amanda_lodden: (Default)
When I was a kid, my grandparents had a camper outside of Jackson, and I spent pretty much every summer there. They had picked their lot based on the fact that there was a little playground right next to it. For some reason, I thought that the campground had closed-- I recall driving around in the area maybe 6-10 years ago and being very sad because I'd found the entrance to the park but it was all grown over and fallen into disuse. (Perhaps it was a particularly vivid dream, because I do not know when I would have had such an opportunity.)

But http://www.greenwoodacrescampground.com informs me that the campground is still very much open (though Google satellite view indicates that there are zero campers in the area formerly occupied by my grandparents and their crew).

Right now, I am awash in memories. I look at their sitemap, and I can trace my way from our lot (7th St lot 48! Though they've renumbered a little, and now it's lot 51) to the Rec Center where they had video games and pool tables and foosball tables and a little candy store and big huge 4-person swings outside which were just awesome to ride in, but no one ever wanted to be the one to push. I remember that in front of the Rec Center was a little zoo, and I bet that it's not there any more. Even in the span of time that I was there, the zoo was cut back substantially -- at one time, there were peacocks and goats and monkeys and a couple of donkeys that gave rides on the weekends and I want to say there was something on the other side of the monkeys but I'm blanking on what it was. By the time I became a teenager and Too Old For The Campground Now(tm), it was down to just the goats. From the looks of it from Google Maps, the whole area is a putt-putt course or something now.

As a side note, talking about the zoo reminds me of when M and I were very young, and she got stung by a bee while we were looking at the monkeys.

Wendal, who ran the place, got an idea into his head at one point, and for a few years there was a drive-thru "African Safari"-style zoo up near the entrance next to the golf course. I remember a lot of people expressing concern because they had a real live rhino, and the zoo was separated from the campground by just a chain-link fence. (I assume, knowing what I know of zoo design now, that the rhino had its own area that kept it confined without looking like it was keeping it confined.) That style of zoo was very popular for a little bit, and then people stopped going to them because they were going to whatever the next entertainment trend was instead. After a couple of years, the animals were sold off to real zoos (that is what I tell myself, anyway) and the zoo was abandoned.

I remember that Grandma saw a human-interest news report about a woman who had had a heart attack while driving, and her kid took over driving and got her to the hospital in time to save her life. Though I was 14 and pretty close to being able to take driver's training, Grandma decided that I should learn to drive Right Then, so she took me to the abandoned drive-thru zoo and taught me how to drive there. The only time I actually met Wendal, it was because he drove his pickup over to find out why the hell there was a car driving erratically around his abandoned zoo. Once Grandma explained, he beamed a big smile at me and told us to go right on ahead.

I remember that it wasn't too long after that, a year tops, before we heard the awful news that Wendal had been killed in a car accident.

I remember Mary walking down the street yelling "Barbara, I need things!". Mary and Barb lived on the same block in Garden City, and had lots in the campground just a few spaces from each other. I often wonder about the story behind the "I need things!" call, which Mary made at least once a month and generally more like once a week. Did Barb borrow things from her when they were home? Did Mary once walk over to Barb & Will's at an inopportune time, and now they used the announcement as a warning system?

I remember when Mom bought a trailer across the campground street from Grandma & Grandpa. As an adult, I realize she did it as an "I give up" thing, because I was supposed to spend weekends with Mom but often wanted to go up to the camper, and I feel kinda bad about that. I still tended to sleep at Grandma & Grandpa's, though. I also remember when a skunk nested under Mom's deck... which she found out about because she tore the deck down. Mom was sensible and backed off, and we sat and watched Mama Skunk ferry her babies one by one over to an old sewer pipe that was no longer in use.

I have pictures of birthday parties held at the campground, one on Mom'a patio and one on Grandma & Grandpa's. I can't identify most of the people in the pictures, but I know that for at least one of the parties, two of my cousins came up to the campground for the weekend for it.

I remember spending inordinate amounts of time at the playground next to Grandma & Grandpa's camper. I loved the swings the best, but as I got older I tended to take a more protective attitude towards a number of younger children, and I probably spent more time pushing the swings for littler kids than I did swinging on them myself. There were one or two little kids who would actually come over to the trailer and ask me to come out and push them if I wasn't out there already. I also remember complicated games on the slide, in which one person would sit on the bars on the top and act as a "gatekeeper". It was rarely mean-spirited-- sometimes it was a safety measure, because other games on the slide involved climbing up the slide part, and it was the gatekeeper's job to make sure there were no collisions.

My only broken bones happened on the swings, too. One of the cloth seats had rotted, and as I got higher and started pumping in earnest to go faster, the swing tore and I went sailing. I tried to "catch myself" when I landed (nearly everyone does), and landed on my left hand, breaking the ring and little fingers. The hospital gave me these little foam-padded metal splints but didn't actually secure them... and I was only 8 or 10 years old. Those little splints were off my fingers and I was playing with them, flexing them back and forth, by the time we were out of the parking lot. The ring and little fingers on my left hand are crooked to this day. Also, I'm just a little bit afraid of swingsets.

I remember going to The Parlour for ice cream, and it's still there so I'll be needing ice cream on my camping trip too. The pictures on the website are too bright-- the walls were a darker color back then, and the red wooden posts used to be green. The ice cream used to be awesome, and I'm hoping that hasn't changed. They still offer their 21-scoop massive sundae, so some things definitely haven't changed.

I also remember a water display thingy, and I don't remember the name of it but Google is my friend, and a bit of searching turned up The Cascades. I remember that we would sometimes make a special trip over to Jackson in order to see the Cascades, and that it was something I usually did with Mom instead of with Grandma & Grandpa or a large group. Mom and I liked the lights and the sound of the falling water; everyone else tended to call it boring or "but we've seen that!" as if you could get tired of it. Maybe you can, and maybe Adult-Me could, but Kid-Me thought it was the most amazing thing ever.

I remember swimming in the lake and the pool, both of which are pretty much "how I learned to swim." I was never much of a beach rat, but I had no problem being in the lake for hours. I remember that there was a floating raft out in the lake, providing for jumping/diving purposes. I also remember not liking to get up on it, because the lake was named "Goose Lake" for a reason. Ewwwwwwww.

I specifically remember one time in my middle-school years when I had a friend come out to the campground for a weekend. D and I had gone to the beach, and Grandma decided it was time for us to come back, so she sent Mom to go get us. But Mom decided that laying on the beach and soaking up some sun sounded nice, so instead of bringing us right back the way Grandma wanted, Mom stayed out with us. D was fine with this concept and laid out with Mom, but I was starting to feel the sunburn I had gotten and spent most of the time creating forts out of towels so that I could keep the sun off of me. I spent that night being uncomfortable because everywhere a piece of bedding touched me hurt, but D was absolutely miserable because she was red from head to toe. She couldn't get comfortable, and she didn't want to move to try a different position because movement hurt. In retrospect, she probably should have been taken to the hospital due to the severity of her burn, but... what can I say, it was a different time. Grandma was piiiiiiiiiiiiissed at Mom over the whole matter for a long time, though.

There's more (oh dear God yes, there's more) but I'm tired of typing, and these typed-up memories are just the ones that are coherent enough to write down-- there's tens of thousands of half-second snippets floating around in my head too. I desperately want to go back to the campground and the surrounding area, even though rationally I know it will never be as good as I remember. It can't be, because so many of the people surrounding me then are gone.

Incidentally: there's a contact form on the website, so I sent in a query asking what their policy on non-camping visitors are. If it's just plain not allowed, then I'll probably borrow a tent and make a reservation, but leave instead of actually camping.
amanda_lodden: (Default)
When I was a kid, my grandparents had a camper outside of Jackson, and I spent pretty much every summer there. They had picked their lot based on the fact that there was a little playground right next to it. For some reason, I thought that the campground had closed-- I recall driving around in the area maybe 6-10 years ago and being very sad because I'd found the entrance to the park but it was all grown over and fallen into disuse. (Perhaps it was a particularly vivid dream, because I do not know when I would have had such an opportunity.)

But http://www.greenwoodacrescampground.com informs me that the campground is still very much open (though Google satellite view indicates that there are zero campers in the area formerly occupied by my grandparents and their crew).

Right now, I am awash in memories. I look at their sitemap, and I can trace my way from our lot (7th St lot 48! Though they've renumbered a little, and now it's lot 51) to the Rec Center where they had video games and pool tables and foosball tables and a little candy store and big huge 4-person swings outside which were just awesome to ride in, but no one ever wanted to be the one to push. I remember that in front of the Rec Center was a little zoo, and I bet that it's not there any more. Even in the span of time that I was there, the zoo was cut back substantially -- at one time, there were peacocks and goats and monkeys and a couple of donkeys that gave rides on the weekends and I want to say there was something on the other side of the monkeys but I'm blanking on what it was. By the time I became a teenager and Too Old For The Campground Now(tm), it was down to just the goats. From the looks of it from Google Maps, the whole area is a putt-putt course or something now.

As a side note, talking about the zoo reminds me of when M and I were very young, and she got stung by a bee while we were looking at the monkeys.

Wendal, who ran the place, got an idea into his head at one point, and for a few years there was a drive-thru "African Safari"-style zoo up near the entrance next to the golf course. I remember a lot of people expressing concern because they had a real live rhino, and the zoo was separated from the campground by just a chain-link fence. (I assume, knowing what I know of zoo design now, that the rhino had its own area that kept it confined without looking like it was keeping it confined.) That style of zoo was very popular for a little bit, and then people stopped going to them because they were going to whatever the next entertainment trend was instead. After a couple of years, the animals were sold off to real zoos (that is what I tell myself, anyway) and the zoo was abandoned.

I remember that Grandma saw a human-interest news report about a woman who had had a heart attack while driving, and her kid took over driving and got her to the hospital in time to save her life. Though I was 14 and pretty close to being able to take driver's training, Grandma decided that I should learn to drive Right Then, so she took me to the abandoned drive-thru zoo and taught me how to drive there. The only time I actually met Wendal, it was because he drove his pickup over to find out why the hell there was a car driving erratically around his abandoned zoo. Once Grandma explained, he beamed a big smile at me and told us to go right on ahead.

I remember that it wasn't too long after that, a year tops, before we heard the awful news that Wendal had been killed in a car accident.

I remember Mary walking down the street yelling "Barbara, I need things!". Mary and Barb lived on the same block in Garden City, and had lots in the campground just a few spaces from each other. I often wonder about the story behind the "I need things!" call, which Mary made at least once a month and generally more like once a week. Did Barb borrow things from her when they were home? Did Mary once walk over to Barb & Will's at an inopportune time, and now they used the announcement as a warning system?

I remember when Mom bought a trailer across the campground street from Grandma & Grandpa. As an adult, I realize she did it as an "I give up" thing, because I was supposed to spend weekends with Mom but often wanted to go up to the camper, and I feel kinda bad about that. I still tended to sleep at Grandma & Grandpa's, though. I also remember when a skunk nested under Mom's deck... which she found out about because she tore the deck down. Mom was sensible and backed off, and we sat and watched Mama Skunk ferry her babies one by one over to an old sewer pipe that was no longer in use.

I have pictures of birthday parties held at the campground, one on Mom'a patio and one on Grandma & Grandpa's. I can't identify most of the people in the pictures, but I know that for at least one of the parties, two of my cousins came up to the campground for the weekend for it.

I remember spending inordinate amounts of time at the playground next to Grandma & Grandpa's camper. I loved the swings the best, but as I got older I tended to take a more protective attitude towards a number of younger children, and I probably spent more time pushing the swings for littler kids than I did swinging on them myself. There were one or two little kids who would actually come over to the trailer and ask me to come out and push them if I wasn't out there already. I also remember complicated games on the slide, in which one person would sit on the bars on the top and act as a "gatekeeper". It was rarely mean-spirited-- sometimes it was a safety measure, because other games on the slide involved climbing up the slide part, and it was the gatekeeper's job to make sure there were no collisions.

My only broken bones happened on the swings, too. One of the cloth seats had rotted, and as I got higher and started pumping in earnest to go faster, the swing tore and I went sailing. I tried to "catch myself" when I landed (nearly everyone does), and landed on my left hand, breaking the ring and little fingers. The hospital gave me these little foam-padded metal splints but didn't actually secure them... and I was only 8 or 10 years old. Those little splints were off my fingers and I was playing with them, flexing them back and forth, by the time we were out of the parking lot. The ring and little fingers on my left hand are crooked to this day. Also, I'm just a little bit afraid of swingsets.

I remember going to The Parlour for ice cream, and it's still there so I'll be needing ice cream on my camping trip too. The pictures on the website are too bright-- the walls were a darker color back then, and the red wooden posts used to be green. The ice cream used to be awesome, and I'm hoping that hasn't changed. They still offer their 21-scoop massive sundae, so some things definitely haven't changed.

I also remember a water display thingy, and I don't remember the name of it but Google is my friend, and a bit of searching turned up The Cascades. I remember that we would sometimes make a special trip over to Jackson in order to see the Cascades, and that it was something I usually did with Mom instead of with Grandma & Grandpa or a large group. Mom and I liked the lights and the sound of the falling water; everyone else tended to call it boring or "but we've seen that!" as if you could get tired of it. Maybe you can, and maybe Adult-Me could, but Kid-Me thought it was the most amazing thing ever.

I remember swimming in the lake and the pool, both of which are pretty much "how I learned to swim." I was never much of a beach rat, but I had no problem being in the lake for hours. I remember that there was a floating raft out in the lake, providing for jumping/diving purposes. I also remember not liking to get up on it, because the lake was named "Goose Lake" for a reason. Ewwwwwwww.

I specifically remember one time in my middle-school years when I had a friend come out to the campground for a weekend. D and I had gone to the beach, and Grandma decided it was time for us to come back, so she sent Mom to go get us. But Mom decided that laying on the beach and soaking up some sun sounded nice, so instead of bringing us right back the way Grandma wanted, Mom stayed out with us. D was fine with this concept and laid out with Mom, but I was starting to feel the sunburn I had gotten and spent most of the time creating forts out of towels so that I could keep the sun off of me. I spent that night being uncomfortable because everywhere a piece of bedding touched me hurt, but D was absolutely miserable because she was red from head to toe. She couldn't get comfortable, and she didn't want to move to try a different position because movement hurt. In retrospect, she probably should have been taken to the hospital due to the severity of her burn, but... what can I say, it was a different time. Grandma was piiiiiiiiiiiiissed at Mom over the whole matter for a long time, though.

There's more (oh dear God yes, there's more) but I'm tired of typing, and these typed-up memories are just the ones that are coherent enough to write down-- there's tens of thousands of half-second snippets floating around in my head too. I desperately want to go back to the campground and the surrounding area, even though rationally I know it will never be as good as I remember. It can't be, because so many of the people surrounding me then are gone.

Incidentally: there's a contact form on the website, so I sent in a query asking what their policy on non-camping visitors are. If it's just plain not allowed, then I'll probably borrow a tent and make a reservation, but leave instead of actually camping.
amanda_lodden: (Default)
It's probably not a surprise to much of anyone who has heard me complain lately that I do not have a lot of job satisfaction.

It's an inherent danger to being the spouse of the owner-- you end up being the one who handles all the crap jobs that no one else wants to do, and those jobs grow in size and scope until you no longer have the time and energy to do anything but try to keep your head above water. You can't fix the systemic problems because you're so swamped with the things those systemic problems cause. Owners get that too, but they typically have more options for passing things off to others.

The other fun part is that oftentimes, you don't get all the information you need to fix a problem, and a five-minute task takes an hour to track down all the pieces. Sometimes I didn't even know that I HAD a particular task to deal with until a customer inquired about its status or complained about it not being done. Yay!

What made me even less happy is the attitude that most of my requests generated. Often, when I identified a systemic problem, I was told that it wasn't really that big of a problem, or that I didn't have the capability to fix it so I may as well just deal with it, or both. Asking for information to actually complete a task is often met with a sigh and a "why are you bothering me?" attitude.

Wednesday, several things annoyed me, and while the items themselves weren't all that big of a deal, they were each the result of a pervasive problem. I complained, and got the usual "I didn't do it, it's not my fault, why do you even care, go away and leave me alone." And I snapped.

I quit.

I'd like to say that I gave two weeks notice and a detailed explanation of why I'd had enough, but that's not how these sorts of things go, is it? Besides, I've already said that I "snapped".

So, now I am unemployed. I spent today running around and getting some personal things done that have been bothering me for some time, and for now I am quite happy to be unemployed. Should that change, or an excellent opportunity drop into my lap, I'll reconsider. (Cash-wise, nothing has really changed, because my paycheck is actually John's paycheck, so that taxes can be withheld rather than having to pay estimates every quarter.)

[Amendment, because I know how he'll blame himself if I don't say it: Shane2 is a consistent exception to all of the above, and has always, ALWAYS been happy to give me any assistance he could. I feel a bit guilty leaving him holding the bag on some of the crap jobs, since John's already said he picked up a couple of them.]
amanda_lodden: (Default)
It's probably not a surprise to much of anyone who has heard me complain lately that I do not have a lot of job satisfaction.

It's an inherent danger to being the spouse of the owner-- you end up being the one who handles all the crap jobs that no one else wants to do, and those jobs grow in size and scope until you no longer have the time and energy to do anything but try to keep your head above water. You can't fix the systemic problems because you're so swamped with the things those systemic problems cause. Owners get that too, but they typically have more options for passing things off to others.

The other fun part is that oftentimes, you don't get all the information you need to fix a problem, and a five-minute task takes an hour to track down all the pieces. Sometimes I didn't even know that I HAD a particular task to deal with until a customer inquired about its status or complained about it not being done. Yay!

What made me even less happy is the attitude that most of my requests generated. Often, when I identified a systemic problem, I was told that it wasn't really that big of a problem, or that I didn't have the capability to fix it so I may as well just deal with it, or both. Asking for information to actually complete a task is often met with a sigh and a "why are you bothering me?" attitude.

Wednesday, several things annoyed me, and while the items themselves weren't all that big of a deal, they were each the result of a pervasive problem. I complained, and got the usual "I didn't do it, it's not my fault, why do you even care, go away and leave me alone." And I snapped.

I quit.

I'd like to say that I gave two weeks notice and a detailed explanation of why I'd had enough, but that's not how these sorts of things go, is it? Besides, I've already said that I "snapped".

So, now I am unemployed. I spent today running around and getting some personal things done that have been bothering me for some time, and for now I am quite happy to be unemployed. Should that change, or an excellent opportunity drop into my lap, I'll reconsider. (Cash-wise, nothing has really changed, because my paycheck is actually John's paycheck, so that taxes can be withheld rather than having to pay estimates every quarter.)

[Amendment, because I know how he'll blame himself if I don't say it: Shane2 is a consistent exception to all of the above, and has always, ALWAYS been happy to give me any assistance he could. I feel a bit guilty leaving him holding the bag on some of the crap jobs, since John's already said he picked up a couple of them.]
amanda_lodden: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] sandygood expressed surprise in her responses to the question meme (you DID answer it, didn't you?) about my having a tattoo.

I had wanted a tatto for many, many years. Early on, the idea of pain was enough to stop me, and by the time I grew up enough to consider it for real, I was already donating blood regularly. You can't donate blood for a year after getting a tattoo, and when I weighed a piece of decorative frippery against several people's lives, the tattoo always came up short.

But a couple years ago John and I took our first real vacation in... um, ever. We went on a Caribbean cruise with a group of friends. It was tons of fun (enough that we went again two years later, and have a third cruise planned in February of 2009), but when we got back, the Red Cross informed me that one of the stops on the cruise was a malaria risk, and that I couldn't donate blood for a year. I walked out of the donation center knowing I was going to get a tattoo.

I did wait about 10 days, mostly to make sure that I really wanted the tattoo. I spent the time researching tattoos and local tattoo parlors. I talked to friends with tattoos and piercings, asking about where they got them and whether they liked the place. I looked up newspaper reviews of local parlors. I researched what to look for (an autoclave machine is a big plus; if your tattoo artist doesn't take his equipment out of sealed packages, you should leave), and how to minimize the pain involved (avoid bony areas; ankles and wrists tend to hurt more than large muscles, because the vibrations resonate through the bone). And I thought long and hard about exactly what I wanted and where.

"Where" was pretty easy. My job is pretty informal-attire right now (actual dress code, as stated in the employee manual: "Employees are expected to show up dressed"), but it's been known to change drastically on short notice, so I wanted something that could be covered by normal business or formal attire. I also wanted the option of showing the tattoo easily without compromising too much modesty. Couple that with the knowledge that tattoos on large muscles hurt less, and the shoulder seemed like the obvious place.

"What" was another matter entirely. I knew what I didn't want-- tattoos are forever, so I didn't want anything from pop culture. 50 years from now, I didn't want to have to explain to my grandchildren who that cartoon character was. I also wanted something tasteful, so as to not have to explain to those mythical grandchildren why that cartoon character wasn't wearing any clothes (which is a pity, because I rather liked the picture of Smurfette naked, from behind, looking over her shoulder with a come-hither look. But the Smurfs are old enough that I'd have to explain who they are to my already-existing niece and nephew, never mind the mythical grandchildren). Names were also out-- I know my own well enough to not need an inked-on reminder, and putting someone else's name on your body is THE biggest reason to have a tattoo removed later. And it had to have some meaning to me-- no random characters in an asian language that I do not speak, no boring flowers or butterflies, and no tribal symbols that I do not understand the subtle nuances of.

After a week of debating about what to get, I eventually decided to go to the parlor I had picked and see what they had up on the walls and such. I flipped through a dozen books and posters on the wall. There was one I really liked, of a dragon picking its teeth with a knight's lance, but it was absolutely huge, and shrinking it down to the size I was going for would have lost so much detail that it wouldn't have been funny anymore. So instead, I got:



a tattoo of two dolphins circling the Earth. It's about 2 inches in diameter, on my left shoulder. It covers one of my core beliefs, that everything and everyone is interconnected, and it uses a water theme (I've always been drawn to water). I've had it for a little over two years, and I'm quite pleased with it.
amanda_lodden: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] sandygood expressed surprise in her responses to the question meme (you DID answer it, didn't you?) about my having a tattoo.

I had wanted a tatto for many, many years. Early on, the idea of pain was enough to stop me, and by the time I grew up enough to consider it for real, I was already donating blood regularly. You can't donate blood for a year after getting a tattoo, and when I weighed a piece of decorative frippery against several people's lives, the tattoo always came up short.

But a couple years ago John and I took our first real vacation in... um, ever. We went on a Caribbean cruise with a group of friends. It was tons of fun (enough that we went again two years later, and have a third cruise planned in February of 2009), but when we got back, the Red Cross informed me that one of the stops on the cruise was a malaria risk, and that I couldn't donate blood for a year. I walked out of the donation center knowing I was going to get a tattoo.

I did wait about 10 days, mostly to make sure that I really wanted the tattoo. I spent the time researching tattoos and local tattoo parlors. I talked to friends with tattoos and piercings, asking about where they got them and whether they liked the place. I looked up newspaper reviews of local parlors. I researched what to look for (an autoclave machine is a big plus; if your tattoo artist doesn't take his equipment out of sealed packages, you should leave), and how to minimize the pain involved (avoid bony areas; ankles and wrists tend to hurt more than large muscles, because the vibrations resonate through the bone). And I thought long and hard about exactly what I wanted and where.

"Where" was pretty easy. My job is pretty informal-attire right now (actual dress code, as stated in the employee manual: "Employees are expected to show up dressed"), but it's been known to change drastically on short notice, so I wanted something that could be covered by normal business or formal attire. I also wanted the option of showing the tattoo easily without compromising too much modesty. Couple that with the knowledge that tattoos on large muscles hurt less, and the shoulder seemed like the obvious place.

"What" was another matter entirely. I knew what I didn't want-- tattoos are forever, so I didn't want anything from pop culture. 50 years from now, I didn't want to have to explain to my grandchildren who that cartoon character was. I also wanted something tasteful, so as to not have to explain to those mythical grandchildren why that cartoon character wasn't wearing any clothes (which is a pity, because I rather liked the picture of Smurfette naked, from behind, looking over her shoulder with a come-hither look. But the Smurfs are old enough that I'd have to explain who they are to my already-existing niece and nephew, never mind the mythical grandchildren). Names were also out-- I know my own well enough to not need an inked-on reminder, and putting someone else's name on your body is THE biggest reason to have a tattoo removed later. And it had to have some meaning to me-- no random characters in an asian language that I do not speak, no boring flowers or butterflies, and no tribal symbols that I do not understand the subtle nuances of.

After a week of debating about what to get, I eventually decided to go to the parlor I had picked and see what they had up on the walls and such. I flipped through a dozen books and posters on the wall. There was one I really liked, of a dragon picking its teeth with a knight's lance, but it was absolutely huge, and shrinking it down to the size I was going for would have lost so much detail that it wouldn't have been funny anymore. So instead, I got:



a tattoo of two dolphins circling the Earth. It's about 2 inches in diameter, on my left shoulder. It covers one of my core beliefs, that everything and everyone is interconnected, and it uses a water theme (I've always been drawn to water). I've had it for a little over two years, and I'm quite pleased with it.
amanda_lodden: (Default)
A long time ago in a galaxy not-so-far away, John and I decided to get married. Our original plans involved the traditional Big Wedding. Our first-draft of a guest list had 300 people on it (ah, the joys of large extended families.) It was to be a glorious affair. And then our mothers got involved, and started making it More Glorious. Unfortunately, they did not agree on... actually, they didn't agree on much of anything. Thus, More Glorious turned into More Arguing Over What Exactly Constitutes Glorious.

John and I realized quickly that we did not want to be in the middle of it, and hired a wedding consultant. We told her point-blank that we didn't really need help with the budget, the invitations, the location, the dress, or any of the myraid things that she usually helped with. Her job was simply to be the referee. I still have vivid memories of all of us sitting in the wedding consultant's conference room and our mothers nearly coming to blows over whether my bridesmaids should wear pastels or jewel tones. I've always been a bit of a tomboy and always worked in male-dominated industries, so while we had plenty of candidates for groomsmen, I had no idea who my bridesmaids were going to be, but our mothers were already fighting over their dresses.

One of the things that was never argued over was who would perform the ceremony. John had been friends with Doug (who was both a lawyer and a Baptist minister) for 15 years, and he wanted Doug to marry us. My only stipulation was that I didn't want the first time I met Doug to be when he was asking me "Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?". We set up a lunch date so I could meet him. It took me all of about 90 seconds to realize that I absolutely adored Doug (and I still do, even though he went and moved to Mexico to teach children of American executives and now I never get to see him), and we found ourselves telling him about how we were hating the wedding planning and the near-constant arguing it brought. Doug pointed out that a wedding didn't have to be that elaborate and told us that "If you had your license already, I could grab two waitresses as witnesses and marry you right here at this table." The thought was appealing, but we were a year away from our planned wedding date, and license applications are only good for 30 days, so of course we didn't have one.

But after lunch, when we had parted ways with Doug, John and I kept talking about it, and decided it sounded like a really good idea. At the time, Michigan law said that to get a marriage license you had to have a certificate from a doctor saying you had been told that Sexually Transmitted Diseases are, in fact, transmitted sexually (yes, it's stupid. It was stupid then, too. I don't think it's required any more, but I haven't had a need to apply for a marriage license lately, so I really don't know.) We called up his doctor's office to see if they had an appointment for the next week, and they said "Next Friday is Halloween so we're running with a skeleton staff and trying to limit the patients to emergencies only, but we have an opening this afternoon if you'd like." We took the appointment and got our little "We learned about STDs" certificate, as well as hearty congratulations from his doctor. It was about 4:15, and we decided to see if we could make it to the county clerk's office before they closed. We did, just barely.

Then we called Doug up, and asked him if he was free the next weekend. We really wanted to get married on Halloween, but Doug's youngest son was scheduled to go out for his first trick-or-treating, and his wife told him that if he didn't take the kid out, he shouldn't come home. John and I had plans for Saturday, so we called up our family (and two friends who served as potential bouncers and legal witnesses) and said "We're getting married on Sunday. If you expect to see it, be at our house at 2 o'clock."

Technically, we got married at more like 3:15, because my grandparents got lost and we wandered out on the blustery fall day to flag them down at the end of the street. (In a suit and a rather thin white dress, no less. I was planning on getting married in nice comfy jeans, but John convinced me to wear a dress, and since I conveniently had a white one....)

I cleaned our house thoroughly, and we went to Gordon Food Service and bought Stouffer's lasagna and a really yummy raspberry cake. It was pre-cut with wax paper in between each slice, but our mothers decided they HAD to have a picture of us cutting the cake, so there exists a picture of John and I holding a knife and cutting the cake-- but the wax paper is very clearly visible in the picture, so it's really obvious that it's just posing.

I discovered at the last minute that we had bread but the butter tub was empty, so I sent John out to the grocery store. Sweetie that he is, he came back with butter AND a bunch of flowers, so we had flowers at our wedding after all. They were a fall mixed bouquet, mostly yellow with some orange and light red.

Mike neglected to tell us that when we called he had been in California for business (at least, he neglected to tell us until he got back, at which point he told us over and over again for years.) He rushed back to be John's best man.

Brian suffered through being called my maid of honor for years and years, because he signed the marriage license on the bride's side. We didn't really stop poking fun at him until he got married, and his bride's best friend got lost on the way to the ceremony, so John ended up signing their license instead. Thus, John became Julianna's maid of honor, completing the circle.

That was exactly 9 years ago today. If I had it to do over again, I'd do it pretty much the same, except I'd spring for a cleaning service.
amanda_lodden: (Default)
A long time ago in a galaxy not-so-far away, John and I decided to get married. Our original plans involved the traditional Big Wedding. Our first-draft of a guest list had 300 people on it (ah, the joys of large extended families.) It was to be a glorious affair. And then our mothers got involved, and started making it More Glorious. Unfortunately, they did not agree on... actually, they didn't agree on much of anything. Thus, More Glorious turned into More Arguing Over What Exactly Constitutes Glorious.

John and I realized quickly that we did not want to be in the middle of it, and hired a wedding consultant. We told her point-blank that we didn't really need help with the budget, the invitations, the location, the dress, or any of the myraid things that she usually helped with. Her job was simply to be the referee. I still have vivid memories of all of us sitting in the wedding consultant's conference room and our mothers nearly coming to blows over whether my bridesmaids should wear pastels or jewel tones. I've always been a bit of a tomboy and always worked in male-dominated industries, so while we had plenty of candidates for groomsmen, I had no idea who my bridesmaids were going to be, but our mothers were already fighting over their dresses.

One of the things that was never argued over was who would perform the ceremony. John had been friends with Doug (who was both a lawyer and a Baptist minister) for 15 years, and he wanted Doug to marry us. My only stipulation was that I didn't want the first time I met Doug to be when he was asking me "Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?". We set up a lunch date so I could meet him. It took me all of about 90 seconds to realize that I absolutely adored Doug (and I still do, even though he went and moved to Mexico to teach children of American executives and now I never get to see him), and we found ourselves telling him about how we were hating the wedding planning and the near-constant arguing it brought. Doug pointed out that a wedding didn't have to be that elaborate and told us that "If you had your license already, I could grab two waitresses as witnesses and marry you right here at this table." The thought was appealing, but we were a year away from our planned wedding date, and license applications are only good for 30 days, so of course we didn't have one.

But after lunch, when we had parted ways with Doug, John and I kept talking about it, and decided it sounded like a really good idea. At the time, Michigan law said that to get a marriage license you had to have a certificate from a doctor saying you had been told that Sexually Transmitted Diseases are, in fact, transmitted sexually (yes, it's stupid. It was stupid then, too. I don't think it's required any more, but I haven't had a need to apply for a marriage license lately, so I really don't know.) We called up his doctor's office to see if they had an appointment for the next week, and they said "Next Friday is Halloween so we're running with a skeleton staff and trying to limit the patients to emergencies only, but we have an opening this afternoon if you'd like." We took the appointment and got our little "We learned about STDs" certificate, as well as hearty congratulations from his doctor. It was about 4:15, and we decided to see if we could make it to the county clerk's office before they closed. We did, just barely.

Then we called Doug up, and asked him if he was free the next weekend. We really wanted to get married on Halloween, but Doug's youngest son was scheduled to go out for his first trick-or-treating, and his wife told him that if he didn't take the kid out, he shouldn't come home. John and I had plans for Saturday, so we called up our family (and two friends who served as potential bouncers and legal witnesses) and said "We're getting married on Sunday. If you expect to see it, be at our house at 2 o'clock."

Technically, we got married at more like 3:15, because my grandparents got lost and we wandered out on the blustery fall day to flag them down at the end of the street. (In a suit and a rather thin white dress, no less. I was planning on getting married in nice comfy jeans, but John convinced me to wear a dress, and since I conveniently had a white one....)

I cleaned our house thoroughly, and we went to Gordon Food Service and bought Stouffer's lasagna and a really yummy raspberry cake. It was pre-cut with wax paper in between each slice, but our mothers decided they HAD to have a picture of us cutting the cake, so there exists a picture of John and I holding a knife and cutting the cake-- but the wax paper is very clearly visible in the picture, so it's really obvious that it's just posing.

I discovered at the last minute that we had bread but the butter tub was empty, so I sent John out to the grocery store. Sweetie that he is, he came back with butter AND a bunch of flowers, so we had flowers at our wedding after all. They were a fall mixed bouquet, mostly yellow with some orange and light red.

Mike neglected to tell us that when we called he had been in California for business (at least, he neglected to tell us until he got back, at which point he told us over and over again for years.) He rushed back to be John's best man.

Brian suffered through being called my maid of honor for years and years, because he signed the marriage license on the bride's side. We didn't really stop poking fun at him until he got married, and his bride's best friend got lost on the way to the ceremony, so John ended up signing their license instead. Thus, John became Julianna's maid of honor, completing the circle.

That was exactly 9 years ago today. If I had it to do over again, I'd do it pretty much the same, except I'd spring for a cleaning service.
amanda_lodden: (Default)
I started poking through my old emails and put a few of them up on livejournal. One of them was the email I sent the day my grandmother died, and that sparked a whole lot of memories. The thing I remember most about her dying was that for months afterward, the only picture of her I could bring to mind was her corpse lying in her bed, the way I found her. Eventually, I could bring up the image of her lying in the coffin afterward, but it wasn't until almost a year later that I could remember anything about her life without first remembering her death.

This trend has continued in the memories tonight. The first memories to come back were the ones I wrote about in the email: finding her, trying to stay calm for my grandfather's sake, having a sheriff's deputy gently walk me through the process of actually dealing with a dead body. And then the ones the email was too early to know about: picking a coffin, picking an outfit for her to wear, picking flowers for the top of the coffin, sitting at the funeral with Grandpa asking every hour or so who the woman up front was (Alzheimer's is horrible), and longing to hear the words that I had utterly hated less than a week before: the crack-of-dawn, shrill "Mandy, it's time to get up" that had greeted me for 7 very long months.

And then the realization that filled me with terror: someday, I was going to come downstairs one morning and find my grandfather's body, just the way I found hers. Grandpa lived with us for a month after Grandma died, until he went into the hospital, and for that entire month I absolutely refused to go downstairs until John had checked and made sure that Grandpa was alive. (It's worth noting that John wasn't allowed to grieve for his mother when she died when he was 2 and a half. Consequently, he has a huge problem with death in general and grief in particular. Proof of how much he loves me? He checked for Grandpa's corpse every single day, without fail.)

And the other fear, less rational but no less gripping: I couldn't handle being in the front room in the dark, or turning my back to the door to their bedroom. It was actually worse in the front room, where I could see their bedroom doorway but not into the room itself, than it was to go into their bedroom. If I was IN the bedroom, I could see there was no body in there, but if my imagination had control of the room's contents.... This was exceptionally problematic because the stairs up to our bedroom face directly into the doorway to theirs. In order to go up the stairs at night to go to bed, I had to have so much light that the house looked like the Vegas Strip, which meant that John had to go downstairs afterwards and turn all the lights off. The breaking point came one night when we went to B's for the evening (before it was B's and AJ's). It was fairly late when we left, and dark out. John and I had driven separately, so we had to drive home separately. I drive faster than John does, which meant I got home first. I pulled into our driveway and realized that everything was dark. I was uneasy but okay at first, because I knew John would be along shortly and I could make him go in and turn on some lights. Even so, I couldn't bring myself to turn off my headlights and sit in full darkness. The problem was that John had misplaced his shoes at B's house, and left a good 15 minutes after me. The longer I sat there, the more "uneasy" turned into "scared silly". By the time he got home, I had had a full-fledged panic attack and had pulled the car up to the porch so that it was perpendicular across the driveway with the headlights (still on) pointing into the front room, which gave me enough light to get to a lightswitch and turn every single light in the house on. When he found me I was sitting on our bed with my knees up to my chin, sobbing and inconsolable. The next day, he bought me an X-10 keychain with a button that turned on every X-10-enabled light in the house. (He also bought a lot of X-10 modules, so that "every X-10-enabled light in the house" was about 8 lights.)

We still have some of the X-10 modules hooked up. I still don't like going up the stairs at night. I have, however, misplaced the keychain, and that does not cause me the slightest bit of panic. Time heals all wounds.

The next wave of memories is a mish-mash. Some of them are of happy memories, like driving around trying to get lost because we were bored. I'm certain that my sense of direction and my ability to get home from just about anywhere are a direct result of all the times we wandered around aimlessly and didn't head home until we weren't certain which way "home" was. Some of them are less happy memories, like her telling me that I'd never attract a husband unless I lost weight. (With as much as John did for them, for her sake it's a good thing that she was wrong.) Some of them are downright painful, like when we were moving them into our house-- since the Alzheimer's had robbed them of anything resembling an attention span, we moved our household and theirs mostly in mini-van loads, because they were antsy and fighting with each other (or bugging me incessantly) if I tried to load anything larger. On one of the trips out to our house with just Grandma, she was having a pretty lucid day, and we were chatting happily. Until she forgot a word. The thing is, she KNEW she'd forgotten the word, and she got frustrated about it and yelled "Why can't I remember anything?" And I had to explain to her that she had a disease that made her forget things, and she kept asking questions about it and I couldn't lie to her about it but every answer I gave her just increased the pain and sadness in her eyes. She asked me if she'd ever get better, and she cried when I told her the truth. I should have lied.

I remember her teaching me how to sew when I was a little kid, no more than six or so. It took me a long while to get the hang of anything more complicated than a straight skirt, and she never did manage to get me to understand sleeves. I still get the urge to sew now and then (almost always in the fall, but I don't understand the timing-- there's nothing particularly special in the fall that I can remember), and I did finally figure out how sleeves are supposed to work, but I went through a lot of failed attempts over the decades before it finally clicked. Her own sewing degenerated over the years, but it wasn't until she died that I realized just how much; the outfit in the back of her closet that I picked for her to wear to her funeral turned out, on further inspection, to be one she'd sewn herself before I was even born. It looked so professional that I had to check it three times before believing it was handmade.

I remember playing in the back of the Mercury station wagon for countless hours as we drove out to the campground where we spent most of the summer, and then drove back for doctor's appointments or weekends with my mother. I remember sitting on a cooler on the side of the exit ramp on I-94 when that station wagon's engine caught fire, too. And I remember that my grandparents were both such practical jokers that when she called their friends at the campground to come pick us up, the friends thought it was just another prank and went to the bar instead. We sat on that cooler for a long time, until they got back from the bar and discovered that we still weren't there, and the realization that maybe it wasn't a joke finally sank in.

I remember Grandma telling stories about her that she really ought not to have been telling to a child. Like when she and a bunch of friends had arranged a group trip to somewhere (they traveled a lot together, so I don't recall which trip it was, and I doubt she did either), had all piled into someone's van to go to the airport, and she made the driver stop at a drugstore and made the entire van full of people wait because she forgot to pick up her birth control pills and she'd be damned if she was going to go on vacation without them. Or when she and Grandpa (before they were married, while he was still married to his first wife and she was his mistress, which is its own story) got completely drunk and drove around a hotel swimming pool in a golf cart, right up until they drove the cart INTO the swimming pool.

I remember helping her fill out a health questionnaire when I was in my early-to-mid twenties. I had been filling out the blanks as I read the question whenever I knew the answers, and I came to two questions that I thought I knew. The first was "Number of children", and I knew the answer was "One" (just my mother). I read the next one aloud: "Number of pregnancies". I had already started writing "one" in that blank as well when she said "Four." I didn't ask. I didn't want to know the answer, because I wasn't 100% sure it would be "miscarriage".

I remember her rule when I was sick: I got 10 minutes and one laundry basket, and I could collect whatever toys or books or what-have-you I wanted, but after that the rest of the day was to be spent in bed. It worked remarkably well; if I was really sick, I'd spend a lot of time sleeping and didn't need much to entertain myself, but if I wasn't very sick then one laundry basket wouldn't be big enough to hold enough entertainment to keep me amused, and thus faking sick to stay home became very boring very quickly. Not that I did fake sick at that point; I liked elementary school. It wasn't until middle school that I had any desire to avoid going to school, and by then I was living with my mother, who didn't have the laundry-basket rule.

I remember Grandma always being at school, too. She didn't work outside the house, so she ended up being the "room mother" pretty early on, and she found that she rather liked it. Every party, every holiday, every craft day, she was there. And sometimes she was there just because. One of my teachers was a big fan of laminating things, and Grandma was usually the one to take all the stuff down to the machine and run it through. Sometimes I got to help, and that was awesome-- nowadays there's tabletop laminating machines that are fairly cool to the touch, but in those days it was this great big behemoth of a machine that took rolls of plastic three or four feet wide, and it ran at some obscenely high temperature. There were signs all over the room that students were Not Allowed to be there, but as you might have guessed from the golf cart story, Grandma wasn't always a big fan of following the rules. So I not only got to watch, she let me run a couple of things through.

I miss my Grandma.
amanda_lodden: (Default)
I started poking through my old emails and put a few of them up on livejournal. One of them was the email I sent the day my grandmother died, and that sparked a whole lot of memories. The thing I remember most about her dying was that for months afterward, the only picture of her I could bring to mind was her corpse lying in her bed, the way I found her. Eventually, I could bring up the image of her lying in the coffin afterward, but it wasn't until almost a year later that I could remember anything about her life without first remembering her death.

This trend has continued in the memories tonight. The first memories to come back were the ones I wrote about in the email: finding her, trying to stay calm for my grandfather's sake, having a sheriff's deputy gently walk me through the process of actually dealing with a dead body. And then the ones the email was too early to know about: picking a coffin, picking an outfit for her to wear, picking flowers for the top of the coffin, sitting at the funeral with Grandpa asking every hour or so who the woman up front was (Alzheimer's is horrible), and longing to hear the words that I had utterly hated less than a week before: the crack-of-dawn, shrill "Mandy, it's time to get up" that had greeted me for 7 very long months.

And then the realization that filled me with terror: someday, I was going to come downstairs one morning and find my grandfather's body, just the way I found hers. Grandpa lived with us for a month after Grandma died, until he went into the hospital, and for that entire month I absolutely refused to go downstairs until John had checked and made sure that Grandpa was alive. (It's worth noting that John wasn't allowed to grieve for his mother when she died when he was 2 and a half. Consequently, he has a huge problem with death in general and grief in particular. Proof of how much he loves me? He checked for Grandpa's corpse every single day, without fail.)

And the other fear, less rational but no less gripping: I couldn't handle being in the front room in the dark, or turning my back to the door to their bedroom. It was actually worse in the front room, where I could see their bedroom doorway but not into the room itself, than it was to go into their bedroom. If I was IN the bedroom, I could see there was no body in there, but if my imagination had control of the room's contents.... This was exceptionally problematic because the stairs up to our bedroom face directly into the doorway to theirs. In order to go up the stairs at night to go to bed, I had to have so much light that the house looked like the Vegas Strip, which meant that John had to go downstairs afterwards and turn all the lights off. The breaking point came one night when we went to B's for the evening (before it was B's and AJ's). It was fairly late when we left, and dark out. John and I had driven separately, so we had to drive home separately. I drive faster than John does, which meant I got home first. I pulled into our driveway and realized that everything was dark. I was uneasy but okay at first, because I knew John would be along shortly and I could make him go in and turn on some lights. Even so, I couldn't bring myself to turn off my headlights and sit in full darkness. The problem was that John had misplaced his shoes at B's house, and left a good 15 minutes after me. The longer I sat there, the more "uneasy" turned into "scared silly". By the time he got home, I had had a full-fledged panic attack and had pulled the car up to the porch so that it was perpendicular across the driveway with the headlights (still on) pointing into the front room, which gave me enough light to get to a lightswitch and turn every single light in the house on. When he found me I was sitting on our bed with my knees up to my chin, sobbing and inconsolable. The next day, he bought me an X-10 keychain with a button that turned on every X-10-enabled light in the house. (He also bought a lot of X-10 modules, so that "every X-10-enabled light in the house" was about 8 lights.)

We still have some of the X-10 modules hooked up. I still don't like going up the stairs at night. I have, however, misplaced the keychain, and that does not cause me the slightest bit of panic. Time heals all wounds.

The next wave of memories is a mish-mash. Some of them are of happy memories, like driving around trying to get lost because we were bored. I'm certain that my sense of direction and my ability to get home from just about anywhere are a direct result of all the times we wandered around aimlessly and didn't head home until we weren't certain which way "home" was. Some of them are less happy memories, like her telling me that I'd never attract a husband unless I lost weight. (With as much as John did for them, for her sake it's a good thing that she was wrong.) Some of them are downright painful, like when we were moving them into our house-- since the Alzheimer's had robbed them of anything resembling an attention span, we moved our household and theirs mostly in mini-van loads, because they were antsy and fighting with each other (or bugging me incessantly) if I tried to load anything larger. On one of the trips out to our house with just Grandma, she was having a pretty lucid day, and we were chatting happily. Until she forgot a word. The thing is, she KNEW she'd forgotten the word, and she got frustrated about it and yelled "Why can't I remember anything?" And I had to explain to her that she had a disease that made her forget things, and she kept asking questions about it and I couldn't lie to her about it but every answer I gave her just increased the pain and sadness in her eyes. She asked me if she'd ever get better, and she cried when I told her the truth. I should have lied.

I remember her teaching me how to sew when I was a little kid, no more than six or so. It took me a long while to get the hang of anything more complicated than a straight skirt, and she never did manage to get me to understand sleeves. I still get the urge to sew now and then (almost always in the fall, but I don't understand the timing-- there's nothing particularly special in the fall that I can remember), and I did finally figure out how sleeves are supposed to work, but I went through a lot of failed attempts over the decades before it finally clicked. Her own sewing degenerated over the years, but it wasn't until she died that I realized just how much; the outfit in the back of her closet that I picked for her to wear to her funeral turned out, on further inspection, to be one she'd sewn herself before I was even born. It looked so professional that I had to check it three times before believing it was handmade.

I remember playing in the back of the Mercury station wagon for countless hours as we drove out to the campground where we spent most of the summer, and then drove back for doctor's appointments or weekends with my mother. I remember sitting on a cooler on the side of the exit ramp on I-94 when that station wagon's engine caught fire, too. And I remember that my grandparents were both such practical jokers that when she called their friends at the campground to come pick us up, the friends thought it was just another prank and went to the bar instead. We sat on that cooler for a long time, until they got back from the bar and discovered that we still weren't there, and the realization that maybe it wasn't a joke finally sank in.

I remember Grandma telling stories about her that she really ought not to have been telling to a child. Like when she and a bunch of friends had arranged a group trip to somewhere (they traveled a lot together, so I don't recall which trip it was, and I doubt she did either), had all piled into someone's van to go to the airport, and she made the driver stop at a drugstore and made the entire van full of people wait because she forgot to pick up her birth control pills and she'd be damned if she was going to go on vacation without them. Or when she and Grandpa (before they were married, while he was still married to his first wife and she was his mistress, which is its own story) got completely drunk and drove around a hotel swimming pool in a golf cart, right up until they drove the cart INTO the swimming pool.

I remember helping her fill out a health questionnaire when I was in my early-to-mid twenties. I had been filling out the blanks as I read the question whenever I knew the answers, and I came to two questions that I thought I knew. The first was "Number of children", and I knew the answer was "One" (just my mother). I read the next one aloud: "Number of pregnancies". I had already started writing "one" in that blank as well when she said "Four." I didn't ask. I didn't want to know the answer, because I wasn't 100% sure it would be "miscarriage".

I remember her rule when I was sick: I got 10 minutes and one laundry basket, and I could collect whatever toys or books or what-have-you I wanted, but after that the rest of the day was to be spent in bed. It worked remarkably well; if I was really sick, I'd spend a lot of time sleeping and didn't need much to entertain myself, but if I wasn't very sick then one laundry basket wouldn't be big enough to hold enough entertainment to keep me amused, and thus faking sick to stay home became very boring very quickly. Not that I did fake sick at that point; I liked elementary school. It wasn't until middle school that I had any desire to avoid going to school, and by then I was living with my mother, who didn't have the laundry-basket rule.

I remember Grandma always being at school, too. She didn't work outside the house, so she ended up being the "room mother" pretty early on, and she found that she rather liked it. Every party, every holiday, every craft day, she was there. And sometimes she was there just because. One of my teachers was a big fan of laminating things, and Grandma was usually the one to take all the stuff down to the machine and run it through. Sometimes I got to help, and that was awesome-- nowadays there's tabletop laminating machines that are fairly cool to the touch, but in those days it was this great big behemoth of a machine that took rolls of plastic three or four feet wide, and it ran at some obscenely high temperature. There were signs all over the room that students were Not Allowed to be there, but as you might have guessed from the golf cart story, Grandma wasn't always a big fan of following the rules. So I not only got to watch, she let me run a couple of things through.

I miss my Grandma.

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