Why its Time to Retire… A Letter to my Future Self.

March 3rd marked the 19 year anniversary of when I joined the military. Just the paperwork portion of it, I didn’t actually go to basic training until a few months later. Every year on that anniversary I usually post a picture on Facebook or something and every year someone whom I’ve served with will jump in and encourage me to stay in longer.

I’m so sick of that.

Of course it happened again this year, and I think that no one believes me because I’ve been saying I wanted to get out for years and I kept re-enlisting. Once I hit the 14 year mark, I knew that I would stay long enough just to get my retirement. I figured if I completed 20 years, I can leave with no regrets because I did enough to finish and if I stayed in any longer than that it would be purely because I wanted to.

But I know me. I know that I will second guess myself half to death and end up staying out of fear (fear of what? I have no clue) and re-enlist again and ending up miserable. So I’m going to write a letter to my future self to remind me of this feeling I’m having right now and I’m going to put a reminder in my phone to check it also.

Dear Pat,

Enough is enough. Twenty years of your life is enough. You’ve been saying for years that you are tired of doing this, and you mean it. You have nothing left to give. The only way I can justify staying is if you’ve found another job that is relevant to your civilian career (which I doubt you’ll do in less than a year). Your back hurts, your knees are getting worse, you never really liked doing push-ups, you HATE running, and the food is terrible. Don’t be afraid to let go, don’t be afraid of the unknown. You have other things you want to do with your life so its time to move on.  You’d be doing a disservice to anyone you’d have to lead or mentor because you know your heart isn’t in it (and lets be real, you don’t even like half the people you work with anyway). You want your weekends back. You want to be able to plan a trip that’s not around their schedule. You actually want to travel to cool places, not middle-of-nowhere Arkansas. You can make extra money doing other things that won’t have you end up in the hospital because you threw your back out again, or because your asthma started acting up. You shouldn’t feel this way about your job. Don’t let anyone else convince you that you need to stay because they chose to stay. There was a time when you loved it, but I think that time has passed and now your heart is pulling your towards something else. If you decide to stay longer than planned stay because you want tostay because you’re happy, not because you feel like you don’t have any other options.  CREATE other options.

Love, Pat

Time to create some options…



To All the Books I Haven’t Read

Do we have any bibliophiles here?

If you’re anything like me you have a shelf, drawer, room, and Kindle full of books you haven’t read yet, but it still hasn’t stopped you from purchasing more. I used to have a lot of books. A lot. When I was in college, I was a member of a mail order book club (I can’t remember the name) and somehow managed to read for leisure in between classes. I think I would’ve gotten better grades if I paid more attention to my school work but that’s water under the bridge.

I’m not sure what happened to them, but most of them are gone now, probably donated after I came home from Iraq. I managed to save some good ones, and I can’t wait to get started on them (and re-read some others).

Here is a short list of some that I am going to start, and some I have to finish:

Successful Women Think Differently, Valorie Burton (just started this one and I also have the sequel Successful Women Speak Differently)
Think and Grow Rich for Women, Sharon Letcher (just finished)
Understanding Stocks, Michael Sincere (re-read)
The Emperor of Ocean Park, Stephen L. Carter
Reading Like a Writer, Francine Prose
The 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene (need to finish)
Growing Up Black, Jay David
And I have about 50 other “Want to Read” books on my GoodReads app, plus a few classics that are just sitting on my Kindle as well. I’m sure I’ll eventually get to them all but honestly, having the convenience of a Kindle and being able to download them so quickly is making it hard to keep up.

I almost miss the days I would walk around old bookstores and spend an hour or 2 looking for a book or three, now I can just download them on my handy-dandy iPad. I told Lorenzo I would eventually want to turn one of our rooms in a library or turn one of the walls into a bookshelf.

I think he thinks I’m kidding… but I’m not.

I’d be happy to take any suggestions as well. Read any good books lately?


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How to Not Kill Your Husband 101

I’ve been trying to figure out for the past few weeks how to write this in away that won’t be held against me later on in court, in the strange event that something does actually happen to my husband and for some reason it looks like I did it. Let me preface by saying: I don’t ACTUALLY want to kill my husband. I think that sometimes I get so irritated with him that I think I want to kill him, but I don’t. He’s just happens to be irritating me at that particular point in time and I don’t know how to handle it.

Is this what marriage is? Dealing with someone whom you love so much, yet at the same time can’t stand the sight of, but yet if they weren’t around you’d be sad? Just me? Probably. Lorenzo irritates me sometimes. Half the time I don’t know why, but I just really understand why some women keep cast iron skillets in the house. They are not just for grilled cheese sandwiches. I don’t even know if he knows that I want to strangle him sometimes. I think he does though…I can’t hide my facial expressions.

I asked my sister if she ever felt this way with her fiancé. She agreed. She said she really wants to kill him sometimes, but then she knows she’ll be pissed at him for actually dying so she doesn’t chance it. I remember having dinner one night with another couple, I am not even sure what happened but one minute everything was cool and then the next thing I know my friend is calling her fiancé annoying. He asked what he did, she said, “You’re breathing. You breathing annoys me. Ughh, you’re so annoying.” After a minute, Lorenzo laughed. I looked at him like he was crazy and said, “What are you laughing at? You’re annoying too.” I had to ask my friend who’s been with her husband for a total of 20 years how she doesn’t kill her husband every week. Her answer, with no hesitation: lots of prayer.

Am I just crazy? Seriously, that’s a real question because its like, one minute I love, love, love him, he’s #BAE, and he can do no wrong; and the next I want to throw things at him. Or vice versa; he’ll purposely do things to get under my skin then turn around and be super sweet (usually in the form of getting me food). Maybe I’m just hungry. I don’t know. And I’m about 175% sure I get on his last nerve as well, but if I ask he’ll probably feel like I’m trying to set him up or something, so I’ll never get an honest answer. On a good day.


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If I’m Cursing, I’m Not Trying to be a Lady

I had military training this past weekend and one of my friends was bothering me. When we arrived to our barracks we had to wait for someone to get keys. A friend of mine walked over to me and said:

“The females have to sleep outside” To which I promptly responded, “Fuck that.”

He laughed and said that he can never quite get used to me cursing because even though he knows that I do, that I don’t look like I do so it always throws him off.

I use profanity and I like to use it quite often. I’ve been doing it (properly) since I was 18. I’ve tried to quit in the past, and even had a swear jar at work for a few months (yes… MONTHS)…twice, but I can never seem to kick the habit completely. Why? I guess because deep down I really don’t want to. One of the biggest annoyances I have about it is that when people turn to me and say, “Its not ladylike”, especially coming from someone in the military, because dude…really? If I’m dropping f-bombs like nobody’s business, the LAST thing I’m trying to do is be a “lady”. I don’t know if I ever really was  one, but that’s another story for another day.


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Now don’t get me wrong, I do have some self control. I don’t curse around children or my elders (mother-in-law, my father, older family members/friends), professional settings, etc. so its not that I don’t have enough words in my vocabulary to express what I’m trying to say without cursing, its just something I choose to do. Its something I like to do. Most of the people in my life curse as well, including some coworkers so I am  almost surrounded by people who are fellow profanity users. Which probably doesn’t help…

I think for me that swearing is one of those things that I will just stop doing when I’m just tired of doing it, like when people smoke for 30 years and then just quit cold turkey and never go back. I think for now I still do it for shock value; I get a kick out of the faces that people make when they hear me curse for the first time…or the 70th (some never really get used to it). I always say that if I had my own kid I would finally quit, but then I think about all my friends who curse their kids out on a regular basis. I mean, I learned profanity from MY parents…so there’s that. Oh well.



Shout Out My Husband for Being Awesome

I swear that my husband is the most patient man on the planet. He has to be. He’s always calm and even when he is frustrated he doesn’t raise his voice. He’s never overly emotional and he so far above any pettiness that its inspiring for me to stop worrying about things and opinions that don’t matter. But of all that, most importantly, he puts up with me. Every. Single. Day.

Sometimes I feel like I am a walking train wreck. Other times, I feel like I have it all together and I’m the shit and you can’t tell me otherwise. There are days when I get so caught up in my own madness that Lorenzo will stop and ask me, “What are you thinking about?” because my emotions ALWAYS show on my face. Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I never met him. Would I have ever giving up this ridiculous pattern of dating men who obviously didn’t want the same things I wanted? Would I have ever fallen in love again? Would I have ever gotten married?


Honestly, about a month before I met Lorenzo I’d decided that I was just going to be single for the rest of my life. It wasn’t that I was refusing to date, I just didn’t think there was a man out there for ME-someone who could be compatible with me and my personality that I actually wanted to spend my life with who didn’t get on my nerves. I was even super skeptical of Lorenzo when we met, and it didn’t help that the first 8 months we were dating one of my co-workers almost had me convinced that he was going to kill me (she’s since given up on that idea but I haven’t, he IS a Marine for crying out loud).

Anyway, I’m grateful and blessed and happy to have my husband. He’s taught me so much about who I wanted to be, just by being himself. His maturity level is on 98 (he has his petty moments), he taught me what it feels like to have someone take care of me without wanting anything in return. He holds me accountable, challenges me, and doesn’t tolerate any of my crap. He’s never disrespectful and his communication skills are immaculate. Having a chance to know the people in his circle has helped me pick better friends- his friends actually help each other in times of need, there is no drama, and they all take care of each other. Its really something to strive for. He’s always really warm and he massages my scalp if I ask. He knows how to cook and doesn’t get all bent out of shape if I want to go shopping.


Don’t get me wrong, there are times where we end up on the wrong side of each other’s attitude, like when we went to Pappadeaux and bought gumbo and he took mine to work… (*sigh*) but, so far, its nothing we can’t handle. So…shoutout to him.



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.


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.



Dad and I (on a random outing)





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?).


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.


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.