Tuesday, October 30, 2012

LMS Halloween PSA: The Guide to Trading Candy

We've all been there. We come home from Trick or Treating and someone (usually a sneaky sibling) wants to trade some of their craptastic candy for some of our kick-ass candy. But we worked hard, mapping out which houses gave full-size Snickers, changing costumes so we could go back multiple times, and suffering through wind and rain for our award-winning stash and there's no way we want to trade candy, right?

Don't be too fast to answer that question. You know that if you dig down deep into your bag of Trick or Treating Loot, you'll find some less than desirable candy that you'd happily trade.

Before you trade, know the rules so you can work the system in your favor. Watch this video and then get ready for some serious Trick or Treating. Also remember this: stealing candy from your kids is bad, but trading candy with your kids is good. Just know the rules.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

You Gotta Ba-Rack the Vote!

CJ Cregg said it best, so I'm just gonna let her speak . . .

Early voting is open in many places. Go vote. Go vote NOW. Don't know where to vote or how to vote early? No problem.

Oh, and if you live in the path of Hurricane Sandy, GO VOTE NOW. Really. Remember how the Halloween Nor'easter paralyzed parts of the East Coast last year leaving many without power for more than a week? Imagine that happening just before the election. Tons of hurricane damage. No power. What would happen to your ability to vote on November 6th if you were cleaning up from a massive hurricane? Go vote now and you won't have to worry.

If you think your vote doesn't count, I remind you of the 2000 election. That was decided by just over 500 votes in Florida. But if Gore had won a couple of other states, Florida wouldn't have matter.

This election is a big f'ing deal, so go vote.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Nana Visited Me Again

Yes, I know that sounds a bit crazy, but let me explain.

Two weeks ago, my mom, dad and I went to Crystal Beach to finish cleaning out Nana's house because we had just put it on the market and I wanted to be able to finish that project on my schedule, not a buyer's schedule. Plus, I thought it would sell better if it was empty. Oh, yes, you read that correctly. BOTH of my parents, who have been divorced for 30 years, went to Florida together to help me with this chore. But that's not what we're here to discuss.

One of the "must do's" while we were in Crystal Beach was to attend Sunday morning church at Crystal Beach Community Church. As a reminder, my step-grandfather was the first minister at CBCC, Nana was the second member of the church, the pews in the church are there due to Nana's efforts and sizable donation after my real grandfather died in 1961, my mom grew up in the church, my parents were married there in 1970, and I was baptized there in 1971.

As always, we sat in Nana's pew. It's actually the pew that has the plaque with my grandfather, Jesse Paulk's name on it, but I always refer to it as Nana's pew. It's the fifth pew from the front on the right side. I suppose there are other pews to sit in, but I've never sat in them. Ever.

Growing up, I remember attending church with Nana each Sunday when we visited. It wasn't optional. We just went. Nana never missed a Sunday and we never missed a Sunday with her. Without fail, at some point during the church service, she'd always reach over and take my hand. She'd wrap her little hand around mine and just hold it as long as I'd let her. Sometimes she'd pull my hand onto her lap and pat my hand with her free hand as she held it.

Nana's been gone for 3 1/2 years and in that time, I don't think I've ever felt her presence. I've seen her in dreams, but I've never felt her presence. Until that day two weeks ago.

The first hymn on Sunday was "Lord, I Want to be a Christian." As I was standing and attempting to sing along, I could see Nana and suddenly felt her presence. On my left side, I felt her right hand wrap around my left one. I could feel the softness of her skin, the delicateness of her hand, and the warmth and coolness that always permeated from her skin simultaneously.

My eyes welled up with tears, as I tried to subtly wipe them away. Needless to say, it didn't work. I spent most of the ceremony crying.

I cried because I miss Nana and because it was the last time I'll ever be in Crystal Beach. It was the last time I'll ever be in the only church I've ever felt comfortable in. Three and a half years after her death, it all felt really real and final and I just kept thinking about how soon, there would be no one in Crystal Beach who remembered her and it would be as though she never existed. I also cried because I felt guilty for having failed to take care of getting her name on one of the (almost) floor to ceiling windows on each of the walls.

Throughout the service, I couldn't shake the feeling of Nana's hand wrapped around mine. It was comforting as I dealt with the grief I still felt.

After the service was over, I was taking a picture of the plaque on Nana's pew and Mom was explaining the story of the pews to some new church members when the minister walked up to greet me.
The plaque on Nana's pew.

Pastor Susie welcomed me back to church, asked about the house, and then asked if I'd seen Nana's window.

What??? Nana's window?! No. I hadn't seen it.

And then she walked me over to it. Sure enough, there was Nana's name. Exactly as she'd want it.

In an instant, I was sobbing again. The only words I knew to say were "thank you." I can't remember the last time I felt so much gratitude.

I had dropped the ball and not gotten back to the church with how we wanted Nana's name on the window and when we'd be down to dedicate it, but there it was. Nana would never be forgotten. And she really was in church with us that morning, just as she would be forever. And she really held my hand.

The bottom pane of Nana's window.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I'm On My Way to Nana's House and What Do I See?

Remember when you were a kid and your family took long road trips? In between the fighting in the backseat with your brother, you'd play "I'm On My Way to Grandma's House and What Do I See?" Of course you do.

Just in case you don't, the way it worked was you named things you each saw, but you also had to name everything that had been named and you couldn't repeat anything. For example:
Dave: I'm on my way to Grandma's house and I see a car.
Me: I'm on my way to Grandma's house and I see a car and a skunk.
Dave: You did not see a skunk!
Me: Yes I did! I did see a skunk!
Mom: Kids! Don't make me turn this car around!
Dave: I'm on my way to Grandma's house and I see a car, a skunk, and the cop that pulled mom over for speeding. Officer, are you gonna arrest my mom?
Mom: Nobody's getting arrested. Now behave.
Everybody played, right?

Well, today, I'm driving to Nana's house in Florida with my dad. This is the final trip. Ever. Seriously. During the three hours we were in Kentucky, we saw some sights:
  • 1 Oscar Mayer Weinermobile
  • 1 horse-drawn Amish buggy
  • 3 fake dinosaurs encouraging us to visit Dinosaur World
  • 1 ambulance hauling a power boat
  • 1 M-22 sticker on a car with Kentucky plates
  • 2 or 3 "Hell is Real" signs
  • 1 mattress by the side of the road (a man-made rest stop, perhaps?)
  • 12 airplane wings on the back of 12 tractor-trailers and
  • Chester's Chicken to Go at the local Exxon station in Oak Grove, Kentucky
The airplane wings were the most interesting because they had to each be close to 50 feet long and weren't traveling in a caravan. They were each separate with many miles between them. They also each had a police escort.

Imagine my disappointment with Tennessee when we saw nothing of interest. Tennessee, I expect you to do better upon my return in a few days.

Fortunately, Kennesaw, Georgia saved the night by allowing me to do all my Christmas shopping at the local Chevron station.

No need to thank me. It's the least I could do for the people I love. Yes, clearly, it's the very least.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!