He’s Still My Dad.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

I’m sitting here dreading lunch with my dad. I don’t know why I always feel this way when we are meeting for lunch, but I do. I always go and I always get through it just fine, so why do I dread it so much?

My parents divorced when I was 11 years old. I didn’t like it at the time, but have grown to understand why as an adult. When I was little, I had a lot of fun with my dad. My dad played baseball on a men’s league and when we went to his games, my brothers and I played with the kids whose dads’ were on my dad’s team. We had a blast!

My dad and mom had a lot of friends and we were always surrounded by their families. I remember people coming over and music playing and everyone having fun. We also used to go to other families’ houses and play, too. I remember everyone getting together to swim at a hotel where one of my dad’s friends worked. We had barbecues, went on camping trips, and did a lot of fun things together.

One of my fondest childhood memories is the time my family had a HUGE water fight IN THE HOUSE!!! It started out as a small water fight between me and my brothers. We had squirt guns and were shooting each other, running in and out of the house. My dad got involved and started shooting a squirt gun at my mom, while she was washing dishes. My mom grabbed the spray nozzle on the faucet and squirted it at my dad. One of them, I don’t remember who, filled a pan with water and threw it at the other one. My dad ran outside and grabbed the hose, brought it inside, and started squirting everyone! It was a mess, but we had so much fun!

Another fun memory is this little game my dad played with me and my brothers. He would write hints down on little pieces of paper and hide them in the house. He’d give us the first hint: LOOK IN THE MAILBOX, for example. We’d run out to the mailbox and grab the hint that was sitting in there: LOOK IN THE BATHTUB. We’d follow the hints all over the house and yard until we found the “prize,” usually some change to get ice cream. I remember my dad hiding a hint on our dog’s collar! Those were the days!

After my parents divorced, everything changed. I didn’t see my dad very much. I saw him once in a while, but he didn’t put much effort into our relationship. I remember my dad picking me and my brothers up and taking us to his new girlfriend’s house. His new girlfriend had three children, two who were around my age. I remember her kids having some pretty cool toys and games, and one of her son’s telling me that my dad bought them all of those things. That was hurtful, because my dad didn’t do that for me or my brothers. My dad’s relationship with his girlfriend didn’t last very long.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A little while later, my dad started dating and eventually married my stepmom. I never felt comfortable around her, because she made it pretty clear that my brothers and I were burdens. I remember her and her friend picking me and my brothers up from school to go shopping for clothes to wear to their wedding and her saying, “Ew, they’re so dirty!” She acted disgusted with us and I didn’t understand why, because I wasn’t dirty. It made me feel awful.

My dad and stepmom made very little effort to see me or my brothers. I maybe saw them once a year while I was a minor. I remember them taking me to a cheap restaurant for my birthday and while we were there, my stepmom bragged about the nice, elegant, expensive restaurant they took my stepsister to for her birthday. My stepsister is two years older than I am.

After about the age of 16, I didn’t see my dad at all for about ten years or so. By that time, I had my daughter, who was 5 and my first son, who was 3. When my kids were 3 and 1, my dad and stepmom sent me Christmas gifts for my kids. The gift tags said, “To the little girl” and “To the little boy.” They didn’t even know my children’s names!

Over the years, my dad started making an effort to have a relationship with me. I see him a few times a year for lunch, and that’s about it. He feels remorse for not being there for us kids while we were growing up and he’s trying to make up for it. Unfortunately, it’s a little too late. Yes, I get together with him for lunch, but we don’t have very much to talk about. We usually end up talking about God or sports, because that’s all we have in common. It’s sad, really, but it is what it is. I do love my dad and I wish things were different, but for whatever reason, I have a hard time “wanting” to get together. After all this time, it still feels awkward. I go anyway, because he’s my dad.

Stuff Happens.

What a week, and it’s only Tuesday! Hopefully these are the worst two days of this week. It’s not that critical, but it seems like everything happens at once.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Sunday, we heard strange noises coming from the water heater. My husband checked it out and there was a leak. Great. We didn’t want to pay an emergency fee, so we scheduled someone to come out on Monday to fix it.

The plumber we called was supposed to come fix the water heater yesterday, but called to tell us he had to push our repair out a day or two. Meanwhile, the water heater was dripping faster and I was worried we would have to turn the water off, which I did not want to do. I told my husband to call someone else, so he found another plumber who could fix it today.

Yesterday, the door on our front-load washing machine locked up and would not open. We tried everything: turned it off and on, unplugged it, ran the cycle again, and nothing worked. Yay, another repair! I started calling around for an appliance repair company. I must have called eight places before I found someone who could come out the same day.

Image by taraghb from Pixabay

The appliance repair guys showed up two hours early, which was awesome, because that never happens! So far, so good! They were able to get the washer door open, but as soon as it was closed, it locked again. After checking everything out, the guy tells me that the motherboard is broken and the parts to our washer aren’t available anymore. (The washer is about 13 years old. It belonged to my grandma and I’ll tell you why it ended up at my house in another blog.) He recommended we buy a new washer. We knew it was only a matter of time until that happened, so I wasn’t surprised.

Today, the plumber showed up to fix the water heater. He stopped the leak, but guess what? We need a new water heater! Our water heater is about 14 years old, so it’s about time for it to break. We bought our house about four-and-a-half years ago and the lovely water heater came with it. Since the leak was fixed, we’ll try to hold on to the water heater a little while and focus on getting a washer. After all, the washer door is broken, there’s a short, and it could catch on fire!

I’ve been looking online for good deals on a washer and dryer set. Fortunately, some stores already have 4th of July sales going on. I just need to get a washer soon, because we’re going away this weekend and I will want to do laundry as soon as we get home. I only wish things would take turns to break and not do it at the same time. Isn’t that the way it always seems to go? At least once we get the new stuff, we won’t have to worry about them for at least another ten years!

Internet Dating: “Old School” Tips that Still Make Sense.

Image by Kevin Phillips from Pixabay

I’ve mentioned before that I met my husband on the internet. Yes, I met people while out at the bars and nightclubs with my friends, and even dated a few, too, but I got tired of that scene and signed up for a few dating sites online.

I’ve met quite a few men from online dating sites. I wish I had kept track of how many, but who knew I would end up blogging about it? It’s been a little over 14 years since I’ve used online dating sites, but I think a lot of these tips are still relevant today.

When I was on the dating sites, I had a few rules that I set because I wanted be safe while meeting strangers:

  1. I had to speak to the person on the phone. You just can’t read someone as well when texting or emailing.
  2. The guy had to live within 50 miles from me. I’ve never been interested in long distance relationships.
  3. I had to know where the guy worked. If I could verify that, I knew I was talking to a real person who could be found if anything bad happened.
  4. I had to meet within a couple of weeks. I wasn’t looking for a pen pal.
  5. I only met in public places. I NEVER gave my address to anyone!
  6. I made sure that I told someone my plans and as much information about the guy I was meeting as possible. That person would call me about 30 minutes into the date so that if I wanted to leave, I could pretend I had just received an important call and had to go.

I can honestly say I never had any horrible experiences, but I did meet people who I knew I would never see again after the first meeting. I don’t know about you, but I can read people pretty quickly. I was nice about it, but there wasn’t any point in wasting anyone’s time.

I met a few men who posted old pictures when they clearly didn’t look that way anymore. I always made sure I had current pictures posted and available, because I only wanted to meet men who were interested in ME. Why would I want to set someone up for disappointment? Nowadays, you can video chat with people, which eliminates all of the second-guessing. I wish video chat was available when I was meeting people! Honestly, I don’t see how people get away with “catfishing” other people when video chat is available. If I were on dating sites today, I would NOT meet anyone unless we video chatted a few times first. Period.

My experience with online dating was pretty successful. I dated a few men for a few months and had two long-term relationships. Now, I’m married to someone I met online. The few “bad” meetings I had weren’t all that bad. They were nice guys, but just not for me. I also met a couple of men who I was interested in meeting again, but I wasn’t their cup of tea. It wasn’t a big deal.

There were a couple of men who didn’t like me keeping my dating profile up or communicating with other men online after I started talking to them. I didn’t care. In my opinion, if a guy is going to get possessive before we even meet in person, that’s a huge red flag! I was not going to take my profile down until I met someone and started a real-life relationship with him. I continued communicating with people and when I started actually dating someone, I turned my profile off.

Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

When I was on dating sites, I could have a profile up, but couldn’t contact anyone without paying a membership fee. I didn’t pay fees. I figured that if a guy was interested in me, he would contact me. I stuck to that and never paid a dime, until I saw my husband’s dating profile. I thought he was cute, he lived about 10 miles from me, and worked nearby. I liked the answers he filled out on his dating profile survey, too! I don’t remember all of his answers, but one question asked, “What’s your favorite meat?” His reply was, “YES!” It made me laugh! I was very attracted to his sense of humor.

So, for the first time ever, I reached out first on a dating site. I paid the fee and sent an email. I got a reply later that day. We talked on the phone and decided to meet for dinner at a local restaurant. We had great conversation and sat there for two hours, so we decided to take our date to a local bar for a drink. From there, we went to a nearby casino for a couple of hours. We had a great time! We saw each other every day after that and were married about three-and-a-half months later! It was fast, but felt right, and we’re still married to this day.

Image by Holger Detje from Pixabay

I know there are people who frown on couples getting married after dating for only a few months, but I don’t feel there is any specific “waiting period,” and it depends on the couple. I’ve been in a relationship for two years before and never wanted to marry that person. My relationship with my husband was very comfortable and we saw no reason to wait. I’d say we made the right decision!

The Power of Prayer

Christian Cross

Prayer works. I’ve had a lot of prayers answered, but I’m going to specifically share two stories of answered prayers involving my family. First, when my daughter was 19 years old, she had a tonsillectomy that led to a huge medical scare. When her surgery was finished, the surgeon came to tell me that he had a hard time closing her sutures, but that everything else went well. I took my daughter home to recover.

A couple of days later, her throat started bleeding. I took her to the ER and they called the surgeon in. He performed a second surgery to close her sutures again, and said that she was the worst case he’d ever had. He released her to come home, but this time, he said he wanted her to stay down and only get up to use the bathroom. He was afraid her sutures would pop open again if she did anything too strenuous.

Over the next week or so, my daughter complained off and on of having trouble breathing and sharp chest pains. Overall, I took her to the ER and Urgent Care twice each, to have it checked out. We kept being told that she was having anxiety and they gave her medicine to relax her. During this time, her throat started to bleed again, but the doctors were able to stop it with ice cold water. Finally one day my daughter was panicking and saying, “I can’t breathe!” I took her back to Urgent Care and fortunately, this time there was a doctor on call who knew to do a blood test to look for blood clots. It came back positive. After more tests, they found that she had pulmonary embolisms (blood clots) in both lungs! It was a miracle she had not died! They had her transported to the hospital by ambulance.

My daughter was admitted and for the next week, she was given blood thinners to get rid of the blood clots. She was still healing from the two tonsillectomies and was unable to eat. Three days after being admitted to the hospital, my daughter’s sutures popped again and she started bleeding. After bleeding all day, her surgeon came in to see her. By now she was weak and very white; she looked like she was on her death bed. The surgeon said that he had to do a third surgery to close sutures again. He had my daughter’s blood count checked, because she had bled all day. Her blood count was too low, so he said he couldn’t perform surgery on her until she had a blood transfusion. While my daughter was getting a blood transfusion, I was signing papers. The doctor told me that my daughter might not make it through surgery, but they had to stop the bleeding. I signed the papers and the surgeon left to prepare for surgery.

Meanwhile, my mom came in to visit. I went into the bathroom and broke down, because I didn’t want my daughter to see me cry. My mom prayed over my daughter. I walked out of the bathroom and my mom looked up and said, “God said there isn’t going to be a surgery.” Within five minutes, my daughter stopped bleeding, just like that, after having bled for about ten hours. She did not have that third surgery, and she never bled again.

Over the next week and a half, my daughter continued to take blood thinners orally and through injections in her stomach, until the blood clots were gone. She was finally discharged from the hospital. For a while, my daughter suffered from PTSD, because she had a fear of dying. She’s doing great now and is married with four children.

The second answered prayer I mentioned, happened when my son and his wife were expecting their first child. While pregnant, the doctors found that my unborn grandson was having heart problems. The doctors did not give my son and his wife any hope. In fact, they advised them to abort the baby. My son and his wife could never do that! They were going to have the baby no matter what, even if it meant that the baby would not survive. With a lot of faith and prayers, my grandson was born. I am happy to say that he is five-years-old now and he is healthy. He still has some minor issues with his heart from time to time, but he is happy and loved. He is truly a miracle baby who has blessed our family immensely. God is so good!

Social Media

Is social media a positive or negative in your life? A lot of people use social media for all the wrong reasons. It started out as a way to connect with friends and family, and maybe meet some new friends, but for some people, it has turned into a way to tear people down. Why are people so negative to complete strangers? Why do people feel that they have a right to criticize and judge people they don’t know, sometimes for no other reason than the other person having a different opinion on something? I believe the reason is because they feel brave and unreachable on a phone or computer screen. I’ve seen people get downright ugly when others have different political views than they do. It’s sad that people behave in such ugly ways. We should be lifting each other up, not tearing each other down. Believe it or not, it’s perfectly okay to disagree with someone and still be kind.

When looking at pictures posted by reality show cast members, I see that there are a lot of people out there who feel free to post rude and hateful comments to them. Why do that to another person? Would you like someone to treat you or your children that way? If you don’t like someone, don’t follow him or her. If you see a post you don’t like, keep scrolling!

I don’t understand how people feel comfortable posting things that they know are not true. I see it all the time. Don’t they know that I know them personally and I know these are lies? It’s baffling. Just because I know a post isn’t true, doesn’t mean I have to make any negative comments about it to the person who posted it. It doesn’t affect me and I wouldn’t want to make anyone look bad to his or her followers.

Do you feel funny about clicking a “like” button when the post is sad or bad news? I do. When I click the like button, what does that mean? Does it mean that I like that you’re sad or that something bad happened to you? No, but I click “like” anyway, as if to say, “I like that you posted this.” Maybe I’m the only one that thinks this way, but it’s kind of confusing.

Wouldn’t it be great if people were more positive on social media and stopped the negativity, hate, and bullying? Being mean and rude on social media says more about the bully than the person being attacked. We can do better!