Well it's quickly becoming clear that Alistair is a reader favorite, which I love because he's a favorite of mine too. I only met him a few months ago and he has completely changed my life. Several of you have been emailing me to find out how I met him and if I could repost all stories related to him... so here they are from the beginning.
Good news for Alistair: He has a job! He’s officially the new janitor at the mall.
Landing this role, however, wasn't easy. It required an appearance from a very angry Mama Grizzly.
I pick Alistair up from the shelter one morning to take him to a job interview.
“Alistair, you look amazing!” I tell him, as he hops in the passenger side.
For a moment, I am too stunned to drive. I stare at the man sitting next to me, who looks nothing like the one I met a few months ago. The new Alistair looks polished and professional, wearing grey slacks and a white collared dress shirt. He’s also sporting a new haircut that makes him look about ten years younger. You’d never in a million years guess that this man is homeless.
“Presentable, I hope?” He smiles shyly.
Alistair chats my ear off the whole way there, as we rehearse – me asking him potential interview questions, and him answering. His answers are perfect and by the time I drop him off, I’m convinced that when he comes back out, he will be employed.
A few moments pass and I see Alistair approaching my van, his eyes cast down at the ground. I look at the clock and realize it’s only been about five minutes. This can’t be good.
He gets in.
“What happened?” I ask him.
He is silent for a moment before looking up at me sadly.
“No one wants to hire a dumb old bloke like me. I should’ve known.”
Alistair explains to me that he hadn’t even sat down for the interview when the man had taken one look at his resume and told him that they don’t employ “the homeless.”
Immediately my blood starts to boil. Alistair is not “the homeless!” How dare he!
I throw the car into park and tell Alistair to get out.
“Take me to where he is,” I say, my nostrils flaring like a wild animal.
We reach the interviewer’s office and I see the little scumbag sitting at his desk through a glass door. Who the hell does he think he is? He looks like he could be homeless himself, with his ratty long hair and ripped jeans. At least Alistair looks presentable!
I barge through Mall Rat’s door, my heart pounding so hard that I can actually hear it.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” I shout at a shocked Mall Rat.
“Excuse me?” He says.
“This man is doing everything he can to get ahead. Do you know what he did to prepare for this interview? He used his only Christmas present to buy clothes for this! And I bet you didn’t even notice that this “homeless man” used to be an investment banker. Do you know what kind of drive and intelligence it takes to even get into school for that?”
“I’m sorry – I’ve just had bad experiences with them before,” says Mall Rat.
I look at him in disbelief.
“He’s not a ‘them’ - his name is Alistair and what you’re doing to Alistair is called discrimination. Do you also not employ women? Or black people? Maybe you thought that you could get away with it since he has no money to sue you with – but you know what? He’s with me, and for your information, my husband’s a lawyer.”
That last part gets his attention. He grabs the resume from my hand and asks Alistair to have a seat.
I sit in the waiting room feeling exhilarated. I can’t believe I just did that! I mean, I’ve seen The Blind Side and always secretly fantasized about turning into Sandra Bullock’s character and going all Mama Grizzly on someone's ass, but never thought I’d actually have the chance… or the balls!
Moments later, Alistair and Mall Rat emerge from the office. They shake hands. Mall Rat looks at me.
“I’m sorry for the misunderstanding, Maam.” He scurries back into his office.
“Practical Joe never told me he’s a lawyer,” Alistair says to me on the way back to the shelter.
“That’s because he isn’t one,” I say.
“Ohh,” Alistair stares into space for a moment before adding, “Good one.”
Have you ever noticed that a man’s razor leaves your legs smooth and silky, while a woman’s razor leaves them sharp and stubbly – almost hairier than they were before?
Maybe you have and maybe you haven’t – but if there’s one thing I know for sure it’s this: if your husband has the Gillet Fusion ProGlide Power Razor you will know what I’m talking about.
Practical Joe finds me blow-drying my hair one morning, after my Epic Shower.
Typically occurring on weekends, the Epic Shower lets me do luxurious things like condition my hair and shave my acreages of body hair. In exchange for my Epic Shower, I must endure a long lecture on not wasting water and the money that’s literally going down the drain. (It’s a small price to pay for not turning into a sasquatch, if you ask me.)
I see him standing in the bedroom doorway and I brace myself for the lecture.
“Did you use my new razor?” asks PJ.
“No,” I lie.
“Well then why is it in the shower, next to your shaving foam?”
I shrug. How stupid of me. I had stealthily gone into PJ’s drawer and unearthed the razor without making a single sound – I even made sure to wash all traces of my stubble off the head of the razor. How could I have forgotten to put it back when I was finished with it?
“What’s the big deal anyway?” I say, defiantly.
“The big deal is that I don’t want to share my razor. It makes it dull and then I don’t get a good shave. Not to mention the fact that I use that razor on my face.”
I raise an eyebrow at him, as a warning. “What’s that got to do with anything?”
“I don’t want to shave my face with the same razor that’s shaved your… lady bits.”
I stare at him, pretending to be aghast. “Since when do you have a problem with my lady bits?”
“I don’t. I just don’t want to share razors with it!”
(I get what he’s saying. I don’t think I’d want to share razors with his 'male bits' either. But I can’t let him off that easily, can I?)
“Well, fine then I’ll stop using it,” I say.
PJ is relieved.
“But you should be careful what you say about my 'lady bits.' It has a long memory, you know.”
You really never know when you’re going to get poetry slammed.
I learned this the other day, when I was out for my morning coffee and found myself smack in the middle of one.
I order a caramel macchiato and push Buddha’s stroller over toward a nice, secluded looking corner. Buddha is fast asleep, so I bury myself in an eBook. Heaven.
A few moments pass and I look up from my iPad. (I can never really read peacefully in public, because I’m too busy eyeing up the people around me.) As I am doing my eyeing, I notice a lady, very bohemian looking, setting up a microphone right next to us.
She smiles at me. “What a pure little soul,” she says to me in breathy tones.
“Thanks,” I say. “Am I in your way? I can move if you need more space.”
“Oh, no! Stay, stay, stay!” she sounds slightly desperate. “Maybe you can participate.”
I smile, growing a little worried now. What exactly does she mean, participate? I’ve frequented this coffee shop for years and haven’t had to participate in anything except my own coffee drinking habit.
Suddenly I feel claustrophobic. I look longingly at the exit. It’s only about 8 feet away. I could easily make a run for it. Except – cripes! – where are all these people coming from? I notice that the room has become packed with people – all looking eerily similar to Bohemian Lady. Is it a family reunion? I’ve never seen so many dread locks and hemp purses. (Which reminds me, I must tell City Girl about this. I'm sure she'd get a kick out of the fact that I attended a real live hemp purse convention.)
Bohemian says something into the microphone about a poetry slam and suddenly I feel queasy. One thing you should know about me is that I absolutely abhor poetry. There’s just something about it that strikes me as a tad condescending. Like no matter what the poem is about, it's underlying message is, "If you can't understand me, you're a big dumb idiot."
To be perfectly fair though, there was one instance where I did like poetry and that was when my gay friend Sebastian read me a verse that he had written about his first love who cheated on him with a transgendered person.
“What’s transgendered, I don’t even know?
Hope he/she gives you herpes, you (blank) ho.”
Not very nice, but at least I understood it.
While I try to quietly pack up my things, Bohemian is chanting something about her soul’s connection to the earth – to dirt, the life force, etc. As per usual, I don’t really get it - unlike the rest of the people here who bob their dread-locky heads in appreciation.
Suddenly Bohemian calls out to the audience:
“What’s your element?”
“Fire!” someone shouts back.
“And what’s yours,” she points to a bearded fellow in the corner.
“Earth, man,” he answers with a stoned smile.
Someone else yells out an unprovoked, “Water!” before making some "swishing" noises and moving her fingertips to represent a cascading waterfall.
“Swell, swell,” Bohemian is pleased. “And what about you?” She’s looking at me now.
I stare at her like a dear in the headlights.
“What’s your element? Your connection to mother earth?”
“Er… wind?” I say, like a big dumb idiot. (Wind? That's not even an element!)
“Air… nice.” Her attention shifts to someone else and I breathe a heavy sigh of relief.
I manage to escape the poetry slam, but not before some chanting and a collective rain dance.
When I arrive home, I make myself a nice cup of coffee, and let me tell you - home brewed has never tasted quite so good.
If you’ve never heard of the concept before, it’s pretty self-explanatory.Mall walking is the age old ritual of going to the mall before store hours and walking around in circles, like a horse in a corral, until you feel sufficiently exercised.
I’d never been mall walking before, because I always figured it was something that only old people did to strengthen their frail hips and talk about their grandchildren. But the other day, while faced with the prospect of going back to the gym (and the eyes) I decide to give mall walking a try. Going outside isn’t even an option, since it’s probably colder outside here than it is at the north pole.
I haul Buddha off to the mall, which is probably as good of a thing for him as it is for me. I could tell he’d been feeling restless lately, because he’d started to forgo his thousands of toys for fistfuls of dust cattle (in my house they’re much bigger than bunnies) and a wooden end table, which he turned into a walker (sad, I know).
When we arrive I immediately take note of the old ladies, shuffling around in herds.There are so many of them, you’d think we were at a seniors home or a Matlock convention.
I strap Buddha into his stroller and move toward the sea of grey hair. Normally, joining this many strangers in any activity would be enough to give me hives, but somehow I feel okay about it.And anyway, they seem very friendly. (They are after all, old ladies. I think if you’re beyond 70, you just can’t help but be warm and grandmotherly.)
Immediately a swarm of them surrounds me.
(Old ladies in unison)“What a little darling!”
“Oh, there’s a handsome little man.”
“She’s a beauty!”
They are very sweet, and I immediately forgive the one who thinks Buddha’s a girl since she looks older than the tombs of Egypt and has something strange going on with her eyes. (Cataracts maybe? Poor thing.)
I make fast friends with three particularly nice ladies named Violet, Dorothy, and Myrtle.We walk for an hour talking about everything from the weather to their deceased husbands.
“I miss Frankie. But I’ll tell you one thing - I don’t miss the half eaten fig newtons,” Myrtle tells us in reference to her late husband’s tendency to bite into them and put them back in the container.
This sounds all too familiar as Practical Joe does the same thing with Oreos, sucking out the icing and putting the slimy cookie parts back in the packaging.
“You think that’s bad, Henry used to drive miles in the car with the blinker on, the old bugger. Drove me crazy,” says Violet.
The others nod like they know all too well what she’s talking about, and I realize that women really are all the same - elderly or not.
When I leave my new friends, they make me promise to come back every Monday.
“I’d love to,” I tell them, and I really do mean it. I had the loveliest time mall walking and I highly recommend it if you’re bored (and maybe a little desperate for social interaction.)
Violet, Dorothy, and Myrtle are just the nicest ladies and way more fun than I ever imagined the elderly could be. (I just wished they walked a little faster.)
My mother always taught me never to use the word hate. “It’s a very strong word,” she’d tell me after one of my adolescent rants on the topic of how much I hate her stupid rules. Now every time I use the word I feel a little guilty. But if I’m being honest, and putting all guilt aside, I really do think I hate the gym.
All the gaunt teenagers, stinky seniors, and grunting men are enough to make me want to turn and run. For years I’ve avoided going to one. I bought workout videos, gym equipment, and even exercised outside in the dead of winter (Okay, that last part’s a lie. I think only psychopaths do that, but don’t quote me on it…) all to escape the dreaded gym.
But a few days ago, I finally bit the bullet and got a membership. The selling factor? A free babysitting service! How could I turn down the chance to have some time to myself, even if it is at a stinky gym?
I walk purposefully into the cardio area, trying very hard to look like I know where I’m going. There’s nothing worse than entering a room full of sweaty people who immediately fixate their beady eyes on you, telepathically urging you not to pick the machine they’re about to use.
I immediately submit to the eyes, casting my own down at my iPad. There are just too many of them, glaring at me, judging my naked makeupless face, my eyes barely showing up on the radar. ("Does that poor girl with the chapped lips have no eyes?" they're probably wondering.)
I choose a bicycle (because at least then I am still sitting) and start peddling. I am about a minute into my workout when a voice pulls me out of my daze.
“You know you should really try to sit up. It’s not good for your back if you’re slouching.”
It’s a skinny, grey haired man who is wearing the shortest of shorts. He’s peddling on the bicycle next to mine.
“Thanks,” I say, offering a half smile as I gaze back down at my book.
“And I might as well tell you too that you should strap your feet in. It’ll help you on the upswing. It’s for momentum.” He smiles at me.
“Great. Thanks,” I say, not as friendly this time.
“I used to be a long distance cyclist. I just hate to see people using poor technique.”
Why won’t he stop talking to me?
I stay there for a few more minutes (so it doesn’t seem like I’m leaving because of him) and then I head towards the weight section. Hopefully no one will talk to me over there.
Indeed, no one does. But after only a few minutes of doing some lazy shoulder presses, I notice a meaty looking guy staring at me. Crap. I bet he’s planning to come over and criticize my technique. I try very hard to fix my form, but he doesn’t stop.
Having grown quite irritated, I look him directly in the eye, in an attempt to give him the message telepathically: STOP STARING AT ME!
I try and calm myself. After all, maybe he’s not really staring at me. Maybe he’s just staring off into space daydreaming about what he’s going to have for dinner (“Should I have egg whites or protein powder?”) and I just happen to be in his line of sight.
A few more minutes pass and I look at my watch. It’s time to pick Buddha up. (Thank God!)
I leave, barely having broken a sweat, and hating gyms a little more.
The other day, after a lovely lunch out with MV (and when I say lovely, I mean messy, as we spent nearly half of it under our table picking up peas and God knows what else that our kids had dropped) I get a call from her.
“I have an idea!” she tells me, full of spunk.
I immediately become afraid. The last time MV had “spunk” we ended up stranded in Punta Cana with two Mexican salesmen and a van full of sombreros. (Long story.)
Nevertheless, I bite.
“What is it?”
“I want to go to the bar! Let’s get dressed up like hookers and just get wasted!”
“That’s how people wind up on Dateline,” I tell her. It’s my favorite show and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that bars and wasted ladies dressed like hookers don’t mix.
“Seriously, let’s do it!”
“I’m too fat to be a hooker,” I whine. “Can you give me a couple of months so I can lose some weight first?”
“Whatever, there are fat hookers,” she tells me.
I am silent.
“You’re not fat and anyway, I’m fat too.” She tells me. “I just want to go out like the old days!”
I tell her politely but firmly that I have no interest in dressing up like a sex trade worker and that if she wants to get wasted, we should do it in the safety of our own homes, and in the comfort of our sweatpants.
We pull up to the bar and get out of the van.
“Be good,” Practical Joe warns as he pulls away. (My mother is babysitting and Practical Joe was cheap kind enough to offer us rides in lieu of going out on the town himself.)
We teeter on our high heels into the bar, which is a real dive, by the way. It’s filled with VLT’s and hairy old men inserting coins into them. We frequented the Dive as teenagers, using our fake IDs. The smell of chalk and air freshener brings me back to my youth and immediately I want to turn and run. MV, on the other hand, looks like a kid in a candy shop, full of awe and excitement.
“Maybe if the Bar Gods are smiling on us tonight, we’ll get hit on!” she squeals, as she pulls me through a crowd of sweaty people.
MV plunks herself down on a bar stool and carefully I sit down beside her. My feet are already killing me and my stomach has that bloated feeling that only comes from sucking it in for too long. Even worse, my thong is doing that annoying thing where it cuts into my sides and leaves me with the most hideous “hip rolls” on either sides of me. (As if I didn’t have enough rolls to try and hide!)
As we are uncomfortably tight roping it on our teensy bar stools, a skeevy looking guy approaches. MV gives me a quick glance of elation. He sits down next to me, plastered.
“Can I get a ride home?” he asks but it sounds more like, “Cud eyeee have rad hm?”
MV laughs and launches into a conversation about not asking strange women for car rides. (Doesn’t he watch Dateline?) Carpool buys us a drink, which I accept only because I need something to get me through this dreadful situation.
Finally, one of his equally plastered friends calls Carpool over and he is out of our hair. But as he is joining them, I swear I hear his friend say something to the tune of, “Josh, what were you doing over there with those cougars?”
Cougars?! We’re in our mid (okay, mid-to-late) twenties!
“That’s it, we’re leaving,” I tell MV who is already eyeing up her next victim.
“I don’t want to go yet!” she hollers as I practically have to drag her to the coat check.
PJ picks us up and it is a quiet ride home in the mini-van.
“So did you girls have fun?” he asks.
“Cougars. Did us cougars have fun,” I correct him.
The other day, Practical Joe comes home from work beyond excited.
“I have a BRILLIANT business idea,” he tells me as he bursts through the door.
“What is it?” I ask him, a little excited myself. I've always known that one of these days we'd strike it rich.
“You can’t judge it though. Just hear me out.”
I nod impatiently. He always says this and I always judge.
“It involves punch dancing!” he says with more enthusiasm than I’ve seen from him since his edible utensil idea.
I burst out laughing.
“You’re judging! I’m not telling you now!”
I settle down. “No, I’m sorry. Please continue.”
He's still reluctant, but after a little prodding, he tells me his big idea. He says that on the way home from work, a punch dancing song came on the radio and the thought struck him: What if he created a punch dancing compilation CD under the Punch Dancing name?
“I could license all the songs and as a bonus I could throw in a punch dancing instructional DVD. Maybe even a punch dancing outfit!”
I pause for a moment, watching my dream of exorbitant riches go out the window.
“That’s a great idea, Honey. You should really look into that,” I tell him as I make my way over to my computer. I login to Blogger, accepting the fact that there’s probably a better chance of becoming rich from this blog (which yields about 15 cents a day) than from one of PJ’s “brilliant” ideas.
"Don't blog about this or someone will steal it," PJ hollers at me as I'm typing this post.
Hi there! Let me introduce myself,
My name is Jaimie, & I'm a Meditative Mom Addict.
Lets start off with the facts:
I am a family-oriented, Bi-Polar, music loving, photo-fanatic, slightly passive-aggressive, extremely passionate, borderline OCD, 5'2" bedroom eyed, dark haired, sassy mouthed, generally maternal, mostly bitchy, happily married, firecracker of a woman.
Just to sum it up short-story style.
I am brand spankin new to the blogging world & THANK the heavens above me that I SOMEHOW manged (in my lost & confused scuffle through what is barely the SHORELINE of the vast ocean that is the blogging Infinite... ) to stumble across the delicious Ben&Jerry's at the end of the day AWESOMENESS that is Meditative Mom.
She makes me smile.
She makes me cry.
She makes me pee my pants.
(She can be a hysterical kind of gal.. let me tell YOU.)
Best of all... She gives me something my HUSBAND will sit still long enough to read with me.
Somehow through the last month she has allowed my super obsessive friendly blog commenting to turn into a sorta Efriendship ... of sorts :)
While I was asking her about how guest blogging worked, she offered me a spot..
"Do you wanna?"
How could I allow her to post ANYTHING that I write on her site?
It would have to be really good...uh-mazing..NO! AWESOMELYBRILLIANT...
After 1 week of brainstorming,
discarding ideas, lots of paper crumpling, pencil sharpening, page doodling,
(& Wine Drinking)
... I FINALLY came up with something.
Something I could Share with the world.
Something to make them laugh.
Something I laugh at day-to-day.
My Husband (see above).
Yup. Thats my Boo.
& this is not a special occasion picture... oh no.
This is an everyday, soon as he wakes up, non-sugar-induced, Ryanism of a moment. He can't help it he says. It's in his DNA to be this AWESOME he says... I Say he's an idiot. A lovable idiot... But an idiot all the same. Now, Let me inform you he is not your Average, run-of-the-mill idiot husband. No No No.. My Ryan likes to go way far and beyond any preset standards for his lovely wife... He enjoys making my life as ridiculous enjoyable as possible.
Case & Point:
Every girl loves to talk about the day she was asked to marry that man of her dreams. How he took her to that romantic spot. How he looked at her with those loving eyes. How he said everything she wanted to hear. Yes, every girl loves re-living the moment before her life was changed forever... including me. but not for the same reasons as you would think:
You see, on the day in question, I wasn't in the best of moods. (Actually, if you ask HIM, he would say I was showing the best of that BITCHY side I was referring to earlier.) As far as I was concerned, I had good reason. For the last month Ryan had been saying the few things no girlfriend wants to hear.
"I don't know if I want to get married."
We had been together for 4 years.. & from how he had acted at CHRISTMAS, I thought Valentines Day this year was going to be it... Which was 2 DAYS away!! I had been on the phone with my mother every day for the last two weeks since for SOME reason she kept canceling our lunch dates, explaining that I might be moving home shortly. "Just give it some time hunny, marriage is a big step." She said pushing my worries aside and trying to quickly change the subject...
What the hell??
My mother had been on Ryan's ASS every time we came over.. "When are you going to marry my daughter? Don't you think its about time to marry her? I don't understand why you two haven't gotten married yet."So I was a little upset when she was not the first one on MY side. "Are you kidding me? I've waited 4 YEARS!" So as you can see, I was quite perturbed. & Driving down the road with him late that same night after a another unsuccessful attempt at changing his mind about the big "I DO" I was ready to be done. Deciding I would at least sleep on it before I did anything rash...
(like breaking up with a jerk who just WASTED 4 years of my life!) & just go home & go to bed. but about 10 blocks from our apartment, one of those Valentines Ben Bridge Commercials comes on the radio.. You know the ones... "oh he proposed on Valentines day, it was SO romantic!" BLECH
Not what I want to hear right now. Actually it made me quiet pissed off. I reached forward and slammed the radio off as quick as I could, crossed my arms in a very child-like temper tantrum and huffed as loud as possible.
"People who propose on Valentines are stupid. It's a cheat. All that says is, "I couldn't think of anything special, so I wing-maned off the holiday.."... ridiculous.. The whole damn DAY is stupid... Even if YOU asked me on Valentines Day, I would say no. Because it's STUPID."
Now, This ladies & gentleman, is called a LIE.
A big FAT one, I might add..
I was just SO mad at him I couldn't even think straight let alone talk with any kind of compassion.
When we got home I began getting ready to take a shower before bed. I was so angry I was close to tears... over a commercial? That made me even MORE pissed... There was no WAY Ryan didn't notice my mood swing. So when he came into the bedroom after 10 minutes or so acting all sweet and asking if I could wait before coming out of the room.. I was extremely thrown off."I wanna surprise you."
Once again, I should remind you that we have been together at this point for 4 years.
I KNOW Ryan. I know him VERY well. & every other time Ryan asks me to wait in the room so he can "surprise" me... it means one thing.
Now, even as pissed off as I was, I am STILL a grown woman with GROWN woman needs
& I hadn't GOTTEN any in the last MONTH."FINE. But I am TAKING a shower after!"
I said with every ounce of scolding emotion I had in me. "Hurry, Would ya? I WANT to go to BED." So I plop myself down on the end of the bed, cross my naked legs, and wait. I notice the confused look on Ryan's face, I also remember him seeming very nervous.. uncomfortable even as he turns to leave the room. "Well sheesh, if he's so damn uncomfortable doing it with ME than why the HELL is he doing it!?" Yea.. that Bitchy thing wasn't an understatement...
Minutes tick by as I hear him scurry around the house. I know what he's doing... He does it every time. he's running around the house, grabbing every candle I own, and taking it into our hallway of a bathroom. He's going to light ALL of them, turn on the shower, turn of the lights, and lead me in with his hands over my eyes expecting me to think its super sweet and give him some right there in the steamy candlelight. At this point I don't understand why he even bothers. Why be romantic at all? Just get it done with. I've already agreed.
Like I said, VERY Bitchy...
In he comes, all sweet and innocent, walks over and grabs my hand, and begins blindly leading me towards his "surprise."
Before my feet even hit the cold linoleum of the bathroom I know we are there.. an overpowering smell of hazelnut, caramel, vanilla & peppermint have filled my nose. (Thank GOD I only get candles that go good TOGETHER.) But instead of stopping just inside the doorway like normal, he begins to lead me into the bathroom.. past the sink... past the litter box on the floor..all the way to next to the toilet so that i am standing with my face a mere inch from the shower curtain.. which is turned on with Steaming hot water. When he takes his hands off my eyes I feel him step away from me. As my eyes adjust to the dim light I slowly turn around to tell him that this is all very sweet.. but as I turn, i don't see his reflection behind mine in the mirror like i should.. did he leave?
I finish turning so quickly I almost fall over & at first glance I really do think that he is gone. But when I go to take a step toward the door i notice he's kneeling down toward the ground... ..on one knee.. "Jaimie, I know I've been an asshole lately... "He says as he brings a small box out from inside the pocket of his jeans.
Which is exactly what i say, out loud, as I clamp my left hand to my mouth to stifle anything else about to rush out. I know he said some other things that were sweet, & kind, & amazing.. but to be honest, I didn't hear them. I was to busy shaking my head, holding my right hand out in front of me like a stop sign, & talking over the top him.. "Oh no nononono, oooh no, oh no oh no oh nonono.."
There is no WAY this is happening. He doesn't WANT to get married.. besides.. he always said he would ask me on the beach.. not here next to the litter box! This isn't real, I MUST be dreaming.. right? he doesn't WANT to get married....I'm lost in the thoughts in my head.
But despite my constant banter, Ryan soldiered on, saying every last word with love in his heart and fear in his eyes. He later told me that he was so scared that I was seriously saying NO that he couldn't think of anything else..Thats why he kept on going..
Ryan opened the box and pulled out a beautiful white gold ring.. with a small hot pink sapphire heart. It was the exact ring I had shown him MONTHS before. I had taken him to the store and showed it to him before Christmas, hoping to nudge him towards a Christmas or birthday proposal.. (My Bday is New Years) He must have bought it then because it was a seasonal ring! He's had it this entire time?! What the HELL is going on?!
At the same moment those words flash threw my head.. I hear Ryan go silent. I start to panic.. Did he notice I wasn't listening??
"Jaimie, will you marry me?"
His voice is trembling.. and that's when I finally see it. I stopped long enough to actually look at him. Ryan was TERRIFIED. He was shaking, sweating.. and white as a ghost!Apparently seeing that was all I needed.. I shook my head yes since I was afraid to take my hand from my mouth in case it had other plans... but then he reached up and smiled at me.
"Well then, hunny, I'm gonna need that hand..."
I looked down & realized I was still holding my hand out in a stop sign in front of us... my RIGHT hand.. my left, was still clamped to my mouth. So I quickly switched them, Clamping my right to my mouth & holding up my left... Ryan laughed and took my hand.. placing the ring on my finger.. it fit perfectly. I leaned down & kissed him so deeply i thought I would stop breathing.. and when I sat back and looked in his eyes.. I started to cry..
"I'm so glad I waited.. Momma was right... OH! My Mom!"
I jump up and football tackle him out of my way! "I have got to call my mom!" I run to our bedroom and search for the phone, while Ryan, laying on the floor begins to laugh.. & right as the bedroom door closes, hiding him from view, I hear him call out: "She's expecting your call..." I freeze. I slowly open the door and look down on my giggling Fiance... "Excuuuse me?"
This only makes him laugh harder."She KNEW?! She knew & she didn't TELL me?!
Is THAT why she kept canceling on me?!?!"Ryan is now laughing so hard he has tears rolling down his face. As though he just pulled off the biggest April fools joke ever. Me? well I'm not laughing.. instead.. I'm back to my bitchy self & begin throwing on jeans..
"Babe, What are you doing?" "I'm going to see my MOTHER! I can't BELIEVE she didn't tell me! I was going to LEAVE you! She should have said SOMETHING!!!" But Ryan is still laughing as he gets up..
My mother only lives about 3 minutes from our place at this time, but i am so happy I forget all about being mad as we drive over there. When we pull into the drive I'm back to being excited & can't wait to get inside & show off my new ring to my mom & younger sisters.
Now at this point my mom has lived in this house for a few years now, and the entire time the front door has been a little off.. so you has to give it a shove with your foot to get it open.. and we never lock the door. Ever. So I go bounding up the steps and throw my shoulder into the door as i turn the handle like I normally do, expecting it to open like usual. But tonight, for the first time ever, the door is dead bolted shut. Thankfully its a wooden door, so as my entire body plows into it, the door bends a little, and then throws me backwards, sending me shooting down the three landing steps right into Ryan. Since we never lock the door, I stand there, a little shell shocked, staring at the door, confused to what just happened, & why I am for some reason not permitted to enter.
Ryan is still laughing.
He brush myself off and run back at the door & before I can even touch it, it opens and moves out of my way. Ha! thats what I thought! (My 16 year old sister, Breanna, had opened the door, but thought I was mad.. and hid behind the door as she opened it.) Standing at the top of the stairs was my 12 year old sister Danielle, (Ryans BEST friend) and she had a look of terror on her face.
"Jaimie? Whats wrong?! Are you okay?! Where's Ryan?!?"
(I found out later they both thought because of how I looked that we must have broken up like I had been saying...)
"Ryan Proposed! look! he proposed! We're getting married!!"
As they both start to get excited, I notice my mom walking down the hall from her bedroom..
"Mom! Mom! Mom! I..""Yeayea so lemme see the ring." Then I remember."YOU KNEW! Why didn't you TELL me!? I was gonna break UP with him!!" Everyone at the point started laughing. Except for me.
Apparently, Ryan had bought the ring, and was planning on asking me to marry him on Valentines day.. 2 days later. "When you said you wouldn't even say yes to me if I asked on Valentines day, I freaked! So I called your mom..." Ryan explained *"Mom? She's gonna say no! She's not gonna say yes! She'll say no! i havta do it now!""Jaimie, You would have never broken up with him before you called me. & I would have talked you out of it like I have all week. I don't think you could leave Ryan even if you really wanted too. Now let me see the ring!"
I tried to hold my ground. I wanted to be mad! So sue me.. but Ryan just laughed and kissed the side of my neck, and held my hand out for everyone to see. After that i forgot about being mad and just started laughing.. and crying.. and smiling. I started calling my closest friend at that point & found out almost all of them knew.. and were just waiting to see me to congratulate me.
"Okay so wait..."Breanna pipes up after I have explained the last hour of happenings to them. "Did you guys break up??"We all stopped to look at her. "Yes Nana, I never want to see her again. Thats why I gave her this ring.. to remind her how much I hate her..."
She's so darn pretty. After that.. I think I laughed until I couldn't laugh anymore. I had been played. the butt of the biggest joke. I had never been so embarrassed.. & I couldn't be happier about it! :)
Yep, that’s right! After five l-o-n-g years of living together, Draggy Feet finally popped the question. Sort of.
I get a call on Christmas day from Heels. She is quietly sobbing (in her closet, I find out later).
“Oh my God, are you okay?” I demand, panicked.
For the past few weeks, Heels has been calling me non-stop to talk about whether or not Draggy Feet would pop the question on Christmas. (Quick back-story: After calling a number on Draggy Feet’s phone, Heels had ruled out an affair, and since the number belonged to a private jeweler, she had decided that he was about to propose.)
“I’m fine,” she tells me, but clearly she isn’t.
I ask her what happened and she tells me that indeed she is engaged. But that’s not really the issue.
“It’s blue. The ring he gave me. I want to die.”
Oh good Lord.
“Well, blue gemstone engagement rings are super posh right now. Just look at Kate Middleton’s ring. It’s blue and now everybody wants one!”
I do my best to ease her pain, knowing full well she’s not going to buy it. Heels is the most traditional girl on the face of this planet. Her favorite flower is a rose, ice cream – vanilla, and gemstone - a DIAMOND. Everybody knows this. I have no idea why Draggy Feet would decide to get her a sapphire.
“It's posh because she's royalty. And besides, it’s not even a nice blue. It’s more of an aqua.” She hiccups. “And there’s something else.”
“He didn’t exactly propose.”
“What do you mean? I thought you said you were engaged.” I am thoroughly confused.
“Oh I’m engaged. But when he gave me the ring, I had to ask him if it was an engagement ring. He told me, ‘Yes’ and that was it!” Her sobs are growing noticeably louder.
“So what – who cares! You’re engaged! Why don’t you go out and buy a heap of bridal magazines and then I’ll come over and we can sort through them. Deal?”
It isn’t the greatest friend-comfort success but it’s the best I can do for now.
Before I left for my break, I told you about my new friend Alistair, a homeless man who I invited over for Christmas dinner. I promised to tell you how it went, so here is the update:
When I pick Alistair up at the shelter, he is wearing the same toothless grin as the last time I saw him. But this time, to match the grin, he has on a baby blue tuxedo circa 1970, which he tells me he received through a program run by the shelter.
“I wanted to look me best,” he says in his lovely British accent that makes everything he says sound adorable.
“Where we headed?” he asks. I tell him that we are on our way to my mom’s place and he nods happily.
When I invited Alistair for Christmas dinner, I had forgotten that it was my mom’s year to host. I called her up one day to casually mention my new friend and the fact that he, and his dog, were coming over to her place on Christmas eve. In short, it didn’t go over very well, but after a few days of prodding, she finally caved. (My sister, on the other hand, threatened to boycott the dinner entirely - but that’s a whole different story.)
When we pull into the driveway, Alistair does not seem like the same carefree man who just a few days ago was happily greeting coffee shop customers and wishing them a merry Christmas. He seems jittery… nervous. The poor guy.
“They’re going to love you,” I say, which seems to ease his nerves slightly.
Turns out Alistair has reason to be nervous.
For the first hour or so, my family is very standoffish. Especially my sister who is eyeing him as if he is a blue suited Osama Bin Laden, getting ready to blow the place up. (“There’s a bomb in the TURKEY. No one move!”) I told her a few days ago that we did a criminal records check and he passed with flying colors, but clearly this isn’t enough for her.
My mother, who has a little more class, acts friendly to Alistair, offering him seconds and asking him about his life. But just when I think she’s accepted him, she pulls me aside to point out a missing bag of croutons, which I immediately find sitting in the pantry. (You know homeless people and their love of salad fixings.)
But as the night goes on, my family warms up to Alistair, and by the end of dinner he has my whole family in stitches over some joke I don’t understand. (Something about a duffer and a git? I have no idea…)
When it comes time for opening gifts, we give Alistair his present.
“For me?” he asks doubtfully.
“Of course it’s for you. Now open it.” I tell him.
Slowly, he unwraps the packaging to find some thermal mittens, a warm hat, and a scarf. He pulls each item out and holds them carefully, as if they are delicate pieces of china given to him by the Queen.
“Thank you, me dear. This is perfect.”
“Keep digging. There’s more.” I say.
He continues to empty the box and finds three gift cards: One for groceries, one for clothes, and one to buy food for Elizabeth.
Alistair is beyond grateful and literally cannot stop thanking us.
“It’s time for a family photo,” my mother chimes.
This is the moment I dread every year. Not because I particularly dislike getting my picture taken (okay, well that too), but because my mom is the slowest person on the planet with a camera. She’ll leave you smiling there forever like an idiot, while she fumbles around trying to find the right button. (“Well, I pressed it! Why isn’t it working?”)
As everyone gathers in for the picture, I notice Alistair is sitting off to the side.
“Alistair – get in the picture!” I shout.
He shakes his head shyly. “You don’t want to spoil it with an old bugger like me.”
I insist that he joins us and finally he comes over and stands next to me.
“I haven’t had me pho-o taken in 25 years,” he whispers to me as my mom is busy fumbling with the camera.
Predictably, I start to tear up, thinking about what that really means. A photo is something we take of each other - our loved ones - to cherish and show proudly to others. We create scrapbooks, framed photo collages, and have special photos placed on cheesy mugs. When you take a photo of someone, what you are really saying is, “You matter to me. You are worth being documented and remembered.” I can’t imagine the feeling of loneliness that would come from no one wanting to take my picture for 25 years…
“Say cheese!” says my mom. “Oh wait…”
By the end of the night, it is clear that Alistair has become one of the family. Charmed by his sense of humor and positive attitude, my family (even my sister) insists that he join us again next year.
We take Alistair back to the shelter. As he gets out of the car, I become very sad, knowing that he will spend the rest of his Christmas there, and not with his own family. (I’d like to let him stay at our place, but Practical Joe has already poo pood that idea.)
“Thanks again for the gifts,” he tells me. “Especially the one of friendship. You’re me angel. Me Christmas angel.”
On the car ride home, I decide never to let another opportunity to help someone pass me by. Look what I would have missed.