I recently had the unusual, but extremely pleasant experience of getting Nike Shox for FREE! Yes, that's right, FREE! For years I have coveted these shoes because unlike so many others in the world, I was unwilling to break the bank for a pair. $140 for sneakers? No, can't do it.
Then I saw a pair on eBay, a pair I really liked, and decided just to follow the auction. Just to peek every now and then. A little click, a little sigh, and a little hope. Hey, maybe it would end less than $70. Hey, it could happen, but try less than $50. Heck, try less than $40. Yep, that's right, $37.00 Shox. New in box Shox. $140 Nike Shox!
I'm happy, I'm excited, I pay right away, and just as quickly, I receive my shipping information. Oh joy, they were on their way. Then just one moment later, I receive a refund. My hopes plummeted. The refund was complete and total, but wait ... there was a note attached. Apparently the color was different than pictured so my Shox including shipping are mine to keep for free. FREE! How often does that happen in life?
I received them today and I love them. Instead of light blue and navy, they're light blue and gray. Very doable.
So, what's free for you? Netflix sent me an e-mail to forward to my "friends" online. It's for a free one month trial (double the usual length). If any of you would don't have Netflix and want to try it free for 30 days, no strings attached, give me a shout.
Doing the happy dance, but bouncing ever so slightly higher. =)
Well, you all know I LOVE Barats and Bereta. Apparently, the two became so popular writing, starring in, and creating short films, they were hired by an "undisclosed" advertising firm to work TOGETHER and create commercials for the 18-26 demographic. I mean, come on, to get out of college, land a dream job, and have the only catch be that you get to work every day with your BEST FRIEND ... joking around, having fun, and doing what you love? Kudos, dudes.
This is one of their commercials and let me just say, my children say it's their favorite. Without further adieu, for your viewing pleasure:
The Smallville obsession not only continues, it grows. Yes, I admit it, at first it was just me lusting after Tom Welling (Clark Kent). Then I actually started liking the show and most of the characters. (Not Lana, blech, never that ... no way.)
My family became equally obsessed. Even my ultra-cool "no way will I like super hero junk" daughter. Oh yeah, she converted. Even my husband, John. The "only geeks like super hero junk" kind of guy. This same man, when I told him last night at dinner of having the new episode of Smallville waiting on the TV, actually sang out loud, "Go, Clarkie! Go, Clarkie!" My daughter, son, and I just stared in amazement at him until he coughed and said, "Yeah, that was kind of weird. Your mom calls him Clarkie, so I just ... yeah, oookay."
I knew I had this fascination with the show, but if I had any doubt of that fact, the last week of my life gave me the proof. We still needed to see Smallville: Season 5 by September 28th, the day season 6 premieres. I put season 5 in my cue months ago and when it was released, Blockbuster put me from available to short wait to long wait ... right before my very eyes. Wasn't I just singing their praises here? Well, avid Smallville junkie that I am, I decided to head over to Netflix and not only did they have the Smallville: Season 5 discs, but they were available NOW and would get to me only a day later. I cancelled Blockbuster then and there giving the reason, "A long wait for Smallville is not only rude, it's just plain wrong. You should be ashamed of yourselves." OK, perhaps it wasn't that bad, but I did mention the show and the long wait; shame was optional.
And last night (spoiler alert if you haven't seen the show and have the remotest possibility of losing your life to it as I have), I watched the disc where Jonathan Kent dies. The heart attack, his wife's reaction, Clark's reaction, the funeral, and I cried all the way through it. Cried! Over a comic book character. And not just any Jonathan Kent, one of the Duke boys from the original "Dukes of Hazzard." Oh yeah, it's just that bad.
If there is a meteor rock to cure this illness, please, help a sister out and send it my way. Until then ... up, up, and away!
If you've never seen these guys, you're in for a treat. BaratsandBereta of youtube.com are future film makers. Granted, they can be crude, but the more I watch of their shorts, the more I think we're looking at the next Ben and Matt ... with comedic talent, of course! (WARNING - there is a curse word in this, okay, possibly two ... f word and b word. Just in case any kiddies are around!)
"My sticker is gone. We gave the dryer away and now I don't have it. I forgot to take it off the side. I wanted to have it." My husband stood quietly, not acknowledging me. "I guess it's silly, but I wanted it," and then to justify it, I added, "It had my name on it."
After visiting hours at my local hospital, you're required to wear a name tag sticker affixed to a visible spot on your coat or shirt. My father was brought to the hospital after complaining of stomach pain over a week before. He was a already a sick man. Diabetes, a weakened heart, he could barely walk or see, and all of his personal care became my mother's tasks. All the feedings, cleanings, and pills. Pills lined up for every day of the week. So many they seemed like candy, twenty or more a day.
It read September 11th, 2005, 10:16 PM. A red and white sticker with my name scribbled on the front. I came home from the hospital sometime during the night. I hadn't slept in days. I took the sticker off my zip-up sweat jacket and affixed it to the side of the dryer in an out of the way spot. Looking back, I couldn't tell you why. I just wanted it.
My back had suddenly went out after my father went into the hospital. My family always believed my dad and I were physically linked. The first time I got pregnant, he knew before anyone else, myself included. Dad was the one up all night with the morning sickness. My father said, "I knew it! I've been sick for a month now. I knew it!"
And I remember being miles away in Iowa years later, feeling chest pains. Compressing, enveloping pain. I'd been out, came home, immediately checked my messages and heard, "There's a collect call from -- Mom." I hung up, called information for the number to the hospital, had the information desk put me through to the emergency room, and asked if my father was there. I told the clerk in Emergency I was miles away and was his daughter. I had a feeling something was wrong with my father. A doctor got on the line and said, "Your father has had a heart attack." I knew it. I just knew.
Last September when my father went into the hospital, I was living close by. My mother and brother, Chad, stayed at the hospital most of the time. Chad, the one who inherited my father's home, cars, buildings, and possessions, long before my father was sick, just after the first heart attack. My father was afraid "the state" would take everything and my brother, who never has supported himself in 42 years of life, loved the idea of having a home and all its contents free of charge. Both of my parents were just afraid Chad would have no place to go if they didn't give them their own.
I thought Chad felt guilty about it then while listening to my father breathe. Sitting around the bed, glancing at my father, then back to the TV for another hour. He never even liked our dad and in truth, wished him dead more often than not. My back felt like it was breaking in two. "We have to switch Dad's position, his back must hurt," I told them.
We all just sat and waited. It became a strange competition. Who would be there to see my father take his last breath? A competition my mother pushed on me daily, nightly, hourly, every minute. I'd adjust in my seat and she'd nearly yell, "Where are you going?" I'd tell her I had to pick the kids up from school and she'd shout, "When will you be back?" I'd be cooking them dinner and receive a phone call with, "When are you coming back? How long will you be gone?"
My own children were lost during that time. I was balancing my hours at the hospital with my minutes of trying to do the essentials at home, just the basics. My husband didn't help out. He thought I should have spent minutes at the hospital and hours at home. My son and daughter were on hold for any talks or advice they needed, when I wouldn't be half-asleep, dead tired, numb, or in a fog.
I returned to the hospital the next day. I didn't want to be there. I had to walk hunched over while using anything in my path to support me as I walked through the halls. I couldn't imagine what people thought of seeing a young woman walk so strangely, but I didn't care either.
My father's breathing became labored, raspy, and forced. A death rattle. His temperature slowly climbed. My mother kept checking his feet to see if they were mottled, a sign of approaching death. My mother says death starts at the feet and works its way up. Nurses would hint to my father's time coming to a close while others said nothing. The hospital stopped all medication, all food, all fluids. He could no longer eat, swallow, or open his eyes. A day passed.
I left to retrieve my children from school, then made dinner and waited for my husband to return from work. I didn't want to go back to the hospital. I kept saying it over and over again in my head. After dinner, instead of jumping in the truck and speeding back, I waited. I took my husband in our bedroom and told him I was tired. I told him I wanted to stay home. "Then stay," John said, matter-of-factly. Then stay. Not even an option.
"I have to go back, I just don't want to go. I don't know why my mother wants me to see it. What does it matter? Why do people think if you're there for the last breath that you somehow were a better person because of it? That it somehow cancels out all the rest of the bullshit?" At least my back felt better. No more stabbing, shooting pain. No more taking it slow. It felt completely healed.
The cell phone rang. 6:02 PM. Chad.
"He's gone, Beth," loudly.
"He's ... gone?"
"Yes, just now. Are you coming back?"
"I am, I'm leaving now."
I dropped the phone on my bed and looked at John, tried to speak, but couldn't. The pain in my back was gone. My father was dead. I sobbed uncontrollably. My children ran in and asked what was wrong and I don't even know what John told them. I wiped my face and said, "I have to go! I have to go there right now!"
My husband insisted on driving. During all this time he hadn't insisted on helping at all. It felt foreign and wrong. I told him, "I can drive. I'm fine," and in the next moment, "Oh John, he's dead. I knew. My back doesn't hurt anymore and my dad is dead. I knew it was coming. I knew it. I have to go. I have to straighten up and calm myself down. I can't let my mother see me upset." I wiped my face again while John told the children to get ready, we were all leaving now.
I don't remember the car ride. It's gone from my mind. I don't remember walking into the hospital or riding the elevator. I don't remember walking at all. I know John stayed in the lobby with the kids.
I remember slowly peeking into my father's room and seeing my mother sitting there. Her best friend, Sheila, was in the background. I remember a step feeling like a mile. I knew I had to walk in and turn to the right. Just walk in and turn. I'd seen dead people before. What was wrong with me?
Walk in ... now turn. It couldn't be him. No, that's not my dad. My sister, Stormy, was by his side, her husband on the other. Yellow face, slack jaw. I was looking down a black tunnel at this face. Everything started to darken around me. I turned and ran out of the room. I cried in the hallway quickly, fifteen seconds. Someone called my name, someone else whispered. I had to go back in there. I wiped my face and began walking towards the door.
Walk in ... turn. That's my father. That's my father. I had never really seen death before. Not real death. Funeral parlor death, yeah, but not real death. Too much make up, hair done, best suit of clothes. Head on a silk pillow in a coffin death. Not real death. Yellow face, mouth ajar. Skin the color of death. It's a shade you never see on earth. It isn't pale. It isn't like on CSI or the movies. It isn't something I was ready to see. At 35, I just wasn't ready.
My sister stood just rubbing my father, picking at him, rubbing his head, and arms. She was always weird that way. Like a monkey, picking at herself or at someone around her. A habit the rest of us hated, but none more than my father. He hated to be touched in that way. You touched my father hesitantly, slowly, to make sure in the last second he wouldn't push you away. Stormy just stood picking away at his dead body. I wanted to smack her away for him. I couldn't stand it.
I am the youngest of my siblings, the "baby." Everyone was looking at me and I tried so hard to be strong, but I couldn't do it. I broke down. I let the tears pour down my face, spill onto the front of my jacket. Everyone looked. My brother glanced, made his eyes into slits, and looked away as if to say, "You should've been here."
"It's okay, Beth," I heard my mother say in a broken voice. I knew watching me cry was killing her. I knew and couldn't stop. "I know, I'm okay. It's okay." It's not okay. "I'm okay." I don't know what I said to her beyond that.
I stood wanting to swat my sister away. Wanting to fix my father. My brain kept saying, "This is your father. You'll never see him alive again. This is death. This is the color of death. Your dad isn't here." All these thoughts tumbling inside my head.
Someone started talking about the moment my father died. Then I realized, my brother and mother were here with my mother's friend when my father died. They had been with my father when he took his last breath. Chad wanted Stormy and I to know he was here. We were not. I nodded. I didn't speak. I didn't care. I was right. It didn't mean anything right then to me. I just wanted to give him the victory and be done with it.
A nurse walked in and said, "Do you have dentures for him? You're going to need dentures." So casual-like. Almost as if she was asking if my mother had made out the next day's menu. As if there wasn't a dead person in the room. My mother answered and the nurse just went on and on about these dentures. Those damned stupid dentures.
I'm standing there looking at my father who will never speak to me again and she's talking about false teeth. And my mother, who just had the greatest love of her life pass away before her eyes, a man she has been with since she was a young girl, has to sit there and answer these questions about fucking teeth. I wanted to shout at this woman to just get out of the room and give us a minute, but my mother was so calm. I was falling apart and she was so together. Every time I looked at my father's face, a face I could hardly recognize anymore, it was this agony I've never felt before, but my mother assured this nurse all would be taken care of and then even explained to me how they needed the dentures for the funeral parlor.
Ah, funeral parlor death. Suit and tie death. Dentures permanently placed in your mouth death. Made up faces like skin tone crayons. Peach Crayola crayon faces like first grade drawings on white paper. The death I was expecting to see now.
Here it is, a year later. A whole year has passed, and still when I sat down to write this, when I started describing my father, it all came back. All the tears and the pain. Everyone knows losing your parents is natural. Losing a child is not. I believe this. I agree with this.
However, losing a parent is not easy and in a macabre way, it also lets you know you're next. If all works out according to plan, it'll be your other parent, then you. That's nature's way, I guess.
I only hope when my time comes, my children don't see more than they want and none of what is shocking. I hope they know what they do every day matters more than in the last second of a person's life. I also hope my father knows how much I love him and miss him, every day.
D. Challener Roe created 2,996 to remember and honor all the lives lost in the 9/11 attack. Each person who visited this site had an opportunity to volunteer their own website and time by writing one memorial and posting it today, September 11, 2006 . In lieu of reliving that day's tragic events or focusing on the terrorists themselves, the idea is to shine the spotlight on those who truly matter most; the 2,996 men and women who perished in the attacks.
Thomas Barnes Reinig , a vice president of the eSpeed Software Solutions division of Cantor Fitzgerald, did not return to his Bernardsville, New Jersey home on the night of September 11, 2001. At only 48 years of age, he did not return to his wife, Jeanne, or their two sons, Christopher and Scott. His last and final day on earth was spent at the World Trade Center.
Fellow co-workers have said Mr. Reinig was responsive, responsible, and always enthusiastic. Schoolmates have said Thomas Reinig was hard-working, bright, and understanding. One also sited Mr. Reinig as being the epitome of a true American.
Personally, I don't think anyone could pay tribute to Thomas Barnes Reinig more truly and elegantly than his own son, Scott. I leave you with what he has written, in his own words --
"Persistence, determination and love were personified in every aspect of my father's life. Starting a family in northern New Jersey, he constantly sacrificed himself for the benefit of those he loved. Always traveling wherever his work took him, his heartfelt dedication to everything in his life was obvious at all times to everyone who knew him. Working hard was always important to my father, yet never at the cost of spending time with his family. A model dad, he encouraged my mother, brother and me to aim high, by leading us with the example he set.
"Riding chair lifts with us on the ski slopes, swimming with us at the town pool, coaching our sports teams, cheering for us during competitions, getting frustrated over poor golf shots with us, competing alongside us in triathlons, and pushing us to excel in school -- never once did he leave our side.
"Fighting all the pressures of the business world to put work first and everything else second, my father never let his job get the best of him. Rather, it only brought out the best. The idea that working hard and playing even harder was a rule of thumb, he did whatever was required of him to ensure that he could do just that.
"We'll certainly miss all the great times, the steak dinners, the vacations, but most of all, you and your drive to make things perfect, just as they were. Smiling, a Reinig tradition, is what we'll continue doing. I'm sure anyone who ever met my father and our family knows that all he would want from us is for us to remain smiling. We can't cry because it's over, but we can smile because it happened. Thanks Dad, for everything."
Tomorrow my children return to school and once again, summertime will come to a close. Everyone around me seems sad of this fact. The parents sigh and ask, "Didn't the summer go too fast?" I nod in return, but underneath my "please don't stand so close to me" exterior, I'm really thinking, "Hell, no! I can't wait for some peace and quiet. I can't wait to clean the house and have it stay clean for 7.5 hours. Oh, joy! Rapture! Bliss!"
Well, it's not all that, but it's pretty darn good.
For one thing, I will endure no more bickering over the main computer. "Mom, she's been on it 15 minutes longer than you said she could be on it for." "Mom, he's over his time." "Mom, tell her to get off of it NOW or you'll ground her!" What's to miss?
Secondly, the bottomless stomachs that are my children. I stuff my cupboards full once a week. STUFF I say. Stuff to the point of not being able to really close them well, even with proper stacking. They're always just a bit ajar and yet, I don't make it 3 days without hearing, "There's nothing to eat. I'm starving!" Oh, I will not miss that.
It'll also be nice to rifle through all their personal belongings without getting caught. All right ... you got me ... I threw that one in as a ruse. I think parents who do that kind of thing shouldn't be parents at all. Perhaps professional jailers or private eyes, but certainly not parents.
Originally when composing this blog, I thought of an actual interesting question to ask all you bloggers out there and yes, it is school-oriented and I still want to know the answer. Were you ever teacher's pet or were you ALWAYS teacher's pet?
I will start by saying although I flirted with a couple of male teachers to pass certain classes, I was never teacher's pet. Teacher's pets made me kind of want to beat the stuffing out of them with dirty erasers while yelling, "You didn't clean this one so well, did ya?"
I remember ... being in my early twenties, laughing with my husband over people who would actually go to coffee houses and pay $3.00 or more for a cup of joe. I remember saying, "You could buy a whole pound of coffee for that." Oh, guffaw, guffaw, guffaw.
Then I moved to Iowa and the only real attraction there was a coffee house by the name of Taracino's. I mean, going from New York to Iowa is like, well, going from New York to Iowa. There's a big difference. Not just in fashion and the fast-paced lifestyle, but in the view. Iowa is flat with lots of track homes and corn fields. Anywhere you go in New York, you'll find an 18th century home and spectacular views, postcard perfect ... and I missed seeing them, I really did! So I blame that for a budding Cafe Mocha addiction.
When I returned to New York, we moved to a small town with only one tiny coffee house. The coffee house barrista (who strangely enough didn't go by barrista, but "owner") was new and therefore, didn't know the first thing about making specialty drinks. This kept my addiction at bay. The nearest Starbuck's (a place I scorned years ago) was about twenty miles away. I may have been addicted, but I wasn't crazy.
Now if I happen to be traveling (like yesterday) and pass a Starbuck's, I do stop in, and I do indulge in one of their delicious Cafe Mocha beverages. I silently chastise myself for spending over $4.00 on a cup of coffee when I can make it at home for about fifty cents. I hope my father isn't watching from above at my wasteful spending.
Since I don't frequent a Starbuck's, I've become somewhat of a Starbuck's interloper. I'm the type of person who doesn't belong at Starbuck's. For one, I refuse to dress up to get a cup of coffee and I will not hook up to my laptop in a public place because frankly, I don't even understand the concept. Is the net so fascinating these people can't leave it behind to enjoy a delicious hot or cold beverage or do they feel so self-important that perhaps all of the Internet may fall apart without them? I don't buy working either. You can do that at home or here's a shocker -- at work!
Anyhow, I've also noticed everyone at Starbuck's looks like one of two things -- they just stepped out of an Abercrombie and Fitch ad or the other extreme -- rich hippies. Nary a dreadlock out of place, fashionable $50 tee with arms pressed ... expensive sandals a must. The weird kind of sandals, "clodhoppers" to be exact. The kind you could donate to a poor African family and at least two infants would get a bed for the night in them. Just big ass sandals.
I wear $3.00 t-shirts, zip-up sweat jackets, men's cargo shorts, racing sneakers. Dare I say it? I don't even wear a ... gasp ... fashionable (yet seriously out of date) baseball cap.
And then it hit me, that age old question, when did dressing up for a cup of coffee become normal? I remember the diners of my youth. People rubbing elbows from all walks of life, but NO ONE was in a suit or even dress pants. Casual attire only.
So, the real question I think would be: when will Americans finally get off their high horses and understand that it's just coffee after all, put up some counters, have a "no laptop" sign affixed to the door, and keep the prices under $2.00? No, don't come back with Dunkin' Donuts. Their speciality drinks taste like ghetto chocolate and half a bag of sugar. I'm cheap, but I own a palate. I'm talking a real Cafe Mocha here from a regular gal who likes to make caffeinated beverages in a comfortable, clean joint with Ted the farmer drinking some non-soy steaming cup of joe at the counter. Ah, dare to dream.