Monthly Archives: October 2012

I want my tiara back!

As I have mentioned before, I am a diehard romantic. I knew early on what I desired in a mate. He’d be kind, considerate, romantic and funny. He would literally sweep me off my feet with a kiss, and I would know right away he was my Prince. Of course, I would be his princess, and we would sail off into the sunset, happily ever after. Ambitious—I know.

When I met my husband, I hoped he was the one. After our first date, I knew he was. The clues were obvious and hard to ignore.

#1  He showed up in a smokin’ hot Jeep. I say smokin’ because huge gray clouds puffed out of the muffler, and I say hot because it was red. He took me on a picnic in Cades Cove–a beautiful prairie-like valley in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, TN. So romantic.

#2  He brought with him a blanket, a foot long Subway sandwich, and a roll of toilet paper, just in case I had to pee in the woods. Seriously kind and considerate.

#3  It felt like we were the only two people in the world as we soaked up the unusually warm December day when out of nowhere, a doe arrived to graze a few feet away. Destiny, right?

#4  When he took off his jean jacket, he was wearing this t-shirt and posed for these pictures. Funny.

Mike Householder/Cades Cove

Mike Householder/Cades Cove

I had to marry him.

Call me old fashioned but I was never one of those career type girls. We always knew once the babies came, I would be a stay-at-home Mom. As an Air Force pilot, my hubby sometimes deployed for 30 to 60 days at a time so he depended on me to be the primary caretaker of our three children. In return, I depended on him to handle the “manly” chores around the house.

It didn’t take long for us to realize if anything was going to go disastrously wrong, it would happen while he was gone. Nonetheless, I managed to remain helpless enough as to not lose my princess status. Military families tend to help each other when a spouse is deployed so I usually had a surrogate to repair a broken swing, jump-start a dead battery, or snake the toilet when my toddler drops a batman figurine in order to see whether it will flush. Yes, it does!

When my husband left the Air Force to be a FedEx pilot, we moved to his hometown of Knoxville, TN, and that is when the tiara began to slip from my head. It all started with a faulty alternator in my Chevy Suburban that bit the dust the day before my hubby left town. I sat in the driveway and watched as he replaced the old one with a shiny new one—my prince. However, shortly after he was gone, the battery began to lose its charge. Stranded in a dead vehicle at Wal Mart, I marched into the store, bought a wrench and a new battery, and replaced it right there in the parking lot.

Within a day or two, the battery was not holding a charge and it became apparent the shiny new alternator was really a dud. I could do this, I had seen it done. How hard could it be? Armed with a ratchet and another shiny new alternator, I bashed and bloodied my knuckles until I accomplished the task. That was one of my proudest moments.

Over the next several years, I learned to embrace the strong, independent woman I always knew I could be. I challenged myself. And if something needed to be done or a crisis arose, I may have whined a little, but I handled it. (I’m tooting my own horn.)

A year and a half ago, my hubby had a minor heart attack that grounded him from flying. That meant he was home from work with plenty of time to do the “manly” chores around the house. One day, I noticed a light bulb was burned-out  upstairs and the towel rack was pulling from the wall. I used the helpless, damsel in distress card.

“Honey, it’s dark upstairs. Can you fix that?”

“Since when do you need help changing a light bulb?” he snickered.

That was when I discovered somewhere between stitches, stomach viruses, and dead batteries, my tiara had disappeared.

My hubby has been back at work for two weeks, and if you’re anything like me, you can’t help but wonder what will go wrong.

In a previous post–Sick September—I might have griped mentioned that I have been under the weather. Now, after seven weeks of being unable to clear my sinuses, the ENT is going to do it for me. Oh yay!

On Monday, I will be having sinus surgery. On Tuesday, my hubby will be coming home.

I want my tiara back!

Categories: Health and Fitness | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

How I brought world and peace together

A few short weeks after arriving in Japan, my son met a girl in his homeroom class. It just so happened, this native Japanese girl spent a year or more in Knoxville, TN—our home town. In a strange turn of events, she was coming back to Knoxville in September for two weeks. In an even stranger turn of events, her host family was no longer available so I offered her a place to stay. Since we already have a girl from China living in our home for the school year, I figured the two girls would have a lot in common. After all, they’re both Asian, right?

“You do know, the Chinese and Japanese don’t really like each other,” my easygoing husband who had already accepted defeat when he allowed himself to be outnumbered by the females pointed out.

In my defense, I do not watch the world news–local news is discouraging enough—so I shrugged off his comment.

We picked Kanae up at the airport and shared a few very awkward hours getting to know each other. It reminded me a lot of the night we met Shunshun—our Chinese exchange student. Often quiet and feeling out of place, Shunshun suddenly embraced her role as a member of our family and POPPED out of her shell. She was no longer “new” and she took pride in the fact that she was not the shy, confused girl she once was.

Communicating with Kanae proved to be a challenge for all of us! Thankfully, she had an electronic translator, and I had Google. I learned to talk with my hands, read from an imaginary notepad she wrote on, and speak in broken English—a habit I’m still trying to break.  It was interesting and a little amusing to hear the Chinese teaching the Japanese how to speak English. What amazed me the most though, was how well the girls got along with each other, despite the language barrier. They shared an interest in music, movies, and of course, cute boys. However, there was a big difference in their cultures that I didn’t realize existed, and I felt guilty for assuming the two girls would be the same because they were both Asians.

My photo bomb!
Savannah, Shelby, Kanae, Shunshun

Kanae and Shunshun










In a late-night conversation with Kanae (Japan), I learned more about why the two countries don’t really like each other right now. I haven’t been living under a rock so I knew there was a dispute. Apparently, they are fighting over the islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. Kanae informed me that Chinese restaurants in Japan are empty and Japanese buildings in China are being destroyed as tensions are high.

Kanae:  “But Shunshun is nice.”

Me:  “You seem surprised.”

Kanae:  “Yes. Japan and China,” she paused to pound her fists together. “But I like Shunshun.”

Me:  “I like Shunshun too, and I like you.”

Kanae:  “I like you and your family also.”

Me:  “We are many people sharing one world. We should all just get along.”

We smiled and squeezed our hands together. It didn’t matter what was going on in the news; we were having a moment. And that moment was all about bringing peace to a chaotic world.

Then I broke the silence.

Me:  “So who do the islands really belong to?”

Kanae:  “Japan.”

We both laughed.

A few days after Kanae went back to Japan, Shunshun and I were discussing the two-week visit. She said her mother found humor in the fact that we had Chinese, Japanese, and American together at the same time.

Shunshun: “China and Japan fight while America tries to make it better. Why does America do that?”

Me:  “We want the world to be at peace, so we do what we can to make it better.”

What I wanted to say: We are always sticking our noses in everybody’s business because we don’t want our economy to suck. What if the Middle East refused to share their oil or the Chinese raised the price of cheap labor?

Shunshun:  “You make it better. Kanae was very nice. I like her.”

Me:  “I like her too, and I like you.”

We both smiled and shared a peaceful moment until I broke the silence.

Me:  “So who do the islands really belong to?”

Shunshun:  “China, of course.”

We both laughed.

To be honest, you might be thankful I’m not a politician. And right about now you’re probably wondering why I titled this post: How I brought world and peace together.  

Surely, you can see the humor.


Categories: Life is an Adventure | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

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