To me… and Near me…

Is it me, or do people often lack self awareness when they make casually inaccurate statements as if they were fact? Things I’ve heard in the past month:

“You took less than 2,000 steps today? You have to take at least 4,000 steps a day basically just to be alive you can’t do that?!”  Not only am I alive after taking only 1,500 steps for several days in a row, but I happen to know people doing a lot worse (including me) that are somehow still alive.

“You haven’t been to the gym in 7 days? That’s not good you need to get back there.”.  Do people understand the definition of “need”?  I want to get back there. I should get back there, but trust me I don’t “need” to get back there. I also wish that my life was so easy that not going to the gym was a call to action. Amirite?

Sally Steps-A-Lot can suck it.

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Here is a story of things that have happened to me, and near me, that influence my perception of happiness and contentment (starting after age 18, before age 18 is off limits).

Buyer Beware: If you’re in the mood for a feel good story, don’t read any further. You’ve been warned.

I was asked early last year “What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you?”.  I believe it’s the bad things that happen that give us perspective on the good things. People often describe me as calm or confident. Really it’s just that I don’t go into crisis mode over lost steps or skipped gym days. Side note: Is it better to be shielded from suffering and lose real perspective or better to suffer and have it? I often worry that my children will not have perspective due to lack of suffering… but I still keep them from suffering as goal #1. #BetterOffNaive

Near me… When I was in my early 20’s a close friend, S, had a sweet baby girl. She was the first of my close friends to have a child. I’m not really a “kid person”, but I cared very much about S, and her daughter was beautiful and brought joy to the lives of her parents. About 4 months after she was born, Brittany developed an infection. Infections happen right? I had no parenting experience at this time, although I did have a lot of experience caring for children.  I had never heard of a child being hospitalized due to an infection. She was in Boston, arguably one of the best places to be if you are sick. The best doctors, the best care. Get some antibiotics and move on.

S called me about 2 days in saying her husband had to work and asked if I would come with her to her daily hospital visit. Of course! We drove to the hospital, laughing, chatting about how lucky she was to have a new Toyota Camry, me being jealous of her Toyota Camry while also being happy that I didn’t have a child, especially a sick child, to deal with. I could go home, eat pizza, drink wine and pass out… no kids!

We walked into the nicu (neonatal intensive care unit) and I see Brittany in a tall, plastic box. It catches me off guard a bit but I’ve seen this on TV and, so far, I’m ok. We get an update from the doctor, the antibiotics are not working but they are hopeful. We spend a few hours speaking to other mothers, I begin to realize that pregnancy and childbirth do not always end with a healthy baby. My life perception shifts.

The doctor waves S over, I start walking and the doctor asks me to give them some privacy.  S says no, I can hear whatever she has to say it’s ok. They ask if her husband is here. She smiles and says no. I begin to realize we are about to hear bad news.

I stand up next to Brittany. The doctor tells us that her infection has spread to her blood stream. Her fever is at 106 and climbing. “When can your husband get here. She doesn’t have much time”.  I look at S, she asks where the payphones are. I turn to the doctor then I turn to Brittany. Then I realize that I’m about to watch my friends’ daughter die. I reach out for S’s hand, I miss.

I wake up on the floor of the nicu. I have at least one broken finger and am completely disoriented. S is crouching down to help me up. She is concerned for my well being. She’s such a good mom and caregiver that she’s worried about ME right now. She hugs me. The doctor suggests I eat something. I admit that all I’ve had so far that day was a pack of orange Tic Tacs. I need a cigarette. S wants to get french fries. We go to the cafeteria. She keeps asking if I’m ok. I say yes and we eat fries. This continues for some time. We are both in shock but we don’t know that that is. We are 22 and 24. We are babies ourselves.

We finish the fries and we remember what’s actually happening. We find a phone booth and call her husband. He leaves work and starts driving to us. He doesn’t make it in time. I learned at 24 that funeral homes make coffins the size of a forearm for babies that die. I learned that pregnancy and childbirth don’t always lead to families. I learned that a 22 year old woman can turn from a happy, fun loving person, to an unrecognizable shell of a person.

How may steps did you take today? Who fucking cares.

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To me… When I was 18 I took a bus from my college to spend the weekend with a guy I was dating in high school. It only took about 2 hours for him to completely annoy the shit out of me. I realized what I already knew, he was a dick. He was not a productive member of society and never would be. I missed my prior boyfriend who was kind and understanding. I decided to leave but I didn’t have a lot of resources.

I told him I was ready to leave, he said no problem he would get his mother to bring me to the bus station and go back to school. As he walked out of the room he grabbed the phone off the wall, walked out the door of the finished basement and locked the door. At first I didn’t realize what this meant. My mother is reading this right now saying What the FUCK IS THIS STORY. Don’t worry I’m ok.

After 2 days (no details, trust me you don’t want them) I convinced him that I needed to call school. Instead, I called my cousin Marjie. I had just a few seconds on this supervised call before I would be caught. I told her quickly what street I was on, what the mailbox looked like (it was some weird artsy animal thing) and that I was in the basement. About 15 minutes later I see Marjie’s blue sports car on the lawn, outside the sliding glass door of the basement. #BadAss Some people say Marjie is a bit much. The fact that she is a bit much is my favorite thing about her.

She comes up to the door with her acid wash jeans and mile-high, teased blonde hair, and tells the dick to open the door, or she’s driving through it. He doesn’t listen. She starts walking to her car. He panics, opens the door and I leave. I look back at him and he says “No one leaves me”.  Marjie says “She does”.  We leave. She drives me to the bus, I go back to school. In case you’re wondering how dick’s life turned out… not so good. Reason number 2072387 I’m not on Facebook. When I was, he sent me friend requests several times. Trust me dick, you don’t want me as your “Friend”.

You skipped the gym for 7 days? Yea… get over it.

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This isn’t a real picture of Marjie, But I’ll be damned this looks just like her. Bad Ass People Unite. 

I don’t see a lot of daylight in the winter, so I probably have a bit of seasonal depression. I promise to make my next few blogs a bit less dark and dramatic. #PinkySwear Spring is coming even if the groundhog is an asshole liar! 😉

To me… I was once electrocuted by a phone booth. I was on a main street in a wealthy community. I was 15 years old on a break from working in a bakery and as a cashier at a small store. The funny part is that I was more upset about peeing myself (I had a long, light brown hippie skirt on) than I was about actually being electrocuted. Only me. I yelled at the EMT trying to help me. Wait this was before age 18…. ok so one slipped through so be it. #NeJaimes

When I was 20 I was stabbed by the ex-girlfriend of a guy I was casually dating. She snuck into his apartment while we were sleeping, woke us up, and stabbed me. In the head. It was a flesh wound, I was fine. I actually convinced her to give me the knife, my first true successful negotiation. I think about it in work situations when someone asks me about my negotiation skills. I think well, I was stabbed by a crazy woman once, in the head, who snuck into my room at night and then I convinced her to give me the knife before she stabbed me again, so I’m pretty sure any sort of insurance related negotiations are going to be no fucking problem… like at all. #BringItMF

Near me… some time ago I received a group email from my friend James. She told a group of us that while she was 4 months pregnant with her son, she had cancer. Specifically a small cell form of lymphoma. My first response was to contact my friend who is a doctor at the hospital where James was being treated.  Please set me straight so I don’t spiral. Her response was that the baby was unlikely to survive, and James was even less likely to survive, but she would speak to the doctor. This was not helpful.

I responded to James asking how I could help. She said she was fine. I asked James’ husband what I could do, not much but wait and see what we need. Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok.  I’m a doer not a waiter. But I waited. Luckily, it turned out that my doctor friend was very wrong.

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James ended up not needing me as much as I thought she would, or at least that’s what my side of the story looked like. James is ok. Her son is ok. I sent her a gift. I visited her son. I smiled and took pictures. I sometimes feel guilty that I didn’t do more. On the other hand I feel embarrassed that I spent so many nights having panic attacks or worrying about what was happening without telling anyone, or telling James. Would it have made her feel better or worse? My world view is generally “stay strong”. So I chose that. To James, I thought about you every day then and I think about you every day now. You are one of my favorite people. You should know this even if I don’t always act the way you need me to. Side Note: I should have trusted my instincts and invited myself to your wedding dress fitting. #SeparatedAtBirth

The same person who asked what the worst thing is that has every happened to me also asked me what the best thing is that ever happened to me. I immediately answered, “That’s easy: Being born in a first world country”. If that’s not me, I don’t know what is..haha.

Other best things (not in any particular order and not a complete list):

  • Bub winning her first singing competition at age 12 ($1,000!)
  • Gia talking in full sentences when she was only 1 #WTF
  • Graduating from undergrad, then grad school.
  • Bub coming into my room one night when she was 5. I was crying and she came in to comfort me. When you realize that your kids are good people, life is good.
  • Healthy baby Maximus
  • Meeting Dirk Benedict (the only time I was ever speechless)
  • Listening to Not-Tom-Brady and the kids laugh upstairs while I’m working downtairs
  • Finding our home last year.
  • Watching my daughters, almost 6 years apart, laying on the couch hugging because they love each other.
  • Being able to afford fried chicken and rice krispie treats whenever I want them. i8n77i

What have we learned? Steps matter, but they don’t. Know your audience. Know the difference between “need” and “want”. Don’t be a dick.

Do we do our children a disservice by protecting them from suffering or is that our purpose? Even if we do, would we be capable of imposing suffering on them to change this consequence? … Deep thoughts…

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Things that suck, and Things that don’t suck

I’ve been blogging for 1 year! I keep notes on my iPhone when I have random thoughts or see random things or remember old stories that I want to write about. One note is “Things that suck” and one is “Things that don’t suck”. I decided it’s time to publish my annual compilation. 1 year blogging.. F yeah!

Disclaimer: This list is incomplete because a complete list would be long enough to ciricle the earth infinity times.

I’ll start with things that suck so we can end on a positive note.  Look at me being all positive and whatnot!

Things that suck…

When you’re driving long distance in a 70 mph zone and after 4 hours it turns into a 55 mph zone.

Salons that only take cash tips. Seriously who TF carries cash anymore? You get your pedi and then look like a complete asshole not leaving a tip because you have no cash. OR you have to ask your 10 year old if she has any cash on her. Or so I’ve heard…

Trolls… not the cute flair haired dolls, the kind that can’t help but feel good about trolling people from the comfort of their recliner with their misguided confidence and delusional importance. Hey, we see you dude.. we see youuuu

Christmas lights not working.  I was fucking Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation this year in our first year outside the city. I cant even. Why are Christmas lights so fucking difficult?!

image3Anti Vaxxers.  Guys Noooooo Link To See How Vaccines Cause Autism

Climate change

People with no self-awareness

Forgetting to use a promo code and staring at your online receipt like NOOOOOOOO! I HAD A PROMO CODE! WHY????????!!!!!!!!!!

Babies on planes with no pacifiers.  Hey, parent however you want but dude this is a 6.5 hour flight. Your child is losing their shit on my time. P A C I F I E R. Just my 2 cents.

Pressure to use soap and water in public restrooms. Is this just me? I travel a lot so I’m constantly in public bathrooms. As any good germophobe knows, touching public bathroom sinks and toilets is similar to touching a hobo’s jock strap. Ok hobos probably don’t wear don’t wear jock straps but you’re with me. I’m sorry but I walk right out of the public bathroom, past the germ filled sinks of doom, and use hand sanitizer no matter how many dirty looks I get at the airport. Fuck that. I know what’s up. Don’t judge me!

General conversion from cash to cards/apple pay. This leaves most of us without cash. So whenever someone helps us bring items to our car or a valet brings us our car we are like wow… *shoulder shrug* sorry I have no cash. Can I offer you a …. wait I have nothing on me because every fucking thing is electronic.

People who say “ATM Machine”. It’s Automatic Teller Machine guys. NOT Automatic Teller Machine Machine.

Solar panel sales people. Hey guy when I’m ready to get solar panels I’ll fucking get them, ok? Back TF off. Jesus Christ.

The guys who choose the treadmill right next to you even though there are about 25 open. Personal space anyone? Also, I’m 45 years old man I’m too old for this shit. #IWillCutYou

When you make a trip to a local store and they don’t have what you went there for. Then you’re like… this is why I buy online mf’ers! Brick and mortar local my ass! #PissingOffYourLiberalFriends #AmazonPrimeILoveYouSo

People who try to “prove” that Sandy Hook massacre never happened. Yea guys no. You’re a dick and/or have recently had a massive head injury.

When you assemble something from Ikea and you realize one piece is backwards when you’re done. Then you have to take the entire item apart and reassemble it from scratch. #WHY

Elementary School concerts.  The 5 minutes your kid is up there is awesome. The other 3 hours is the 5th circle of hell.

Man spread. Dear god guys what the fuck.

Rich people who have no idea…

People who don’t wipe down gym equipment. I just assume if my sweat touches dried sweat it somehow reactivates old dried sweat. Is it me? Ok it’s probably me… yea.

Middle seat on a long flight #MyLife

Wrong clothes for the weather. #CrossCountryTravel #Whoops

High deductible health plans. I don’t think it’s just my employer (who is wonderful BTW). I truly need a chiropractor but no longer go. I also had a blood infection a few years ago. I didn’t see a doctor because of the high deductible and by the time I realized how serious it was the infection had spread to my blood stream. Hey high deductible health insurance policies… great job! You almost killed me and cost yourself a lot more than if you just let me get checked out and get antibiotics on day 1… just saying.

Things that don’t suck…

iHop hash browns

The Americans (I’m pretty sure I’m Elizabeth Jennings so I may be biased here).

S-Town the podcast. I also liked “Missing Richard Simmons” but S-Town was incredible and heartbreaking and awesome.

The zesty lemon lobster roll at the Galley in Naples, ME. It was highlighted on Man vs. Food and they were spot on. I am a seafood fanatic and this lobster roll is where it’s at.

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Christmas Trees are magical

 

Jokes about your mom. Sorry these stand the test of time.

Rice Krispie Treats. When I was a kid I dreamed about having a job so good that I could afford fried chicken and rice krispie treats whenever I wanted them. #MissionAccomplished

Lidocaine. I haven’t needed you much, but when I have holy moly you were a god send.

Jager. Yea duh.

Real diners. I lived in Worcester, MA for 11 years. This is really the home of the original American diner. So cool to be around so much good history and so much good food.

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Bub

Lobstah

Good bosses #Priceless

Uber

The new boxing room at our gym

Fried PB&J at Hershey Park. I seriously sometimes consider driving almost 6 hours back to this place, and I hate amusement parks, just for their fried PB&J.

My in-cabinet paper towel holder. Moving your paper towels from the counter to a cozy hiding spot under the sink is so magical. #OldPeopleExcitement

Rear view mirror obstacle sensors.

Fried Mushrooms from The Eastern States Exposition #TheBigE Guys these are so good that the kids know to take a break from rides and let momma have her mushrooms and ranch. Once a year… so so good.

Dirk Benedict #SeeKimCoatesBlog

Valium #SelfExplanatory

Back To The Future & The Terminator Trilogies

Fried hot dogs. I still have sliced fried hot dogs a couple of times a month. They are turkey hot dogs now, but still.

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My precious Gigi and Bub

The Shawshank Redemption. This is the best movie ever. If you disagree you’re just wrong. That’s my position.

Room service with a pot of tea.

Best veggie burger I’ve had to date is from… wait for it… wait for it… Burger King. Not kidding guys, try it. I’ve had veggie burgers from diners, dives and luxury restaurants all over the country. Hands down the best tasting so far has been the one from Burger King. #SlowClapToBK

Gas home heating systems #KingJames

Fishamajig from Friendly’s

My plate smashing corner at my old house. I had a corner in my basement with a shelf with old dishes and glassware. When I was frustrated I would go and smash the dishes and glassware in the corner. You’d be surprised but this actually works.

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Miss Gigi #ThisFace

Oui Yogurt

This Is Us

Spotify… Thanks #BasicBen

Crab legs

Sunken Living Rooms #DavesNotHere

Baby cheeks

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Not-Tom-Brady #Babe #MyOneAndOnly

(Photo Credit: Chris Shonting)