Sunday, October 30, 2011


It was a very cold winter in Utah, the snow started falling early and the temperatures were at record lows. I was living in a one bedroom, cinder block wall, basement apartment with my best friend. We were young and we were poor. It seemed that we were scrounging up change from the couches so we could pay our rent and utility bills from month to month.

The largest bill of the month was always the gas bill. We decided that we had to cut the cost of our gas bill for December so we could have extra money for Christmas. We came up with the best idea ever… We decided to turn OFF the heat starting November 1 and it would remain off until December 1. We were going to go an entire month in the freezing cold weather without turning the heater on.

We did not think it would be that hard since we both had full time jobs and were gone from 8 am – 5 pm every day. We’d have only a few hours every evening before going to bed that we’d need to endure the chill of winter night.

We’d try to find friends house to go to after work so we’d have a few extra hours of warmth. We added extra blankets to our bed, slept in triple layers of clothing with hats on our heads. We’d pull the covers over our noses so the chill of the air would stay out. We covered all of our windows with heavy blankets so we could keep any heat we had in the apartment. No extreme was to far. We’d do what we had to do because the payoff would be huge!

Once you finally fell asleep it did not seem so bad. But those cold mornings while you were getting ready for work were the worst! I’d get in the shower and stay in there an extra twenty minutes soaking up the heat. I’d use the heat from the blow dryer to warm my body while I was getting ready. I consumed more hot chocolate that month that I’ve consumed in my life time, drinking it would help thaw my body from the inside out.

Every day seemed to be colder than the day before. But we had made a pact to leave the heat off and we both stuck to it. We were convinced by enduring the cold that our bill would be reduced by at least eighty to ninety percent.

Finally the day we had been anticipating for a month had come. The day of truth. Our gas bill had arrived in the mail. We were giddy with excitement as we opened the bill, knowing that we had followed our plan, left our heat off and endured the misery of the cold winter month. Our month of chilly nights was sure to pay of for us!

We opened the bill and to our shock….. The bill had DOUBLED!!!!!! That is right, all of our cold days were in vein… our bill had DOUBLED! How could this be? We did not understand! We followed the no heat for a month plan and all we have to show is a bill of double what it was the month before?

We immediately called the gas company and asked them to come and re check our gage. They said they would do so but it would take a few days. We paced the house waiting for the gas company to call us back. They finally called us back only to confirm that their reading was correct and that we DID use that much gas and our bill would not be changed.

Fury raced through our veins. There was no possible way this could be correct. We called our apartment managers and asked them how on earth this could be. They sent out a maintenance man to do a thorough check of our apartment. To their surprise they found a leak in the hot water heater. All month long it had been continually leaking out precious gas causing our bill to sky rocket.

We were so disappointed. We felt like we had been taken by the heat monsters. We had to pay for an enormous gas bill and we did not even get to benefit from a warm cozy apartment.
We learned a hard lesson that month. Sometimes what you sacrifice does not pay off like you think it should. The $50 each that we thought we should have saved was not really worth the extremely cold temperatures we endured. However, now we can both say, we survived a cold winter month in Utah with no heat.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Growing up we had a camper trailer parked in our yard. We’d slept in this camper every summer since my parents purchased it. My family only took in on one camping trip – we were just not the camping type.. even in this luxury roll out beauty. Even though it only made it into the actual mountains one time I think my mom found it as the best investment she’d ever made. After all it kept all five of us kids out of the house and entertained all summer long. We spent many long hours in our very own heaven on wheels.

One particular summer night in July my best friend Brittany and I claimed the camper for the night. My mom agreed that it was our turn and we had approximately ten hours of pillow talk until my brother and cousin would be pounding down the door to take over.

We packed the trailer with enough food to feed an army. Graham crackers, frosting, licorice, popcorn, cookies, twinkees, Kool-Aid… more sweets than should be consumed by a dozen teens in the late of the night let alone just two. We laughed and snacked and snacked and snacked for hours nearly putting ourselves into a sugar coma. During that time we’d devised a plan to sneak out of the camper and roam the neighborhood – it was the one cardinal sin of the camper privilege. DON’T EVER LEAVE THE PROPERTY. If we were to get caught we’d be banned from the camper for the rest of the summer. This was a giant risk – but one worth taking as we knew what was going on just a few short blocks away.

Once we were certain that my parents were asleep and would not be checking on us again we decided it was time to make our break. Just three acres of grass, a small creek with a little bridge and a quiet street separated us from an ALL BOY SLEEPOVER at my neighbor’s house. Brittany had a major crush on one of the boys at that party. I had a crush on one too, but I was way to shy to admit it.

We had done our prep work when we were loading the camper with snacks and were fully loaded with all the gear necessary to go spying at the neighbors. Dark clothes, Band-Aids, dental floss and a handful of change. All the necessary components for Penny Tapping. It’s a pretty simple process but we were certain it would get the boys of the house so we could catch a glimpse of our crushes.

We took a Band-Aid and attached the top sticky section to the window; on the bottom sticky section we attached a penny and a long piece of dental floss. We stretched out around the back of the house and began pulling the floss so that it would give a “tap, tap, tap” on the window.

After ten minutes with no success we were scheming up new plans on how to get the guys out of the house. We were getting much braver too. We were right up to the windows doing single knocks. Ten minutes more and still no luck. We start up again with the penny tapping; giggling and laughing as we pulled the sting in rhythm to songs we started singing in the moon light.

We’re very relaxed at this point, maybe a little to relaxed, and nearing giving up when all of the sudden the door opens and slams shut. It’s not the friendly welcoming of teen boys we had been trying to lure out of the house. It was the exact opposite. It was a grown man, a very very angry grown man named Mark who just happened to be on a local college baseball team. This angry man was much more athletic and had much longer legs than we did. And boy was he ever angry. He ran out the door screaming explicit words at whom he believed were criminals trying to BREAK INTO HIS HOUSE!!

Within a split second of the door slamming we caught on that this was not going to be a friendly greeting and we started running, running faster than the Tasmanian Devil. My heart was racing and my stomach was in my throat, my adrenalin was at an all time high and it was a good thing because I was going to have to run faster than I’d ever ran in my entire fourteen years. We had to get out of there or we were going to die, literally, he was going to kill us you could hear it in his voice.

Brittany and I split up each going a different direction. We’d both grown up in that neighborhood and spent countless hours exploring every inch of the ground and we both had our ideas as to where to go to get away from Mark who scared me more than anything at that moment in my life.. he was like an angry beast. For some reason – the beast decided to follow me. I ran across the street, over the bridge covered creek and I was in a very open grassy common area. I was weaving in and out and he was on my heels yelling at me. He said I didn’t want to know what he was going to do to me when he caught me and HE. WAS. RIGHT.

Those words gave me the extra energy I needed to run even faster. And I did, I ran as fast as lightning in and out of neighborhood yards until I lost him. It was like Christmas in July – and my gift that night was my life!

I made it back to the camper, I felt like I'd just ran a marathon, I found my friend quivered up under a blanket awaiting my arrival. She'd been praying for my return as she knew if I were caught - ultimately she'd be caught too. We laid in silence for over an hour making sure that the beast was not lurking our territory, making sure he wouldn’t find us and turn us in. Finally we broke the silence in whisper and talked about how our excellent plan nearly turned out deadly. We didn’t sleep that night. We were terrified.

The next morning Brittany left early. I go into my house and my mom says “I was just about to come out and check on you”, she said. “Two men in their forties, one with a pony tail, tried to break into the neighbor’s house last night”. “One of the older sons chased after the men but wasn’t able to catch them. They filed a police report and the police have been roaming the neighborhood for hours”.

My heart sunk. If anyone found out I was certainly going to jail, or even worse - I'd be grounded for the rest of my life. Brittany and I promised we’d never tell a soul about what had happened…. And I kept my promise until now.

I still don’t know how I out ran the beast, but that was the last night I ever snuck out again.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Our Love Story (her version)

It was August 20, 2004, my sisters birthday and her master plan was finally coming together. For almost two years she had been trying to set me up with her husband’s friend. And for almost two years I’d declined her offer. I’d met almost all of her husband’s friends and was certain I did not want to meet another. She just knew I was going to fall head over heels and marry him and I just knew she was absolutely crazy.

She invited me and this single guy Joe along with 20 others. I showed up a few minutes late to ensure I would not have to sit next to him. After all I’d met all the single guys she knew and I was already not interested in this mystery man. I take my seat and notice “him” down the table from me. He’s cute, he seems normal, he has the prettiest blue eyes I’ve ever seen…I decide I better give him a chance, what could it hurt? After dinner we head to my sister’s house. I start talking with him and we instantly hit it off. Conversation is effortless. He is so nice. He is so funny. He is so cute.

As the hours pass people start leaving the party. I am lost in conversation with the most genuine person. I feel like we are the only two people in the universe at that moment. We are in our own little world. Our conversation continues until well past midnight. I can’t wipe the smile off of my face, this guy is great… I wonder why I ever doubted my sister and wish I would have agreed to meet him sooner. The final guests of the evening are leaving and we say our goodbyes and nice to meet you’s and head off in different directions.

I call my sister the moment I get into my car. She already knows what I’m about to tell her. He is nice. He is cute. He is tall. He is great. He is funny. He is charming. He is perfect. BUT…….. he did not get my phone number!! How on earth could this be?! I felt a connection. I felt happy. I liked him.. already! Did he feel the same connection I did? I start to second question myself.

Over the next two months my sister would text me every time he came over. I’d drop by because I was “in the area”… or at least that was my story. I wanted to see him. I wanted to know more about him. I had a major crush on this guy who did not get my phone number. I find out that he is a member of the Utah National Guard and that he is going to be leaving in January for a year and a half.

Every time I saw him things would change. One time I was head over heels, the next time I could not believe I ever even had a crush on him. This went on until November. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that he was leaving. We were both uncertain of the timing of our meeting.

Finally November came and I got a text from my sister. Joe called, she said. He asked me for your phone number!! I was ecstatic. My stomach was full of butterflies and I could not wipe the smile off my face!! He called me the next day and asked if I wanted to go on a date. I agreed . We go out on a few dates and have a lot of fun. And then I kiss him – he is shy – even more so than me. So I kissed him first.
We start dating a lot more over the next month. Things are perfect. I am so happy. I am having so much fun. But I can’t help but think about the fact that he is leaving in January for 18 months to go off to war. Is he just dating me to pass the time until he leaves? Does he really like me? I know I like him, but question if I am leading my heart on a path of heartbreak.

He goes home to Cedar City to spend Christmas with his parents. We talk and text every day that he is gone. I can’t wait for him to come back. I miss him. I really like him and I have never felt this way before. He comes with a Christmas present for me. A fancy Christmas present too! Perfume. He must like me if he got me perfume, that’s not just any kind of present. Its perfume. He’s won my heart over with 4 oz of perfume. After that we are inseparable. He picks me up from work and takes me to lunch. We see each other as soon as work is over.

He wants me to meet his brother. We go to a Jazz game and to Flemings for dinner. Its fancy. He is such a gentleman. He invites me to his family new years party at his sisters house. I am so nervous but I go and have a lot of fun. I meet his family, A LOT of his family. His parents, three sisters and one brother and their families. Its very over whelming but feels good at the same time.

Two days into the New Year he is off to Cedar City for a month. It’s the beginning of his deployment. But it’s only Cedar City. Its only three hours away. We talk on the phone every day. He comes to visit me in Salt Lake every weekend. We are both falling for each other. But neither of us have used the “L” word.

The month passes all too quickly. At the beginning of February I head down to Cedar to see him off to the second leg of his deployment. He must now go to Mississippi for 5 months to complete some training before heading to Iraq. I bring him a little box of memories I’ve had with him. It’s my way of letting him know that I LOVE him, without having to say it. I am afraid to say it first because I’m not sure if he’s going to feel the same.

The next morning all of the families gather at the airport to send off 500 soldiers. It is heartbreaking. I can’t stop hugging Joe. I don’t want to let him go. I don’t want him to leave. He gets in line to board the plane and tears are pouring down my face. I can’t take my eyes off of him. I watch him every step of the way. I watch him shake the hands of all the political figures there to send him off. I’m so sad he is leaving. And I’m so mad at myself for not telling him I loved him. Because I did! I LOVED HIM!

A few moments after he boards the plane my phone rings. It’s Joe. I am so happy he’s calling already. I LOVE YOU, he says. I wanted to tell you before I got on the plane.. I don’t know why I did’t. My heart did a triple flip! I love you too, I told him! How romantic.

Joe and I talked everyday while he was in Mississippi. He surprised me and flew me out to visit him the week of my birthday in April. I was there for four wonderful days. On my birthday he told me that he wanted to marry me. He wanted to marry ME! How did I get to be so lucky?! I did not give him an answer that day if I felt the same way or not. I needed to collect my thoughts before committing to marrying a man who was headed off to war. After a week of my heart and mind fighting on what to do my heart won. I called Joe and told him I wanted to marry him too.

Joe was in Mississippi for two more months. He gave me a budget and sent me ring shopping with my mom and sisters. Since he was so far away this was not something we could do together. The first ring I tried on was my dream ring. NO ring could ever compare to this beautiful ring I’d tried on. It was twice the budget set for the ring and knew it was something I’d never have. I tried on many more rings and found lots of pretty rings within our budget. I emailed Joe three pictures of beautiful rings so he could surprise me with one that he liked too.

I headed to Las Vegas in June to celebrate the arrival of the Triple Deuce, but mostly the arrival of my future husband. Oh how I was ever excited for him to be home.. .even if it were only for two short weeks. We enjoyed the lights of Vegas and then headed to the Hoover Dam before finding our way to Cedar City. We were in Cedar City for only a day and then back to SLC so I could go back to work. Joe picked me up for lunch every day. He was there at five o’clock sharp to pick me up from work. We spent every possible moment together.

On June 11, 2004 my mom, sisters and I took Joe shopping. He wanted something nice to wear because it was going to be a special night. We found a nice suit for him to wear. He dropped us girls off at the mall so he could go meet my dad for the FIRST time and to ask for his consent to marry me!!

My dad must have consented because Joe was at my apartment at 5:30 pm with a dozen roses. He opened my door to the car and the station was turned to country music – I love it, he despises it. One more thing to show me he loved me! We headed to down town Salt Lake City, the destination was unknown to me. After much anticipation he pulls into the parking garage of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. We are eating dinner at The Roof! Talk about FANCY smancy!!

We sat at the “engagement table” that overlooked the Salt Lake Temple. It was a magnificent view. We had dinner, enough food to feed a small country. Joe requested the pianist to play some of my favorite songs. He started drinking water, lots and lots of water, he was beginning to sweat! He was so nervous. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him with THE ring. Not the rings I’d sent him pictures of, but THE ring, the first ring I tried on, the ring that was far out of budget, the most beautiful ring I’d ever seen, the ring of my dreams!! Of course I’ll marry you! You’re making all my dreams come true, I tell him.

Apparently my sister had told him about this ring. She said I had to have it. And she and my mom had found it at a different jeweler and it was only $250 higher than the budget allotted. He agreed that I had to have it and made plans with my sister to make sure that it was ready for the night he proposed. It was the perfect plan. It was the perfect surprise. It was a perfect beginning to the rest of my life.

Two days later I cried my eyes out as I watched the plane take off en route to Ramadi, Iraq with my fiancé on board. My heart was so happy that I had found the love of my life and broken in half seeing him leave me for the next 12 months.
My phone was hooked to my hand waiting for a call from my love. He called a week later once he made it his base camp. Every day after that he called to let me know he missed me and that he was doing well. We were able to talk over the computer and see each other over the web cam. The sound of his voice and the very broken picture from the camera put my heart at ease between conversations. I’d watch the news everyday and see the terrible things happening where he was. But each night around 3 am I’d get a phone call confirming his safety. I would drop anything or wake up at any hour when he called just to hear his voice. We must have spent thousands of dollars on phone cards but I’d do it all over again if the situation presented me.

He was entered into a lottery that would allow him two weeks leave. Leave from Iraq and into the arms of his fiancé. I cried when he called and told me he was coming home mid November. He joked about getting married but knew that I’d never agree. After all I was already in the middle of planning out a huge reception for the following September when he was home for good.

The second he stepped of the plane and had his arms wrapped around me everything changed. Lets get married while you’re home, I said! He smiled from ear to ear and agreed! He was home on Saturday and we told our families on Sunday that we were getting married on the following FRIDAY!! This gave us T minus 5 days until we said our I Do’s…. and T minus 4 days to plan EVERYTHING!!!

We personally called all of our close friends and family to invite them to the wedding as there was no time to send out invitations. We booked the Salt Lake for the perfect 11:00 time. I found the perfect wedding dress that needed NO alteration in a matter of 7 long hours. We picked out Joe’s wedding band and were given a $200 discount because of our unique story. Joe’s parents booked our wedding luncheon at Magelby’s. We found a photographer. Joe’s sisters friend had a daughter that was getting married the day before us so she saved us a layer of the cake and flowers to use for pictures. It was magical how smoothly everything came together. I guess things just work out how they are suppose to when its right.

Friday morning came faster than I could have ever imagined. I was up at five in the morning to get my hair and make up done. Joe came to pick up all of my luggage for the honeymoon. Loading the bags in the car was almost a deal breaker for him – I think I had about 12 bags packed! There was absolutely no organization to packing.. I just threw in anything and everything I could have ever imagined I may need.
10:30 arrived and I was dressed and sitting in the celestial room of the Salt Lake Temple with my future husband. The ceremony is a bit of a blur, but I remember how amazing it felt to become Mrs. Joseph Moss with our families and friends there to celebrate in the joyous occasion.

We were an hour late to our luncheon due to 2 hours of pictures landing us in the middle of rush our traffic. Our parents toasted to a happy future of love and happiness.

Our honeymoon started off at one night at the Grand America which may be the most beautiful place I have ever stayed. Followed by 5 nights in Park City. On the sixth day I drove my husband to the airport to send him back to Ramadi, Iraq. I cried for the next three hours straight as I drove home from Cedar City to Salt Lake.

The first seven months of our marriage were spent 15,000 miles apart. Joe continued to call me every day. We grew closer and closer than we’d ever been. And I cried more than I’ve ever cried in my life during that time worrying about his safety.

June 15, 2005 he was home for good. It was the fist day of the rest of our lives together.. and we couldn't have been happier!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

If the Shoe Fits

I was shopping for a new outfit to wear to the airport to pick up my husband from his 18 month deployment to Iraq. I needed the perfect outfit and it was not going to be an easy task. I took along my favorite shopping companion Nick for mission, “Make me look HOT because I have not seen my husband in 7 months”, perfect outfit extravaganza.

We spent all day shopping from store to store… Nordstrom then Banana Republic on to Anne Taylor followed by Black House White Market and every store in between. The economy was great and my budget was unlimited. Could I really put a price on my looks for such an occasion? Obviously not! We purchased everything from earrings to jeans, hair accessories to shoes.

I was in the dressing room of one of the stores with one of everything available in my size. I’m trying on clothes and watching the piles of Have To Have, Maybe So and Absolutely Not’s grow taller than me. Clothes are flying in every direction as I plow through the clothes folded and hanging.

Before I know it Nick is knocking on the dressing room door. I NEED you now, he says.

Just two more minutes and I’ll be dressed and I can come out, I reply.

HURRY! You HAVE to see this he says.

I finally open the door and he is standing there with his mouth wide open and his eyes as big as the moon, he is holding up a high heeled shoe.

I look at him with question in my eye wondering why it was so urgent for me to hurry. Is he in love with the shoe and wants me to try it on? Does he think it’s the most hideous thing he’s ever seen? It’s hard to read his face on this one.
“I pity the woman who wears a shoe this size!” he gasps.

I smile and take the shoe… I look at the size… and notice the same size I wear! That is right… this CLOWN sized shoe in Nicks mind is simply a dainty size 10 in my world. Its hard to find a cute shoe in a size 10.. I know because I’ve been looking for years!!!

Without telling Nick this information I take the shoe and proceed to put it on my foot.

Nick’s jaw literally hits the floor. He is completely and utterly speechless, which for him is a rare occasion.

We both started laughing so hard we began to cry.

If the shoe fits, wear it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

An Unfortunate Event

My fiancé was in Iraq. It was 12 months before our wedding day, I was counting down the days until I could officially start writing Mrs. Joseph Moss on every sheet of paper that crossed my desk. Secretly I was practicing writing it on every scratch paper or post it note in site. I decided that it would be a good idea to take a second job, one night a week, to save for the fairytale wedding I envisioned in my head.

My best friend/roommate, Kate, was working as a manager for a residential living program for the elderly disabled. I was a shoe in for the job and was instantly hired after an “Intense” interview. The greatest part of the job was it was one day a week from 5 - 9 pm and I worked my shift with Kate. Four hours a week, hanging out with my best friend, and making a little extra cash seemed like a brilliant idea… and most days it was exactly that!

The women we worked with were incredible! They were two elderly women, Martha was mean as the dickens and would hit you with her cane if she thought you were getting “out of line”, Lucy, was the sweetest, toothless, bug eyed wearing glasses woman you had ever met who walked around with a walker with a horn on it. It was not just a job being able to hang out with these women it was an honor and delight. I was absolutely in love with these ladies.

We shared stories and dinners and would take long car rides. We’d watch movies and paint our nails. Every week we’d make a meal plan and head to the grocery store to stock the fridge and shelves with the ingredients to create meals that were fit for queens.

One particular Wednesday evening we headed down our local grocery store, Harmon’s. I decided to let my friend be chauffer for the evening and left my car safe and sound in the apartment parking lot… that may have been the best decision of my night.
We arrived at the store and Martha decided that she better take an electric wheel chair around the store, after all her knee had been bothering her. The only problem was she had NEVER driven anything with wheels. She was more dangerous sitting in this Jazzy Scooter than I ever thought could have been possible. She was running into end caps with every jerk of the wheel, knocking fruit off the produce tables and sending display racks tumbling to the ground.

As I was about to go and convince her that I thought she should walk instead of drive this new found death on wheels, I noticed her going FULL SPEED about to hit an innocent old man who was bagging his tomatoes with his back turned to us. I kick my feet into full gear and run faster than an Olympic medalist to try to save this innocent produce bagging citizen. By the grace on high I somehow make it in the nick of time to stop the wheel chair with my body and saving that man from being crushed to his death. I’m sure he’s very thankful for my heroic acts. After a good 5 minutes of arguing with Martha and being struck by her cane more than seven times we come to a compromise. She could ride in the chair as long as I was the one who got to operate it. This compromise very well may have saved the life of many that day.
Over the next hour we continued throughout the store filling our carts, moving as fast as Lucy’s walker would allow. Every isle is walked gathering up the finest ingredients that Harmon’s could offer. When we had gathered everything on our list and more we head to the checkout stand.

Lucy heads up to the front, standing up by the bagger batting her eyes being her most charming self. Martha begins digging in her purse pulling out very curious items for me to hold with the only task in mind of finding her check book so she can pay. Kate is chatting with Lucy and the bagger about the feast that we’re heading home to make.

Out of nowhere the most awful, horrendous, smell you’ve ever smelled reached up and slapped me in the face. My hands were loaded full of items from Martha’s purse and I was juggling each items as it was to me. I had no time or sense to find that smell. I was only allowed to take no notice for just a few moments time when Kate says “Oh no, it’s one of ours!” That caught my attention faster than a lightning strike! I looked around and begin to panic. What do you mean its one of ours? What on earth could that smell be? This can’t be happening!!!

Sweet little Lucy is standing looking down at her feet as she is standing in a puddle of yuck. Martha promptly chimes in “Lucy, watch out, move out of the way, a dog must have just come in here and shit on the floor by your feet”. Yep! You guessed it…our poor sweet Lucy is standing in a large mess of diarrhea, but not a dogs diarrhea, it’s her very own!! It is EVERYWHERE! I turned my head to laugh.. I did not know what else to do. It was either laugh or cry at this point. No turning back now. And someone was going to have to clean this mess up. I was praying that it would not be me.

Kate very professionally apologizes to the checker who calls over the manager. The Manager says he will have someone clean it up for up. I am praising almighty when I hear Kate refuse the offer. What?!? Why on earth would she refuse such a sweet gift! ? She orders me to take Lucy to the bathroom so she can attend to the mess that’s been created. She refuses to allow someone from the grocery store clean up. They definitely did not sign up for poop duty. We, on the other hand, knew in our job description that things like this can happen on occasion. It must have been in the small print of my contract because I don’t remember signing on for any situation of the sort! She is a much better person than I could ever imagine being, and after this I’m not sure I ever want to be like her!

I point to the ladies room, which just happens to be at the opposite end of the store; Lucy begins to walk the green mile. I’m right behind her armed with a pair of rubber gloves and a roll of paper towels. With each step forward a trail of liquid follows. I’m wiping up the floor behind her one step at a time. Walk and wipe. My face is red. Walk and wipe. Brighter red. Walk and wipe. Beat red. Will we ever make it to the bathroom? Walk and wipe. No use in crying. Walk and wipe. I can barely hold back my laughter. It looked as if it were forty three miles away.
We finally arrived to the bathroom after what seemed like 3 hours, and that very well may not be a bit of an exaggeration.

I send Lucy in to the stall to finish her business. Sooner than I would have hoped she asks me to come in. I’m praying that Kate will walk in at that very moment to rescue me. No Luck. I pause for a minute longer before she is asking for me again. I brace for impact and go in. I find Lucy’s red stretch pants on the ground full of crap.. Literally full of crap. Besides regretting ever thinking a second job was a good idea and dry heaving, what on earth am I going to do?!? Then visions begin to fill my head and not of sugarplums dancing. How am I ever going to clean this mess up? What is she going to wear to leave the store? How are we ever going to show our faces at this Harmon’s again?

Right then Kate walks in. My prayers have been answered. She is my saving grace. I quickly leave the stall. Kate and I exchange smiles and silent giggles wondering how on earth we got ourselves into this mess. I quickly remind her that as she is the manager she makes $3 more an hour than I do and that I will be at her beacon call to assist with whatever she needs from afar!

Kate is amazingly brilliant and caring. She knows how to handle ever situation without making anyone feel awkward or uncomfortable. She’s already come up with a plan before she had even walked in the door, she is amazing like that. She first sends me and Martha to go purchase some baby wipes to aide in the clean up process. We find them, purchase them and head back to the bathroom. Hand the goods over to Kjirsten and are sent on our next task to go find some underwear.

We are at the grocery store so intimates are in slim supply – not to mention we need to get a plus size pair, 28 women’s. After much searching I find a pair of men’s size 36 briefs. I knew this was too small for sweet Lucy, but it was our only option. We’d have to make do with what was offered. We purchase the briefs and head back into the bathroom. Kate comes out and I quietly show her what we’ve found. She looks at me wide eyed with the look of “how on earth will we ever get these over Lucy’s buns?” Without saying a word she goes back into the stall armed with the briefs knowing that I did all that I could. She literally had to fold Lucy’s rolls into the underwear to make them fit, it must have been force, but they were on, very snugly.

She calls out with her third order of garbage bags. Garbage bags? What on earth do you need garbage bags for? I ask. We’re making a skirt for Lucy so we can get her to the car without utter embarrassment. I leave the bathroom and burst into laughter. I’m not sure if it’s more embarrassing to walk out in tighty whities or a garbage bag. I feel terrible that Lucy has to go through this. I feel terrible for Kate for having to clean up the mess. And I feel terrible for the employees of the grocery store for all we’ve put them through.

I find the Hefty bags, go back through the line to purchase them. This time the manager comes over. He says “Just take them, actually just take anything that you need. You don’t need to buy anything else, if you think of something you need just take it”. I thank him profusely for his help and apologize for the inconvenience of this situation. He tells me if I give him the keys to our car he will get our groceries loaded so we can leave when we are ready. I agree, as we all wanted to be out of there as quickly as possible and not drag this situation out any longer.
I go to the bathroom, hand over the garbage bags and within minutes Lucy walks out in the most lovely black skirt I have ever seen. Kate walks out with a hefty bag of poopie clothes. We load up and head home.

Lucy tells us that it must have been the rice. She told us that day she was allergic to rice but ate it anyway when it was cooked for her to not make anyone feel bad.

We threw out the rice when we got home to assure that would never happen again. Later that night Kate washed those red poopie stretch pants, they were Lucy’s favorite after all. I thanked the maker above that I chose not to drive that day. And I asked myself if a second job was really worth it. But it was. I still love those ladies and I now have a story that will be with me forever.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Great Pumpkin Amuck

It was October; I was in a singles ward and in charge of planning Family Home Evening. With Halloween nearing, I decided to not use an ounce of creative planning and just carve pumpkins with the singles. It was a great ward, we always had a great turnout and a Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin carving event was a safe way to not disappoint. Any activity was good as long as we had some sort of food. You can get single guys to any event with a little food and the ladies always seem to end up where the cavemen are…. get us together and you may as well be serving up a big pot of steamy pheromones. So pumpkin carving and treats it would be.

I was in charge of going to pick up ALL of the pumpkins for our activity. I found a couple of boys with a truck because I surely did not want to put the dirt covered pumpkins in the back of my car and more importantly I did not want to be the work horse hauling them. Who honestly wants to carry thirty pumpkins from the front of the store to the checkout, from the checkout to the car, from the car to the church? I was taught that girls are not supposed to get dirty, you know, the sugar and spice and everything nice thing, and I kind of wanted to keep it that way.

I was a little nervous about picking up the pumpkins, as I was dirt poor, barely making my bills, - the National Debt had nothing on me. My calling called for a lot of “you buy it now and we’ll reimburse you later” receipts. I was living with only one roommate making rent a little higher than I was used to, having my fair share of car problems for the month and paying off some credit cards which I had cut up so I could not be tempted to use them. To be extra cautious I checked my bank account balance minutes before I headed to the store just to make sure I had the funds to cover this bill until I got paid two days later.

There were three of us headed to the store… me, Will and Scott. Will was really nice and had a liking for my roommate so he was more than happy to help me to as to win some extra brownie points with my roommate. Scott irritated me to no avail but as long as he would be my pack mule I could handle him for the thirty minuets this was going to take.

We arrive to pseudo “pumpkin patch” and start picking out pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. Tall, skinny ones. Short, fat ones -- some with “warts”-- white ones -- orange ones. You name it, we got it. I could almost see the singles now, running as fast as they can, elbowing the person next to them, pulling hair, calling names in order to win the prize of the “perfect pumpkin”. I’m lost in this vision with a goofy Lucy smirk on my face as we head to the check-out stand.

We decide to go to “self check-out” for some lame reason. I would not recommend doing this on such a huge pumpkin buying feat – it was a lot of work and you should definitely let a trained checker do that work for you. I watch the pumpkins ring up one at a time… $2.43, $6.74, $14.87… the number slowly rises with each pumpkin that we scan. $24.58, $39.31, $56.49 and half way done. I’m beginning to get a little nervous in my mind. I know I have exactly $132.91 in my bank account; surely I’d have enough money to pay for this. My heart is beating faster $64.87, $83.75, $104.54. Just a few pumpkins left to scan and I feel sweat beading up on my forehead. I am suddenly feeling quite overheated in this crisp October weather. $117.34, $121.43. One more pumpkin to scan. $126.34.

Hallelujah! My heart slows down; I wipe the sweat from my brow. Everything is going to be all right, I have enough money in my account. There wont be much left after this, but I can live off of $6.57 for two more days, I did only live ten blocks from work, I could go in on my roller blades if I had to and I had an unopened box of Wheat Thins in the cupboard, and if I cut the mold off the cheese I knew I’d survive. I’d be able to pay for the pumpkins and not be humiliated so I could live off nothing if I had to!

I’m lost in these thoughts of gratitude when I realize that Will and Scott are looking at me. “Are you going to pay” they say. “Oh of course, I was daydreaming” I say. I rummage through my purse and find my debit card. I walk to the check out. I swipe my card. Waiting, waiting, waiting. DECLINED. What? How? WHY?? This can’t be right! I knew how much money I had in my account, why is it not working? I don't even have a credit card on me, why did I think it was a good idea to cut up all my credit cards?? I try again. Swipe. Waiting, waiting, waiting, this time it seems to be thinking longer than before. DECLINED. My face goes beat red. Heart sinking into my stomach now. I’m certain there are sweat rings in my armpits. I feel like throwing up.

“You don’t have enough money?” Scott says belittling. “Do you seriously live pay check to pay check?” He continues. I am speechless. I don’t know what to do. Of course he does not offer to pay. Of course he judges me for living pay check to pay check. He is living under his parent’s roof, working for his millionaire dad, driving his fancy car so of course he has money saved – how can he honestly judge me when we live totally different lives? I feel like dying now when Will pipes up. “Don’t worry about it, I got it”, “Its no big deal he says”. I’m so very thankful to say the least. Words can’t express how grateful I was that the conversation with Scott did not have to continue.

It was a quiet and awkward ride to the church, it was only six blocks but it felt like six thousand. I was now wishing that I would have gone to the store by myself and left my work horses home. Getting dirty from the pumpkins and a sore back from the lifting would have been much less painful than what I had just been through.

We got the pumpkins to the church and I quickly ran to the bathroom to unwind. Once I regained my cool I go out to greet everyone, avoiding Scott like the plague. No one fought over the pumpkins as I had hoped. But a good time was had by all.

I learned a lot that night. First, that I should not plan activities where I’m required to bankroll the event. Second, that it really does suck living pay check to pay check. Third, don't ever leave home without a credit card. And the most important of all, fourth, not to ever judge another person until I’ve been in their shoes

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Special Gift

In the last singles ward before I got married I was called to be the Family Home Evening Mom - this was of NO surprise to me as was my eternal calling. Every year I'd move and with every new ward i was the FHE Coordinator, FHE Mom, Actives Planner.. whatever you want to call it. I did not mind though, I really enjoyed it - way better than teaching - which is the only calling I would have to decline - I guess its a good thing they have never asked.

On my FHE committee was a boy who we'll call Doug. Doug was a nice boy - very awkward - but nice nonetheless. He took me out on a date once (actually the last person to take me out before I met Joe) and we went dancing at the Murray Arts Center, to dinner at the Training Table and then to the Nicklecade. He made it very clear to me that I was to wear my "Sunday best" which I did, to my dismay everyone else in our group were in jeans and t-shirts. It was just the kind of boy Doug was, proper and polite - a little more high strung than I'm used to.

One Thursday evening at a FHE planning meeting Doug asked me if I would be at the next FHE. Being the woman in charge I assured him that I would be there. We were heading down to Temple Square to see the lights, and I love Christmas Lights almost as much as I love fireworks - I was not about to miss this one. He is excited that I'll be there as he has a surprise for me. He said he knows I like it because i told him I did on our date. For the next four days my roommate and I go over my date, minute by minute trying to figure out what I told him I like. Chocolate? Flowers? Anything from Banana Republic? Diamonds? As much as I like all of those I seriously hoped I would not get them from him. I hoped we knew we were "just friends" after all.

I end up at FHE by myself that Monday - none of my good friends in the ward are coming. Being the dead of winter its of course snowing outside - I love the Christmas lights but hate the snow - I have a love/hate relationship with the month of December. Cars are beginning to fill the parking lot of the church, everyone staying in the comfort of their heated cars. I'm getting anxious and a little nervous for Doug to arrive - he is bringing me a surprise gift. What on earth could it be? How am I going to react?

I've got my head resting on the back of my seat (second best to laying in my bed), listening to Sarah McLaughlin (my favorite), with the heat on full blast (what a treat). All of the sudden i hear a tap tap tap at my window. Tall, awkward Doug is smiling in my window. I roll it down with a curious look on my face. He quickly hands over a fifteen pound frozen ham. "I got you this delicious Christmas Ham, you told me you liked ham" he says. I am in absolute shock - no one had ever given me a ham. How do you react to such a gesture? It seemed more like I was watching Napolean Dynomite than real life. "Thank you so much, I LOVE ham!" I say with enthusiasm. He smiles and turns and walks away- I was relieved to not have to respond any further. I sat in amazement over this odd gift. Looking back what else would I have expected as a gift from big awkward Doug? I don't remember telling him that I liked ham. To this day, no one has ever given me such a unique gift - but boy was it tasty!