Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Just Say Know

Last week, there was a huge response to my blog about my granddaddy. I loved all the sweet comments and memories that the post prompted you to share, and you should know that R.L. would have really loved all the attention.

Clint mentioned that maybe the fact that so many people were engaged by that post was because it was a personal insight about someone I knew, and he suggested that I write similar posts going forward. I appreciate the advice, but very few people really want me to write an entire blog post about them, and it can get a little tedious for you all to read about the branches of my family tree and my close friends each post.

So I decided to write about someone I know really well. She's by no means perfect, can be a bit hard to handle at times, but bless her, she tries. That person is me. Moi. Yours truly. Because you know a little about me, but being the expert on myself, I can really dish the dirt. You already know I'm afraid of birds, not a fan of technology, love a holiday and/or a party, and that a good dose of Days of Our Lives and a swig of Diet Coke keeps me satisfied.

But I am a woman of mystery, a conundrum, a head scratcher, and there are more than a handful of things about me that you probably haven't heard before. And so, I present a short list of Things You Might Not Know:

I still sleep with the security blanket I've had since I was a baby. I tapped into my creativity way back at a young age and named it "my yellow blanket." I can't/don't/won't sleep without it. It particularly comes in handy because Clint is a serious cover hog. My parents had hoped I might leave for my honeymoon without it, but no such luck. As a side note, I also sleep in a retainer. I know what you're thinking, and you're right: my husband is one lucky man.

I've been on a diet since I was six. I started out taking Slender (which was the meal replacement shake that existed pre-Slim Fast) in my lunchbox, wrapped in aluminum foil to keep it cool. I've done low fat, Atkins, South Beach, the 3-day Diet, the Abs Diet, Super Shred. My workout VHS/DVD library has, over the years, included such mega-hits as Sweatin' to the Oldies, the Cosmopolitan Best Body workout, Tae Bo, Dancing with the Stars Dance Fit, Womens Health Circuit Training, P90X, Turbo Fire, P90X3, and Windsor Pilates. I read a quote from Dolly Parton: "I tried every diet in the book. I tried some diets that weren't even in the book. I tried eating the book, and it tasted better than some of the diets." I'm right there with you, Dolly.

My first car was a black 1990 Pontiac Firebird (with T-tops). My second car? A 1995 black Pontiac Firebird (with T-tops). Take that, Knight Rider.

Even though only 0.5% of women are color blind, I'm one of the lucky elite. Thankfully, I'm only what they call blue-green weak, which basically means I have a hard time deciding when something is green (it generally looks blue to me). The novelty of that condition wore off very quickly, and now I fake my way through it like a champ. But it does give new meaning to the term bluegrass.

I really wanted to be an only child, but resigned myself to the idea of having a sister when, at age seven, my mom told me she was pregnant (it's a good thing I didn't wind up with a sister, because I have little doubt that some sort of Hunger Games scenario would have broken out and it would not have ended well for one of us, not to mention the fact that my poor mother would have never left the house because of all the hair fixing and nail painting). As a consolation prize, I got to name my baby brother. I did so after my crush at the time: Joey Lawrence from Gimme A Break. When I found out he had been born, I threw up. He's grown on me since then. Sort of.

Clint and I were introduced by our mothers. They were college roommates who reconnected after years and years and realized they had children about the same age. We reluctantly agreed to go on one date, and 14 months later, we were engaged. The lesson is this is that your mom is always right. Always. Even when it seems that she is completely wrong, she will turn out to be correct. It's a gift from the Lord, as a reward for enduring child birth and your toddler years. Just agree with her and make life easier on both of you.

Back in 1996, when I was Miss SCHS, I was asked to make an appearance at the grand opening of Toccoa's new Belk store. Dressed in an evening gown and sporting my tiara, I attracted the attention of Grayson McCouch, also known as Dusty Donovan on the daytime drama As the World Turns. He asked if I would like to ride with him in his limo to his next appearance, which was more autograph signing at the Belk in Anderson, South Carolina. I turned him down because a) I had a job that I had promised to do, and b) my mom told me not to get in the car with strangers. I bet that after reading this, those of you who refused a perfume spritz from me that day feel some real remorse, don't you?

I can't do a cartwheel and I never learned to roller skate. My mom was pregnant with the above mentioned baby brother during all the skating craze, so I didn't really have a teacher. And my cartwheeling days were in the '80s, and I simply could not run the risk of mussing up my carefully moussed, scrunched, banana-clipped hair for any kind of tumbling. So if you insist on having your birthday party at the skating rink, I will either come and skate around on the carpet, or I will be "busy" that day.

My first real job after college was at a "declining" shopping mall in south Atlanta. It paid $23,000 a year, but the dividends were the life experiences I gained from working in such an, ahem, unique environment. As marketing assistant, I got to handle complaints and conflicts between mall tenants, as well as log any issues customers might report. These are just a few gems from the customer complaint log:

  • Management has received multiple reports of the Easter Bunny smoking outside the mall, while in full costume, holding a cigarette in one hand and the bunny head in the other. Children are frightened by the bunny and also say he smells like smoke.

  • Customer found a hair in her collard greens at Piccadilly Cafeteria. Customer proceeded to file complaint, and also insisted on bringing the collards to the mall management office and having the marketing assistant (also known as me) witness the removal of "this nasty damn hair."

  • Parent wishes to have Santa Claus fired. When her son sat on his lap and wet his pants, Santa apparently told the parent to "get this little b*stard off of me." 'Tis the season, right, Santa?

In addition to these very serious responsibilities, I also managed the hen pen of senior citizen women who worked the mall customer service booth. I got calls that Edna was repeatedly showing up five minutes late ("which doesn't sound like much, but it adds up, I'm telling you") and that Linda took a pair of scissors home in her purse. While all this hubbub was going on, someone stole the ATM out of the mall food court. On a Saturday, during lunchtime. And no one saw a thing.

Besides all that glamorous marketing experience, I also have another feather in my cap: I am a graduate of the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicle's Defensive Driving School. I have the certificate to prove it (somewhere). I was born with a medical condition known as Lead Foot Syndrome, and so, as part of my rehabilitation, I found myself enrolled in this eight-hour Saturday class, filled with DUI recipients, career truck drivers, and little old speedy me. I got to watch "Blood on the Highway" and also learned (through some serious repetition) that "driving is a privilege and not a right."

Over the years, I've been told I look like Kristian Alfonso, the actress who plays Hope on Days of Our Lives (thank you, Big A Elementary School lunch lady), Monica Lewinsky, "the fat Dixie Chick" also known as Natalie Maines, Martina McBride, Rachel McAdams, and Wonder Woman. Based on my belief in big hair and accessorizing, I think I'll stick with Wonder Woman.

So, now you know a few more or less fascinating facts about yours truly. Clearly, there is more to tell, but in addition to not getting in the car with strangers, my mom also told me to always leave them wanting more. And you know she's always right.

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