The Dumbest Idea

In my last post, I mentioned that I should talk about the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.

Don’t worry; this is a humorous story. (But we really should not have done the thing.)

A few years ago, a friend of mine learned that her horse died. He was old and fully grown and it was just his time (though she wasn’t ready for it!). He was at her family’s property, and they had young children, so to shield them from the death, they dragged him with their truck of to the edge of the property. This unfortunate event happened just after the last snow of the season.

The next morning, they went to retrieve this poor animal’s carcass, and discovered an empty space and some tracks leading away. No blood. No fur. One set of cat tracks. Also, no drag marks.

Freaking crazy, right? This was a 500 pound horse! That was one big and strong cat hauling that mess away.

Then she remembers the cat her dad saw while out hunting one day. He said it was large, black, and skinny. And it had a little tail like a bobcat’s.

Panther/bobcat?

They’ve also seen a massive black cat crossing the road leading to their property.

Could this be the owner of the cat tracks leading away from where her horse’s body lied?

My friend also remembered a night when she let the dog out at her brother’s property nearby, and heard a crazy scream/growl (kind of like a mountain lion, but not quite), and saw the horses running like the devil was chasing them. Could that cry have been from this massive panther-bobcat hybrid?

That’s when a brilliant (read: stupid) idea hatched.

My friend, along with another of her friends, and I would go out to this 20 acre field of her brother’s and try to hear this scream/growl/cry thing this cat did. We just wanted to hear it. Nothing else.

We drove the truck to the edge of the field, got out, and started walking toward the middle of the field, armed with flashlights and a couple of recorders to capture any sounds we would hope to hear. We walked and talked and listened, and positioned ourselves facing the tree line that, in the dark, masked the steep hill sloping upwards.

After some time, we heard it: the rustling in the trees. It was faint and brief, but it was there. So what did we do? We took a few steps toward the sound, stopped, and listened again. More rustling. We took a few steps closer still. More rustling, and this time it was clearly moving toward us. We decided to back up this time, slow and steady, all the way back to our original position in the middle of the field. We held this position for several moments before my friend decided to move closer again. By herself. Because she wasn’t too chicken to do it. And she got very, very close to the tree line. We couldn’t see her unless she turned to the side and we could see her cheek in the dark (because she, like me, is very pale and glows in the dark).

After several minutes of her near the tree line by herself and far too close for comfort, we urged her to come back before something leaped out of the trees and mauled her. After she finally made her way back to us, we continued on back to the truck at the edge of the property, got into it, and drove it back into the middle of this field to sit in the bed of the truck and listen, because all we wanted was to hear this mysterious beast growl/scream/roar and it hasn’t done that yet.

After sitting and talking in the dark in the middle of this field, we started hearing coyotes going absolutely crazy. One stood out from them all–it sounded as though it was in pain or scared. We sat and listened to all of these dogs howling and barking. None of the howls were close. From this, we were (relatively) safe. Still, we waited for it to subside before finally deciding to pack it up and go.

We never heard the growl/scream/cry/roar that my friend did. It was a bummer to have gone all that way to hear nothing, but it also meant we weren’t that close to getting eaten (maybe). We made our way back to our homes and went to work the next day (extremely tired, considering it was well after midnight when we left the field).

My friend was telling her boyfriend about this adventure of ours. His one and only question was this:

“Did you guys have a gun in the truck?”

Ahem.

You know that moment when somebody brings up a REALLY good point and all you feel is shame because you didn’t think of the thing? That was us after this question.

We went to the middle of a field in the middle of the Ozark Mountains in the middle of the night hoping to hear the cry of a possibly mutant big cat WITHOUT A GUN.

And there it was solidified. This was the dumbest thing we’d ever done in our lives. We could have been eaten, pounced on, mauled…and we didn’t have a single gun to defend ourselves.

Be careful with your stupid decisions, kids. I’m not telling you to always have a gun, but when you’re in the middle of nowhere where there is wildlife and animals…you should probably be packing. Just to be on the safe side. But really, just don’t go wandering a field in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. You really never know.

Also, my friend’s recorder picked up voices that weren’t ours but that’s a whole other creepy story for another day.

I just had to clarify our dumbest decision after my last post stating my second dumbest.

Stay safe, everybody. Don’t go looking for big cats, even just to hear them. Live and learn!

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Tradition!

Years ago, I got married in a hurry. In retrospect, this was one the least smart decisions I have ever made in my life. I’d rank it at number two (I should remember to write about Dumbest Decision Number One in the near future).

Six months after we married, I left him. The marriage had become toxic, and it didn’t take long for him to start cheating on me. He was clearly out of this marriage as soon as it had started, and didn’t care about repairing the damage. Neither of us were in the best places in our lives. It wasn’t long after this began getting into more and more trouble, resulting in multiple incarcerations in correctional facilities in two states. We agreed that our marriage needed to end.

Twice, he’s filed for divorce. It was cheaper for both of us since he was in jail at the time and therefore could get the fee waived. Both times, he let the ball drop. The second time he filed, I signed the papers and sent them off within days of getting them. The day I sent them, I met somebody new. For the first time in four long years, I was going on a date. One date turned into a relationship.

We weren’t together for very long before breaking up (a whole other dramatic tale), and afterward discovered that I was having a baby. I informed him because it was the right thing to do, then moved back home with my mom.

Some time after giving birth to my daughter, my ex and I were given notice that our case was going to be dismissed, and there was a case review scheduled. I was told that he went, and waited, and our names weren’t called. I call bullshit. He either didn’t go at all, or he went to the wrong courthouse. Either way, he let the ball drop again.

I decided that it was my turn. After I saved some money, I drew up the paperwork and filed divorce papers. By this time, he was back in jail. I’m told he tried to steal a brand new Harley this time. It doesn’t matter. I was getting him out of my life once and for all.

I got the letter in the mail. There was a case review scheduled, but the court deemed the file incomplete. I needed to be there or my case would be dismissed. I had to miss work, but we all understood the need for this divorce. After six years of separation, it was past time.

I sat in the courtroom and waited for them to call me up to discuss my case. I was at the courthouse early, and after sitting in the chair in the hallway I started pacing. It felt like an eternity. Finally, the bailiff called us in. More sitting, but I couldn’t get up and start pacing this time. This wait felt even longer. About 10 minutes late, the judge finally walked in. After speaking with members from the other case, he called me up to speak with me.

There was a problem. It’s stated as a dissolution without children, but I named a child born of somebody else in the papers (hey, they asked for it, and there is zero lying in this kind of paperwork.). The judge lectured me. He would want a paternity test done to prove that my ex-husband is not the biological father of my child, because he refuses to bastardize a child. He told me that he legitimately doesn’t care if he’s a felon or a great guy or a bum–every child deserves to have two parents.

I have to dip even further into my savings that is supposed to be reserved for my daughter and pay for a lawyer to order paternity tests on both my ex-husband and the biological father of my daughter so that this traditionalist judge will let me finally have my freedom.

I’m thoroughly upset by this. There is no reason for me to have to do this–not in this day and age. My ex and I have been separated for six years and I still have to prove that he isn’t her father. The fact that we’re still legally married does not mean that my daughter has two parents. She has one playing both roles, and she is loved and cared for. She won’t know any differently, and she won’t be missing out because I’m not married to somebody that could be a father figure. A single parent does not a broken home make. By telling me all of this, I am being told that I should be married, and I legitimately don’t want to be. I don’t even want to date anybody that could potentially become a father figure to my daughter because I’m simply not interested. I don’t care about having or finding a man; I care first and foremost about taking care of my daughter. Plus, I can’t see myself sharing my affections between her and anybody else, at least not for a very long time.

There are plenty of times I wish I had a partner to help me raise her, of course. Being a parent is especially hard and there is a reason that it takes two. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done with just one parent. I don’t carry any sort of resentment or even voice this frustration because there’s no point, and because I love my daughter more than anything in this world and I’ll be damned if she doesn’t know love.

I shouldn’t have to do this. I shouldn’t have to justify wanting a divorce while I have a child when my soon-to-be ex-husband has been in and out of jail for almost the entire separation. I can’t have an association with him anymore, with or without a child in the mix.

My daughter will never have his last name. My ex-husband will never meet my daughter.

A traditionalist judge wants my daughter to have two parents when I don’t want her to. Forcing me to stay married would only make me hurt, angry, depressed, and bitter. My daughter deserves better.

I need my freedom from this man that I don’t love and can’t stay out of trouble.

It’s a different world from what it used to be, but my child will know love even though she only has one parent.

A Promise I Intend to Keep

Today was like any other working Saturday. I wake up, get ready for work, wake up my baby girl, and wake up my mom. I say goodbye to my mom and daughter and give my daughter hugs and kisses before I head to work for half a day. After work, I played with my daughter and she took a little cat nap. After that, we went grocery shopping. 
All of this is very typical for a Saturday that I work. I had my list, I had my daughter, I had the diaper bag. Also, my daughter was in a darn good mood. All in all, this was shaping up to be a good shopping trip.

And it was…save for one moment. 

It was a moment my 11 month old baby girl didn’t understand or even notice, but I and several other shoppers did (it was mighty crowded this day). 

I witnessed a mother doing what she may call disciplining, but I call aggressive and absolutely wrong. 

I was in an aisle, and this family was all the way to the back wall. What caught my attention was her loud voice. Inside the cart, it looked as though two kids were squeezed in there with a baby carrier up top. What I saw was a mother hitting her child and shouting at him. The only sentence I could make out was “I told you to keep your fucking hands to yourself!” This was accompanied with a number of other obscenities. 

My heart and stomach twisted into knots and tears formed in my eyes. I couldn’t even see this woman’s face, and I wasn’t the closest person to her. I couldn’t take it, but I admittedly didn’t know who to call or whether I should. All I could do was position myself away from this event, hug my daughter, and make her a promise.

To my wonderful, curious, and amazing child,

I promise you that there will be times that we will be upset with each other.

I promise you that life is nowhere near perfect. 

I promise you to make as many smiles as humanly possible.

I promise you that I will try my hardest to make life as best for you as I can make it.

I promise you that there will be hard days.

Most of all, I promise you that no matter how upset I get with you, I will never lay my hands on you in such anger as I witnessed today. 

I promise you that you will never know what it means to be that fearful of your mother. 

I promise you that I will love you unconditionally.

To the child in that shopping cart, I’m sorry. I hope that you don’t have that anger in your heart as an adult. 

To the mother in the store, I hope the anger in your heart leaves. There is never a reason to hit your child in such manner. 

Disclaimer: I know it needs to be reported. I don’t have an accurate description of anybody and I don’t know who they are. It wouldn’t have been helpful to say “some mother in a super busy store.” 

Regarding My Absence…

My goal was a weekly post. I have several posts started, but yet to be finished and edited. I have several ideas yet to be typed into a draft.

My goal was to do this weekly, and it still is my goal.

I’m a full-time mom with a full-time job. Combine that with house cleaning and depression/anxiety, and by the time my daughter is ready for bed, I’m climbing in with her. Every day, I tell myself that I should do a little bit while she sleeps, but by the time I have her in bed I am so tired that I just crawl into bed. (Slight redundancy, there, wasn’t it?)

All I ask is for some patience. I still have to put my life together. I’m still a mess, and my daughter comes first. (And she demands a lot of attention! Such a diva at 6 months old!)

My goal is still a weekly post or even every other week at this point. It’s difficult for me at this point in my life, but trust that I haven’t forgotten that I have a blog.

As always, love each other. Spread kindness and hugs.

P.S. This post didn’t get edited. I needed to type up a quick apology post, editing be damned!!

I Had a Pinterest Fail But It Still Tasted Good

For months I have seen a recipe on Facebook and Pinterest that has intrigued me:

The pizza dipping stick.

That may or may not be it’s actual name.

Basically you roll up pepperoni and mozzarella cheese in pizza dough and bake it, then dip it in pizza sauce. I’m sure there are several (infinite?) variations to try, but I like my pepperoni.

Mom and I agreed that it was worth a try, but first we wanted some garlic bread pizza. So we made that (buy garlic bread, put pizza stuff on it, bake, and eat. So damn simple it’s a wonder I don’t do it more often!).

Approximately a week after making these delicious garlic bread pizzas and having leftover cheese and pepperoni, I decided it was time. I needed to know how this would work out.

I rolled out and cut the pizza dough into strips that I THOUGHT were big enough to support the meat and cheese (oh, live and learn, young Padawan), and proceeded blindly into this project.

I put as much pepperoni as I could fit into the dough strip. Then I grabbed the string cheese and separated it into several long pieces (because it would melt better that way, right?). Then I rolled it all up and set it onto the cookie sheet. (I am so glad I put foil down for this. Keep reading to find out why.) Repeat five times.

I put my creation into the oven and let it bake for approximately 10-ish minutes. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t actually keep time. I just let my nose decide. When it smelled as though I should get these bad boys out, I opened the oven to find cheese melting out of the ends and seams (foil! What a life saver!). The top of the sticks weren’t done, and the bottoms were a nice golden brown.

I turned the sticks over and let the bottoms brown.

After letting them sit for, oh…1 minute…I decided to just go for it and see how these tasted. I poured the sauce into a little bowl, and burned my fingers trying to get two of these onto a plate.

They didn’t taste too bad! Could they have tasted more like pizza? Oh yeah. Should I have brushed the sticks with some melted butter and seasonings? You’re darn tooting I should have! But they were edible . It’s fine.

I’ll do it differently next time.

Cooking is always an opportunity to learn. Remember that!

 

Love one another, spread kindness, and spend more time in the kitchen because cooking is fun!

With Regards to Mother’s and Father’s Day…

I’ve been seeing posts that Fathers Day is not Single Mothers day. I didn’t see this for Mothers Day, but this isn’t about a feminist rant. This is about my disagreement with Mothers Day not being about single fathers or Fathers Day not being about single mothers.

If you are a single parent raising your child without the other parent, you are both Mom and Dad. There is no co-parenting. Therefore, you get to have both holidays.

Single moms aren’t taking away what dads do for their children. Dads are great for children to have, should the father be involved. I see amazing fathers out there, and I’m happy for their spouses and children.

My daughter has a biological father, but not a dad. He’s not involved. I’m raising this child on my own, making all of the decisions. I dress her, bathe her, change her, decide when she’s ready for cereal and fruit and veggies, decide which daycare provider I’d like her with, etc etc etc. Every little decision is mine and I don’t have to agree with somebody else.

Do you know what that makes me? Mom AND Dad. I’m her only parent.

Single parents have it rough and when they’re doing the best they can, you have to give them their credit.

Those of you that have the co-parent and want to tell single parents that they don’t get both holidays, SIT DOWN. I understand where you’re coming from, but you have a second parent in your child’s life. You are either Mom or Dad. If a single parent says it, I’d listen to their reasoning first, only because they are going through it with me.

All parents are wonderful to have. To the single dad figuring out how to braid his daughters hair without the help of his daughter’s mother, Happy Mothers Day and Happy Fathers Day. You get both. To the single mother driving her son and his friends to football practice and cheering him on, you go girl. Happy Mothers Day and Fathers Day to you, too. We have to do it all.

To all the parents out there, keep up the good work. Do everything you can to be sure your child lives the best life they can have.

It’s hard work and we really need to support each other. Please don’t take away from the double duty from that single parents are pulling.

 

Happy Mothers Day. Happy Fathers Day. Happy Parents Day. Love each other. Support each other. We all work our asses off to raise children.

Baby Wearing! Let’s Talk About It

I have tried wearing my baby, and it’s going to be a process! I know every baby is different, and some just don’t like being held chest to chest all the time. Sometimes my daughter gets in that mood.

While I was pregnant, I was gifted two different wraps for babywearing. I get the appeal of these–they aren’t full of buckles, and the fabric makes it easier for baby to feel your hands on her back. Somehow it just seemed nicer to have these wraps. Try as I might, I just can’t get these bloody things tight enough to feel like my daughter is safely secured on my body.

Enter the Infantino 4-in-1 carrier.

The appeal of this is that I’ll have to option to carry my girl facing forward when she gains a few more pounds. Sometimes she just doesn’t want to cuddle with me and be carried chest to chest. I’ll have to carry her facing out so that she can look around. My girl is so curious. The times that I could carry her chest-to-chest, it felt wonderful. Even though I had to buckle several pairs of buckles, I didn’t feel like she was sliding down my belly! I’m excited to try this with her facing out, but right now she’s just too darn small.

Anybody have any tips on getting those wraps tight enough? I’ve tried a few times and I just can’t seem to get it down. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong!!

Give me your feedback, people!

And if you have been trying to find a way to wear your baby and are frustrated by those wraps, I encourage you to try this carrier (check out the link below). I love the price and my daughter felt so secure on me. Like I said before, lotsa buckles, but I think they end up being worth it (except you don’t feel that way when baby decides she’s done being worn and gets wiggly and fussy on you).

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