Saturday, December 1, 2012

Credit reports suck balls.

In this day and age, I know it is absolutely stupid to not check up on your credit report at least once a year. You know, to make sure bad things aren't happening. 

But I've never been that kind of girl.

I had a credit card once upon a time, when I was in college and they said, "It will help just to have it. You don't even need to use it." And I used it once or twice, paid it off at the beginning of the month like a good girl...and promptly forgot about it for a while. Then I moved out on my own, got an apartment with a roommate who frequently overspent and then needed to borrow money for rent. And that credit card came in handy, especially when Daddy offered to pay it off for me every month to help me.

But then, you know, I decided six months into THAT deal that I was a big girl with my own money and financially stable enough to pay my own bills. I asked him to stop paying it. And I forgot about it a couple of times, realized it and did what any sane eighteen year old girl would do. I paid off the balance and closed the card. Credit saved.

That's about all. 

I mean, I've rented apartments, but I don't know if that actually goes on your credit or not. Does it? I don't think so. It's not like an account or anything.

So I've just gone through life with student loans (paying off slowly) and some medical (paying off even more slowly) on my credit, and a card that I once had but I closed myself.

I've never worried about my credit.

I wasn't interested in credit cards or the idea of loans and mortgages and other things, so I didn't check it.

But then I decided to do it. And low and behold, my credit score wasn't fabulous. It's not awful, but it certainly isn't in the range I thought it would be. Of course, according to my credit thing my biggest problem is that I have NO lines of credit open. 

Following the advice of my financial nanny (AKA Padawan, who is frequently asking, "Do you really  need to buy those shoes?" when we go out), I decided to apply for a credit card through my bank. And for some reason, I got declined.

Based on my credit score (I got it without getting a credit report), it should have been simple to get one through the bank that I have used for a few years. That I have a savings and checking account through. Why couldn't I get one?

So I got my credit report. July of 2003 I got a car loan for ten thousand dollars? WHAT????

Let's do the math here. I'm twenty four years old. In July of 2003 I was fourteen years old! What the FUCK would I do with a car loan? Better yet, what fucking idiot would give a car loan to someone who's social security number said she was fourteen? I'm not entirely sure how it works, but I a pretty sure that my DOB is attached to any information on my SSN, so either some shady loan shark gave it out, or some idiot bank employee wasn't doing their job.

The crazy part is that I've never had a driver's license or owned a car on my own. It's ironic, really.

It can be pulled from my record, of course. Legally, I can't be held responsible for identity theft that occurred before I was eighteen and capable of taking care of my own legal affairs. The law, in this case, is on my side.

But that's going to take a while, and in the meantime I'm stuck with this crappy ass credit score with a few other things that aren't mine. I can't even get a credit card through my own bank until this is cleared up.

Here's my problem, though. I'm lucky enough to be able to get out of this because I'm clearly not at fault. But getting my credit UP with a score like that? If I was stuck like this, if it was something I had done myself, how the hell would I be able to improve my credit score? You can't get ANY credit open with a score like how does it work? Once most people are in bad credit do they get the chance to fix it? Will they be stuck forever with no hope of improving their situation in life because they made a few dumb choices when they were young? 

Sunday, November 4, 2012


So I thought I'd tell you guys about my Halloween.

First of all, I was off that day. Which on any other day would rock, but my job hosted its first EVER Halloween Costume Contest and a Halloween Party at work. And I've never won a Halloween Costume Contest before, and I wasn't about to pass up the opportunity. You know, because I just wanted to win. The fifty dollar visa gift card prize wasn't the point. I just wanted to win.

So I got ready that morning, picked up some chocolate and pumpkin cupcakes on the way, and breezed into work, in almost full costume, just after noon. I only needed to be there long enough for the voting, which was supposed to take place when I got there. But. You know. Musicians are incapable of doing anything on time. Ever. So I was there until four when the results of the vote finally came in.

My competition for the contest: One Dallas Cowbows Football Player, one Star Trek Uhura, one kitty cat, and one Jim Halpert as Facebook. And then there was me. The Black Widow.

Jim Halpert as Facebook, complete with Dunder Mifflin Paper Company Mug

Uhura, Communications Expert or something.

The Cat with Cheetah Spots
The Dallas Cowboys Football Player

I practiced flipping over the bed in this costume.

So, I thought Jim Halpert as Facebook had it, or considering that all of my coworkers are extreme Trekkies, I thought maybe Uhura had it.

But imagine my surprise when the votes were tallied and I was declared the winner.  Even without the wig (which Penny ate that morning because she's still in her puppy chew on everything phase) I was the winner.

Most awesome.

And I was covered from my toes all the way up to my neck and almost to my finger tips. 

That was pretty fun. I also tried on Padawan's costume when I got home. It was too big.

Then we got ready to escort Master Plo Koon off for trick or treating. And this was the three of us ready to depart.

The Avengers! And their giant twinkie.
 So, his costume is something called Jake from Adventure Time. From behind, he looks like a giant twinkie with a tail, and even then...most of the time the tail is invisible. So he just looks like a giant twinkie. He forgot his sword and didn't realize it until I asked. But if he HAD remembered his sword then he would have looked like a giant twinkie with a toothpick. Come to think of it...that might have been funnier.

We took the dogs, too. They were dressed as Choo Choo the Jack-o-lantern and Penny the Harry Potter Dog. (Which really just meant she wore my tiny tie from my Hermione Granger costume and then I made a small dog sized scarf with red and gold yarn. I also made glasses from pipe cleaners, but she wouldn't leave them on.) 

All in all, it was quite a fun night.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Vicious dogs? What are you talking about?

When I was eight years old, my mom and dad drove out one Valentine's Day and came back with a loving gift for our entire family. A puppy.

But not just any puppy.

This was the cutest, fuzziest puppy I'd ever seen. Black with a fluffy coat and a purple tongue, it look more like a teddy bear or a lion than a dog. We named him Taz, like the Tasmanian Devil from the cartoon, and he became a beloved member of our family.

Taz was a breed known as a Chow Chow. Until we got him, I'd never heard of the breed, so all I knew about Chow Chows was what I learned from Taz.

They make great pillows. They are good foot warmers. They like to cuddle. They are warm. You can brush them for hours and it never gets boring. They like treats. You can teach them lots of tricks and they learn quickly. They like oatmeal, and love eating it from a spoon rather than from a bowl. They like to sleep under the covers, head on a pillow. Kisses are a daily requirement before any person is allowed to leave the house.

It wasn't until he was fully grown that we learned that not everyone loves Chow Chows. We moved to a house in a quiet neighborhood in Jacksonville, and my sister and I were walking him.  We were, of course, scrawny and undersized children. Small, blonde, not the kind of kids you'd expect to see walking around a giant lion dog unattended. But like I said, Taz was a giant teddy bear. He was gentle, walked by your side, never pulled the leash. He was a good dog. When we were out one day, a woman stopped us and asked if she could pet him. (We learned later she lived three houses down and her name was Suzanne. Mom never liked her.)

Taz loved to be pet. A pat on the head was second only to a good belly rub in his world, so we told her of course. She praised him and then asked, "What kind of dog is he? He's so good!"

"He's a Chow Chow," we told her.

She snatched her hand away."A Chow Chow? Your parents let you walk him alone? They're dangerous!" 

I remember being confused. How was a Chow Chow dangerous? Taz didn't bite people. I'd never even heard him growl at someone before. We told her, "He's not dangerous. He's a good dog." We told her about how the Twins rode him around like a horse. She was appalled that our parents would have a "vicious dog" in a house with four small girls. 

She hurried away.

Every time we took Taz our for a walk, someone would comment about how it was dangerous to let us walk him alone. One man even escorted us home and told Dad that he was "concerned the dog would turn on them. Haven't you heard about these dogs?"

Our dog would turn on us? 

What were these people seeing when they were looking at Taz? 

Is that the face of a dangerous dog about to turn on his little girls at any moment? What exactly where they seeing that seemed so dangerous? Sure, he looks like a lion, but not in a dangerous way! But all of these people seemed so worried!

Dad did some research.

So it turned out that Chow Chows had a bad rap. They were considered high risk breeds. Something about extreme aggression.

Well you know what?

It's bullshit. Straight up bullshit. That dog never in his life showed a hint of aggression. He loved children and adults. Yeah, he was a guard dog. The one time he ever tried acted viciously, and he was protecting our house from someone trying to break in through our back door. It was unfortunate for that man that Taz was sleeping in the den by the back door that night. (He normally slept in bed with us. I can't remember why he was in the den that night, but I'm sure glad he was!)

That Chow Chow was raised in a home with four little girls constantly underfoot, ranging from ages  five to nine. Our cousins were often over for visits, ranging from ages four to thirteen. Friends from school parading through, our parents' friends. A constant flow of people in and out of the house. Taz never so much as showed his teeth in anything other than a welcoming smile. 

And you can sit there and tell me, "Well, you had the one good Chow Chow. Most of them are dangerous! They've killed people."

My answer?

There are no such things as bad dogs, just bad owners.

You can take any dog of any breed and turn it vicious. You could make a Boston vicious if you were so inclined. It's not in the genes of the dog, it's in the personality of the owner. I've known lots of Chow Chows in my life, and they were all beautiful specimens and a credit to their breed. Polite, loving, cuddly, and loyal. 

I've always said that when I live in a house and I have a yard, I'm going to get another Chow Chow. When we took Penny to her first vet visit, there was a golden Chow Chow in the office. I got really excited and I commented to the owner, "What a beautiful Chow Chow! They're such great dogs!"

She answered, "Are they? I just got him from a pound because he's so pretty! Everyone's been telling me they're really bad pets because they're mean! You're the first person who had something nice to say."

I snorted, "They are not mean! They're great furry children! Anyone who told you that has clearly never owned one. I grew up with a Chow Chow, and he was the best dog ever!"

When I commented to Padawan that I intended to get another one, he said, "Chanel, those are really aggressive dogs. Do you want to risk Choo Choo?'

I berated him for listening to stupidity. German Shepards and Rottweilers have the same reputation for aggression and violence, and my family has owned both. They were all well trained, well behaved, gentle dogs.

I've read articles that claim that Chow Chows do not obey well, that they tend to dominate their owners, that they are difficult to train.  I don't know who these people are or what the heck they've been doing with their dogs, but if I could train my Chow Chow to sit, lay down, roll over, and shake within two months as an eight year old, then surely experienced dog owners could do better! As for the saying that they are dogs with the personality of cats, I've never met a Chow Chow who fit the description, and Taz most certainly didn't! 

So if you're ever out on the street and you see a dog that the media says is "vicious", pause for a moment before you hurry to get away and think. There is no such thing as a vicious breed of dog. Every dog is different, and every owner is different. Before you label that dog as dangerous, wait and see what it does. Every dog deserves a chance at happiness, and imagine how you would feel if people shrank away from you because they thought you might be dangerous. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Padawan tossed a wretched accusation at me a few moments ago which, to be perfectly honest, really hurt my feelings. 

He accused me of having a shoe obsession.

And compared me to Carrie Bradshaw.

Don't get me wrong. When Relly calls me "a total Carrie", it's a compliment. I have an amazing closet and my sisters love to come over and play dress up and borrow things. (Which I reclaim. There is no borrowing forever in my world. I always get my things back.) She's says it with a mixture of admiration and envy. Because, let's face it, my clothes are pretty freaking awesome, and my shoes are always fun. Do I own a lot? Yes. But I wear every single thing multiple times in multiple ways. So when my sisters joke that I'm the Austin romantic/hippy version of Carrie Bradshaw, it feels nice.

The way Padawan said it?

He said it more like it was a disease.

I have a lot of shoes, but I don't feel like I'm obsessed with them. I buy shoes, I wear them. I rock them. When they break, I either have them fixed or I replace them. It's not like I'm just uselessly accumulating piles of shoes here and then refusing to throw them out. If they aren't fixable and aren't wearable, they go in the trash. If I stop wearing them because I no longer love them, they go in the bag for donation. I clean everything out...oh, every three months or so.

Wouldn't call that an obsession, would you?

So I'll level with you. Right at this very moment in time, I own thirty one pairs of shoes. Sixteen pairs of boots, one pair of running shoes, two pairs of house slippers, three pairs of flats, eight pairs of heels in varying heights and styles, and one pair of flip flops because, apparently, everyone needs a pair of those in this state. (And for the record, of those sixteen pairs of boots, absolutely NONE are cowboy/cowgirl boots. Not. A. Single. Pair.) No, thirty one pairs of shoes isn't really a big number...

I mean, I have a coworker, who is male, that owns sixty pairs of shoes. Or, he was a coworker but he quit. Granted, he has a very specific kind of shoe. He only owns Chucks. I'd consider that an obsession. Me? I have a range! For different outfits! Different looks! It's a fashion thing, not an obsession. 

The day I start sacrificing things like health insurance, toothpaste, and food in order to buy shoes is the day you can brand me obsessed. In the meantime...I'm just someone who likes pretty things. I own over fifty pairs of earrings, but you don't hear anybody harping on about that because they're earrings. They're in a jewelry box on top of my dresser and they don't take up a lot of space. It's only an obsession to other people when they get in someone's way.

Well, he's made his little demand. We're going to clean out some of the clutter tomorrow.

But not ONE PAIR of shoes is going.

Not a single one.

Maybe a pair of jeans.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Nope. Still hate it.

I would like to formally request (also note that this is really a DEMAND) that Blogger please return the option of using the old blogger dashboard.

This new streamlined thing is annoying.

I do not like it.

The icons are useless.

I don't like the way things look. There's no longer the same scroll option without moving the whole effing page.

I don't like the color scheme, either.

Just because I disappeared for like six months or something doesn't give blogger the right to just ruin everything while I was gone. I mean, come on. No countdown? That was just plain rude. And that is all I have to say about it.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I believe congratulations are in order.

It was not too long ago, I'm sure, when I wrote a rant complaining about the size of my bed. I complained that it was too small, that it was uncomfortable, and that Choo Choo made the situation worse by stretching out and digging in her claws.

Then we decided to adopt another furry child, and Penny Lane moved in and changed everything about our lives, including Choo Choo's life, who is still unhappy with the whole eating and drinking schedule thing. And even when Penny Lane, now a whopping eighteen pounds of Boston Terrier cuteness, became big enough to sleep in the bed, Padawan still insisted that our bed was adequate.

Well, after a month of Penny sleeping in the bed with us, usually between both of our heads so she can snore in our ears all night, Padawan's sleep started to suffer. Mine, already poor, didn't change. And he began to notice all of the symptoms of sleep deprivation that I'd discovered, tragically, months ago when I first realized that our bed was too small. 

So when I casually started mentioning that it was time for a new bed...

He still said no.

Because he's a man. And men are incredibly stubborn.

But comes about that we're going to need new furniture. (It's a long story.) I told him if we were getting new furniture, then we might as well get a new bed, too. We weren't expecting it until December, but he agreed. So we made plans. New dresser, new couch, new entertainment center, and new bed. He once mistakenly insinuated that we replace my bookshelves that my grandparents got me for Christmas two years ago, but my brutal rebuff sent him off that topic pretty quickly. He never brought it up again.

But then there was a sudden change of plans and it seemed we probably wouldn't need new furniture. Or at least not a new couch, which was actually what had sparked the notion of just getting all new furniture in the first place. But I told him I couldn't hold off on the bed, so we took a trip to the store yesterday to look. (Well, he went to look. I went with every intention of purchasing.)

We tested out bed after bed, styles, colors, mattresses, sizes...everything. And I finally convinced him that king sized was the only way to go. And then...

I talked him into buying.

And then a mere three hours after we made our grand purchase...our bed was delivered, set up, covered in new sheets and pillows and an eight piece comforter set...we even got a rug for the bedroom and swanked everything up...

And last night....was the best night's sleep I've gotten since I had that queen sized bed all to myself while I was in Florida for the wedding. 

With Choo Choo, Penny, Padawan, and myself...there was no discomfort. It was perfect.

And now that he's seen the error of his ways...let's just hope he's prepared to listen to my ideas about the new dresser and entertainment center...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Here I am. Alive.

And well. Unless you count the stress. And exhaustion. And the frustration.

But, physically, if not mentally, I'm here and healthy as a horse. (Or I assume so. I have fancy healthy insurance, but I've never so much as gone in for my yearly check up. Although I suppose I should since I'm about to run out of B/C and I kind of need know. To regulate things.)

Penny is huge.

Choo Choo is finally adjusted. 

They're like total B.F.F.s now. Inseparable. Except when it comes to the bones. For some reason, Choo Choo lays claim to all of the bones. And since Penny is teething now we bought her these huge rawhide bones that she couldn't chew through in a day...

She never gets to chew on them for more than a minute or two. Even though she can't walk properly with them and has to drag them on the floor with her head at an odd angle, Choo Choo steals the stupid things and refuses to let Penny near them. And Pen Cushion (that's her nickname)...just kind of rolls over and takes it. Choo Choo, it appears, is the dominant personality. (As we expected.)

Surprises, though. Penny is a water doggy. Likes to swim, likes to play fetch, and for some reason picks up a new stick on every walk that she brings home, happy as pie to just chew on it when Choo Choo takes the rawhides. (Except that Choo Choo also tries to take the sticks, even though she has never been interested in mere sticks her whole little Chihuahua life.) We're going to get Penny a life jacket as soon as she's fully grown, and one for Choo Choo, too. (Though she really doesn't care too much for the water, she hates it when we swim off and leave her alone.)

By the way, water can't have sharks in it when it's a creek that's got try rocks on all sides. There's no ocean connected to it! Therefore, I will swim in Bull Creek. So long as I can see the bottom, it is A OK with me.

Padawan's company just released the stupid game they've been gearing up for forever, and the back log is awful. MMO RPGs really are silly. And if you need more servers, why can't they just buy them? 

Band Season is winding down to a close. We're in the last home stretch week of extended hours and overtime. And I'm freaking exhausted, to tell you the truth. I plan on sleeping in a WHOLE LOT next Sunday.

I know I've been gone for a while...I haven't been on. Honestly, I forgot my password for a while there but then it suddenly came back to me. So here I am. How long do you think it will take me to catch up on the reading? 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Puppy has Arrived

Padawan and I have welcomed the newest member to our family: our very own little Boston Terrier, Penny.

I'd like to say it's been a graceful transition. We are in day two, and Choo Choo is no warmer now than she was yesterday. In fact, when Choo Choo is on the couch with us and Penny gets pulled up, she will face her head the other direction and refuse to acknowledge her presence.

Worse, Choo Choo has displayed remarkably aggressive behaviors that she's never showcased before. The main concern? Penny wandered into the bathroom, which is where we've always kept Choo Choo's food and water. Unlike most dogs, Choo Choo has never scarfed her food and nibbles daintily throughout the day, so her bowl is never empty. She's never shown any signs of guarding before: I can literally stick my hand in her bowl and pull it away and she will just let it go. But the second Penny stepped into the bathroom, my Choo Choo lunged for her bowl, laid in front of it, and snarled.

It was not a cute snarl, like when she plays with Padawan and tugs at her toys.

This was a viscous, my hackles are up, stay the hell away from my stuff snarl. It made the fine hairs on my arm and at the nape of my neck stand on end. I've never encountered this behavior before, so I just picked her up and told her no, then scooted her out of the bathroom.

Later, Penny happened to toddle by Choo Choo when she was chewing on a rawhide dental bone. Not interested in the bone or Choo Choo, she just strolled by. Choo Choo dropped the rawhide and snarled again. This time when I reached for her to correct the behavior with a firm "no", Choo Choo snapped at me.

The behavior only extends to Penny. At the dog park, Choo Choo is as social as ever. Today we even ventured into the large dog enclosure where she promptly made friends with two huskies, a shitz tsu that lived with the huskies, and some type of huge fluffy white dog that looked like a cloud. Kira Dog, of course, was there, keeping Choo Choo from escaping into small openings in the fence she could squeeze through. For all that Kira is poorly trained, she's a smart dog and I adore her. (Despite the wolf scratches she left on my arm last year that are still scarred into my wrist.)

From small dogs to huge dogs, my Choo Choo is warm, welcoming, and absolutely fearless. (As long as she's not on a leash: when meeting other dogs while on the leash Choo Choo is anxious and tends to growl or bark.) We suppose the problem she nurses against Penny is because this puppy is in her home, on her furniture, playing with her people.

We tried to ease Choo Choo into the whole thing. We took her to Dallas to pick up the puppy, let them gamble about with the rest of litter together to get acquainted. We let them lay next to each other on furniture that was no ours. The trouble didn't actually start until we got into the car, which is Choo Choo's territory, an extension of our home.

Sometimes, when Penny is asleep or looking the other direction, Choo Choo shows interest and will sniff and wag her tail at the puppy. That goes well until Penny tries to kiss her face. Choo Choo is incapable of allowing any dog get in her face: her reaction is always to growl, and if pressed, to snap. She does not bite, though. That is important. She doesn't aim to hurt: only to send the offender away. That's better than a dog that does bite.

Padawan and I are unsure how to move forward. We don't want Choo Choo to ignore the puppy: the idea is for them to be companions who live and play together. We are avoiding punishment. When Choo Choo reacts badly, we say "no", and when she does something good we reward the preferred behavior immediately with love, affection, and treats. However, I really think that this new behavior is something we're going to have to have worked out with a trainer.

In the meantime, Penny is a rolling, wiggly ball of energy and we're very pleased to report she got a perfect bill of health from the vet, and we're already socializing her with as many people and known and safe dogs as possible. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Guess what?


Nice bump to my paychecks.

And a bump in my work load.

We're still shorthanded, and still trying to find people to fill in the gaps. So I'm pulling double duty still, although we DID hire one dude recently and he seems competent and friendly. And entirely too skinny, but that's not relevant to whether or not he can do the job(s) he was hired to do.

I did actually threaten to leave, you know, if things didn't get taken care of. Shows how much they really want me to stick around. Things immediately got better.

Go figure. I should have thought of that months ago.

Nobody wants to send away someone who is helpful, smart, willing to work, not to mention very good at selling instruments. (But let's not kid ourselves here: I sell a lifestyle. Young girls want to be like me. Mothers want their daughters to play like me. Fathers want sons to grow up to date women like me. Alright, well, the last one might not be true, but the first two certainly are.) Especially when what they would be left with is someone who is...well. The exact opposite.

Deliberately unhelpful, blatantly rude, spacey, lazy, and with a bad attitude that can't sell much of anything...

Yeah. I'm the better choice, definitely.

Anyway, that's where I've been. And things are swinging into high gear. Band Season is kicking off, and we're trying to get things in.

So. I'll write sporadically until things cool down.

But I'm around.

So please. Try not to post a million and five things or I'll never catch up.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Did I fall into a hole?

Where have I been?

I don't know. Sick. Tired. Sick. 

Really sick.

Like I was in the middle of a company dinner and I had to run out mid toast to be sick in the bathroom. 

It's a damn good thing I have good health insurance now so going to a doctor is not a concern. It's not even expensive. Twenty five dollars for a visit and ten dollars for my medicine. That's a pretty good deal, if you ask me. 

There's a new rule at work that if we're going to call in sick we have to call the owner himself on his personal cell phone and tell him, and then he'll call whoever needs to know.

Well, after leaving the dinner early and being sick all the next day (which happened to be my day off), I was still sick on Thursday. But the idea of calling the owner was so horrifying, not only because he's the big boss but also because I tend to cry when I describe what feels wrong in my body, that I decided it was better to go to work anyway and just get sent home.

It was brilliant. I went to work in a sweatshirt and jeans, stayed for thirty minutes, and had a coworker take me home with no fuss, and I did not have to call the owner. That's the way to do it, you know. Don't call in. Go to work and then just have Manager Man send you home. 

If I'm ever feeling sick again I will do that.

I've missed you guys, but I haven't caught up on posts. It seems everybody keeps living their lives without me. It's a little disappointing. I kind of hoped that when I disappeared the whole world stopped functioning until I came back again. But it seems you guys are still up and functioning. Way to crush my dreams, guys. 

Seriously, though. I fully intend to get back into the thick of this particular blogosphere as soon as possible. Which means after I'm finished changing my sister's paper. Second one, you know, and she hasn't improved. It's a nightmare. In fact, I'm supposed to be editing now but I can't make sense of this one opening sentence and it's baffling. I can't move forward with the paragraph until I know what it means. And I have no idea what it means.

I may not be the best writer in the world, but I'm pretty sure my thoughts are always coherent, at the very least, even if they don't make actual sense. (For instance, I'm terrified of sharks appearing in swimming pools. I express the idea well, but it still doesn't make sense.)

Anyway, I'm going back to the paper now. know. Thanks for still being around?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Just when you think there's no one crazier than me...

I spend like ninety percent of my time imagining horrific outcomes for things I consider doing. 

For instance, when I go up a ladder at work to take down an oboe, I imagine all of the things that could possibly happen while I'm up on that ladder. Someone sneaking up behind me, someone dropping a book loudly behind me, somebody screaming suddenly, the ladder buckling, somebody knocking the ladder over on purpose, me reaching too far for the oboe...

All of these different scenarios all feature the end result: me falling off the ladder and breaking my neck which either leads to my tragic death or puts me in a wheelchair as a paraplegic for the rest of my presumably long life.

I constantly think about all of the horrible things that can result from whatever simple task it is that I am doing. My god, using the hole puncher I imagine chopping off part of my finger and getting a serious gangrene infection and dying a slow, agonizing death or losing my finger and living with a lifelong knowledge that my hands will never play a flute again.

It's freaking horrifying.

It's a damned depressing way to go through life, too. My days are filled with horrors and fears and second thoughts. When I decide to do something, half the time I change my mind simply because the worst case scenario my mind creates is so terrifying I become incapable of doing it myself. Simple things like rearranging instrument displays become games of direct and correct as I instruct other people (usually Lord Darminick, formerly Denominator) on how I want things done. It would save time, energy, and frustration if I would just hop up and do it myself, but I could fall with a tenor sax in my hand and the neck could stab through my skin when I hit and sever my jugular. I'd bleed to death in seconds: death my tenor sax. Well, the obituary would be interesting.

It's just frustrating. Just once I'd like to be able to do something, anything, without considering the fifty million ways I'm likely to die while doing the things that must get done. 

But then I talked to a man today who has problems way worse than mine.

Because, you know, he insists on buying a brand new trumpet that has never been played. By anyone. Ever. 

And that is literally impossible. Because no manufacturer, no matter who you are or what you say, will release an instrument from their factory without giving it a play test. It will never happen. They have to test the instruments along each stage of the process to make sure it works. There will always be at least ONE PERSON who has played an instrument before you.

It's just the way it works.

So he wants to pay sixty dollars MORE to have a brand new instrument chemically cleaned when he comes to buy it. Just to make sure there are no germs.

And have got to be seriously fucked up if you are afraid the germs are coming to get you from a trumpet that had someone put air through it six weeks ago for five seconds.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bridal Dresses

Shopping for a bridal gown with my sister was...


It wasn't like prom dresses. When I walked into a store looking for a prom dress (all five times) I was comfortable. Confident.

Walking into a room filled to the brim with white, fluffy dresses and gossamer veils and cases filled with sparkling tiaras and hairpieces?


I felt ready for it, though, if not exactly in my element. Prom dresses? Hell yeah! How different could a wedding dress be?

The first appointment was at Alfred Angelo's or something like that, which had a dress she really liked. And then she added, "I also had an appointment for a bridesmaid's dress. She's got to try it on so I can see if it will be flattering."

Um...excuse me?

I think I missed something because I'm pretty freaking sure the enticement had been comfortable chairs and champagne and fun as I rated, critiqued, and judged the dresses with cards. Trying things on? No.

No. No. No.

The entire store had no walls! Just lots of mirrors with pedestals! You could literally stand in any spot and see every other person in the store because their reflection just appeared. All well and good for the bride, but for me?

No, I do not think so.

Then Relly proceeded to try on five dresses. Some were pretty. One was so awful I did my pinched up Queen Look and didn't even bother marking it on the score because it was simply that hideous. Seriously, it looked like three different dresses had been cut up and thrown together.

And she did have one that she liked a lot, but she had another appointment at a salon that sold another designer she was very interested in, so she didn't want to commit. I thought I had made off like a bandit without having to try anything on but then she said, "Oh, Chanel still has to try on the bridesmaid dress."

Great. Balls. Of. Fire.

Relly, you really should have your matron of honor try it on. She's got the hardest figure to fit. If this dress is flattering on me it doesn't mean it will work of her.

Relly was adamant. 

Into the dressing room I went, and let me tell you I was not dressed for trying things on. I wore skinny jeans, calf high boots, a cami, and a sweater. Layers over layers to remove to slip into this dress.

That was my size, supposedly, and still too big. And it didn't even cover as much of my anatomy as my bras did, and let me tell you I did not want to step out of that dressing room into the Hall of Mirrors for everyone to see a lot more of me than generally gets revealed.

So I stuck my head out and said, " know, I think something a little less low cut would be best. Some of the other girls will be falling out..."

"Just come out."

I'm not going to lie. I didn't try to put on a happy face. I slouched my shoulders, picked up the dress (because even though the average woman is only five foot four and I am five foot six, they make these dresses to fit six feet tall women so they're all too long) and slumped out. In my stocking feet, I'll have you know, because I didn't take off my socks.

A few pins and tucks, and then, "Alright, it's fitted. You can get up on the pedestal."


"Stand up straight, Chanel, stop slouching!"

Straighten up, but I still held the deep neckline together and restated my case. 

Salesgirl: "Wow, this dress is stunning on you. (To Relly:) Look at the way the line follows her body."

Relly: "I love the cut. See how the halter top makes her collar bones stand out? It looks elegant."

Memaw: "You look so tall! It's gorgeous."

Random other people: "Oh, you're so lucky you get to wear a dress that you rock!" Blah. Blah. Blah.

I can literally see myself no matter which way I turn. I am standing in the middle of a sea of brides and bridesmaids and mothers of the bride and they are all looking, commenting on this very red dress that I am wearing that I think needs to be taken up an inch at the neck.

And then the salesgirl starts tucking in the front, getting very close to me, mentioning all of the alterations they can make. "We can have them sew this so it isn't so low here if it makes you uncomfortable. The neck won't be so big, we'll get your measurements and get it in your size. This seriously is a stunning look for you. Are you going with this color? Blue? Oh, yes. Blue will be beautiful."

Relly: "You need a tan, though. You're way too pale."

"I am not tanning for your wedding. I am going to be all natural me. Can I please change back now? We know this is the one."

And I jumped down and ran off without waiting for an answer.

But my ordeal was over.

We went to the second store for our appointment to check out the Maggie dresses. And we were early, so the consultant encouraged us to look around and pull anything that stood out while she prepared a room and pulled the dresses Relly knew she wanted to try.

So we perused. And I found this halter dress with this gorgeous, sparse beading and a low back that was stunning. Relly agreed and we added that to her dresses. All in all there were seven dresses to try on. And none for me.

So I took a seat in a very large, accommodating arm chair, my grandmother sat in a chair next to me. And we waited for her to come out. 

The first dress was beautiful. It was flattering, and even though I hate rouching (is that how you spell it?) it made her waist look absolutely tiny. It was gorgeous, and definitely my favorite of all of the dresses she tried on so far.

The second was pretty, but no good.

The third...not so much.

The fourth...was very pretty, but she liked the first one better.


Sixth? Well, it was stunning, absolutely perfect. But it was way too formal and she couldn't see herself wearing it to the wedding she was planning.

Dress number seven...was the one I had picked. And she came out with a smile. And she did a little dance and looked at herself and said she loved it. Add a veil, take some pictures, add a hair piece...and it was the one. She tried on the first one again, just to be sure, but it was the seventh dress and she knew it.

And that, my friends, was a day of twelve dresses. She decided, and until my fitting, I never have to go back.

My only question is this: how on earth am I going to handle shopping for my own wedding dress?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A little honesty about my job.

I have a secret.

I've been working at our South location recently.  Not much...just a few times. You know, when it worked with my schedule and didn't entail a three hour bus ride or a six hour walk home in the dark. Just to see what it's like.

And to lend a helping hand. (The entire SM department just up and quit, you know.)

And the secret part?

I kind of love it there.

Okay, I totally don't love the stairs. (Who could?) And it's like a maze up there, and everything is separated. (Which is also a total plus! How many times a day do I get asked for help with guitar stuff at the South side? NONE!)

But I do love the way the people treat me. 

I adore my coworkers here. I really do.

But...let's be honest. I started working with them when I was nineteen years old, and I was a receptionist. So that's really all they see when they look at me. (Okay, so Jay Jay and B-Money are the exceptions to this rule, and Preggers and Jazz because they didn't work there until recently and so didn't know me then.)  When they do something that they shouldn't and I express my dissatisfaction and take the time to explain why they can't just go around leaving things in my department, I get, "You know, it really doesn't matter. When you get used to this job you'll realize it." And when I get angry and express my irritation, the only answer I get is, "It's so cute when you get mad."

My closest coworker actually told me one day that he's planning on leaving and starting his own lighting and sound business and he wanted to take me and Jay Jay away from the store with him when he left. I asked, "Well what would you have me do?"

And he laughed like I'd just asked the dumbest question in the world and told me, "Well obviously you'd be my receptionist. It's not like you can do anything else."

My sales are phenomenal. My customer ratings are up. I had a customer send me flowers as a fucking thank you and the best I can get is receptionist

All that I am, all that I have achievede, every ounce of knowledge I have gained...absolutely worthless in the eyes of the people with whom I spend my daylight hours. 

And the people at the South location...they've only ever known me on the phone. There is no stigma attached to my name and face for them. So when they met me, they treated me like a twenty three year old woman. Like a sane, reasonable human being. And when I mentioned that something they were doing didn't make sense, rather than just laughing and saying, "Oh, it's cute that Chanel thinks she can fix things that are wrong!" and patronize me over "trying to know better than everyone else," they look at me and say, "My god, you're right." And then they fixed it. 

I hate being patronized, and I didn't realize just how bad it was...until I put myself into an environment that actually respected me as a musician, as a coworker, and as a woman. 

Oh, I've known for years that my coworkers don't take me seriously. Because I'm  young. Because I am "perpetually happy", because I am endlessly patient.

Things are changing, sure. But are the changing in a way that will help me?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sweetest Customer EVER Award

So toady I was sitting at work, minding my own business.

Okay, so I was actually on the phone with Bird from our South Store, trying to get through a very complicated pain in my ass special order for a sheet music customer. 

(By the way, Reverend retired. And by retired I mean he came into the store Monday morning and said he was resigning. And then he packed up his things from his office and left and we haven't seen or heard from him since. I just tell his customers that he's retired now because saying he just up and quit on morning doesn't sound as pleasant.)

I was on the phone with him, talking about how inventory was claiming we had six of them, when I heard, "Channelle? She's standing over there."

So I looked up, wondering who had come in looking for me, and there was a delivery guy holding a huge bouquet of red and white flowers in a giant vase.


I was...surprised. Shocked. Immediately thrilled. 

In a confused voice, I interrupted Bird's sentence to say, "Hey, I'll call you back. Some flowers just walked in the door with my name on it." And I hung up.

Everyone was looking at the flowers and saying how sweet Padawan was for sending them, and I was agreeing as I was opening up the card and the delivery guy was getting the paperwork ready for me to sign.

And when I read the card, I was beyond shocked.

"Uh...these aren't from Padawan."

Every single coworker's head swiveled to stare at me.

"They're from a customer."

Everybody hurried over to see.

Oh, I kid you not. A customer sent me flowers. Actually, not even a customer since I failed in every respect to get her what she was trying to find. You see, this woman lives out of state, and she was trying to find sheet music for a song called "Phoenix Burn" by a local band of Austin's called Alfa Rev. The song was featured at the end of a movie called The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and her daughter loved it so much she wanted to use it as an audition piece for a prestigious choir at her school.

So over the last month I have been in contact with the customer, our sheet music suppliers, and the band and band manager trying to locate a single sheet for piano and vocal for this song. And in the end the last answer I received was, "For legal reasons, our manager advises against sending a copy of our originals. We have no printed music."

And that was the end of it. Once they cite "legal reasons" there is no further argument.

So I had to call this awesome customer who was so friendly, so patient, so understanding, and tell her that I couldn't find it. That I couldn't get it. That for legal reasons, there were no copies to be had. And she thanked me and we talked for a few minutes, because she's cool and I like hearing about the goings on up there, and then we hung up and I felt like I had disappointed her. We had been hoping...and all for nothing.

And then she sent me flowers today as a thank you for going above and beyond to try to help them out, and a promise to let me know how her daughter's audition goes. (It's tomorrow.) 

The flowers are red and white, and there's a red and black ribbon around the vase to represent their school colors. And it's honestly the sweetest, most amazing thing a customer has ever done to show appreciation. In fact, I'm the only person in the store to have had flowers as a thank you. (Although one of our regulars did send us pizza as a thank you for some repair work and general awesomeness, but that was for everyone.) 

It was epic. 

And just for's a picture.

This completely and totally makes up for every single rotten customer I've had in the last year. I'm even feel ready to forgive the jackass who said my eyes were creepy and lifeless.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I've got one word for you: Bride

It's not me. Don't freak out.

Did I tell you guys that Relly became engaged right before Valentine's Day?
I think I may have mentioned it.

And now she's all about the dresses. Bridesmaids dresses, dress code for the guests, and, of course, her own wedding gown. 

She is beyond thrilled. There is absolutely no aspect of planning her wedding that she doesn't love, and she's throwing herself into with all of the energy and joy that she applied to the planning and decorating of her junior prom. Relly lives for this.

We're all happy for her and we all are trying to be as helpful as possible.

Well. All of us except Lydia. 

Wheat was down with the whole thing...for like two days.

Then she decided to ask Relly what I consider to be the stupidest, most selfish, inappropriate thing you could possibly ever ask of a bride planning her wedding.

"When we all start looking for your dress, would you mind if I tried some wedding dresses on, too? Since I didn't have a wedding."

Now, I told her when she called me on the phone and proudly proclaimed, like a nineteen year old moron, that she had eloped and gotten married in a court house and she was going to regret not having a real wedding ceremony and it would be hard for her when the rest of use went through the process of trying on gowns and planning weddings. (I said the same thing to Breazy when she told me she was engaged and wanted to get married at a courthouse one random Tuesday and she thankfully changed her mind about the whole thing.) Lydia had insisted she didn't care about wedding dresses and she wouldn't care.

And then she pops off with that.

And what do you think Relly said?

Of course I would mind. It's my wedding I'm trying to plan. I'm not going to waste my appointment time letting you try on a dress you're not going to buy and you're not going to wear. I'm getting married, you made your choice.

Any normal person would have respected the bride's decision. She's the bride. 

Then again, any normal person would know better than to ask stupid questions like that in the first place.

Lydia, though, didn't react like a normal person. In fact, I believe her exact words were, "Well, fine, if you want to be selfish and just be the center of attention, I don't want to try on a wedding dress." 


I repeat: Rellly is the bride. It's not selfish for her to want to be the only person in the bridal party trying on wedding dresses. She's the only one getting married. That's what that shiny diamond ring on her finger means, and that's why we're all going to a bridal salon in the first place.

And now she's being difficult. About the dresses, about taking time off to go look for them at all, about the shoes, about everything. A pain in the ass.

Now, Lydia has always been the baby. My mother spoiled her rotten to the point of being unreasonable when she wants something, and her husband continued to do it when he took her on as his wife, and she's so self centered now that it would take a miracle for her to see the light. So I know her. She's going to either keep making Relly miserable until she feels like she's gotten her revenge, or she's going to suddenly play nice only to try on a dress against Relly's expressed wishes when we go look at the dress, just to prove she didn't need permission or approval to do it.

In which case I'm going to slap her across the face.

I haven't done it since I was seventeen years old, but so help me God, if she tries to take away from the bride I will smack her so hard her fixed nose will be knocked off center again. 

I may not be traditional in a lot of ways, but one thing I do know is that the wedding is for the bride. The groom? Meh, he gets a cake and that's the only part that's his. And even if you don't agree with me about that, I think we can all agree that the wedding is never, ever, not in a million years about the bridesmaids. 

And if Lydia wanted to try on wedding dresses and be the center of attention, she should have had the god damned common sense to get married the traditional way instead of carting herself nine tenths of the way to Mexico to get married in a courthouse. 

She made her bed. Now she has to lie in it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012

You have GOT to be KIDDING.

It's not every day that I get people complaining about my appearance at work.

Oh, it's happened before. Torn jeans are insulting to some mothers, ripped t-shirts to others. It's not the first time my appearance has fallen under fire because of customers, and it probably won't be the last.

It is, however, the first time that my eyes have come under fire.


You didn't misread that. It was not a typo.

A man actually sent a lengthy e-mail complaining about my eyes.

As I understand it, after having read the e-mail myself, my customer found it "really difficult to make eye contact" with me because the "intensity of the artificial color." He continued to suggest that "employees be limited to natural colors of artificial lenses" to make the customers more comfortable. 

But my favorite line was when he said it was "creepy talking to someone with the same lifeless eyes as my daughter's dolls."

Now, I got a call from the top of the food chain for this e-mail because, by the customer's description, I must have been wearing some really outlandish, completely creepy contacts. The way the man was carrying on, I had worn something seriously inappropriate.

I think from the e-mail the owner imagined something like this:


Or this...

Um...the eyebrows are bit creepy, too...

Or maybe this: 


But that wasn't what the customer saw. The customer saw this:

My straight up, natural, never been truer that true, green eyes.

So I wore a couple of shades of green today and it made the color a little more intense. That's just the way my eyes look, and it's no more inappropriate than me wearing my hair to work. And how the hell do you defend your eye color to your boss? 

Let me tell you, there's no way to say the customer is an idiot politely.

Frankly, I was too surprised to sugar coat it.

"Somebody what? What a stupid idiot! I'm not wearing artificial colors in my contacts! They're clear! No, I swear! My eyes are the same eyes today as they were yesterday!"

And then he laughed and asked if I was wearing the green jacket from inventory, and I said yes, and he said he thought my eyes looked really weird in that jacket, too, and he'd thought I was wearing contacts, but when he'd mentioned it to my coworkers they set him straight.

Because we've been over this. My eyes change color with my outfit, with my mood, with the seasons. 

I'm mostly annoyed that he'd said lifeless. 

My eyes are many things. Beautiful, unusual, vibrant, expressive.

But they are never, under any circumstances, lifeless.

The reply he received was that I was wearing my real eyes and that we'd love to help him feel more comfortable. I think it was even offered to have him work with a different sales person if it was impossible to talk to me, but that there was no way they could ask me to stop wearing my eyes to work because...I kind of need them to see.

I can't wait to hear how he answers...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Look, I'm not asking for much here, just to buy a huge, maybe a little feminine bed that could fit six people in it comfortably...

Where, oh where, have my words run off to these days? 

I feel like I'm never around anymore, and it's true. I come home tired, cranky, and frustrated. I eat and walk Choo Choo, and I lay down on the couch with Padawan until he carries me off to be because, quite frankly, I don't have the energy to get up again once I'm down.

For all that my face is apparently aging gracefully, my body seems to be aging in double time. Sore, tired...

And you know what it is, right?

It's our stupid bed.

It's too small for two people. We need a king sized bed, or at least a queen. A full sized bed for two people is ridiculous. Especially when you factor in that my dog, my delightful little Choo Choo, stretches herself out to the fullest across the bed, taking up as much space as I do laying on my back. And being a spoiled, selfish little creature, she had no problem kicking me when she's stretching out to ensure that she gets enough space. And sticking her feet under me, claws and all, when her little paws are cold.

I pointed out to Padawan that we need a bigger bed.

He claims that we can't have a bigger bed.

And men are supposed to be better at spacial reasoning. Ha!

The real reason is that the mattress we have (which was his before it was ours, because when we used my mattress he said it was too soft and of course his is way too firm) is one that he bought and he only had it for a year before I moved in so it's still pretty new (to him, anyway, my mattress was only mine for six months before it got shoved into storage) and he thinks it would be a waste of money to buy a new set of mattresses.


He thinks I don't understand that, but I do. Does he think I really don't notice how he insists on squeezing the very last, tiny bit of toothpaste out of the mangled tube before he breaks down, throws it out, and buys a new one? He doesn't like wasting things. (This is sadly how we wind up with all that food in our refrigerator. He can't stand the idea of throwing it away, he puts it in the fridge, and it promptly gets forgotten about until a week later when we toss it because we both know that, no  matter what, once it goes into the refrigerator, it's not coming back out until it's not edible.) Then again, this is the same man who doesn't care about things going where they belong so long as they aren't sitting out where he can see them. Forks...smoke detectors...chopsticks...battery charger...all of it winds up in my purse if left out. Even when he's the one who left it out.

It's funny how he does things like that.

Anyway, is it too much to ask for a big bed?

I mean, my sleep is important. If I don't sleep well I'm cranky. And then I'm not hungry, and he hates it when I don't eat. And then I'm tired and I have no energy, which means I'm hardly amorous...and then you wind up with this awful situation in which I'm only feeling amorous a few times a week, and really how is that fair to anybody? 

Sorry, I realize that you guys just got an up close and personal look into my...well, personal life. But seriously? 

If a bigger bed is all it takes...why doesn't he just agree and say, "Yes, Chanel. Buy a bigger bed if that's what makes you happy." I's mutually beneficial if he agrees, so where's the down side? So what if I want to buy a huge four poster bed with pretty curtains? It's not girly if the curtains are blue....


Sunday, February 12, 2012

You have no idea how much has been going on...

Inventory is finished, thank you very freaking much. I've been working on prepping for it since October, and I've been having nightmares about it since December, and then after a fifteen hour's done. Or mostly done. So we have a hallway filled with things that we couldn't inventory because they didn't exist because they were odds and ends that aren't in the catalogs anymore and that aren't actually out because they're not really we'll still be working through it. But in a month, things should be all smooth sailing. Yay! Except that I did nearly snap at Efficiency for accusing me of making a customer uncomfortable because he heard me tell someone I'd cried because I hurt my finger. 

Okay, if someone is seriously made uncomfortable because I said, "Oh, this? I grabbed a wall hook this morning and a piece of metal stabbed me and broke off under my skin. I was crying for ten minutes before Jay Jay finally managed to pull it out," then they shouldn't go out in public. Ever. 

Since I highly doubt I made anyone uncomfortable, her comment, "Chanel, you really need to be careful about personal conversations. When you said you cried you made the poor man behind you uncomfortable," was unnecessary. And excuse me for saying so, but if THAT kind of conversation is inappropriate, then most of my conversations with my coworkers during long contracts and financing are inappropriate because in those I discuss my age, how long I've been playing, if I'm married, what bands I play in or with, and whether or not I act in movies. Highly improper because according to her I should only ever talk about what we sell. 

Ridiculously stupid. 

In other news...  Relly got engaged on Friday night (or in the wee hours of Saturday morning if you want to be technical.)  I received a text message to inform me of this most auspicious moment in our family history.

A text message.

Highly impersonal.  If I get engaged (which may or may not happen in the near or distant future to a man who may or may not be Padawan because I'm young and in love in Austin where things don't have to rush, rush, rush)  I think I will have a little more class and consideration than to simply send out a mass text on my phone to every single person in it telling them all the good news.


I'm female. Call me and scream in my ear. I don't care what time you do it. I don't want to read it in a text message. 

Great balls of fire, the world has gotten so lazy. 

And my cousin's wedding is fast approaching. Apparently my bridesmaid's dress is blue with straps (thank goodness: I don't do strapless) and just above the knee or something. This whole bridesmaid thing makes me a little nervous, but then again...what could I possibly do to embarrass myself?

I mean, I nearly fell off the stage at my own high school graduation. Surely that's enough humiliation for a lifetime for one individual, right? It's on camera, and the family gets to relive the moment over and over again as often as they like.

Horrid thing, those video cameras. They should be illegal. 

I suppose I'll be a bridesmaid in Relly's wedding, too, if they should ever get around to setting a date. Another chance to make a fool of myself. 

Oh, and I'm going to a baby shower on the 26th, Loki help me. How I, of all people, got myself on the guest list to a baby shower when I hate really don't like children is beyond me. But there it was in the mail the other day, with a family picture of my very pregnant coworker and her husband and toddler.

But I do have to say, I've met her boy. Bright little thing. Knows a cello from a violin, and most adults can't even boast that knowledge. And he asks before he touches things, which is astounding for a three year old. Perhaps he's smarter than the average bear. In any case, he's rather sweet.

But not for me, thanks. No children.

Padawan has put his foot down: Jazz will be my date, but he will not go to a baby shower. Too girly.

And since I'm going to this thing more out of politeness than interest, you guys must tell me: what do you think of me giving her a box of condoms as a gift? 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Raising Sisters

Four Sisters
This is me with my sisters.

Once upon a time I was the only one with blond hair while all of their hair colors ranged from outrageously red to Vitamin C orange to jet black. Now you see three varying shades of blond versus my deep brown hair.  My sisters and I are all very different people, despite what our faces may tell you, and we always seem to be just out of sync with one another. As in the three of them versus me. I always seem to be doing the exact opposite of the three of them.

And that works for me. I love all of my sisters, but I have no problem admitting that the three of them take turns doing some dumb-ass things. They alternate in waves of stupidity, and I believe they try to top each other. From eloping to drinking to driving drunk to getting busted for weed in the car when the cop wasn't even suspicious until she gave him reason to be, my sisters have very little in the way of common sense. They are constantly calling mom or dad or Memaw and Papaw to get money, to get help.

My father and I speak at least once a month, and he's always relieved when it's me on the other end.

"I never have to worry when it's you calling, Nelly. You're the only one who never needs help."

Because I like it that way. Independent. On my own two feet. My own grown up world with my boyfriend and my furry child and our home that we built together with what we have together. And my sisters say I am stuck up because I don't go visit redneck relations (I try to avoid claiming kinship with them altogether, honestly), because I don't have time to go see the family every Sunday anymore, because I refuse to buy any type of shoe or clothing item from Wal-Mart (Target has much better clothes), because of all of these reasons...

I call often. I check in. I talk and catch up and tease and do all of the things you're supposed to do with a family. But I live outside of my family. My world doesn't revolve around them. We were all raised the same way by the same people, and yet we have such different values.

I love my sisters, but I couldn't live like they do. I realize that as a musician I am supposed to appreciate the life of the free spirit, and it's not that I judge. They are free to live their lives as they see fit, and so long as they don't try to interfere with mine in a negative way, I don't judge. But when I get calls at three in the morning to come bail your dumb ass out of jail because you got caught with weed in your car, that's a problem. And if I'm the one shelling out three hundred dollars to get your dumb ass out of jail, then I get to lecture, nag, and generally lay into as much as I see fit.

Don't like it?

Don't call me.

My sisters are not bad people. They are young. And I may be the second oldest, but a lot of times I feel like I'm the oldest and I'm taking care of three little sisters. Why on earth should I ever want children when I've got three from my own family that I'm taking care of?

I get it. You're supposed to be there for family. And I don't mind being there.

I'm just saying that if somebody expects me to come and bail them out of jail with my hard earned money that I will never get paid back because, let's face it, they never pay me back when they borrow just twenty dollars,  then I have the absolute right to tell them that they are irresponsible, childish, absolutely deserving of their fate, and they better not call me as a character witness because I won't hold anything back about how absolutely stupid she is.

Is it so wrong that I feel like my sisters need someone to lay down the law?

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