Daily Inkling | Wooden Castles

Daily Inkling Prompt: Backtracking
You return to your hometown or community after five years of being away. Give us a rundown as you rediscover things place-by-place with new eyes.” Continue reading “Daily Inkling | Wooden Castles”

Dream Journal 1/7/19 | Thanksgiving Wedding Robbery

I was visiting my family in Maine for Thanksgiving, and was staying in my step father’s mom’s old house. Continue reading “Dream Journal 1/7/19 | Thanksgiving Wedding Robbery”

Mom’s Visit | The Final Day

Liam was barefoot, and as I placed him down on the grass, I remembered that he has never walked barefoot on grass, or sand. It only took him a few minutes of funny walking to get used to the it, and enjoy it… but he definitely did not care for the feeling of sand between his toes.

[You can read about Days 0-1 here, Day 2 here, Day 3 here, Day 4 here, Day 5 here, and Day 6 here.]

Hello, friends. Yesterday was my mom’s final day visiting with us, though her plane doesn’t actually leave Illinois for another 3 hours or so. It was a very mixed day. I felt really on edge, and anxious, from the time I woke up, to the moment we said our goodbyes. I tried so hard to make it a good day, but it felt like my mom and I were butting heads more often than not, and it created a lot of tension.

Kyle worked from 10-6 yesterday, so it was another day of just my mom, Liam, and I. Liam has been in quite the mood for the last couple days, including yesterday, which resulted in an early nap, which I was hoping to avoid doing, since we were going out to eat that night, and I didn’t want him being fussy. Ah, life with toddlers. Everything revolves around them.

My mom came over just after lunch, and we left in search of local garage sales, since there are signs littering the entire town. After over an hour of driving around, which was pretty quiet and uneventful, and not seeing anything of interest, we decided to drive to the mall so that Liam could play a bit before dinner. I stopped by Sears to see Kyle, but was told that he had just gone to lunch. I asked his co-worker if she could get him for me really quickly, as there wasn’t a single person in the store, and she was just standing at the register, but she told me she wasn’t allowed to (which is bullshit). Since I don’t have minutes on my phone, I couldn’t text him to tell him we were there, so we left, and hoped that he would be there when we came back through.

My mom bought me a late lunch at my favorite spot in the mall, and I shared a delicious, pretzel bread turkey sandwich with Liam, who already eaten lunch, but always insists on eating everything in sight. We also went into Maurice’s to scope out the huge clearance sale they were having. My mom tried to buy me every single article of clothing that I touched, not I kept telling her not to. She was not happy about that.

When we got to the play area, it was empty. I ran around with Liam for a while, but he was being naughty, and kept running out into the open mall, and I had to chase after him. There is a ramp and some stairs right outside of the play area, and he always runs toward them, which is frustrating and exhausting. My mom sat at the opposite end of the play area, taking videos and pictures the entire time. As we were going to leave, I asked her if I could see them to send some to myself, but she told me that she had deleted all of them, because none came out.

Well, okay then…

We left the play area, and my mom insisted on going into the mall bookstore to look at children’s books and puzzles for Liam. I saw so many books that I wanted to get for him, but I let my pride and my bad attitude take charge, and wouldn’t let my mom get any of them for him.

I don’t know why. I really don’t. I wanted them, he wanted them, and she wanted to buy them. I said no. What is wrong with me? Ugh.

I headed to the bathroom to change Liam, and my mom disappeared. When I came out, I was stopped by a young couple with a tiny baby, and we chatted a bit about babies and whatnot, before I went back to Sears. Luckily, Kyle was there this time, and he gave me the details on our dinner plans for the night. We were to meet his mom and step father at Applebee’s at 5:30, which was an hour from that point, and then he would be meeting us there at 6:00, after he got off work. I gave him a hug and kiss, and he got some cuddles from Liam, and I went back out to meet my mom and let her know what was happening.

Since we had an hour to kill, we decided to head to a local park that I had been to before, but had never visited the playground. It is a massive plot of land, with a cute lake, a bunch of walking trails, and a large playground, lined with sand, and surrounded by grass and trees. It is a beautiful park, and I wish we lived closer. Liam was barefoot, and as I placed him down on the grass, I remembered that he has never walked barefoot on grass, or sand. It only took him a few minutes of funny walking to get used to the it, and enjoy it… but he definitely did not care for the feeling of sand between his toes. It was funny.

There was another mom there, and she had two little ones with her, a toddler boy, and a tiny infant. Her son was about 2.5, and he watched us closely from the picnic area while Liam was on the swing. My mom sat herself beneath a tree, and watched us from a distance. She didn’t have much interest in playing until the end of our playground adventure. After nearly 15 minutes on the swing, we decided to explore the rest of the large playground, and the other little boy joined us! Rather than telling you about it, here are some pictures I took!

So that was fun!

We left the park around 5:20 and headed to meet Kyle’s mom and step father at Applebee’s. They were already there when we pulled up, and we sat in a large corner booth, and ordered our appetizers and entrees without Kyle, since he would be joining us a bit later. I ordered the Southwest Steak and Black Bean Soup, as well as the Crispy Cheddar Bacon Potatoes, for myself, and the kid’s Chicken Grillers and broccoli for Liam. It was all super delicious. I forget what Kyle’s meal was called, I think it was one of those “Build Your Own” things, but he got sweet potato fries, a steak, and some seriously amazing looking mac ‘n cheese.

It was a nice dinner. My mom and Candace politely went back and forth over who would pay the bill, as I expected, but they settled on splitting it evenly, which I also expected. We then gathered in the parking lot to put Liam’s car seat back into our Lincoln (it’s been in my mom’s rental all week), chat about some upcoming family events, and say our goodbyes.

There were hugs, and thank yous, and my mom cried.

And then it was over. She leaves tonight, and though her plane doesn’t leave for 3 hours still, and she has been sitting at the airport for 2 hours, she did not want to come by today. I’m okay with that. I had a nice week, and it was honestly good to see her, and for her to meet Liam, but I am completely drained. I don’t know when I will see her again, but I do know that I am happy to have things go back to normal around here. We definitely work better with a thousand, or more, miles between us.

I have a few other blogs I need to write, but I don’t know when that will happen. I need rest. I need to recharge.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Dream Journal 4/18/16 | Medieval

Liam and I were visiting family up in Maine, and we were staying at my mom’s boyfriend’s mother’s house. Liam and I were staying in her split level house, while everyone else was staying in the obscene large mansion that she had casually built onto her old split level. I was sitting in the dining room, Liam on my lap, talking to a few family members, when I started feeling tired, and curled up on the floor with Liam. Everyone kept on talking, and I fell asleep.

I opened my eyes and it was morning. I could hear whispering, and turned to see my mom’s boyfriend’s son, and his girlfriend, staring at me from the hallway. I was still lying on the kitchen floor. They were wearing nothing but towels, and they hurried past me, through the kitchen, and out the door, without a word. I stood up, and suddenly started to panic, because Liam was not with me. I ran around the house calling his name, but he wasn’t there. I entered the mansion part of the house through a massive, iron gate on the other side of the living room, and tried to find someone to help me look for him. Several family members saw me running from room to room, but none of them offered to help, and just ignored me.

I found my mom, and her boyfriend’s mother, sitting at a long dining table in a great hall, and asked them if they had seen him. My mom told me that the only available bed was in the attic, so they locked him up there. I started crying and ran to find the attic. Upon reaching the room, I found it empty, and I screamed dramatically. I opened a door on the other side of the room, and was suddenly on a rocky beach. A few yards away sat Liam, kicking his feet in the shallow, ocean water. I ran and scooped him up, squeezing him against me, sobbing, while he playfully tried to push me away.

I went back inside, and found all of the family members sitting at the large, dining table now. I started shouting about how awful, and irresponsible it was for them to leave him alone in the attic, especially when there was (freaky magical) access to the beach. They all just stared at me, and my mom’s boyfriend’s mother laughed and told me to stop being so overprotective. I was livid. I put Liam down and grabbed a chair, chucking it forcefully at her head. It crashed against the table, and everyone started screaming and running away.

I grabbed one of the chair legs, stuck the end into the nearby fireplace, and threw the flaming torch into the scattering crowd. One of the family members called me a monster, and she threw a mug at me, but it missed and shattered on the ground. Liam started crying, and I picked him up, calmly walking out of the large room, while everyone kept shouting fearfully.

We walked back to the split level part of the house, and walked out the door. I checked each of the dozen cars parked in the driveway for an unlocked door, and ended up stealing a black sports car. I drove the car to a nearby park, we got out, and started heading toward a nearby swing set.

And then I woke up.

Dream Journal 3/31/16

[Since I’ve been so busy being glued to the couch with my sick, clingy toddler lately, I haven’t had any time to type out the dreams from my dream journal. I finally have a few minutes today, so here is dream 3 of 3.]

Kyle, Liam, and I were driving to Canopy Lake Park in Maine, and we were lost. I was telling Kyle to ask for directions, because the GPS on his phone was acting up, but we ended up finding our exit and following a bunch of signs to get to the park. The parking lot was completely empty, and I asked Kyle if they were even open, but he assured me that they were.

There was no one stationed at the gate, so we just walked right in, and headed for the first ride we saw, which was a teacup ride. There were no people in the park, but we didn’t seem to notice or care. Kyle kept complaining about how sunny it was. The gate to the teacup ride was locked, and Liam started to cry. We decided that we would spend some time at the large wave pool instead, but when we got there, there was no water in the pool. We found a large hose, and put it in the pool, and filled it up ourselves, even though we couldn’t get the waves to work. The water was crystal clear, and it looked like a tropical beach, with the bottom of the pool covered in white sand.

A woman showed up at the pool and waved at us enthusiastically. She was the only other person in the park besides us. She took off all of her clothes and jumped into the pool completely naked. Just then, a group of 6 or 7 little kids, which I assumed were with her, came running out of the locker room, and jumped into the pool after her. There were now several beach balls being thrown around, and we kept getting splashed, so we got out of the pool. Kyle was angry, and was cussing up a storm, complaining about the woman. We did a lap around the park, but there were still only a few other people there, and none of them were employees.

After walking for a long time, we came across a large archway, with a “Zoo” sign, and Liam starting jumping up and down and cheering. We walked down the path to the zoo, which descended into a thick, green rain forest. There were brightly colored birds, terrifyingly large bugs, and pterodactyls everywhere. I had a large camera around my neck, and was taking pictures of everything that we passed.

There was another group up ahead of us with several children, and they were all screaming about something that was going to get them…

And then I woke up.

Dream Journal 3/7/16

Present.

I was taking Liam for a walk in my old hometown. We were walking toward the Burger King, and I was pointing out all of the surrounding landmarks to him. We were walking past the cemetery, when I noticed that the entire city was eerily quiet. There were no cars, no people, no birds, just silence. I picked him up, and left his stroller on the side of the road. We walked into the Burger King, and there were no workers, or anyone else, around. Trays, napkins, and food littered the ground. I sat Liam on the floor, walked around the counter, and started looking for food.

I grabbed some buns and cookies from the back, and went back to the dining area. It was dark outside now, and I picked up Liam and started running outside. I could hear screams echoing in the distance, but they sounded like they were surrounding us. We ran to the Rite Aid behind the Burger King, where I found a storm cellar. I took a flashlight out of my pocket, and we went into the cellar, and I made sure to shut the large, metal doors over our heads. I could hear footsteps above ground, inside the Pharmacy, and Liam started to fuss. I put my hand over his mouth to keep him from making noise.

Then, we were back outside, and it was morning. The sun was shining, and there were people walking around, like it was normal. I walked back to where I left Liam’s stroller, put him in it, and started walking in the opposite direction. Sirens started going off, and I sprinted, still pushing the stroller, into the cemetery. Two huge tanks appeared, driving down the road we were just on, smashing and crumbling the asphalt, creating holes in the ground. There was green grass under the tar.

A young woman was hiding beside a nearby mausoleum, and she beckoned us over. We ran over, and ducked inside, just as a helicopter flew overhead, very low to the ground. Her name was Emma, and she had short blonde hair and dark brown eyes. She told us the army was looking for survivors, and I seemed to know what she was talking about. She took out a large cauldron and started to cook something inside of it over a fire…

And then I woke up.

(FYI, I’ve been watching a lot of The Walking Dead lately, and it has seriously been affecting my dreams.)

Daily Prompt 2/21/2016 | The Road Less Traveled

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/21/2016 | The Road Less Traveled

Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.”

In June of 2008, I graduated high school. In the months prior to my graduation, I struggled with deciding where I wanted to go to college. My mom was the only person who ever went to college in my family, and she only went to the local community college, and I felt like that just wasn’t an option for me (no offense at all to anyone who went to community college, I was an ignorant child who thought community college was below me, but now I would be thrilled to be able to attend classes as our local community college). I had had four years of extra help, tutoring, advanced classes, and college tours, thanks to the Upward Bound program, but I still struggled. I think, deep down, I felt like I didn’t belong in the area that I grew up in. I had applied to many good schools in the area, and had gotten accepted into all of them, but I wanted something more.

During this time, I was dating a great guy named Matt, who I wrote about a bit here. Matt lived in Missouri, I lived in Maine, and we had met online. Matt was determined to go to school in Canada, so we applied to the same schools, and I ended up getting accepted to the Memorial University of Newfoundland, the Grenfell Campus. After springing this information on my mother, and packing my life up, I left for Canada, leaving everything behind, and changing my life entirely.

But what if I hadn’t?

What if Matt and I had stayed in a long distance relationship, or even went our separate ways, and I attended one of the several universities in Maine that I had been accepted into? Let’s talk about The University of Maine Farmington, for example. This is an excellent school, as well as my top choice school that I applied to, for local schools. Many of my friends from Upward Bound applied, and ended up attending this school. If I had chose to go to UMF, I would have qualified for so much more in financial aide, as well as scholarships, and probably would have been able to stay in school. I would have had more opportunity to make more friends, and become closer to the friends that I knew who went there. I have two good friends that I met in Upward Bound, Barbara and Kat, who both attended UMF, and who I have grown closer to in the last couple years, despite our distance. I would have loved to go to school with them. I would love to have friends that know me, and know where I came from, who I can talk to, face-to-face, and have a good time with. In the 8 years since I left home, I haven’t had that. At all. And it is so lonely.

I love my fiance, and I love my son, and I love our life that we have built… but all of these What If? questions tug at me daily. What if I had stayed in Maine, went to UMF, and had gotten my degree? Would I be married to someone else? Would I be single? Would I have any kids? Would I have a cat or a dog? Would I have started my career? Would I have a house? I don’t know. I have no way of knowing.

Heck, maybe on the day I would have left to go to UMF, I would have crashed, and died, and none of those questions would even matter. Who knows? What I do know, is that I love my life currently, despite financial difficulties, or family drama. I love my life, and I wouldn’t want it to be any different.

This prompt has inspired me to reach out to my old university, to see how much I owe them for tuition, and what my payment options are. I can’t afford to pay anything now, but it will be nice to have a number in my head to work toward.

Thank you for reading, friends.

Jan

Random Prompt | A Brush With Death

“Write about the time you came closest to death.”

I was born and raised in southern Maine, in a little city named Biddeford. I lived there until I was 18, when I moved to Newfoundland, Canada for college, then to Illinois for… well, other reasons that aren’t relevant to this post.

Growing up in Maine was great. There is a reason it is known as The Vacation State. It is beautiful, and if you like being outdoors, then Maine is a great getaway location. Anywhere in Maine, really… just, maybe not too far up north.

In the warmer months, as far back as I can remember, my mom, step-father, step-brother, and myself would drive to Alfred, Maine, where we would spend the day at Bunganut Lake. I have so many fond memories from the lake, including camping with my friend Emily and her family, and my friend Patience’s birthday party, where I threw mud on a girl named Amber who used to pick on me and once tried to steal my boyfriend. Yup… a lot of good memories.

And some not-so-good memories.

When I was 7 or 8, we decided to go to a different part of the beach than usual. I was there with my mom, my step-brother, my mom’s friend, and her kids. We went to an area that I vaguely remember as have large stone steps that went down into the water, which I wasn’t used to. We had always gone to the woodsy side of the beach, where there was sand and roots leading into the water. I was chasing my mom’s friend’s son, when I slipped on the rock, and fell into the water. Despite the water being shallow, the shock from the fall caused me to open my mouth under water, and breathe in liquid. A lot of liquid. I don’t remember if I blacked out, but the next thing I knew, I was lying on the ground on my back, with everyone circled around me, including several strangers.

My mom was angry at me for not being careful, and I got angry at her in return for being upset. Of course, I now realize that she was just scared. I ended up being fine, and we kept going back to the lake several times a year until my mid-teen years.

I have also been told stories about a time when I was a baby, when my mom, or her boyfriend, or someone else, had me sitting on a floatie in the shallow end of the lake (yes, we’ve actually been going there my entire life, I suppose). They looked away for a moment, and when he turned around, I was gone. Luckily, they pulled me out of the water before any damage could be done, and I have no memory of the incident.

These two stories stand out to me the most, because I feel like drowning would be one of the worst ways to die, aside from, maybe… burning alive? I’ve also been in several bad car accidents, a few other drowning incidents, and just a few years ago was almost kicked in the head by a horse, but I usually come out unharmed.

And can you believe I’ve never even broken a bone? Lucky me!

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan