If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, 1 grandson, 3 granddaughters, 3 dogs, and a whole lot of love.

Family Story Pic

Family Story Pic


Friday, September 27, 2013

Upgrade, my S

Most of you might know that when it comes to technology, I'm a complete moron.  I'm not too proud to admit it. 

A couple of years ago, Ron surprised me with an iPhone 4S for Christmas.  Right off the bat, I hated S.  I still can't say her name without it sounding like a growl.  Siri.

For 2 years I cursed her name but became completely enamored with the phone that housed her.  That is until recently when my beloved phone began screwing with me.

I'm sure you can relate when I tell you that the majority of my life is in that phone.  Everyone I know, both personally and professionally, have only my iPhone to thank (or blame) that I'm able to call or text them because they're under my contacts.  My entire list of massage clients, as well as my schedule of appointments is in my calendar.  Every Zumba song I've ever known and the separate playlists for each of the 3 locations I teach, are under my music app.  And every thought, brainstorm, quote and idea are listed in my notes for future writing projects. 
Yep, my entire career is in that phone.

So when that phone takes on a mind of it's own, begins rearranging my playlists, blanking out my schedules and randomly shutting down to "update" itself, I'll go to Verizon and trust that Tristan with the clipboard won't wipe away my identity and cancel my very existence on this earth. 

One should never be so trusting...and one should never put herself into the hands of a salesman with a clipboard on the heels of a celebratory half-price margarita from Texas Roadhouse.

His first question seemed simple enough as he pointed to my 4S. 
"Is that cracked?" 
I said, "Nope" as I beamed with pride at having managed to make it 2 years without cracking my cell phone, which must be a pretty big deal for him to even ask such a question.  I've also managed to bring 4 kids into the world. 

That's when he lowered the boom with his offer to buy back my phone for $200 in exchange for upgrading me to the iPhone 5S.  The part of my brain that hadn't been impaired with margarita smelled a trap, but before it could speak up, a voice said, "OK!"  Enter Chuckles...loving husband and designated driver.  Tristan's face lit up as he picked up on Ron's super-agreeable vibe.  I quickly interrupted his salivating and said,  "Wait a minute.  I need a guarantee that I'm not going to lose any of my information in the transfer."  He replied, "You'll get it all back.  Just don't come beat me up if you don't."  Aaaahhhh...Tristan with the clipboard has now picked up on my vibe, as well. 

Twenty minutes later, it was all said and done.  My 4S sat on the counter, wiped clean of my entire life, and I walked out of Verizon the owner of a new and improved iPhone 5S, which required the purchase of an all new phone cover, wall charger and car charger but was fully loaded...with everything except my schedule, my notes, my Zumba songs, and my playlists...for a grand total of $197.00, leaving a whopping $3.00 from his generous offer to apply toward our next bill.  As an added bonus, my new phone doesn't fit my Zumba speakers and I had to buy a $30 converter. 

Now I'm no math wiz, but by my calculation, Tristan with the clipboard owes me $27.00, 59 Zumba songs, and 15 story ideas, not to mention my dignity for all the massage clients I had to call asking when their next appointment was scheduled.

Thanks to Ron for spending countless hours at the computer, many understanding clients, my wonderful Zumba instructor and a decent memory, I have reloaded my 5S with as much of my information as possible. 

Bottom line; I'm stuck with this new S, I want nothing more than to go back there and kick his, and I already have a game plan for next time.

Go ahead and ask me.  "Is that cracked?"
You're damn right it is.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Good Sign

As you may recall, a mere 3 months ago, I was rather anonymous, which is exactly the way I preferred things.  Many of you who read my blog knew my name, but according to Google stats, many of you didn't.  (Shout out to my readers in Russia, Serbia, Sweden and the Netherlands...I pray I'm not your only representation of America.)

But on June 5th, I publicly introduced myself and I'm relieved to report that my world didn't collapse.  I didn't receive hate mail, knock on wood, and I continued living my days in blissful obscurity, busily filling my time with massage clients, writing and Zumba choreography, all the while excitedly anticipating the release of the first 2 books my stories have been published in.

That is, until it came time to do a book signing.  That's what you do in this industry.  You promote the book, you advertise it, and you brand yourself.  It shouldn't be an emotionally life altering event for anyone...unless of course that 'anyone' is someone who just 16 short months ago was crying backstage at her church, not wanting to do a 2-minute walk down a runway modeling an outfit for a charity fund raiser because people might look at her.  I'm super stable like that.

Don't get me wrong, God has brought me a long way since then, but when push came to shove on this book signing, I may have slightly reverted back to my insecure ways. 

Publicity became nothing short of a hyperventilating nightmare until one of my best friends, Mandi, finally took it over.  Probably as much for her sanity as mine, but seeing as she's the one that started this whole ball rolling one year ago when she said, "I'm going to start praying about your writing," I think she deserves a little taste of insanity.

The closer we got to the event, the obsession became about what to wear, because here's the simple truth about a book signing event as played out in my mind.  Either nobody would show up, or worse...somebody would show up.  So the wardrobe dilemma became, what does one wear to a public library to either sit alone for 2 hours or have people look at you for 2 hours?  Enter my other best friend, Lissa, who saved the day with a shopping trip that had me waiting unclothed in a dressing room while she ran around the store bringing me things to model.  Sometimes life is one humiliation after another.  I blindly trusted her judgment until a pair of 4inch heels made an appearance.  I stood firm on my NO...but then she threw out the word 'badass.' 
She always knows exactly what to say.

I spent the day of the signing with a team of highly skilled professionals, namely Melanie and Juliene, who polished, waxed, buffed, curled and transformed me.  An undertaking similar to the makeover scene in 'Miss Congeniality,' except when I walked out, the song 'Mustang Sally' didn't start up, although I did trip and almost fall down.  Probably because I was walking normal speed in my badass heels and not super-cool-slow-motion.  We can't all be Sandra Bullock, okay?

The feeling in the pit of my stomach as we drove to the signing was distinct and I knew where I'd felt it before.  I could picture the moment in the airplane as it hovered 13,000 feet in the air while I was inched closer and closer to the open door by the man who was strapped to my back.  I knew that day would end in one of two ways.  I'd either live or I'd die.  I wasn't in control and my only responsibility, as spelled out by the man pushing me toward the open door was, "Stop thinking and enjoy the ride." 

So when we pulled into the parking lot, I was overcome by peace as things were put into perspective.  This day would end in one of two ways.  People would either show up or they wouldn't.  I'm not in control and my only responsibility, as spelled out by my God who's not on my back, but rather whose got my back as He gently pushed me toward the door was, "Stop thinking and enjoy the ride."

Ron, Lissa, Mandi and a giant sheet cake kicked off what turned out to be an absolutely beautiful evening full of friends and family who came out to help this often-times-hot-mess celebrate a milestone on her path.  Humbling and overwhelming would be the words to best describe it.  Once again, God carried me over the threshold of a door that He'd opened for me Himself and then He met me in the free fall of the unknown that lay beyond it.

The only slight hiccup of the evening happened at 5 o'clock on the dot, when the signing was scheduled to start.  A complete stranger tentatively walked through the door and approached me.  Clearly, neither of us felt comfortable as she nervously said, "I'm here to meet Shari."  I could feel Ron's eyes boring into me from across the room silently imploring me to speak.  My cheeks felt like they were on fire during the silence that hung in the air before I finally said, "I'm Shari."  I fumbled through our awkward exchange as she bought books and tried to hide my surprise when she asked me to sign them.

When she left, Ron had a piece of advice for me: 
"Wow.  You're gonna need to work on your social game."
Hey.  I didn't burst into tears when she looked at me.  Baby steps.

Lissa:  Best friend, Stylist & Partner in Crime

Mandi:  Best friend, Publicist & Prayer Warrior 
(aka:  The Stable One.)
Chuckles:  Husband, Business Manager & Social Etiquette Advisor
Do you have someone in your life who cries with you in celebration because she not only knows your journey, but has faithfully walked along beside you since day one?
I do.  Her name is Susan:  Best friend.  Cousin through blood. 
Sister through life.
So what's your story? 
You know me, now I'd like to know you.
Please feel free to introduce yourself.
That means you too, Russia readers...all 78 of you.

Monday, September 9, 2013

El Shito.

After spending seven hours at a very crowded, very hot King's Island for Labor Day with Ron, Kearstin and Caymen, we stopped at one of our favorite Mexican places on the way home.

We'd never eaten at this particular location, but it was very clean, our waitress was nice, and we easily fell into our normal El Toro routine, which is to say, we placed our food and drink orders and then devoured baskets of chips and bowls of salsa at rates of speed that resemble your typical Man vs. Food contest.  We're a delight to our fellow diners.

I ordered my usual.  Pollo Fiesta.  That's fancy schmancy Spanish for boneless, skinless, grilled chicken breast.  Or as my kids call it, "Mom's diet food."  Maybe if I changed the name at home, they'd actually eat it.  What's for dinner, you ask?  Why it's Pollo Fiesta!  And they'd excitedly shout, Olay!  A mom can dream, right?  Anyhoo, Ron ordered the same thing.

You know that feeling in your gut that tells you something is terribly wrong?  You know, the one we're always told never to ignore, thus the phrase 'Follow your gut?'  Well, within my first two bites, I got it.  And I ignored it.  I WAS HUNGRY, OKAY?!?!  It wasn't exactly bleeding all over my plate or anything.  It was just tough with an ever so slight aftertaste you might describe as...foul...not to be confused with fowl.

By the time Ron took a bite of his chicken, I'd already eaten all of mine.  Don't judge me.  I was starving, remember?  I was literally sitting there silently convincing myself that my chicken had been thoroughly cooked when he said, "Does this chicken taste done to you?"  and handed me his fork.  I took the bite of chicken that looked and tasted exactly like mine did and said, "That's what mine was like."  He glanced toward my squeaky clean plate, did a double take and looked at me like I'd just eaten our family pet.  Then he said, "Chef Ramsey says undercooked chicken could kill somebody."  I thought, Chef Ramsey also calls people f-ing donkeys, so if you wanna live in that world, just say the word, Chuckles.  Not everything on reality tv is real, okay?!?  Why must I always be the voice of reason. 

He called our waitress over and told her our chicken was undercooked.  She apologized and immediately picked up his plate of chicken and then reached for mine.  I sat awkwardly staring at her and she said, "Wow.  You must have been hungry."

Well, it would appear somebody doesn't want a tip this evening because the only thing you're getting from me is the fowl I'm about to flip you by way of middle finger.

Fifteen minutes later, Ron was obnoxiously eating his thoroughly cooked and safe plate of chicken while I sat Googling Salmonella symptoms.  Diarrhea, fever, severe abdominal cramps, cold chills, and an incubation period of 5-72 hours.  I mentally cleared my week's schedule.

I'm relieved to report that I successfully made it through last week.  There was one close call Wednesday evening when I might have experienced a Psychosomatic symptom and frantically told Ron, "I think I'm having the Salmonella cold chills!" and he calmly said, "Or, and stick with me here, the air conditioner kicked on."

I've had just about enough common sense out of you, donkey.