other weekend–it’s getting old) it had stopped raining.
I ran the wipers a few times with the cleaner and the joy I felt over the windshield’s clarity brought tears to my eyes.
Shaun better be thanking Brian because I was THISCLOSE to breaking up with my husband.
Today is Michelle’s birthday, so head on over and give her some birthday lovin! (Someone hired a stripper…shhhh)
‘Cita took me to a King’s preseason game and we had a blast. Tina called as we were at the game to see if we wanted her tickets. Her tickets were like spitting distance from the floor so we fanangled our way into those seats. THANKS CITA and TINA for a fun night.
It was SO worth taking a shower for!!
The Seattle Sonic guys…they need some sun.
If any of you out there are pasty white, come to California for a few days and we can fix that, mkay?
More tomorrow when my typing isn’t so loud it’s waking up Shaun.
‘Cita was telling me a story that her husband was telling her.
He was talking about a show he saw in Las Vegas and he was describing what was was going on and said, “Then the people came out and were Flamingo dancing….”
‘Cita interrupted him and said, “Flamingo dancing? You mean Flamenco dancing?”
She said she gave him shit about it all day. I then admitted I thought it was Flamingo dancing too.”
“Kristine, I can’t believe it, YOU TOO? I have a huge portrait hanging in my house with a Flamenco dancer with the word FLAMENCO on it.”
“I just thought it was a fancy-shmancy way of saying, ‘Flamingo’.” I admit.
Okay, fess up…did you know it was Flamenco and not Flamingo?
My Beautiful Friend, Lisa, SCORED US SOME SMOKIN’ HOT TICKETS!!!
I grabbed Jeremiah today for an hour or two and when I brought him back over to her house she had a pair of tickets to a concert sitting on her catch-all.
I kinda, sorta pulled them out from under her purse and FUH-REAKED when I saw who she had gotten tickets to see.
“OH. MY. GOD! You have tickets to see KC and The Sunshine Band?!”
I’m not certain if she thought my enthusiasm for the tickets was genuine or mocking until I burst out with song and dance to “SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE. SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE. SHAKE YOUR BOOTY, SHAKE YOUR BOOTY!”
She asked me if I wanted to go with her. OH DO I?! I ran out to the car where Rob was waiting for me to take him to airport and I was breathless with excitement.
“Rob, GUESS WHO I GET TO GO SEE TONIGHT!! TONIGHT!! IN CONCERT!!??”
He shrugged. Not really caring…unless I said The Raiderettes..NUDE.
“KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND!” and then I proceeded to burst into song again.
“You don’t like them? HOW COULD YOU NOT?”
I then told ‘Cita that I was going and she looked at me like I had grown a second head.
“KC. you know…KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND?”
“Yeah, I know…what I’m trying to figure out is why you’re so excited.”
Beautiful Friend, Lisa calls to tell me….wait for it…THAT WE GET TO MEET HIM BEFORE THE SHOW!
I rushed home and got ready. It was a 107 outside and my ass was sweaty in the plastic chairs as we watched the show…except for the part when I SHOOK SHOOK, SHOOK SHOOK, SHOOK MY BOOTY!
It was a blast. I don’t care how old he is. It was fantastic!
Go ahead, mock me…I know you’re jealous.
Not a lot of great things happened to me in 5th grade. I had a teacher who was on the mean side and all my friends were in another class with the dorky teacher who had no idea how to teach and just scratched himself the whole time.
5th grade was the point where I realized that you’re either “IN” or you’re “Not”. I wasn’t ready for the fact that the world was that complicated. I think be separated from my friends allowed for all of it to come into focus. Everyone sort of fell into certain cliques and I never felt like I fit in.
In 5th grade when all the other girls were going to the mall and drooling over boys, I was at a BMX track racing AGAINST them.
When other girls were asking for lipstick and make up…I was asking for new handlebars or a lighter set of rims.
At every school since the beginning of time there is always THAT guy or THAT girl. Robert Mathis was THAT guy. He was the Zac Efron of now.
Somewhere in the middle of 5th grade I realized that Robert was seeing if he could date every girl in 5th grade. If he timed it right, each girl would get ONE week. Some girls got longer than a week, but when you’re the most popular girl in the school…you were obligated to at least a month right?
I wasn’t sure if I was going to get MY week to be his girlfriend because to him, I was just another one of the boys he raced with.
As the week that should be mine came up, I could tell he was fixin’ to ask me to ‘go with him’. I wasn’t sure if I was going to say yes, because I had been the shoulder that all my girlfriends that he had broken up with had cried on.
When it came down to it, I couldn’t resist the smile and cuteness of it all. I caved. That was a good Monday. Guess what? Friday sucked.
Now, before we stone the boy…he had a good excuse.
My brother, Barry married his sister, Judy.
Through the years I’ve hated him, wanted to kill him, loved him, missed him, tolerated him…and now…I am HOUSING him. Well, only for three days. He flew in from Oregon where he lives for his son’s birthday. I picked him up from the airport and we caught up. Today he’s out driving my minivan. Tomorrow we spend our last few hours and I kick his ass to the curb (at the airport).
Yesterday after driving 3 times more than we should have (half his fault, half my fault) he took a nap on the couch. When he woke up, Kara mentioned something about ice cream and Robert jumped on that train and they went to the store to pick some up.
On the way home, Kara mentioned that she was a good driver.
Fun Uncle Robert, let Kara the master manipulator, drive. A car. MY car. ON THE HIGHWAY.
I’m teetering between loving Robert and wanting to kick his ass.
Who knows, tomorrow I might make him walk his ass to the airport…but I just know the smile and cuteness will make me cave.
Last week I made a phone call to the parents of my best friend from High School.
I caught up on the stuff I have missed in the last 5 years or so since I had talked to them. At the end of the conversation I got my old best friend’s phone number and gave her a call. She just had a baby so she was sleeping, but her daughter promised that she would call me back when she woke up.
She didn’t call me. (Heavy sleeper?)
A couple days later I was talking about my new crush to ‘Cita. I told her I couldn’t figure out why I was crushing on this guy, he’s not my type, but there is something about his smile that makes me smile. Oh, I guess I should clue you in on my ‘crush’. Anyone watch “Dog The Bounty Hunter”? It’s his son, Leland.
As I was trying to describe his smile, it dawned on me that he had the same smile as an old friend of mine from a million years ago.
I’ve known ‘Cita for 12 years and she had never heard THIS story about this guy.
I went on to explain to her that he was this guy that was a cousin of a friend of mine. He moved to Shingletown when I was 15, almost 16 and him and I started a friendship. He was 17 at the time and from Southern California. I told her about how he liked me, but I was so sprung on my boyfriend that I couldn’t see straight. I told her about the night he tried to convince me that I was wasting my time with ‘that loser’ and I needed to get together with him and be his girlfriend. Being young and stupid I pretended like I didn’t hear it and went on just being friends.
He moved and I went on with my life.
I saw him once after he moved back to Southern California and it was for about 5 minutes.
When I got home from being out with ‘Cita I googled his name and it came up with nothing. Of course it didn’t. I have that sort of luck when I am trying to google someone.
The next day my friend finally called me. She told me I had to call our old friend because her cousin was in town.
I freaked. “NO WAY! I SWEAR TO GOD, I WAS JUST TALKING ABOUT HIM!” I called our friend and talked to Terry. We picked Thursday night to get together and catch up.
Dude has not changed AT ALL! He has gray hair now and that’s it. He’s still the laughing and smiling Terry I remember.
We met at The Tree and then I took him home to meet the family.
Kara was mostly interested in the stories he could tell about her mother. Luckily he had to leave to go to a family dinner.
‘Cita came over because she has a car with JPS and I get lost in a paper bag.
She knew him all of 5 minutes before we are heading out to the car to leave and he yells, “SHOTGUN!”
He may be an old friend, but not too old to yell Shotgun.
It was a good visit and I hope we don’t lose contact.
Of course, he may never talk to me again after I told him he looks like David Hasselhoff.
Twenty Four hours after taking the ‘Mack Daddy’ of all sleeping pills. I have finally recovered from the side effects.
The first hour or so was a blast. I felt like I was walkin’ on sunshine. Not a problem…until hour two. I began getting violently ill and unable to eat. I would drink a sip of water, throw it up. I would THINK about drinking water to kill the cotton mouth and I would throw up.
I finally passed out from a headache around 4 am. God Bless my wonderful husband who drove the kids to school.
With so much to do today I managed to work my way into the kitchen, dizzy and fumbling around, I made coffee. I fell asleep waiting for it to brew and woke up 30 minutes later and poured the coffee down my throat. Before the empty coffee cup hit the night stand, I was passed out again.
The doorbell rang. I had to have the windshield replaced and I can honestly remember exactly 3 minutes of my conversation with him. I wrote him a check out of the wrong account and I am praying he didn’t cash it. Then the DHL lady showed up to deliver a package. She asked my last name and I said, “Stone” (not remembering what name is on last name of half of my accounts.”
She got irritated that she had done all the paper work to give me my package and the names didn’t match.
“This package says, Kristine Bland.”
“It’s BAY-LAND, and it my married name. I haven’t changed it.”
“But it says, B-LAND”
” B.A.L.A.N.D. Can I please have my package I am about to seriously pass out.”
She reluctantly handed me the package and I shut the door in her face. As I was turning around to go back to bed, I almost passed out.
I called Shaun and he came home to make sure I didn’t have to pick up the kids. I slept all day, had conversations I don’t remember.
I felt like I was drugged. I have NEVER felt so F***ed up…well, except that one night I drank 7 Kamikazes.
‘Cita and Shaun looked it up online. I guess this prescription was one of the kinds that Anna Nicole Smith was on.
I’m done taking that pill. I would rather be up all night than sleep for nearly 24 hours the NEXT day.
Now it’s One AM the next night and I am trying everything to forget how many hours I slept today and trying to convince myself to go to sleep.
This gets better right?