Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Our departure date has been changed

Yess sirrreee! They changed our plane tickets.

Did the school call and ask us what date we would think best?

Take your best guess?

If you guessed "yes," you have misjudged the communication ability of Koreans by great lengths. I don't think they know the saying "Assuming makes an ASS out of U and ME."

We are still leaving from Houston but an entire week later. Jan. 11. (The same day Kyle's diploma will be mailed out from Austin, which means that if they had us leave the 12th, then we could bring it with us.... but they didn't ask. Did they ask if Houston was our best option? I bet you already know the answer!!)

What family member gets to host us for an entire week in Houston?? Who is so excited to keep us in their home? The hungry hungry hippo, and the neurotic newt. An amazing couple indeed. (Newt is the only animal name I could find starting with an "n." Can that be? Is that really the only animal that starts with an "n." Surely not. Anyone have any others?) I am the newt is this scenario, which I don't particularly like, but I have been particularly neurotic lately and as I couldn't find another animals starting with "n" I guess I will have to play my part as a slimy lizard like creature.

The answer as to what family member gets the pleasure of hosting this strange couple in their home univited for an entire week is still unanswered as we have yet to tell anyone, as I only got the email this evening. Anyone? anyone? (echo echo echo)

At least the streets of Houston won't be too cold...

At least we weren't fired for being royal pains in the butts.

We still have jobs. I am thankful.

Please let 2010 be less challenging!! I'm ready for a year with a little less stress.

Heading to Houston

Next on our trip is the Houston Rogers Christmas, our final Christmas celebration. The plan was to leave from Houston directly after this get together however we have come up on a hitch. The Korean consulate isn't issuing visas this week. Yep, I didn't get it done earlier because I wasn't able to while I was in Lubbock.

What does this mean?

Our leave date has to be changed....

It hasn't happened yet, the schools hasn't contacted us about whats happening yet.

I am starting to sweat bullets.

I keep trying to tell myself that worrying doesn't help anything, and that the situation is completely out of my control, and to a degree that helps, BUT it doesn't really stop me from worrying.

We will keep you abreast of the situation as we know more....

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Best Christmas EVER!

"Hey sweetheart, are you planning our anniversary date or am I?" I asked as we lay on the floor lazily one afternoon in early November.

"Ummm..." he said playfully, "do you already have an idea for it?" he mumbled with a mouth full of my hair.

"Yes, yes I do." I grinned as I pulled at my hair gripped tightly in my husbands teeth.

"Alright" he proclaimed releasing my hair from his trap "you plan it then." poking his finger in my ear.

"Argg! You're such a two year old. Must you always pester me?" I guffawed. "Ok, so I am in charge this year? You have NO ideas?" I asked in a hinting manner.

Looking at me innocently, "Nope, you do it."

This manner of questioning was my way of discovering whether Kyle was planning on buying Lion King tickets for our anniversary. We had discussed offhandedly a month before how the Lion King was coming to San Antonio. It didn't need to be said, that the Lion King was a show we had wanted to see for years.

However, a few weeks later, something Kyle said made me re-think his innocence. On the way back from a run Thanksgiving day, looking through squinted leery eyes I asked, "Are we getting each other the same gift?" Peering at me suspiciously with his handsome green eyes "I don't know, are we?" he said raising one eyebrow. Many years before, when we were in college, Kyle and I got each other tickets to the Phantom of the Opera. This situation seemed suspiciously like that previous and an expensive mistake to make.

As we were discussing our dilemma with Leslie and Peter as to how to tell each other without spoiling the surprise, Leslie had the idea that I tell her what I got Kyle and Kyle tell Peter. They then convened after whispering our secret gifts in their ears.

Walking back towards us after they deliberated Peter exclaimed "You guys are dorks!" Those words were all we needed to hear to understand that Kyle and I had in fact both planned on getting each other Lion King tickets.

When my grandmother got sick however, our plans dramatically changed as we moved 400 miles away from the Majestic Theater where the Lion King was playing, to Lubbock to assist my Grandmother in her healing process. As you might recall a few posts back the Lion King was not our anniversary present but rather an improvisation was necessary and the nutcracker was the substitute.

So we arrived back in San Antonio a few days before Christmas, and Kyle hadn't mentioned the Lion King in a few days, but I was pretty sure it was still playing.

"Are we doing anything I need to know about Kyle? I implored with large sweet puppy dog eyes. "What I mean is, is there a date/time that I should make sure not to make plans?"

After camouflaged and covert language we decided to discuss this secret Christmas present openly as we both knew that I knew what was going on.

The afternoon of the 23rd was determined to be LION KING day. However, we ran into a dilemma. Our "reliable" ticket supplier for some strange reason wouldn't guarantee changed tickets until after January 2. Sounds fishy I know, but it was a very large and very popular ticket supplier that will remain anonymous but has a habbit of shady practices. Anyways Kyle had bought tickets for dates much earlier, but as we were suddenly in Lubbock, the tickets were changed and were left hanging in cyberspace, if there happened to be an opening. But an opening in the Lion King was as likely as a rainy day in the desert, so we began our search on Craigslist. Two hours before the start of a show, we received a phone call from a father who had a family emergency and was willing to sell his tickets for a lesser price.

When we arrived at the theater, the line was at least a block and wrapped around the building, but went surprisingly quick.

Once inside, we were directed to the "Starlight terrace" which had the special extra feature of a separate balcony, bathroom and bar. It was like the VIP lounge and we were part of that VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE grouping! It was very exciting.

The Lion King was amazing. The choreography, the creativity in the puppetry, and the costumes were stunning. However it followed the movie much more closely than I anticipated, and I was a little disappointed at its lack of surprise. But other than that, it was fantastic.

After the show we stayed downtown to meet up with my Dad's side of the family for dinner on a river barge under the glowing Christmas lights dangling from the several hundred year old trees decorating the tree. The weather channel predicted thunderstorms, but luckily it held off until several hours later when were decorating stockings with the Grojeans. The dinner was queso with personal fajitas and fried ice cream. Somehow even though the food on the riverwalk is mediocre at best, I ate so much Kyle had to roll me to the car. It was a magical evening and one of the best Christmas celebration days ever!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The woebegone story of a Gingerbread house

Me, the gingerbread house Vanessa made.

Where to begin my short yet deplorable story... You could say that my origins are in a candy store... or possibly in the graham cracker manufacturing warehouse. But as I have little recollection of that time scattered across continents in cold unfeeling buildings, I will begin my story at what I consider the genesis, my design and construction by my ingenious master (sarcasm): Vanessa.

Merry notes of Alvin and the chimp monks Christmas song grazed the sickeningly sweet icing flavored air. They sat around a glass table, sipping their drinks chatting away as I lay waiting. I had been waiting a long time. From the time I was conceived of that loud machine, I knew I was destined for more that just someone's mouth and gut. Other crackers called me arrogant and idiotic, but really they were jealous because they must have known too. They must have seen that I was made to one day be the greatest invention of our century at least for our kind; A GINGERBREAD HOUSE. There was no doubt in my mind that one day some munchkin would mold me as the main decoration for Christmas. My life would be at least double as those of my sad pathetic kin folk. Each day, I worked to remain strong yet agile, solid yet malleable so that when the day came for my destiny, I would be the creme de le creme for a designer to mold me into that creation of such desirability amongst us.

"Why won't they stop talking and build already!" I demanded from my boxes and bags I lay dormant inside. Didn't they know that this was the moment I had waited for all of my life. Couldn't they feel my anticipation emanating from directly in front of them. Gingerbread making is the most prestigious of arts and yet they laughed and joked. Had I not been raised with more dignity, I might have smite them, but I held my composure.

My designer, an older specimen, not exactly munchkin size, seemed unprofessional as she hastily threw graham crackers up in a structure needing many more supports than she understood. But of course, what could her tiny brain understand? Did she feel the weight of the peppermints, chocolate chips and gum drops on her back? No, she did not, so what I ask, could she know of the needed structure I so desperately lacked. I deserved to be created into a ten story mansion, a tree house of great magnitude, even a Santa's workshop would have been acceptable, but how was I created, into what unseemly base construction? I'll tell you. A ONE story, yes O-N-E story house with a pitiful wrap around porch. I guess I should be grateful at least for the porch, even if it was poorly designed, but there were so many other grander homes being constructed around me, I yearned to be part of their creation. A church with stained glass windows, a home with solar panels and a palm tree, another with a chimney and a sign atop the roof with Santa and an arrow written out of red hots, but the most impressive was an igloo complete with penguins made from gummy drops and an Eskimo ice fishing made from tootsie rolls. My eyes roamed about envious of my kin who laughed in my direction. I didn't actually hear them laugh, but I knew what they thought of me, lamentable and inferior.

I was surprised how long I remained whole considering, but as soon as my delicate state greeted the humidity of San Antonio, I could feel my strength give way to the moisture. The car trip was miserable as the driver took each turn like a racecar and seemed to find every single pothole and bump in the road purposefully, just to mock my sad state. When we arrived to our destination, my creators aunt's house, my gumdrop doorway was falling, but worst of all, one of the side porches had taken the plunge. And my standing only deteriorated from their. It is always said of miserable situations that their intentions were good, but what use do we of "good intentions" if they end in slaughter. Yes, slaughter. And no I am not exaggerating. Her grandmother "accidentally" spilled tea on me and then "unintentionally" crushed me with her arm as she attempted to rescue the tea. What became of me? I was drenched and dejected. I had lasted as a whole and complete gingerbread house for an entire evening and met my fall the following day. I guess I should be grateful that I was created into a gingerbread house at all rather than ending my days in some sticky handed two year old's gut, but I can't say I'm not disappointed. Because as I said before, I was deemed for great things and my time has come and gone. And soon, as those greedy hands pick at me, I will diminish into nothingness, and only be remembered as the gingerbread house who could have been.

Jen's house (Santa, here's the chimney in case you can't see it!)

fisherman made of tootsie rolls

Do you see the tree? Or the solar panels?
The Church with stainglass windows and a very tall Heineken
Aaron and Laura, the cutest couple!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas has come and gone

Christmas has come and gone, and there are so many posts left unwritten I'm not sure even where to start to catch up. With each flustered day of scrambling to wrap that last present, flinging food together to make dishes (of food), dismantling our already disarrayed closets to pack for our year adventure, running around to visit with not all (unfortunately) but many of our friends before leaving, we have officially left San Antonio for the last time in probably a year. It was a bittersweet departure, as I was sad to leave my friends and family, but it would be an understatement to say that this moment has long been awaited.

My composure became unhinged towards the end from the many things juggling in my head pushing their way to the front for the most attention. Thank God for my husband who for some bizarre reason enjoys packing and relieved much of my stress. If it weren't for him, you might find me banging my head to the rhythm of "Little drummer boy" and running around screaming "Silent Night" like a banshee in an asylum for the insane. Seriously, how did I get so lucky to find someone who not only enjoys packing but in my humble opinion is a packing genius . He looks at it like a giant puzzle waiting to be solved. That man could pack a two ton elephant into a carry-on. Dishwasher, trunk, suitcase, he loves to pack them all and how I love him for it. My relationship with packing is dangerously volatile to say the least. Patience is typically not a friend I hang around with, and packing requires copious amounts of it. Luckily Patience is in love with Kyle, so between the three of us, we can get along with only a few terse words.

How was our Christmas?

It was a fabulous Christmas, and it's not even over yet.

Four Christmas meals later, I feel a bit like a beached whale moaning sad whale songs of a tummy ache. Yes, you read that correctly, FOUR Christmas meals:
1) Christmas Eve- we opened gifts AND had Christmas dinner. It is our tradition to open Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve and have Santa gifts Christmas morning. But typically we have Christmas dinner on Christmas itself.

2)Christmas Day- Christmas with the Pennycooks (our second fam). Yummy

3) Christmas Day evening (after lots of packing)- we ate leftovers of the Grojean (our other second fam's) Christmas meal.

4)The 26th- With Kyle's mom's side of the family at the coast.

And we have one more Christmas event in Houston yet! But who except the Grinch gets tired of opening presents and eating yummy food.

Expect many back stories from this Christmas as there is much to share! Hope your holidays were as loved filled and plentiful as ours!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This is what Christmas is about

A friend of mine just sent me an article from a blog she was reading, and it moved me nearly to tears. It is an act of kindness which dominoed into something much bigger.

This is what life should be about, being kind to others, for no other reason except that we are from the same race, the human race. Sometimes it is hard to remember that we are all apart of the same place, because we walk around like individuals who have nothing in common with the person in line in front of us. But the truth is that we are all one, we are God's children, we are a part of Mother Earth. What would life be like if we treated strangers as if they were someone who deserved kindness just for being alive. Sometimes it is hard to remember that we are made up of the same elements, that we are the same people, just living in different locations of the same planet. When we are blowing each other up or disputing over health care, we are on this side, and they are on that other side, and that is that, as if we aren't really the same at all. But we are all under that big umbrella called humanity and this story below is a wonderful reminder of what a little kindness can accomplish. This is such a wonderful reminder of what the spirit of Christmas is about, not how many gifts are under the Christmas tree, but humans being kind and generous to one another in the spirit of love.

Last Saturday, Dec. 5th, something startling and wonderful happened at The Aramingo Diner in Port Richmond.

The 52-year-old landmark restaurant at 3356 Aramingo Ave. is open 24 hours a day, so it's always a-bustle. But the place really hops during weekend breakfast and lunch time. Last Saturday was no different, and both wings of the diner - the booth area and the bigger dining room - were lively.

The manager on duty, Linda (who asked that I not mention her last name here, for reasons I can't get into but let's just say everything worked out okay...), tells me that a couple in their 30s paid their check at the register, then asked the cashier to let them secretly pay the check of another couple in the dining room - a couple they didn't know.

"They just wanted to do it," she said. "They thought it would be a nice thing to do."

When the unsuspecting patrons went to pay their check, they were floored to find out that strangers had picked up their tab. So they asked the cashier to let them pay another table's check, also anonymously.

When that table's patrons approached the register, they, too, decided to pay the favor forward for yetanother table of unsuspecting strangers.

You know where this is going, right?

For two hours, delighted customer after delighted customer continued to pay the favor forward. And a buzz began to grow. Not among patrons, who had no inkling what was going down at the register, but among the dining-room wait staff - Marvin, Rosie, Jasmine and Lynn - and other Aramingo workers moving in and out of the room.

"We were amazed," says Linda, adding that neither she nor her staffers that day recognized any of the participating patrons as regulars. "Nobody knew each other. But once they found out someone paid their check, they got excited and wanted to do the same thing for another table."

The checks weren't huge, says Linda. They varied between about twelve bucks and $30 (many of the sneaky do-gooders even included tip money in the gift).

But the impact made an out-sized impression on the staff, who marveled at how that initial, single act of generosity kept repeating itself.

Says Linda, "In thirty years working here, I've never seen anything like it. You might have someone pick up a check for another table, but usually it's because they know them."

All in all, about 20 checks were "paid forward" (a term coined by author Catherine Ryan Hyde, whose 2000 book, Pay It Forward was made into an earnestly schmaltzy Hollywood movie).

The lovely cycle finally ended, two hours after it began, when a lone diner, clearly unacquainted with the "pay it forward" concept, seemed befuddled that someone had picked up his check. He simply accepted the favor, grunted, and left.

Notes Linda, "He didn't even leave a tip."

Which didn't diminish the day's sweetness, which has lingered among the Aramingo staff. Linda herself decided to pay the lesson forward a few days later, when she was standing in line at the Wawa.

"There was a cop behind me. I said to the guy at the register, 'See what's in his hands, and charge me and not him.' It was a cup of coffee. I told the guy not to tell the cop I paid for it. I didn't want it to look like a bribe."

The cop figured things out, though, and gave Linda a wave and a smile when he got outside, which made her feel good.

Says Linda, "It was a nice thing to be part of."

So, on the off-chance that the first pay-it-forward couple at the Aramingo Diner is reading this, please know that your gesture of kindness didn't end when you walked out the door.

It morphed into hours of additional kindnesses. And who knows what kindnesses those gestures prompted?

Maybe, when folks read this blog post, the cycle will rev up again - not necessarily at the Aramingo, but wherever readers are inspired to give to others, just for the fun of it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

We've arrived

Last Thursday at 11 am, we rolled out of the driveway absolutely packed to the brim, and steered our car heading South towards home. Wherever that may be as we have been leading very nomadic lives of late, hardly ever sleeping in the same bed two nights in a row.

San Antonio, the home in which packing and the holiday runaround has already commenced:

Packing, screaming, wrapping, ripping, cutting, visiting and running around like a chicken without it's head are all of the activities we have in store for us this Christmas season.

Viva Christmas Bliss!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Things I might not have mentioned....

After 2 weeks and some in West Texas with my grandmother, we have finally come to the end of a never ending string of doctors appointments. AND have an OKay to go to San Antonio! Yippee!! Which means, we will be crammed in the car tomorrow on the four hundred mile drive, with:
an oxygen machine (think big)
bags upon bags of our goodwill goodies
recycling that isn't accepted here in Lubbock
and enough oxygen tanks to create a crater here in Lubbock
not to mention people- we, including Grandmother, has to somehow fit in in or Toyota Camry

I might worry about not having enough air to breathe in the car with all of our stuff, but Grandmother has plenty of oxygen to go around.

I don't think I mentioned before on the blog, that Kyle and I drove to Lubbock to stay with Grandmother after she got out of the hospital. Our jobs: to help the patient out with whatever she needed done.

Grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning the mounds of dishes we let pile up (until we didn't have any forks left).

Our official title is; chauffeurs with pizazz! Thank you very much!

But as of tomorrow, we are on Christmas break, and we are so excited to be going home. Many of our friends will be in town, and our time here in the states is quickly coming to an end. That's right folks, we have jobs in S. Korea. We will drive home, pack, have Christmas festivities with my Mom's side of the fam.
Drive to the coast.
Have Christmas festivities with Kyle's mom's side of the fam.
Drive to Houston
More Christmas festivities. We might look like Santa and Mrs. Claus by the time we leave Houston.

And then... (we leave on the 2nd of January!)

By the time we get to Houston, our heads (not to mention stomachs) will be so full of sugar plums and chocolate mint, I am not sure we will have room for any more Christmas delights.

What am I talking about, there is always room for more Christmas delight!

So Look out Christmas fun, here come the Rogers!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pillow talk

"Vanessa?" Kyle whispers to me sheepishly before going to sleep.
"hm?" I cooed, as I lazily switched my head position on my pillow to face my husband.
"Can we play my favorite game?" he grinned with that twinkle of hope in his eye.
"Fine, but only a few this time okay?" I insisted, smiling at his playfulness.
Okay!" he agreed, flipping over on his stomach, readying himself.

I laid my hand on his back, deep in thought. "What haven't I drawn lately?"

My first drawing, made with my fingernail on his bare back, was of an umbrella. It was an easily recognizable object. We had played a team game with my Korean children in which two teams played telephone, except that they had to draw pictures on each others back, and the first team to write the word on the board won the game. Umbrella was an object even the Korean kids could get. It took some hinting, such as a cloud with rain droplets, but he finally guessed the correct answer.

The second object, he suggested that I draw produce.
"Produce?" I inquired sceptically
"yeah, like fruit or veggies." he offered

I drew a beet.

He guessed bananas.

To be fair, I did draw the beet underground with leafage to indicate it's growth above ground (not that I have ever seen a beet in the ground, but that is what I imagined it to look like).

The third and final drawing was a snowflake.
"I have no idea." he admitted, holding his sleep- leaded eyelids open with much difficulty.
"Okay, hint: Its tiny, minuscule and white." I hinted
"Draw it again..." he managed to articulate. Drawing on his back is like a drug for Kyle. He just can't get enough, but it has the added effect of putting him to sleep like a milk drunk babe.
"There are no two alike. They are like fingerprints." I insisted

I drew four straight lines in the shape of a star.

"What is that?" I asked before continuing
"An egg?" he drawled sleepily.
"Sweetheart, an egg is round. And an egg is like a fingerprint?" I countered jokingly
"it's a snowflake!" I cried, giving up.

"Oh." He smiled "Goodnight. I love you."

And with that, he was out like a blown out candle flame.

You can see how one might get confused with a snowflake and an egg right?

Did I mention that I married a five year old?? But I can honestly say, life is never dull with Kyle around!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

9 years down, 90 more to go!

It's funny sometimes to think of just how long Vanessa and I have known each other. While we are both over 1/4 of a century old, it doesn't seem that long ago that we were making out in the costume closet at MacArthur High School. Time does go by so fast. Nine years ago on December 11th, Vanessa and I "officially" declared our romantic feelings for each other. That's really just a fancy way of saying we kissed for the first time (off stage) ;) Now I know that this may seem like a silly thing to celebrate but for us it represents something special and who doesn't like having an extra day a year to appriciate being with the one you love?

So this year to celebrate, Vanessa surprised me with tickets to see the Nutcracker. For most guys this would seem more like punishment but who here doesn't know that I'm a girly man? I actually enjoy ballet quite a bit and not just because of the sexy ballerinas. If you ask me, people who don't like ballet just don't pay much attention to the details. Have you ever stopped to watch their feet? Those girls are balancing on little blocks attached to their toes that are maybe 2 inches by 2 inches. INCREDIBLE! And I still get chills when I see people leaping through the air in ways that seem physically impossible. Now I have yet to see a rendition of the Nutcracker that portrays an even closely realistic sword fight between the cracker and the rat but at least there's a battle at all! If it were just the fru fru girly dances I think I might have a different opinion of it but as it is, I'd say the Nutcracker was pretty good for such a feminine work of art. Not to mention the fact that nothing makes a WASP Christmas more jolly than a night at the Nutcracker.

To top the evening off we went to Carino's and enjoyed a nostalgic Italiano dinner. Van and I frequently went there on dates while we were going to Tech. It's not exactly authentic but come on, it's Lubbock. Can't get to picky can we?

Anyways, I feel so privileged to have spent the past 9 years falling more in love with such an amazing person and I just wanted to share some of the mushy gushy with you all.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


My husband more than myself, enjoys a trip to a thrift store. He loves the sorting, the scourging, the endless hours of finding nothing, only to find that one valuable item. For me, the search is tiring and usually a barren pursuit. The act of rummaging through old things proves only to pain my feet and lower back, rather than create a since of accomplishment when that small treasure has been found. But perhaps, I carried this despondent feeling with me because I had never found true treasure before. This time however, I followed the rainbow with a copious golden harvest at the end of the colorful arch. I have yet to sit down to calculate exactly what was excavated from the rubble of Goodwill, but $120 later, I feel like I have a new wardrobe! I left the musky smelling store floating on a cloud of euphoria. Although, I typically don't enjoy the chase of treasure, I DO LOVE a good deal, and with nothing over $5, I do believe I found some AMAZING deals; Dresses, skirts, spaghetti strap shirts, sweaters, cute tees, work out shirts, pajama pants and long sleeve shirts for work. Most of the clothes I purchased looked brand new. Some even still had tags still attached. I can't wait for my next trip to this gold chest Goodwill only found here in West Texas. I need to save up for our next trip.

I know that ya'll are dying to see what all what all we bought. So without further adieu, I bring you the Rogers Fashion show from Goodwill. (Keep in mind, this is only a sampling as we did not want to spend all day taking pictures of our new clothes)

The t-shirt with butterflies and the black mini sweater.

What a cute, simple summer dress!

The black poka-dot spaghetti strap and the pink sweater are perfect for spring.

What can I say, I love this dress.

This dress is more like a mu-mu, but it is soooo comfy.

Kyle calls these pants pirate pants, and although they are actually girl pj's we are keeping that a secret :)

Long sleeve work out shirt, sexy!

Work shirts are always a plus.

A new fleece, Yay!!

I hope you have enjoyed our fashion show, as much as we enjoyed the shopping. And if you ever find yourself in Lubbock, take thyself straight to the Goodwill, you wont regret it!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

I married a five year old

An orange foreign object wizzes overhead, dangerously close to hitting me. I look around for the source of the dart and sigh. My husband is standing in the door way like an assailant ready for battle. His weapon, he grasps in his grimy hands and although its length is foreboding, at least two feet long, it is made of orange and blue plastic. His ammunition, orange nerf bullets. That's right, my twenty-five year old HUSBAND has a nerf gun, and if he likes you expect to be shot!

How did Kyle obtain a nerf gun you may ask? Was it an antique from our childhood? Sadly, the answer is no. He bought it recently as a early Christmas gift for himself.

Swiggle swiggle swiggle (enter the sounds of chimes as we travel to the past)

Walking through Walmart looking for a vacuum band for my grandmother's vacuum cleaner, I turn around and see no one standing near me. I inhale deeply grasping that I have lost my husband. His disappearance can only mean one thing; he has found the toy department. I cross my arms as he sheepishly runs towards me, smiling like a puppy who has just peed on the carpet but is acting overly sweet to mask the smell. Under his arm, is a box half my size.
"Please??!!" he pleads looking up at me in that adorable way he knows I can't say no to. But I am stronger than he has anticipated.
"Are we five now? Kyle, if you want that, ask for it for Christmas! We came to buy something for a vacuum cleaner, not a toy" I say determinedly crossing my arms to punctuate the point.
"But this is an awesome deal. I have been looking for these online, and this is $15 cheaper than any other I have found. Plus it has an extra barrel for when you run out of nerfs, so you don't have to stop and reload. Come on Vanessa. It will be an early Christmas present. You aren't going to find another deal like this!" he says as he walks towards the front of the store, grasping the box tightly, afraid I might tear it from his bear like grip.

What was I to say? I am weak and give in to so many of his whims. It must have been so difficult to say no to him as a child. His pleading smile is well practiced at melting the most ferocious heart to an icy puddle which can only respond with "yes."

As we were walking to the front, we saw a boy who couldn't have been older than seven carrying the same gun, mirroring the excitement worn on Kyle's face. Oh the irony.

After the first attack, it was determined (by my mom) that someone else must have a weapon to fight off the onslaught of orange nerf bullets effectively.

The first battle was between my mom and Kyle. When it ended, nerfs covered every inch of the house. I, however, will never erase the image of my mom carrying the blue and orange gun on the prowl to attack her son in law. Way to go MOM!

The next battle, was between my aunt Nancy and Kyle. This, however, was not a fair match, as Kyle has the skills of a lion stalking it's prey. He is as quiet as a slithering snake and as quick and accurate as a Cherokee warrior. Nancy on the other hand, laughed the entire time, giving away her position, and her shot... well, let's just say, she needs practice.

There were a few other battles in between, but the most epic of them all occured Thanksgiving day. Unbeknownst to me, Kyle had already purchased several nerf guns before my arrival back in the states. When I asked why he needed another one, his response was, "I wanted a better one." Arrggg... boys! Two others plus a blow gun emerged from the wreckage which is our garage. Thanksgiving day, we spent with my BFF's (Leslie's) family who we consider to be our family. The fight began originally between Leslie's cousin Bella and Kyle. (Do you see the pattern, they all start with Kyle, the pacifist.) Kyle's excuse for the beginnings of the war was that he only wanted to entertain Bella, who was eight and exhibiting boredom signs: it had nothing to do with his own five-year old attention span. Leslie's sister and friend entered the fight as well as Leslie and Leslie's husband. The war raged for over an hour upstairs, and down, behind the couch and between the banisters. In ever corner lay either a gun man or a collector (of nerfs for reloading). It was the war of wars , culminating in a battle between the sexes in which the better sex won. I don't need to explain which that is. It was one of the best Thanksgiving events of my lifetime and in my snow-globe of memories, that is one I will cradle carefully. Thank goodness for my five year old husband!

We exhausted QT with the battle. He looked on condescendingly!