August 21 Editorial

This week I, like 40,000 other people, ventured out to everyone’s favorite little beach bar for Kenny Chesney’s Flora-Bama Jama. It was inconvenient. It was hot. It was crowded. But it made for one fantastic weekend that I can’t wait to experience again next year.
When the announcement was made that free wristbands would be available online at 8 am, I like a million other people, logged on promptly at 8 in hopes of snagging a ticket to one of the coolest beach concerts of the year. By the time I finally got through, not only were all the wristbands gone, the waitlist was full too.
Thinking that my concert dreams were over, I put the idea out of my mind. That is until my best friend called with news that she had rented us a condo that came complete with six wristbands. I was in.
When the Friday before the concert rolled around, I packed my overnight bag and made the treacherous one mile trek to the condo. I hit the elevator and headed up to the 17
th floor. Even though we only live a mile away from the beach, there’s nothing like seeing the beautiful scenery from way up there. Not to mention the amazing breeze and intoxicating sound of the surf. Nothing compares.
In less than five minutes, I was sitting in the sun with a beer in my hand. This weekend was going to be amazing. Five beers later, we decided to get something to eat before we drank ourselves silly on the first night. Like a herd of tourist, we took to the street to walk to the nearest restaurant. Again, the drinks kept flowing.
The next morning we all woke early looking like Courtney Love circa 1997 with a pounding in our heads that could’ve been a stampede of elephants. Knowing that I needed to get myself together fast, I did what any weekend warrior would do. I downed a Goody’s powder with a little “hair of the dog”, put on my sunglasses, and lathered up with sunscreen for the long day ahead.
We called a cab and within minutes we were passing through those legendary doors into a sea of people that made a Mullet Toss crowd look like a ghost town. We made our way inside, not realizing how hot we were about to get because in a horrible twist of fate, the air conditioners were broken.
We made our way to the bar to get a drink to keep us cool. We ordered Bushwackers, only to find that they were no longer frozen, but a cup full of milky mush. Seeing as how I had sweat pouring off of my face, I guzzled it anyways.
Two hours later, the concert had yet to start and we were nearing heat stroke status. People were dropping like flies. At one point it looked a scene from the Hunger Games. Someone would hit the floor and in swooped the paramedics to scoop them up within seconds, leaving no evidence that there had ever been an issue.
I turned to our now melting group and suggested we attempt to brave the enormous crowd outside in the sand to reach the water for a little relief. We all formed a line like kindergartners, holding hands while dragging each other through the crowd so no one got lost, and made a bee line for the beach.
It took nearly an hour, and at one point seemed like a huge mistake, but when we hit the beautiful clear waters of the gulf, it was like entering the gates of heaven. The relief we felt was indescribable.
An hour or so later, Kenny Chesney took the stage to a crowd of 40,000 screaming “No Shoes Nation” fans. He started with his new single, appropriately named ‘Flora-Bama’, followed by his entire repertoire of hits. There wasn’t a soul in sight who wasn’t swaying and singing along.
When the show was over, I was impressed by the organization of the event as getting 40,000 people out of the area at one time is no easy task. Within minutes we were outside and in a cab, headed back for our condo for another crazy night of partying.
When we arrived, we all made a beeline for the showers. We ordered pizza and made plans for a big night out on the beach like we used to do back in the day. Instead, the pizza came, we ate, and we were all in our pajamas by 10 pm. Yep, we are officially old.
The party was over, but that’s okay. Truth be told, there was nothing I would’ve rather done that night than sit around with my best friends telling stories and laughing like we used to. Only now, our husbands have to hear the ridiculous, although hilarious, details. Poor guys never knew what they were getting themselves into.
Sunday came, and we all packed our things to leave. The weekend had gone by too fast and we realized we hadn’t even taken a single photo. “We have to have at least one picture to remember this weekend,” I explained. “We all look like crap warmed over,” replied my little friend, Sarah. I barked back, “Who cares….now get your booty in the picture.”
As we stood there in our old t-shirts with crazy bed head hair, no makeup, and hung-over bags under our eyes, my friend Jennifer said, “This is not going to be something we want to remember.” I think she just might be wrong about that. Like Kenny said, “A hundred years goes faster than you think, so don't blink.”

August 14 Editorial

Sometimes I feel like my life is a comedy of tragedies. We’re a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants couple. By that, I mean not organized. So you can understand my dilemma when trying to dig myself out of the chaotic hole I have created through the moving process. Just when I think I have it under control, I realize I couldn’t be more wrong.
For the last week, my husband and I had been wearing workout/yard-work clothes while moving in heat that would’ve made even Satan sweat. I hadn’t worn make up in 8 days, and was showering with Dawn dish detergent because I didn’t have a clue where I had packed our shower essentials. By Sunday, I looked in the mirror and realized that I had gone from a decent looking girl to a homely troll who needed a hairbrush….desperately.
The final blow came on Monday.
My husband, who works in a hospital, was getting ready to go back to work. “Have you seen any scrubs,” he asked. “I can’t even find my shoes, so I’m going to say ‘no’,” I replied, annoyed. I mean, couldn’t he see that I was drowning in boxes that contained things like both bras and garden hoses? I was seriously questioning the state of my sanity while packing, but I find its best not to beat myself up about it.
No big deal I thought to myself…most of the laundry is clean, although it is residing unfolded in baskets in our room, since we never seem to get around to putting laundry away here. Sure enough, I rustled up some clean, albeit wrinkled, scrubs. I threw them in the dryer in hopes that he wouldn’t look like a walking disaster at work. Sure enough, he didn’t even notice. He also didn’t notice the thongs stuck to his back due to static cling as he walked out the door, but thankfully I was there to snatch them off as he flung the door closed.
Later that night, I attempted to once again put my life back into some kind of order. I opened a box that consisted of underwear and dog leashes, deciding that running them through a wash cycle probably wasn’t a bad idea. I turned on the washer and headed back through the kitchen to grab the laundry basket when my ADHD kicked in and my attention turned to putting away groceries from the pantry. An hour later, I made a trip back out to the laundry room and within seconds all hell had broken loose inside.
First, let me give you a little background. My dog is - to put it delicately - simple-minded. Although we had moved with him before, I had forgotten that he isn’t well-equipped with coping mechanisms of any kind. For days he had held it together, with the grace of a cat, but now he had let his inner moron come out….and it wasn’t good.
I could tell he was anxious when I started unpacking because he becomes extremely melodramatic when faced with even a trivial amount of uncertainty. He started following me everywhere, pausing every so often to flop to the ground in an exaggeratedly morose fashion, because maybe that would make me realize how selfish I was being by continuing to place things in new spots around the house despite his obvious emotional discomfort.
I had spent just mere minutes in the laundry room, and when I returned to the kitchen, I noticed something hanging from his mouth. I walked closer and realized it was a long string. I opened his mouth and pulled out what appeared to be a sliver of fabric. Then I noticed his gums were bleeding.
I began to freak out, wondering what could’ve happened in those five minutes, but he seemed eerily calm. Almost like he was relieved. I noticed a couple of similar strings on the floor leading to the guest bedroom. I followed the “trail” and flipped the light switch. The disaster I encountered blew my mind.
The only room that I had officially unpacked, the guest room, was destroyed.
I had spent months searching for the perfect comforter to compliment the expensive silk upholstered headboard I had finally talked my husband into letting me order. Not only had I found it, I loved it. So much so, that upon getting the keys to the new house in my hand, I rushed over to set it up. It was perfect.
My sweet little “angel” had, in an instant, ripped it to shreds. The headboard had a hole about two feet wide down to the wood frame, and all that remained of the comforter was a pile of ruffled cotton stuffing. In a moment of blind rage I sprinted to catch him, but thanks to a doggie door, he was spared. It’s amazing how fast I can run when I’m angry.
I sat myself down on the couch, had a good cry and a glass of wine, and realized that while I loved that bed, my fluffy buddy was more important. He had been quietly sitting beside me in hopes of earning my forgiveness for about an hour when I reached down to pet him. I was still mad, but in the grand scheme of things, stuff is just stuff. It can always be replaced.
Now on to my next task….finding a way to explain the massacre to my husband.
So long, beautiful guest room. If only someone would’ve been able to enjoy you. It looks like I’m back to sale shopping, working extra, and begging and pleading for a few months to put that room back together.
That dog better be glad that I love him.

August 7 Editorial

This week, we finally moved into our “little shack” on the water, and though it wasn’t easy and it looks like ramen noodles are on the menu for the next six months, it was well worth it.
We had been preparing for the move for nearly a month. The boxes were packed, the services had been transferred, and the truck had been rented. I thought I had this all under control. I was wrong.
When moving day 1 rolled around, I grabbed the boxes that contained things like kitchen utensils, cleaners, and laundry detergent. I headed to the house with a mission: get set up quickly and efficiently. Little did I know that when I opened the front door I would find that the cleaning crew did less than a stellar job. The floors weren’t even swept, let alone mopped, and the kitchen cabinets were so filthy that I actually dry heaved a little. I nearly lost my marbles when I opened a cabinet to find bugs and dirt so thick, that I eventually gave up and decided not to use that particular cabinet. The jury is still out on how to handle that one.
I spent the entire day cleaning, getting nothing on my agenda finished. I was already set back an entire day according to my OCD schedule. It was only going to get worse.
Day 2 rolled around and we picked up the moving truck bright and early. I made the mistake of putting my husband in charge of recruiting a little muscle to help us move the big furniture, because come moving day, there was no one in sight. “Didn’t you say you had some people coming,” I asked. “Well, I had a couple of people say they would come help,” he replied. I knew we were on our own.
An hour later, I decided that no one was coming to help and this stuff wasn’t going to move itself, so I was going to have to man up and get it done. The first three pieces we moved weren’t so bad. Then I threw my back out moving the couch. I winced in pain for a minute or two, but kept moving on.
When the day was over, all the big furniture and appliances were moved in, but I was a mess. I had bruises all over my body, a pulled back, cuts and dried blood all over my hands, but I was determined to do what I had moved in here for. I smelled like a wildebeest, but I instantly felt better when I popped the top on a beer and sat my stinky behind down on a chair in the sand.
I listened to the sounds of the water, and watched the boats go by. In the blink of an eye, the horrible weekend that we had just endured was all worth it. This place was once my bliss when we lived here almost three years ago, and nothing had changed. There’s just something about the sun setting on the water while you can feel the sand between your toes that makes everything seem calm.
Two days later, I am still making trips from the other house with loads of little things that never seem to have a place. Each load I take never seems to make the remaining pile smaller. I contemplated selling it with the house or having a “house” sale instead of a garage sale.
It may take me a week or even a month, but I’ll get it done. As long as it doesn’t cut into my “cocktail” hour at sunset.
In the end, we now have a mortgage and rent, not to mention moving expenses, deposits, transfers, etc. It’s a little scary to look at our budget, as we have put ourselves into a tight spot for the next couple of months until our house either sells or gets a tenant.
But the thing I’ve learned from all of this is that is you want something bad enough, go get it. Don’t wait until it’s too late to find your happiness. Life is short. In just four short days, our attitudes are better, I’m sleeping better, and we are more affectionate towards one another. We wake up happy and relaxed, and have already spent more time outside with our family then we have in the past year.
We may be broke for a while, but being a beach bum suits me just fine.

July 31 Editorial

We’ve all been to Wal-Mart and witnessed behavior by people that somehow seemed to make us feel superior, either because we were shopping with all of our body parts fully concealed, our kids were well behaved rather than screaming bloody murder while running up and down the aisles, or we appeared to have evolved past knuckle dragging and mouth breathing. This week, I joined the ranks of those ill-mannered folks of Wal-Mart, and believe it or not….it was awesome.
Last week, I took a nasty spill that left me with a badly twisted knee that on a scale of one to ten was a 15 when it came to pain. For the first few days, I was out of commission, keeping as still as possible on the couch with my knee elevated and wrapped in ice.
Around day four, I realized that if someone didn’t get to the store for groceries, both me and my husband were going to starve to death. So instead of going to the store for me, my helpless husband convinced me to load up and head to Wal-Mart. It was late, so I figured the store would be empty enough that I could ride on one of those motorized carts that are generally driven by people who not only don’t need them, but abuse the privilege by taking up entire aisles, driving too slowly, or crashing into anything in their path.
I reluctantly hopped on one of the carts and quickly realized that these things would not only move, they could turn on a dime too! I channeled my inner brat as I zoomed up and down the aisle while my husband searched for the perfect loaf of bread. I was becoming one of those people I hate, and I didn’t even care. It was too much fun.
I kept it together for the remainder of our shopping trip until my husband decided to stop at the sporting goods section. Bored out of my mind, I told him I was going to go cruise the health and beauty section to get myself some much needed shampoo and a fresh ACE bandage.
I hit the throttle and was quickly speeding past the toy section when something caught my eye. I threw my cart in reverse and “beeped” my way back to an amazing display of Ninja Turtle merchandise. Within seconds I was dressed with a Ninja Turtle shell on my back, a full faced Leonardo mask, and armed myself with foam nun chucks.
I spent the next ten minutes flying by each of the aisles my husband was frequenting, alternating choruses of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…..heroes in a half shell….turtle power” and showing off my awesome one legged ninja skills. He was laughing so hard that tears were streaming down his face. I’m pretty sure I just solidified his choice in marrying me. Thank goodness the store was empty.
After begging for him to buy me the toys I was sporting with no positive result, I put my gear back on the shelves and pouted my way up to the front of the store with him to check out. With only one line open that late at night, there were a few people who had joined the line behind us when my husband forgot that it was 2014 by acting like it was his first time seeing a credit card machine…ever.
I began circling around him in my cart, honking the horn and saying, “Beep Beep!! You’re holding up the line.” The people in line were dying laughing while my husband pretended he didn’t know who I was. As I spun in circles, cutting what I called “doughnuts”, I noticed the security guard had spotted me. I thought for sure this is where I was going to lose my cart privileges, but instead she high fived me and said, “That’s some of the best work I’ve ever seen in here.”
Turns out, behaving badly at Wal-Mart isn’t frowned upon after all. At least if you’re awesome. I only wish I could’ve gotten a copy of the security tape.
In the end, my behavior was deplorable and I should be embarrassed. Unfortunately, I’m not. Had it been a crowded store I probably wouldn’t have done it, but let’s face it….if you can’t be an idiot at Wal-Mart, where can you be an idiot?
In my opinion, the motorized carts are the only way to shop at Wal-Mart. I guess I’m going to have to injure myself more often!

July 24 Editorial

This week, my husband and I had the chance to once again step foot inside our home that we first lived in when we got engaged, then married back in 2009. With our house on the market and this lovable waterfront beach bungalow back on the rental market, we decided to once again move our things in and get a little sand between our toes.
Once a cute little cottage, with beachy colors on the walls, a fabulous deck for entertaining, and a huge white sand beach in the backyard, living in this house was a dream that I had always wanted to achieve. As an older home, it was never perfect by any means, but it was perfect to us. That is until we made the mistake of leaving to purchase a home close by, allowing for a gaggle of Navy fellows to move in.
Flash forward two years, and here we are.
I picked up the keys from the realtor, and was like a kid on Christmas morning, unable to control my excitement, as I rushed over to see it. I remembered the way it smelled, our initials in the wood wall by the front door, the sound the back door made when coming through it after a lazy day spent on the beach. All the quirks that made me love it. But when I opened the door, my heart sank.
The smell was different, and not in a good way. It was dark and dirty, with holes and scuffs along nearly every wall. The roof had been leaking onto the ceiling without being reported, causing the sheetrock to fall in in the living room. The doors and blinds had been chewed by a dog that must have been the size of a pony based on the extent of the damage.
The deck outside had been burned to the ground, and the siding on the house was melted due to the heat. There was water and fire damage in the bathroom, and the floors and walls were sticky from top to bottom. Suddenly I felt disgusting just standing in there. I had to get out.
I escaped through the back door, which comforted me with its old familiar sound, and headed for the beach. As least it was still the same. I started to get a little teary eyed at the thought of how the house once was while looking at the tattered shell that was left of it. I thought, “What the heck happened here?”
I just couldn’t understand how someone couldn’t love this place like I have for so many years. Were we making a huge mistake by moving back here? Was the house always this crappy, but I was just too blind to see it? Would we ever be able to relive those amazing first “glory days” that we both cherished so much here? My head was spinning.
I called the realtor and she assured me that they had assessed the damage and that they were well aware of what they were dealing with to make it right. There was nothing left to do but put my faith in them that they would get it fixed. If the guy would just give in and sell it, I’d fix it myself…..but for now I’m at the mercy of others, and I hate it.
A few days passed with not so much as a single contractor’s visit. I know because I am obsessive compulsive and made several trips a day to the neighborhood. I’m pretty sure the neighbors are going to call the cops soon to report a lurker.
Then today, as I made my stalker-ish pass by the house, I noticed that workers were going to town. I pulled in the drive way as they were leaving and asked if I could take a look around. I couldn’t believe the progress.
The deck was rebuilt, the whole house had been repainted inside and pressure washed on the outside, new doors and windows with matching blinds were on hand ready to be hung, and the roof and ceiling had already been repaired. I felt overjoyed. It was like a new house again. Who says Rome wasn’t built in a day?
Although there is still a ways to go, seeing the house almost come back from the dead left me with that same old feeling that she always gave me….happiness.
Now if only someone would come pack up my things and move them for me. That would be bliss.