Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Now hiring: tiny exorcist

Today I was vacuuming in our room (It happens sometimes! It does!), and I moved Maggie's bed. And there it was, right under the bed. A gecko. Darn it, geckos, why don't you stay hidden? OR OUTSIDE? WHY DO YOU TORTURE ME SO?

I'm not going to lie, I screamed. Like a girl.

He scurried off before I had a chance to put on my brave face and try to trap him (I'm a regular Navy Seal these days, let me tell you). And there he went. Right under the bed. Under my side of the bed.

And then I died.

Well, I didn't yet, but I'm pretty sure I will later if Jack doesn't find it when he gets home. Because it's a real live MONSTER under my bed! FOR SERIOUS!!

I do not seek out geckos if they go into hiding. I'll stand there for hours and stare at the spot it went to make sure it doesn't get away, sure, but I have to be rational about this - if I get down on my hands and knees and stick my head under the bed skirt, there's a 98% chance that the depraved gecko will jump out at me with a tiny pair of nun chucks. And I'm no dummy, people; I'm not going to leave myself open for that kind of attack.

So let's just say Jack's evening just got a little more complicated.

You marry the crazy with the good, people.

(And before you feel too bad for him, let's not forget his thing about the toilet paper. We give and take the crazy in this marriage; don't you worry about that.)

So anyway, I'm already a little on edge sitting by myself and waiting for the gecko catcher to get home, knowing the gecko in my room is setting tiny booby traps around my bed in the meantime, when I hear this weird tapping on my window. And I'm thinking "the geckos are trying to get in and get me!" and then "Ha! HAHAHA! Geckos! Trying to get in! Let's rein in the madness a little, okay, Mandy's brain?"

And then I look over at the window, and I see another gecko out there, just stuck to it. (Which, by the way, is unnatural in and of itself and just one more piece of evidence of their turpitude.) And this one's a big one, probably the length of my middle finger. Which is ironic, because geckos are just one giant middle finger in my life, now aren't they?

So I'm looking at this giant gecko, stuck to the outside of my window, and all of the sudden, I see him vibrate his head back and forth against the window.

As in, the gecko was, in fact, actually the one tapping on the window.

I was fixated on this gecko, thanking God that the thing was on the outside of the window. As I stared, it did it again. And again. I'm surprised it didn't knock itself out on the glass. Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap... and every tap was its head slamming against the window.

I'm pretty sure it was trying to break the window. So that it could get inside. And murder me. That's really the only logical explanation.

And if that's not supposed to freak me out, I don't know what is.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


It's been one month since my grandmother died. Every drive home from work without a hour-long phone call (in which I did a lot of listening), every time I put on her watch or a pair of her earrings, every time I walk on the hardwood floors in my kitchen (that she insisted I get over that "laminate crap" when I was picking it out); it all feels just a little skewed. There's something missing in every situation without her, and adapting to this reality is empty and weird and wrong.

I wrote the following the day she died. I didn't publish it, because it was such a terrible reality. And I didn't want to remind myself or my family of this any more than it was already on our minds. It's worse than losing her, this reality. But it's time to tell her story.

Originally written July 29,2010

My grandma died today.

I called my mom apparently right after it happened, and she answered the phone crying. "Your grandma just passed away," she said, then started sobbing. My dad took the phone and said they would call me back.

Grandma was in pain for a long time, so I would love to say that it's a relief. That she's no longer in pain.

But I can't. Because I know better.

Unless something changed in the last few days while my parents were there, Grandma Barbara wasn't a Christian. When we'd tell her about Jesus and how he had died for her she would scoff and say "oh, I'm not good enough for that stuff." She never thought she was good enough. She didn't realize that none of us are.

Grandma spent her life looking for that thing that would make her happy. Usually, she was spending extraordinary amounts of money on it. Stuff, stuff, and more stuff. And not surprisingly, the stuff was never enough. She always needed more.

I would listen to her talk about what she was buying when I called her, and I couldn't help but think how sad it was, to be looking for something and not be able to find it. Don't get me wrong; she loved her family and led an extremely generous life, but she never found Jesus.

When a Christian dies, it's a celebration. It can be exciting because you know they're in the presence of God Himself. 

But for the non-Christian's death, there is no "we'll see her again someday" and there is no "at least she's not in pain anymore." No, today she is in more pain than she ever was on Earth. She is being tormented, tortured, and there is no changing that now. 

That's what hurts the most. I want so badly to believe that today was better for her. But I know better.

There is no comfort in this death.

It's funny how you really find out what you believe when you don't want to believe it. The days after she died, I tried over and over to rationalize this; the "she was a good person" would run through my mind, but would immediately be stamped out by "you know that's not good enough." The fact is, I was there many, many times when she rejected it.

The simple truth that she was a sinner, which for like all of us, earned her a spot in hell. Not like, cartoon devil with the pitchfork and the horns, standing amongst a few flames, hell. No. It's eternal torment. It's no relief, it's gnashing teeth, everlasting pain. It's lonely, loveless, void, and horrifying. Separation from not only everyone she loved, but the God who made her.

We told her that that there was a way out. That Christ died for our sins, and all she had to do was believe that and ask forgiveness, and that's all it took to spend eternity with us in heaven. But she didn't buy it. Her low self-esteem wouldn't allow her to accept a gift like that.

I left for South Dakota a few days after she died, and I hadn't talked to my family since then, except to make arrangements for the flight there. When Dad picked me up from the airport that weekend, we had a 2.5 hour drive to the ranch to talk about all that happened (the ranch isn't exactly close to anything, if you can't tell).

They got there just after she went to the hospital. This had happened a few times before; my parents would go up north to say goodbye to her, and she would always pull through. But the years of smoking had caught up to her, and her lungs and organs were shutting down. Quite frankly, she should have died two years ago.

And two years ago, they had long conversations with her about this. They told her this was her last shot, and she came close a few times to accepting Christ, but never bought into it.

This time, my dad tried one last time. She was still lucid, and he knew this was probably it. So he presented it to her one more time. He told her that everybody's a sinner and that separates us from God, and the only way around that is by believing in Jesus. It was that simple. And when he asked her whether she believed it, she responded with one word.


He reiterated what that meant, and asked her if she understood it. She nodded and said she did. She got it. It clicked. And at that moment, her being around even though only 20% of her heart had worked the last two years made sense.

He had kept her around long enough for this moment.

Now, please understand that I am not a sentimental Christian. I do not make something spiritual out of everything, and while I do believe that God is behind every single thing that happens, it is more of a logical reality for me, not something mystical that I talk about to make myself sound spiritual.

But this? Had God written all over it.

While we fully understand that she could have been lying and that's not going to get her anywhere (though she certainly never lied about this before - she always rejected it outright), for now, we have what we need. We have hope that we will see her again. And even better than that, we have hope that she is no longer in pain, that she has been made perfect.

And that's where our comfort lies.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Send me a picture of the back of you

Amie and I were talking on Facebook chat tonight. She was not having a good typing night. We were discussing really important things, like steam mops, RENT lyrics, the magicalness of venn diagrams, and which laptop she should buy. I told her I liked mine, and she asked what color I had, and I told her I had the one with the dots. That's when she typed this:

"Send me a picture of the back of you computer."

So I sent her this.

And then I laughed and laughed and laughed.

Because HA! She asked me to send her a picture of the back of me! And there it is! The back of me!

So later in the conversation, I randomly threw in a "send me a picture of the back of you!" and she sent me this:

And I complained that it wasn't fair that she got tushie action from me and I didn't get any from her. And then we both agreed that we probably shouldn't tell people that she got tushie action from me.

Just saying.

I never did send her a picture of my computer. I probably won't, either. Because she got what she asked for, darn it, and if she wanted a picture of the back of MY COMPUTER she should have typed more carefully in the first place.

But at least I didn't moon her.

And that makes me a considerate friend.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Again with the voting

Update: No win this week, but thanks so much for the votes anyway!!


I'm still in it.

Designer Survivor, that is. And the last time the voting happened and I saw my name on the list of contestants moving on, I got all sentimental. I believe my exact words were "Oh, CRAP."

So, obviously, I want to move on to the next round.

This is a HARD competition, people. Like "work all weekend and every night after work until I go to bed" hard.

And I know, it sounds all lame because, you know, it is lame, but Hornbuckles are competitive. Just ask my world champion husband. (Like how I threw that in there? Eh? Eh?)

Anyway, I would really like to get to the point where I do ALL of the work of this competition without actually winning any of the prizes at the end. I think that would be ideal. All of the work, and none of the reward. And if I get to the next round, I believe that is precisely what is going to happen.

Hooray, self-punishment!

Anyway, if you vote for Hornbuckle Designs and I win this week, I'll post a 50% off coupon for a blog makeover. Fifty. Percent. Off.

AND? My friend Jackie, who is also in the competition, will put up a coupon to her digiscrap store as well (and trust me, you want that; she's one of the best designers ever), because THIS IS SURVIVOR and WE FORMED AN ALLIANCE (!!) and we're sharing the immunity if one of us wins.

Shut up. We're really cool people.

Anyway, all I'm really saying is, please vote for "Inside Out" by Hornbuckle Designs. Please? Please. No registration is required. Please?

Feel free to go ahead and click "unfollow" over there on the sidebar now. I understand. Goodbye forever.

Monday, August 23, 2010

In which I exaggerate a little (so what else is new?)

My dad is really generous. In the "I'm going to take you to the store and let you pick out anything you want today because I like you" kind of way. You can call me spoiled if you want. It's just a benefit of your love language being gifts and your parents knowing what said love language is.

Anyway, he told me I could go pick out one thing at any store I wanted today. I had a $200 limit. I decided on Fry's. It's like a heavy-on-the-electronics Target (minus the towels and curtains and clothes and such), so I figured it would be fun for everybody (my dad and Jack included) and it wouldn't be hard to pick something out.

I think it's a sign of my age and marital status that I went straight to the kitchen and cleaning supplies. I had been wanting a bigger, more professional-grade food processor because it has recently become my life's goal to make the perfect batch of hummus. And it's all about the texture, and it's just really hard to get it right without a really good food processor.

I know. I am terribly lame.

But then, on the next aisle over, was this steam mop. It vacuumed AND steamed hard floors, and it has pretty much been on my mind since Ellyn started ranting and raving about how great hers was. This woman drank the steam mop koolaid, and I was really starting to think I couldn't survive without it. So I did what I always do when I can't decide something on my own: I asked the internet.

And to be honest? The internet was not so helpful. Amusing, yes. Helpful, no. I ended up with a 4-4 tie right away, so I finally just decided on the steam mop (after a phone call to Ellyn to find out which kind she had). I already had a food processor, after all, and even though I always, always wished it was bigger, it worked and I could make things in smaller batches until I could afford a new one. A steam mop? I didn't have at all.

And to think I had considered going to the Coach outlet instead of Fry's.

Anyway, after all that painful, painful deliberation, I asked the worker bee guy if they had any more in the back, since there were no boxes near the display. He came back and said that no, there were not, and that they would sell us the floor model for no discount and they didn't have the box or the instruction manual. Um, no thanks worker bee guy. I think we'll go someplace else.

So we went down the street to Home Depot, but they didn't have the model we wanted. So we went to Conn's. No luck. Then Sears. Nope. Bed Bath and Beyond. Nothing. By this time my mom was screeching to a stop in front of each of the stores and screaming "MOVE MOVE MOVE MOVE!!" as Jack and I jumped out of the car, doing dramatic somersaults through the front door and knocking people out of the way as we ran through the store toward the steam mop aisle, nun chucks in hand lest anyone try to attack us and take away our mop. I have a feeling we'd be really good at The Amazing Race.

Finally, we pulled up to Target. I hopped out of my car by myself this time (Jack is old, you know, and he can only handle so much stress on his rickety joints and weak heart), and discovered in delight that they did in fact  have the model of steam mop Fry's had, AND there was one left on the shelf. I snatched it up and held it close to my chest, suspiciously eying a little old lady as she sauntered past. I dialed Jack on my cell.

"THE SHARK IS IN THE WATER!" I announced, when he answered. "I REPEAT! THE SHARK IS IN THE WATER!"*

My posse burst through the doors like a SWAT unit, credit cards in hand, and escorted the illusive steam mop to the register. I fought off a few more suspects as the cashier rung us up, and by the time we left I had at least 30 or 40 attackers flat on the floor. But we had done it. We had secured the steam mop.

I know. Most of this story was a lie.

But I picked a steam mop over everything else I could have chosen today.

And there's really no other way of making that seem cool.


*Man, I really wish I had thought to actually use that phrase when I called him.

Friday, August 20, 2010

YOU:Create - Gitz kit!

Late nights full of laughter with friends. Is there anything better?

I spent the night talking face-to-face to my three friends from three different states than mine. The laptop sat on the counter while I cooked Brinner (breakfast for dinner, in case you don't know that word like Ellyn). Jack teased Amie about her cute southern accent from across the room and I just about killed Sara by introducing her to a few of the inner-workings of my mind.

Speaking of Sara, how much do you love YOU:Create? I completely love everything about it. And everything about her. Which is why this week, when I saw her YOU:Create post, I was thrilled, because I had created something for her which just so happened to go right along with her theme.

A Gitz kit! I used the colors from her blog design, her doodles from past YOU:Create downloads, and styles of elements I thought would suit her. I'm happy with how it turned out, mostly because it reminds me of her, and also because I'll be proud to put a piece of one of my dearest friends in my digital scrapbook store.

Oh what's that? I didn't tell you I applied and was accepted at a real digiscrap store? Um, cause I totally did. Woah. Seriously. I'm delirious and ecstatic. Am I actually going to be a real digiscrap designer? Who am I? What is my purpose here? Why can't I ever find a pair of socks that match? Do these pants make my butt look big?


I'll definitely be announcing which store and all the details when I'm ready to open, but I have some designing to do before that happens. But until then, I have a Gitz kit. And that's a start. A very, very happy start.

And because I love you all, and because I know there are, in fact, a good 2-6 people reading this who actually care about all this digital scrapbooking nonsense, I made my favorite word art from the kit available for download here.

Choose joy. This simple phrase encompasses Sara's entire life. She lives by this. Not like "I write about it on my blog" lives by it, but like "I am constantly in more excruciating pain than you will ever be in but I will still choose to praise God for the gifts he's given me" lives by it. What a woman.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I need immunity, because I'm not really all that good

Update 8/12 - Well, sorry to say my team didn't win immunity this week. But rest assured that if I make it to next week, the same thing goes - if we win immunity next week, you'll have another shot at it!! Thanks for the votes, everyone! You rock. And in case you care, here's what I designed this week.


So, I'm taking part in a thing called Designer Survivor, in which you design digital scrapbook stuff competition-style. It's very fun and challenging, and every week, there's an immunity challenge (just like the show) and people get voted off (like the show). So, I need you to vote for my team, Team Ribbon. It's just one click, no registration.

And leave a comment here if you vote, because if my team wins immunity this week, I'll have random.org choose a winner of a free $60 blog makeover. If you tweet it, leave another comment, facebook status it, leave another comment, blog it, leave another comment. 5 total chances to enter. Ends tomorrow.

That's right. I'm buying your votes. It may be my only shot at staying in this competition. Ready, go!

Monday, August 9, 2010

He was there

My husband. He is nice.

This week was rough, to say the least, but he was there.

He was there when BOTH dogs pooped on the floor (and the not-healthy-variety at that) before I had to go to work one day last week, and he cleaned it up. And this is no small fact, because we have an agreement about poop. In that he doesn't have to clean it up. (Don't worry, I exchanged poop for vomit in the negotiations, and I think I came out quite ahead on this deal.) But he did it anyway.

He was there when I had to go out of town after my grandma died. He took care of not only our house and dog but my parents' house and (cu-razy) dog as well. He even mowed their lawn for them (as well as ours).

He was there, on the other end of the phone line, when my plane landed in Dallas on Monday and I realized in the parking lot that I didn't have my car keys. Immediately, he left work, brought me my spare key, and even took me to dinner afterward.

He was there when I worked a 60-hour week and didn't complain once when he had to get himself a bowl of cereal for dinner once again because I haven't had the time or energy to make anything else. Again.

He was there when I didn't have enough time to clean the house before our guests came in this weekend. He made sure the guest sheets were clean and put on the bed. He made sure they had towels in the linen closet. He made sure the dishes were done and the house was picked up. He even made our bed for me in the morning.

He was there today, on the first day we've had more than an hour alone together in more than a week, and he chose to take me window shopping and buy me lunch during the few hours we had. And now he's here, sitting across the room and watching TV, content once again just to be in the room with me while we have the chance.

He's always here. He's my constant. And I do not take that for granted for a second.

When nothing else in my life is good, he is.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A spiritual experience

We wanted to go to church last weekend while we were in South Dakota. We just lost grandma and it seemed like the right thing to do. We have a lot to be thankful for where death is concerned, you know.

You guys, there's just not words to the church service I experienced on Sunday. But I'm going to try to paint you a picture. Because this event? Should be shared.

I mean, sometimes you have really, really spiritual experiences at church. Sometimes things just move you a certain way and God speaks to you and you hear Him, really hear Him, during a sermon. Sometimes it seems like the preacher has your house bugged because of all of the relevant things he's preaching on.

And sometimes, it's VBS week.


And then they sing their song, which makes me equally crazy, because half of them are jumping around the stage instead of singing, and the other half are doing stupid hand-motions to an infuriatingly annoying song. It's too much! TOO MUCH!

But this wasn't quite like that. In that there were 20 kids instead of 500. And they had to combine two towns' churches just to get that 20. And we were in the church basement. And we had to walk through a black lit hall with trashbags painted with spraypaint attached to the walls (evidently it was supposed to be "outer space").

At the beginning, the director lady got up and started reading her script to set up the song. It was about space and planets, and when the director lady said a certain phrase and pointed at the kids, they would scream "Praise God!" at the top of their lungs. And yes, God really does deserve the praise, but in my opinion, children do not need any excuse to scream more than they do, thankyouverymuch.

And it was a little boring, listening to her read from a script about space, but I figured, alright, she's going to read this, then they're going to sing, then they're going to sit down (or, even better, leave and go to Sunday School!) and we can have some grown-up time.

You guys, they sang six songs.


And in between every single one of them, the director lady read another section from her script. AND made us watch a little section of a DVD that took them 10 minutes to pull up every time. AND let each kid read something into the mic, AND most of the kids couldn't read, so she had to read it for them and then they would repeat what she said, so you'd hear her say "In the beginning..." and then the kid would repeat "in the beginning" into the microphone. "God created..." "God created..." And the other kids are all spinning around or jumping or something in the meantime.

At one point, there was a green monkey puppet. Seriously. Green. Monkey. Puppet. I'm still not quite clear on why it was green and what a monkey had to do with space, but I wasn't about to ask any questions.

At the end of the "program," the lady started to cry and thanked every person she had ever met and then the kids presented her with a giant card with candy stuck to it (remember that scene in The Office where Michael is at Ryan's business school class and he throws the candy at the people? I swear, you guys, they took lines directly from that scene for this card). "We've had SKITTLES of fun with you and MOUNDS of (Almond) JOY. We hope you have a PAYDAY because you are worth 1,000 GRAND!" And she's just standing there bawling.

It. Was. Surreal.

And then? The pastor got up, and he said "I was going to preach, but we ran out of time." I kid you not. They ran out of time for the sermon. Because VBS had actually dragged on that long. The only reason I know that it's over is that I'm sitting here writing about it, but for all I know, this part is a dream and I'm still at the VBS thing right now because IT NEVER ACTUALLY ENDED.

I think I may have gotten a glimpse of purgatory.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


She had great taste.

I mean, that doesn't sum up her life completely. Her life included love, intelligence, generosity, and so many other things, but when you picture Barbara King, you picture fancy. Elegant. Beautiful. And completely, totally, without exception, spotless.

Looking back at the perfectly decorated house with the sparkling kitchen, always-vacuumed floors, and oh my cow, the GIANT, WHITE COUCH, it makes me think that she must have cringed when we came over growing up. I mean, kids are messy! Kids are disgusting! Kids break things! And that definitely wasn't a kid-friendly house.

But to be completely honest, that thought never occurred to me once until now (although admittedly we did know we weren't supposed to play on the white couch). Growing up, it was grandma's house, where we would play pool in the basement (sans cues because, let's face it, it's way more fun to throw the white ball at the other balls with your hand than try to figure out how to use that big stick to do it). It's where we would play in the hot tub out back with the little ducks floating around with us, and it's one of the only places we ever saw snow. It's where we would drive the golf cart around and it was where we would always, always find Fig Newtons, baby swiss cheese, and Oatmeal crisp cereal.

If our being there bothered her, she never let us know it.

In fact, it was quite the opposite. She adored us. She would cook for hours and then hardly even sit down to dinner with us because she was so concerned with making sure we had everything we wanted while we were eating. "Do you want more steak, Kent?" "Here, have some more potatoes, Jim." "Would you like some more ice cream, kids?" One thing we knew for sure is that you would never go hungry in the King house. In fact, within seconds of walking through the door you would be listening to long inventory list of everything she had in her kitchen as she eagerly awaited your telling her what you would like to eat.

I think her love language was food.

My grandma was a ridiculously smart woman. She ran her own businesses for as long as I can remember, and her shrewd investments made it possible for her to make many, many more shrewd investments. And what she had, she gave away. She took care of every member of our family that needed it. Hospital bills, living expenses, even living arrangements. When her nieces and nephew found themselves without parents in their adolescence, she took them in and raised them. She was so, so generous.

Growing up, we'd get a check in the mail from Grandma, along with another slightly smaller check for the sibling of the birthday child. She never left anybody out. More recently, she would send a check to our spouses on their birthdays as well. Growing up, we would roll her change together for hours and then she'd let me keep all of it. She bought both mine and my brother's Aggie rings. When my mom and I would visit, she would let us "shop" in her closet and insist we take home some of her beautiful clothing, many times, with the tags still on. For our wedding, my grandmother lavished gifts on us, and I never use my amazing cookware, vacuum cleaner, or GPS without thinking of her. There's not one member of our family who didn't benefit from her generosity.

Grandma Barbara wanted what was best for everyone, all the time. And when what she thought was best was different than what you thought was best, she let you know it. The woman was headstrong and opinionated, that's for sure. But her letting you know it was her way of loving you.

And she did love us.

When I called her about once a week, she would answer the phone, and as soon as she heard my voice, she got all excited, and I was suddenly in the middle of the conversation that she had evidently been having in her head with me before I called. I told her about my day at work and what I had been crafting lately, and I heard all about what she had cooked for my grandfather that night, what she was cleaning, what she had bought that day, and how she was decorating their new house.

She had been putting that house together for about a year now. It's their second home, which they just put out on their ranch in South Dakota so they could spend their summers there. My grandfather maintains a mini-farm there with everything from flowers and cucumbers to melons and corn, and they both loved it there. She would tell me how excited she was about the sweet corn he was growing and about the little frogs that hopped around her porch in the evening. She would describe the decor she had ordered and lament the delivery that the furniture company had screwed up.

She was pouring her heart into that house. But that was nothing new for her. She poured her heart into everything she did.

After she died, Grandpa decided he wanted to stay in South Dakota instead of moving back to their house in Wyoming. It's a more suitable size, and there is much for him to do on the ranch. It's where he is comfortable.

As we gathered at this beautiful house after she passed away this weekend, it hit us all.

She built it for him.

Because of her, he had a place to come home to.

And because of Christ, so did she.

Monday, August 2, 2010

In which I am too tired to think of a clever title

It's 102 degrees in Dallas. When I got off the airplane today, I was a little surprised by it. And it was all "Mandy, you idiot, I'm summer in Dallas! You and I have been friends all your life! Why are you surprised?" And I was like, "sorry, summer in Dallas, I forgot for a minute. I remember now. You're hot."

I'm going home today. And I'm really looking forward to it. I say "I'm going home" rather than "I'm at home" because I am an idiot. A very, very big idiot.

My parents are driving back from Wyoming at the end of the week, but I had to work before then, so I flew back this afternoon. I had a great flight (after re-booking it when I was stupid the first time and gave myself a 10-hour layover in Denver). The flights went perfectly. Hardly any turbulence, the time passed quickly, I got a lot done on my laptop, and even though there was a short layover scare since my first was delayed on the runway, it ended up not being as long of a trek to the next gate than I had anticipated and I arrived at the gate
three minutes after they started boarding, so I basically just walked onto my next plane. Perfection. And when I landed in Dallas, I was so relieved to be going home. It had been a long weekend with little rest, lots of emotional stress, and lots of travel. I would probably go right to bed after picking up the dogs.

I walked off the plane to ground transportation, where I waited for the bus to the remote parking lot (am cheap). It was such an easy trip because I had left my rolling bag with all my clothes in it with my parents to take home in the car. It was just me and my backpack full of the week's essentials. Laptop, makeup, hairbrush, camera, and book. What a great way to travel.

When I got to my car, I froze. Before I tried to unlock it, I realized that Ihad left my car key in the suitcase.

In my parents' car.

In Wyoming.

So here I am, waiting for Jack to come pick me up at the remote parking lot at the Dallas airport. I did find an outlet for my laptop in the little bus terminal and I have a little cricket friend on the floor who I have decided to let live thanks in part to my friend Jessica's humane ways and in another part to my illogically deciding that
the cricket might be some other little cricket's grandcricket and it's really not fun when your grandcricket dies.

Trust me on that one.