Why My Dad is the Coolest

So I was having a conversation with my father a few weeks ago, and he just reminded me of all the reasons why I always thought he was so cool. My parents had me pretty young; they were barely out of high school at the time. I didn’t realize how young my parents were until I entered college and all of my friend’s parents were 10 and 20 years older than mine. Anyway, I was talking with my Dad about if he would let me take care of him if he’d ever gotten to the point that he couldn’t take care of himself. I asked him if he would trust my decision-making skills when it came to his health and his affairs. He said, “P, I’ve trusted your judgment since you were five years old. I know you wouldn’t do anything to hurt me so yes, I would let you take care of me.”

He says this now, but I remember a time when we almost got into a fight when I wanted to take him to the eye doctor to get his vision checked. He acted like I was taking him to get a seeing eye dog when it turned out all he needed was reading glasses…but I digress. One thing I’ll give him (and my mother) credit for was that they always just encouraged us to be ourselves, whatever that might be. They never tried to force their personal agendas on us.  All my parents wanted for us was to accomplish certain things: graduate high school, go to college, don’t have kids, stay out of jail. Pretty simple list.

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Dad and I (early 80’s and 2015)

My father’s direction growing up was all about school. Up until I entered college all I heard from him was, “Books and boys don’t mix,” and “You don’t need any friends, you need to know your school work,” When I started dating, like for real dating, he pretty much left me alone. I was with a guy for about five years in and after college. My dad never really said much about the relationship, and he was always nice to my ex, so I found it a little surprising when I told him that we were having problems and he basically told me I didn’t have to put up with it. That’s when I knew he was only nice to my ex because he thought I was happy. Once it showed that I wasn’t, he was completely supportive of my decision to break up with him (and he took it as a personal opportunity to roast my ex- yes, my father can be very petty at times). I knew then that I could talk to him about anything.

 
Because he’s a pretty simple guy, my siblings and I try to take him out to different places to do and try different things. He isn’t very accepting of change; up until about 2009 he still walk around with a cassette player until my sister got so fed up she bought him an iPod. We did the same thing with a smart phone and a tablet. The only high tech stuff he likes is music equipment and video games, so we always pitch in and buy him tech related gifts for his birthday (much to my step-mother’s protest). My next biggest challenge is getting him to visit me here in Atlanta. He hates to fly, and I’m trying hard to convince him that it’ll be so much easier to spend less than 3 hours on a plane than spending 15+ hours in a car.

Wish me luck.

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Dad and I (on a random outing)

 

 

 

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A New Year Ahead

Let me start off by start off by saying I know how late into the month is to still sit here and talk about moving into a new year. I think being punctual is something I should start working on (I used to be good a it, not sure what’s happening now). Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and rang in the new year the best way they know how.

I ended up spending the majority of December in New York and New Jersey with my friends and family. I went to work the entire time, stayed with my sister for a week and then Lorenzo came up and we stayed at a hotel for the remainder of the trip. I got to see my girlfriends, found out one of them is pregnant (yay!) and spent a little time with my coworkers (who all seem to think that no matter how much time I spend up there, that its never long enough. Aren’t they sweet?).

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View of 6th Ave, NYC

 

Normally when I’m there, I like to do the major touristy stuff: go to Rockefeller Center to see the tree, go to Macy’s to see the Christmas displays, etc., but this time I took Lorenzo to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. It was a first for me as well, and since I found the tickets on sale I thought it was ideal. Lorenzo said he enjoyed the show (even though I could have sworn I caught him sleeping). Anyway, I decided that I wasn’t going to make any resolutions this year, because I always make too many that I NEVER keep because I always forget what they are. I usually say stuff like “I’m going to stop cursing this year,” and not even 30 minutes later I’m dropping F-bombs like nobody’s business. Or “I’m going to read more” and then that ends up being the semester that my teachers want me to write my own text book. So, its safe to say I’m done with resolutions.

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Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center

 

Lorenzo and I will be moving at the end of the month, a temporary relocation until we can find something else. We are looking at homes so hopefully by the end of the year, or maybe the summer, we will homeowners. This is something I think is actually achievable, A) because I know how thorough Lorenzo is when he wants to do something and how determined I am when I have a goal and B) because we’ve already been looking since last year and we now have a realtor to help out.

Lorenzo always entertains the idea of moving to New York, much to my protest. He feels like, if he finds a job there then we should definitely go (especially since my job is already there). I always protest because I’m from NJ, I’ve spent over 30 years there and over 8 working in New York City…I’m pretty  much over shoveling my car out of 4 feet of snow in the winter. I will take an Atlanta “snowstorm” any day. Hell, its the middle of January and it was 70 degrees the other day! Are you kidding me? So what I do to try to deter him is, whenever we are looking up houses online I will take the price of a home in Atlanta and then take that same dollar amount and show him what he could get in any of the 5 Boroughs. It always gives him a slight reality check…temporarily.

I am curious to see what this year will bring. I will hit 18 years with the Army in a few months (I shake my head in disbelief every time I think about it). I really want to try to get promoted one more time before I retire. I also want to do another 5K this year. I think my job has one, so I may have to fly back up to participate. Maybe I’ll do more than one this year. I won’t be finished with school this year, but I’m going to keep going until I’m done, no matter how long it takes.

 

 

 

Submit: A Four Letter Word

I was on Instagram today and I follow a page called Black City Girl (@blackcitygirl_) that talks about marriage, finding love, bettering yourself and all that jazz. Today there was a video posted about a couple who recently married, and the husband was explaining the reasons why he committed to his wife:

  1. They share the same core beliefs (faith)
  2. She respected him as a man
  3. She makes him feel needed (depended on him)
  4. They built together

I will admit that I like that page because sometimes they post very uncomfortable truths that a lot of women don’t want to admit to or agree with, and this one was definitely one of them. It seems like everyone totally dismissed points 1, 2, and 4 and completely focused on the “dependent” part. There was a lot of opposition from a few commenters, while there were others, like myself, who were more accepting of what was being said. Somehow dependency turned into submission, and then that turned into domestic skills. I attempted to clarify what I thought “dependent” means but I can only use my own life as a point of reference; and again there was opposition.

I think that the issue with the word “submission” is that we usually go to the textbook definition of it which is “to give over or yield to the power of another” and many people, including myself, were not having it. Like at all. Especially when you start using Biblical references such as “wives…submit to your husbands” (I’m not sure where this is in the Bible exactly but its there) and people just lose their minds. There was a lot of,

“I’ll never submit to a man…”

“I’ll never make him feel needed”

“I’ll never depend on him…for what?”

The problem I was having with these comments was that these women (who were all single by the way) wouldn’t even stop for a second to consider what the other married/engaged women were saying when talking about “depending on their men”. I stated that dependence in most cases in not financial dependence at all, but just giving a man the FEELING of being needed- and that is so BROAD that it could mean many different things to many different people. Dependence can mean spiritual, emotional, guidance and insight, or any other feeling depending on who you are asking.

Quick story: I used to be one of those women, the “I’m a strong Black woman who doesn’t need a man for anything” (snap my fingers two times) types. I was having a conversation with a male friend who constantly – and I mean constantly – cheated on his wife. He cheated the entire time they were dating, engaged, and after they married. When I finally asked him why he kept doing this, he admitted to me, “I love her, but, and I know this is going to sound crazy, but she acts like she doesn’t need me. I just fit into her plan of having a house, marriage, and children. Its like she doesn’t want me for anything else.”

He went on to tell me that as archaic as it sounds, men NEED to feel needed. This was when Lorenzo and I were still getting to know each other and I was still holding on to my own views about what that meant. A year later, a few months before he proposed, I thought about what my ex-friend had said, so I asked Lorenzo straight up, what the thought “submission” meant. He told me that he wanted me to let him help me.

That’s it. No talk about finances, no stay at home barefoot and pregnant, no do what I say and wait on me hand and foot. None of that. After we had that conversation I felt SO much better about marrying him. He asked me for something that I could actually give him. Was it hard? Yes. I’d spent my entire life taking care of myself so it was extremely hard for me to let him have some of my responsibilities, but honestly, it didn’t kill me. I still have my job(s), my own money, my same spending habits; its just that he takes out the trash, checks on my car when the lights come on, pays for me to get my hair done, fixes things around the house. Not a bad deal if you ask me.

I think that people should really take the time to get to know the people they are involved with. I can understand that it can be hard to believe anything I’m saying when people are so used to dealing with people who are not worth it. But, I think that when you find the “right” person for you, it makes it easier to work these things out. I thought that “submitting to a man” was the most horrible thing you could ever say to me, but when I was able to think about it as it related to Lorenzo, it was really just allowing him into my life enough so that he knows that I DO want him around. Lorenzo knows I don’t “need” him-especially in terms of finances, its one of the things he loves the most about me. Hell, he’s been super supportive of me getting an MBA so I can get a better paying job to make more money. So its not about keeping me under his thumb, or “behind him” its about allowing him to help me be the very best possible version of me so that WE can thrive together.

I’m curious as to what people think…. please share.

I’m the Worst

My job and school have taken over my life for the past 30 days. I hate it.

 
I’m taking a new Accounting class, and it’s online. I am hoping that this is my last math class, but I think I might have one more. There is a lot more work to do than in my last online class, but I wanted to do this one online because I knew I’d still be traveling throughout the semester and I’m leaving to New Jersey again next month for three weeks. So online is easier.

 
Here is what happened since the trip to Vegas last month: I work, I log out of work, and I do school work. That’s it. My eyes hurt from staring at my computer for 10 hours a day, and I haven’t been able to work out consistently since last month. The only two things I was able to do for fun was going on a 6-mile hike at Kennesaw Mountain with my cousin and his friends and then a Halloween Pub Crawl at the Virginia Highlands with the same cousin.

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That was my first time going hiking ever, but I assumed it would be very similar to a road march with the Army, and I was partially right. I didn’t have to carry a weapon and 70 lbs. of gear on my back while getting yelled at by Lucifer (one of my Drill Sergeants). The hike was casual and fun. We took a lot of breaks and made sure we didn’t leave anyone behind; when we reached the top of the mountain, we were able to see a beautiful view of Atlanta.

 
And even though I’m very “take it or leave it” when it comes to Halloween, I did have a good time at the pub crawl. I decided to be a ninja (well, to be honest, Lorenzo and I literally waited until the last minute to decide to go so this was the only costume that I saw that I liked and didn’t have to put much effort into). Lorenzo was going to go as Jason Vorhees, but found this scary pumpkin thing and became obsessed with that instead(*shrug*). I think the best part about Halloween is seeing other people’s costumes. In addition to the multiple Harley Quinn’s and Prince costumes, some that I thought were pretty cool were: a taco, a burger, a bottle of Siracha, Luigi (from Super Mario Bros), my cousin dressed as Michael Jackson from the Smooth Criminal video, Wednesday Adams, Django, Bob Ross, and a Werewolf.  Someone even dressed as Negan from The Walking Dead.


Speaking of The Walking Dead- I’m not going to go into much detail about how emotionally traumatized I was, but I just want to put it on record that I was traumatized. I’ll just leave it at that.

 
What else is going on? Oh, so Donald Trump is going to be the next President. This is what everyone is talking about now, so I guess I’ll touch on it. I want to say I was surprised, but not really. I’m very curious to see how this will play out. I am learning to be the kind of person who doesn’t get extremely upset about things I can’t control, so what I will say is that I will do my best to manage and improve the things I can control. And that’s all I have to say about that (Forrest Gump voice).

 
I know that I need to do better with posting, and I will make an effort to stay on top of my work so I can do it. I’ll try not to go this long again without writing anything.

What Happens in Vegas Gets Posted on my Blog

 

Last weekend was my last vacation before the holidays begin next month. Lorenzo and I flew out to Las Vegas to meet up with one of his friends who still lives in Albuquerque, NM. (If I haven’t mentioned this before, Lorenzo lived out in New Mexico for a while with his job. He and I were introduced by a mutual friend and had a long distance relationship for 2 years before I moved to Atlanta).

Anyway, we met up with his friends and the cousins of the friend. I’ve been to Las Vegas once before, and Lorenzo had been there multiple times while he lived in Albuquerque since the flight is just over an hour away. The first time I went I stayed at a not so great hotel, I can’t remember the name, but this time, we stayed at the Bellagio. If you’ve ever been there, you already know that it’s a big hotel that has a water show every 15 minutes, it beautiful, and full of expensive stores that I can just barely afford to shop in. He won’t say it, but I think Lorenzo was teasing me by having me try on rings at Harry Winston.

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Bellagio

 

While we were there, we ate at a few of the restaurants at the hotel, because Lorenzo I and share a love of good food, we also did a tiny bit of shopping and went to a restaurant called Joe’s Seafood and Steakhouse. This was special for me because Lorenzo and I went there on our first date in Chicago back in 2011. We went on the gondola boat ride at the Venetian, and zip lined off of the roof of the Rio Hotel (thanks, Groupon). Lorenzo and I also went to the Bad Boy Reunion Tour that Saturday night before we left. It was awesome. During the show, I was surprised that I remembered so many words to so many of the songs, and I was even more surprised that my mother used to let me listen to that kind of music when I was in high school. I knew that some of it was vulgar and sexual but Oh, Em, Gee. Wow. Halfway through the concert, I thought to myself, “I used to sing along to this when I was in 14?”

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Venetian

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Zip Line from the Rio Hotel

 

Fortunately for me (and my parents), I knew how to separate music, television, and video games from real life. I had to learn quickly that high school is nothing like Saved by the Bell, so I needed to get my life together. I am not much of a gambler, so I didn’t spend too much time doing that. Lorenzo and I played some slots when we had down time in between events and Lorenzo played Blackjack with his friends for a while. I suck at Blackjack; I have an app on my phone that I consistently lose money on so I figured I better not risk it in real life. Besides I already have an addiction to makeup, I don’t need to add gambling to that as well.

Now we have Thanksgiving and Christmas to look forward to. We are not big on Halloween, so I really don’t count it has something to celebrate. I’m not sure if it’s a good idea anyway with all these creepy clowns running around terrorizing people. Seriously, though, what’s up with that?

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View from the roof of the Rio Hotel

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Paris Hotel (view from the Bellagio)

Marriage Advice Gone Wrong

People love giving their opinions, even if you never asked for it. I used to be like that, but I had to learn to keep my 2 cents to myself unless I was asked. This way, if I said something they didn’t like, I could always follow up with, “Well, you asked!”. As I got older, I had to learn to take things with a grain of salt. Then I started paying attention to the people I was listening to, and that’s when I started ignoring folks all together. Why? Because people don’t know what they’re talking about! Your girlfriend/BFF who is never in a relationship or can’t keep one but always giving you relationship advice? Yeah, you shouldn’t listen to her. The guy who constantly cheats on his wife but tries to tell you what he thinks about marriage? Nope, you shouldn’t listen to him either. And you probably shouldn’t take financial advice from your adult friend who still sleeps on their parent’s couch and is living check to check but always has designer clothes and always wants to hang out. Just don’t do it.

Fortunately for me, I married a man who doesn’t listen to what other people have to say about his decisions. He knows what direction he wants to go in and doesn’t let other people deter him from his path. If someone presents an idea to him, he asks questions- lots of questions, before he would even consider it. When Lorenzo and I were dating, we were living in 2 different states. He relocated to Atlanta from Albuquerque, while I remained in New Jersey. Needless to say, there were a lot of people (read: men) who were trying to convince him to date as much as he can and play the field – even though he and I were already committed to each other. Not gonna lie, I got some crazy advice from people after we got engaged as well. Here is some of the craziest we’ve heard:

Don’t get married. Lorenzo had other men say this to him. Why? Because they felt like since he was young, successful, and childfree that the LAST thing he should do is settle down. They wanted him to go around and sleep with as many women as he could – because honestly, that’s what they would do. A lot of those guys had dead end jobs with a kid or two by multiple women and had their wages garnished due to child support payments. But maybe if they weren’t sleeping around so much and having kids they would have extra money to…oh, well never mind.

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Let yourself go. Multiple women have said this to me. I was shocked because I didn’t think people actually did that; I thought it was a joke. I used to look at them and think to myself, “You can’t be serious.” I didn’t keep myself in shape just to “catch a man,” I’m in the military so I have to stay in shape and honestly, I actually give a shit about my health, so no, I won’t be doing that.

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Marriage is boring. Or, “you won’t get to do things you like to do.”  I don’t understand this one. Is everyday supposed to be a party? If you’re so bored, why don’t you plan a trip or an outing or something? I can understand not having a whole lot of time to indulge in your hobbies if you have kids but if you don’t, why can’t you? I don’t get it. Someone will have to explain this one to me.

Don’t tell your husband about all of your purchases. So, lie to him? To me, this means that he can turn around and do the same thing by keeping things from me. Why would I want to do that? I’m a pretty financially savvy person, so I know better than to spend rent money on a new purse or make a major purchase when we are trying to save for a house. No thanks, I’m not trying to cause arguments intentionally.

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I’m sure that folks have the best intentions when they offer advice, but I realize many of them speak from their own experiences rather than placing themselves in the other person’s shoes; and just because its something you’ve gone through or would do yourself doesn’t mean its the best thing for ME. If we’d listened to everything other people told us to do we’d be arguing all the time just to prove we don’t have secrets, we would’ve bought a house in a not so great neighborhood and another house that we didn’t like just to live next to people that I didn’t know. We also would’ve had a kid just because someone Lorenzo worked with was pregnant, also someone I don’t know; and went into debt planning our wedding. Lorenzo would have taken jobs that wouldn’t have helped his career and I would nag him and start arguments about next to nothing, just to do it.

The moral of this story: people sometimes give shitty advice, not just about marriage, but about life in general. I think people should consider the person they are getting advice from and always do what they think is best for them. That other person who has so much to say about your life doesn’t have to deal with the consequences of what is ultimately YOUR decision. Listen, but with caution.

 

 

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I REALLY Have to Stop Watching Reality TV

Working from home can be a blessing and a curse. Many people that I talk to, including my co-workers, tell me how they would so bored and don’t think they could do it every day. I enjoy it despite the fact that I’m alone most of the day and that I’m not getting an opportunity to network with people in Atlanta. But, I look at it like this: I could still be at my old job, hating my life (this is usually the part where I get over it).

My co-workers sometimes call me and tease me about watching television all day, you know: soap operas, Maury, and The Price is Right (yes, that show is STILL on tv). I don’t watch those shows, but I have found myself watching some of the reality shows like Love and Hip Hop and Real Housewives for example (don’t judge me). Some of these shows are in their 4th and 5th seasons already so that just lets you know that I am SO lost as to what is going on and who is who.

I’ve never watched these show before because I had no interest in them. It just seemed like a bunch of people who don’t like each other making time to hang out with each other and when they get together all they do is fight. Once the fight is over, they go home and talk about each other, come back together to “work it out” or “clear the air” and either forgive each other for the time being, or they start fighting again. It’s just a vicious cycle that keeps looping over and over again. I get tired for them. Who wants to do all that fighting? What’s worse, is that it all seems so fake. I just refuse to believe that some of them are as idiotic as they portray themselves to be.

When I deployed, I made an agreement with myself that I would stop worrying about things that didn’t directly affect me. This meant  I had to learn to stop trying to control what others did, and what they thought and said about me. When I came home, I had to cut certain people out of my life to make it happen, and it has been a bit more peaceful ever since. These reality shows remind me of the people who I had to get rid of: just over dramatic for no reason. What’s worse is that some of them are older than I am! Have they not found out how to communicate with people in a way that is honest, without making assumptions or jumping to conclusions? It seems like they all get so offended over everything, literally, EVERYTHING. But I guess the drama makes for good ratings?

I’m just glad that football season has started so now I can watch the NFL Network instead. But I still think they all need to read The 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Great book, it helped me realize a great deal about my actions towards others and how I should take information as well. It made me want to think about how I want to react to things that other people say and do. Just a suggestion.

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