Saturday, March 30, 2013

My Spring Break In Pictures

My son showing off the speaker he made for his iPod... out of Legos!

I got to cook quite a bit at my mom's house, which is one of my favorite things to do.

These boys are getting so big!
Sam and his boxer, Drake, are best buds.

I made this SUPER simple cheese Danish casserole with Sam's favorite crescent rolls.

We love to play card/board games at Grandma's. This one was pretty cool but my fave is Rack-O.

I love all of the quirky décor at my mom's. She's badass.

I had a blast horsing around with these 3 boys. <3

My parents' backyard as the late March snow began to fall.

Because my nephew is awesome and so is cheese.

Hitting up Original Pizza, my favorite restaurant in Blue Springs, Missouri.

This one speaks for itself.

Waiting at KCI for my flight to Dallas and it's really coming down hard
but unfortunately my crappy phone camera didn't capture that.

I was sitting on the ground feeling sorry for myself when this amputee came by on crutches.
#perfecttimingGod #thankyou

I'd never boarded a plane when it was snowing this hard!

They had to ice down the wings 3 times!

I made it to Dallas alive and was left with 6 hours to drown my sorrows in a Cinnabon and stare at my feet.

The aftermath of a week of rough-housing with the beast that is Drake.
It was well worth it.
Came home to a lot of homework...
The dogs get stressed when one of us leaves on vacation.
Now that I'm home, Lucy can finally relax and take a much needed siesta.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Airport Adventures & The Power of Positive Thinking

I got to the airport on Saturday around 4:00 pm. My first flight was originally supposed to leave at 5:40 but after 11 text messages from Southwest Airlines about changes to the flight time they finally determined that we'd leave at 8:10 pm. I was sad, as usual, not because of the delay, but because I was leaving my little boy and that's always ridiculous. It's so irritating and I can't even begin to explain the feeling. I can't really explain my family situation to most people. They don't seem to understand. I immediately came into the airport and went to the Tequileria and did 2 double shots of Jose Cuervo Tradicional. About an hour and a half later I still wasn't feeling any better. Shocker.

I heard a lot of people speaking Spanish. A group of 3 women and a man were taking pictures outside in the snow because Kansas City was in the midst of a blizzard. They were drinking a six pack of Bud Light and I still can't figure out where they got it from. They were just sitting right outside of the airport doors, drinking their beer. I kind of gave them a heads up by letting them know that you're not allowed to drink beer in the doorway of KCI but they didn't seem to care. They were in Spring Break mode. Clearly. Then I sat on the cold tile floor next to a payphone which I'm sure no one cared about because no one uses payphones anymore. Underneath the phone booth was an electrical outlet which was the 8th outlet that I'd tried to put my phone charger into and the first outlet that actually worked. I didn't get to sit in any of the comfortable faux leather seats with electrical connections but ni modo.

I bought a pack of cigarettes because I was so stressed out about leaving my family. This is nothing new. I smoked my cigarette and watched the Mexicans get in trouble for drinking outside the gate and met Wild Bill who works for SWA. He came right outside with a big smile on his face and told me that he was "chipper." Being that I was still in Missouri, I wasn't sure if he was telling me his nickname or describing his current emotional state but he confirmed pretty quickly that he was just happy to be getting off of work. He told me that he had 4 Budweisers waiting for him in a cooler in his car and fully intended on drinking a few roadies and taking the back roads home. He said he was really excited because he had a beautiful girl and a bottle of Bourbon waiting for him at home. My kind of guy.

I wasn't supposed to leave Kansas City until 8:40 but somehow got put on a flight at 6:30 so I was pretty excited. When I boarded, our pilot, Paul, was outside helping put our bags away (in the snow) so that we could leave earlier. Ain't that some shit? If the pilot's actions don't give it away, the flight crew made it clear that I was on a plane full of bad asses. They were hilarious and that bit of humor was just what I needed to brighten my day. Southwest has a rep for having a quirky staff and Flight 2092 sure didn't let me down. It's hard not to laugh when you hear, "If you want a reading light, press the overhead button with the picture of a light bulb to turn it on. However, if you press the button with a picture of a flight attendant, it will not turn us on." With so many people in a nasty mood over the flight delays, this was the perfect example of the power of positivity because the crew's humorous introduction and safety display clearly made every passenger's anger melt away. That happiness lasted a while but when we found out that we would be stranded in Dallas until 1 am due to a snow storm in Denver, the anger and frustration came back to us.

I love to watch the camaraderie of strangers during a flight delay. Nothing bonds people more than being angry at the same person or organization. At that point, everyone hated Southwest, no one was ever flying Southwest again and Southwest was full of shit and lying about the weather delay. It's all their fault and we hope they rot in hell. All I could do was laugh. Wanna be friends till we board?

It's ridiculous but I love to see strangers talking to each other. It's usually those who would have never spoken to anyone on the flight if everything went as planned. But because of a delay, there is this common bond. Children are teaching random strangers how to download and play Angry Birds and their parents are turning the other cheek. They just smiled and nodded in a situation that would normally warrant a, "don't take candy from strangers," speech. People start deserting their luggage to go to the restroom and leave their cellphones plugged into a free outlet at the next gate over, where they can't even see it. It's pretty hilarious.

There was an interesting mix on this flight. It's always interesting when you're traveling to the Borderland. It was mostly army wives and typical El Pasoans. Basically, it was a flight full of down-to-earth people who were more than willing to make new friends. I got some really weird looks as I called my mother in law though. Something about the random white girl speaking Spanish just gets the people going. Whatever. I was just trying to distract myself from the fact that I had to leave Sam from the millionth time.

I really wanted to wash my hair but the bathrooms at this airport sucked. There is nothing I hate more in airports than faucets that turn off automatically and bathroom stalls that open inward. Dallas Love Field is the worst airport to get stuck in during a late-night delay because not only do their bathrooms suck (can you say carpeted walls?) but every single kiosk, store and restaurant closes at 9:30 pm. Luckily, my absolute favorite thing about the Dallas airport is not the restaurants but the boot watching. This is where I've seen the most bad ass boots ever. Weird boots, cowboy boots, stiletto boots, boots with sweater material, come fuck me boots, boots for days. I don't know why but I truly enjoy watching them. It's a fucking boot show! I know. I'm crazy. But at this point, I'm just trying to think positive thoughts. Boots baby.

These are my airport adventures. I get to have these adventures quite a bit but it just makes me so sad that my husband can't join in on any of it. I travel quite a bit, going back and forth from Mexico to Missouri a couple times a year and taking trips for work. I always seem to be by myself. Traveling alone. I see all the couples in the airport and I just can't help but be a bit jealous. I fantasize about my husband being "legal," one day, and being able to travel with him. That would be fantastic but for now it's just another dream that's sitting on the back burner.

He's never even been on an airplane before. When that day does come it's going to be pretty fucking exciting. I just know that it will be so amazing that it's going to be worth all of the waiting. Sometimes I feel like most people who get to travel with their loved ones are taking the whole thing for granted. I see all sorts of couples fighting in the airport and they're pissed off because their flight is delayed and this, that and the other thing. You know, they're mad because their Hawaiian vacation is being put on hold because of a snow storm and I'm just looking at them, dumbfounded, thinking, "How can you not be ecstatic that you're here with your husband or wife?"

It's just another one of those situations that God has put me in in life for whatever reason and it makes me truly be grateful for the little things. It's reason 428 why I am happy that my life has had the ups and downs that it's had because it's just made me a more appreciative person . So I guess I'll just keep on dreaming and taking my flights and maybe one day, Gordo will be sitting next to me on the plane.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Report cards and man cards

Ever since we moved to Mexico my husband has been talking about how much he wished he would have gone to prepa (high school) and that with prepa under his belt, he would be able to get a much better job. So of course he was excited when he found out that his maquila would pay for him to attend school and even held classes that worked with his schedule, right there on site. Much to my surprise, the registration deadline came and went, and he never signed up. I didn't push him because I knew that there is only one thing that I bothers my husband more than his Mexican salary and that's his Mexican education, or lack thereof.

This is one of those things that swipes his man card right out from under him. It's a sensitive subject. I knew that if I meddled, he would be offended. He's quick to assume that I judge him for not finishing school. He sees his wife, who got almost 15 years of a top notch education, and just assumes that I must have some underlying opinions about his intelligence. I'm not making assumptions here, we've had this conversation a million times.

What he doesn't fully grasp is that my pre-college education was free of charge (with the exception of the years I was in Catholic school by my mother's choice) and a completely different experience than his. I went to school for 7 hours a day instead of his 4. I had tutors available when I was struggling. I had all of the supplies I needed and resources like the Encyclopedia (years later the internet) and a library card. I wouldn't even begin to compare my schooling in Kansas City/Rockford/Tempe to that of his in Hidalgo del Parral. How could I? His perspective is skewed and I'm not sure how I can get him to see the bigger picture.

The registration deadline for prepa came and went several times, but finally, he enrolled, and began classes in January of this year. He came home from his first day of classes looking defeated and I felt horrible. He wanted to understand every concept in an instant. His first classes were Algebra and Chemistry. I was able to help him with his math homework to some extent, but it was a struggle. I'm good at Algebra, thanks to countless tutoring sessions with Mrs. Mann back in the day, but let's be honest, I'm not a good teacher. Why is it that I can train new employees to excel in their careers but am somehow incapable of explaining what x equals to my husband? I haven't figured it out yet. Maybe it's not my inability to teach rather than the fact that there is too much emotion and tension with the subject of education in my house? I can't figure it out.

We struggled for a few weeks before I realized that this is something he is going to have to do himself. I stressed the fact that it took many years for me to fully understand certain concepts. I got him a couple of notebooks and mechanical pencils and showed him how to search for instructional videos on YouTube and printed out a copy of the Periodic Table. After several weeks I found that all I could do was show him my support and then let him loose. I pressed the issue of him staying after class to talk to the teacher and explained how much I struggled in school to get the good grades that I did.

It's been a couple of months but I feel like we've finally turned a corner. He's stopped turning to me for answers and explanations and started seeking them out on his own. I haven't had to ask him if he needs help and he seems to have figured out a homework schedule that works for him and I couldn't be prouder. I can't even begin to imagine what it's like to suck up your pride and go back to school after so many years. I have several friends who have done it, in addition to my husband, and I just cannot commend them enough. I know it's such a struggle to fit in work schedules and children and everything else that comes in with life as an adult. Let's just say that thinking about social sciences and geometry is something I haven't done in a long time.

At the end of the day, I am so proud of my husband. I hope that he knows that. I hope he realizes that I commend him and think he is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. I don't measure intelligence by college degrees framed proudly on the wall, nor by resumes or big vocabularies or report cards. I measure it by understanding and life experience and love. Hopefully when he reads this, he sees that, yet remembers the power of education and all that it provides.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The 15 Unwritten Rules of Border Crossing

1. Don't leave more than 3 feet of space between you and the car in front of you.

2. Don't cut in front of me in line.

3. Don't ask your children to peek their cute little heads out the window to ask me if you can cut in front of me.

4. When driving into Mexico, do not drive over the curb, or on the shoulder of the road, so that you can cut in front of people. That shoulder is for emergencies such as a break-down or an ambulance. Just get in the line like a normal fucking person and then the entire line can move fluidly as it's meant to and I don't have to spend 30 minutes listening to constant horn honking.

5. Do not fall asleep in line, we're all tired and don't want to get screwed and cut in front of because you stayed up late.

6. Do not honk your horn at Customs and Border Protection. It doesn't help. If anything, they feel offended and work even slower.

7. Do not spend so much time purchasing a burrito/newspaper/rosary/whateverthefuck that people have the opportunity to cut into our lane.

8. If you are a pedestrian, do not ask me (a complete stranger) if you can get in my car, because you don't want to wait in the pedestrian lane.

9. Do not get in the Ready Lane if you do not have an RFID enabled card.

10. If you feel like blasting your music, that's cool, but kill the bass because I'm kind of hung over and it makes me want to vomit.

11. Do not stare at me unless you are checking out the fact that I am the sexiest beast you've ever seen. Find something to do other than staring at other people. Read a book, balance your checkbook, Tweet something. Figure it out.

12. If you can't read your book, do your make-up or check your Instagram and pay attention to the line at the same time, don't do anything at all. I've got places to go.

13. If you see someone broke down in line, and you aren't in a rush, stop and ask them if they need help. Maybe they just need jumper cables and don't have them. Maybe they just need to make a phone call and don't have a cell.

14. If you have a bottle of tequila in your car, just freaking claim it. The tax is probably only a dollar; definitely not worth a big fine.

15. Have your passport ready before you approach the CBP station. You've had an hour to prepare yourself, not sure why it's so hard to have your identification ready.

I wish the Aduana Mexicana and US Customs and Border Protection would pass this shit out... Seriously, what does a girl have to do to get a pamphlet made? Maybe a billboard?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

You richies are so smart, that's exactly why I'm not heavy in activities

I should be honest and say that although part of me wants to reflect back on my busy week that was filled with far too many activities, mostly I just wanted to use a quote from my favorite movie as a blog title. This is what happens when I have an early morning John Hughes marathon.

Since moving to Mexico, I've become the type of person that doesn't like to have a lot of plans. That's not to say I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type, I just mean that I am incredibly lazy. I like to go to work and come straight home every day and then maybe do something with friends over the weekend. I don't like to get involved in too many things and have come to find stopping at the bank on the way home from work inconvenient. I know. I'm weird.

Last weekend was filled with going to El Paso to attend Congressman O'Rourke's town hall meeting. Myself, and some other American Families United members had a chance to follow up on the conversations that took place in DC last month. I also got to ask him directly, with the cameras rolling, how he felt about spouses of US Citizens who have been exiled to other countries and whether he thought they should be included in the upcoming reform. He answered with a big, "Yes," and I really feel that we have his support. Sunday consisted of far too much cleaning and doing laundry all day and then in the late afternoon we did more Spanish interviews for an upcoming radio project. Hopefully they turn out okay because my voice was still really iffy after having been so sick.

My work week was pretty hectic and started out with an interior completion on a termite job. That set me up to be sore for the rest of the week with all of the bending up and down and being on my knees. My hats go off to termite technicians because that is hard work. I still can't understand how they do that every day! The company limo is also in town for this weekend's home show and my boss and I picked up a soldier and his daughter on Fort Bliss and took them out for ice cream. They really enjoyed it and everyone on base got a kick out of our silly looking limo. I didn't really know a lot about the day to day life of an American soldier so it was an eye-opening experience for me. Right after we went to the West side to meet an 89 year-old Navy veteran and his wife of 65 years. It was really interesting to get a glimpse of the life of a veteran. There are 80,000 veterans residing in El Paso so I think it was important to hear their struggles as well. It takes such a selfless person to fight for our great country and I appreciated the opportunity to really thank these people, face to face, for their service.

I also got a chance to do an interview with KTSM this week and I thought it was a really positive experience. I was able to speak on behalf of AFU and I thought the article was well done. Immigration issues involving US Citizens and LPRs are such a huge issue in El Paso and Juarez because mixed-states families are such a commonplace. Even the reporter herself had a father with multiple deportations and could relate to our situation. I'm glad to have had the chance to speak out in the community.

This week would've been fine but I also over committed with some writing projects and helping Gordo with his homework and the long wait to come back into Mexico each evening practically ate me alive. I realize that most people's lives are like this; full of commitments and activities. I must be a rare breed because I just can't handle all that and that's why I'm not heavy in activities. I like to keep my life as simple and uneventful as possible. Not sure what that says about me but I am so glad that the week is over and now I can sit back, relax, and hang out with my friends. Well, as soon as I clean the house, write an article on Veteran Appreciation, do all the laundry, work out, and prepare dinner. #life