Friday, June 12, 2009

Cheating Death?

Yesterday I read a story online about a woman who luckily missed the ill-fated Flight 447, only to die days later in an automobile accident (see It made me wonder: is it possible to cheat death?

Being of the younger generation, it was necessary to see all three Final Destination movies. Now, these Hollywood-created stories bring the unfortunate characters to meet death in extremely odd and horrifying manners, obviously to up the gore quota for increased ticket purchases. Watching said movies only caused me to hesitate before entering a tanning bed, boarding a plane or riding a roller coaster.

I am a Christian, and I believe the Bible's promise that everyone is appointed a time to die (Ecclesiastes 3:2), so I've often awakened and wondered "is today my day?" When I'm driving on the interstate to and from work every day (an hour and a half commute) I find myself worrying that some inept driver will cause an accident and BAM - end of me. Having anxiety disorder doesn't help with these thought processes.

Knowing that I have a specific date with death, I also am aware that there have been instances when I should have been in an accident but something or someone delayed me. We got lost. I was running late. Whatever the reason, I missed a tragedy. One example that sticks out in my mind was late one night during college. I was working at Books-A-Million, and left around midnight (as was normal) on my way home. I was speeding, just like I did every night. On this particular night, a State Trooper pulled me over. He let me go with a warning, but we spent about five minutes chatting. I continued on my way, only to come upon an accident. The only person on the scene was an off-duty police officer who had happened along right behind the wreck. I stopped and asked if he needed help. He said that backup was on the way, and then asked what I was doing out so late. I responded and informed him that I had just been stopped by a Trooper only minutes before. "You're lucky then," he said, "because your being pulled over probably saved you from this accident." The weight of his words hung on me for days. Had I really been spared from injury, or worse? I thanked God for His mercy (just in case), and went about my merry way.

I have been told numerous stories by friends and family about how they just missed being in an accident, missed a doomed flight, etc. I read news stories after 9/11 about people who had called in sick to work, or were running late for work, and were spared from certain death. So, if we have an appointed time to die, and we somehow miss it, will death find us later anyway? It found that poor woman.

That thought/fear led to another - If you were supposed to die, let's say by smoke inhalation in a house fire, but somehow you escape, would you only die later in a chainsaw accident that turned out to be much more painful and gruesome? My point is this: if you miss your somewhat peaceful death, would the follow-up attempt be much worse?

I know this is twisted and probably disturbing, but I can't help myself. I think about these things. I guess I worry about my own death more since having children. I worry about Gary trying to raise two girls; I worry that my mother won't be able to handle the loss of another daughter. When these thoughts try to consume me, I find myself praying to God and asking Him to give me more time, to let me watch my children grow up, to have more time with my family. I feel selfish for making such requests, but I can't help it.

I guess the next time I'm somehow spared from death, I will keep a close eye out for faulty wiring and bad drivers....

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ridiculousness and automakers

The other day a coworker and I were discussing GM's big bankruptcy. I was voicing my opinion that the whole problem was caused because there are simply too many versions of the exact same vehicles in about eighty different unnecessary colors. I mean really, do we need this many choices? Civic, Accord, EX, LX, Corolla, Maxima, Malibu, Altima, etc. You can buy these various but clone-like cars in white, black, bright blue, navy blue, blue-grey, ash, red, maroon, bright yellow, bright orange, lime green, forest green, pine green, silver, grey, midnight (which is the same as navy blue if you ask me), shell, purple (WHY?), pink, the list goes on and on - and that's only cars!

From that speech, I continued on with what I considered wrong with automakers in general, as if anyone actually cared. Let me share some of my thoughts with you...

First off, is it necessary to make one model car in so many colors? The industry probably wastes millions of dollars making cars in colors that people don't even buy. Really, who needs a lime green car? My idea - make vehicles in white and black. That's it. If you don't like black, buy the white one and take it to the body shop to be painted. Let that be included in the warranty and price if you want. That would save money. I know, I'm brilliant. You don't have to say it.

Second: do we really need automatic windows? Have we as a population become so lazy that we don't have the energy to roll a window down? And what if you crash your car into a lake? Do you think the automatic motor will roll the window down so you can get out? Nope. You're stuck in there.

Third: Sunroofs. I have never quite been able to force myself to appreciate a sunroof. Unless you're in a limo and want to hang out of the top yelling at people, a sunroof is not necessary. Don't get me wrong, I like sunlight as much as the next gal. However, what happens when you get in an accident and roll over? The glass in the sunroof shatters, raining down shards of glass onto you and whoever else might be unlucky enough to be in the vehicle with you. Also, I was once on a date in a car with a sunroof. We went into one of those automatic car wash places. Whilst the car was being rinsed (and a little PG-13 activity was going on), a shower of water burst through the sunroof onto said date's lap. Quite hilarious at the moment - for me, anyways.

Last, and most importantly, I think people put too much emphasis on the whole car status. People judge other people based on what vehicle they drive. It's ridiculous. I actually overheard the following conversation between two people at work one day:

Girl 1: "Mark asked me out."
Girl 2: "Really? That's great! He's so cute!"
Girl 1: "Yeah....I don't know though. I don't think he's my type."
Girl 2: "Why? What's wrong with him?"
Girl 1: "Have you seen what he drives?"

Guy in question drove an old Chevy truck. So what? Does that make him less dateworthy because he's not in a Hummer or some ridiculously overpriced sports car? P.S. I love listening in on the conversations of the shallow. Free entertainment. Plus, it always makes me feel better about myself.

I'm going to end this love fest by giving you something to ponder:

Why in the world did the HUMMER 2 I parked next to yesterday have a bumper sticker on it that said "Live Green"????

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Family Reunions......blah

WARNING: The following blog may contain massive amounts of whining, moaning and complaining.

Let me first say HI to my new followers. Welcome to the crazy world of me. Also, hi to my early followers - I've been absent for a couple of weeks. I apologize!

This weekend I had to accompany my man to the reunion of his mother's family. Said reunion took place on the outskirts of Monroe, which is a good four-hour drive from our home. In the week leading up to this event, I found myself stressing immensely over not only the drive with two small children, but the packing that was to be done. Bottles, formula, diapers, wipes, toys, snacks, juice, milk, blankets, clothes, shoes, baby tylenol, baby tummy medicine, cereal, pacifiers, and the list goes on and on - and that's not even the stuff needed for Gary and myself! Luckily I did not have to work on Thursday, so I had a little bit of extra time to prepare.

Friday morning: the bags are packed and in the car, babies in car seat, Gary in reasonably good mood, we're off! Five hours later (we had to make a few stops) we arrive in Monroe at our hotel. Immediately we are reunited with Gary's parents (who we haven't seen in over a month), Gary's mother's two sisters and one sister's husband. Then it starts....

Before I can get the car unpacked, the barrage of questions begins - "How have you been?" "Are you still working?" "Should she be drinking juice?" "Have they had naps?" "When do you want to go to dinner?" On and on.....and on. Now, let me just say before people assume incorrectly - I love Gary's parents. I do. Really. I'm just the type of person who doesn't care to be bombarded with questions rapid-fire. Give me a moment to gather myself, to articulate an appropriate (and not rude) response. At least let me answer ONE question before asking another!

Fast-forward (car is unpacked, babies changed) to dinner. Fairly uneventful, which I was quite happy about. My only problem was that the LSU game was on the television across the room and I couldn't see the score. Anna was happy, so no fussy baby dealings. Hayden was merrily dipping anything and everything into honey mustard sauce (the majority of which ended up on her shirt). We retired to our rooms and thankfully had the rest of the evening to put the babies to sleep and rest.

The actual reunion took place on Saturday. We had to drive about 40 minutes into the backwoods to the home of someone's mother, I'm not entirely sure who though. We had our faithful Garmin leading the way. We were doing great until Garmin directed us to make a left onto PR### (Note: PR means Public Road - a road without a name yet). Said road was gravel. We drove down it a while, and the gravel turned into dirt. A few hundred yards further, the dirt disappeared and we were driving through grass. Suddenly, trees. Nothing but trees. The garmin showed the checkered flag for our chosen destination only a short distance away. How was this possible? Gary realized that the Garmin was picking up the public road that was not quite finished yet. Awesome. So we turned around and headed back, hoping for an alternate route to appear. "Recalculating," said Mr. Garmin as we headed down the dead-ended road. It instructed us to turn left down another public road. Gary obediently turned, and after about a half mile, another dead end. I began laughing hysterically until tears were streaming down my face. We had a quarter tank of gas, no cell service, and no idea where we were. Fabulous.

We considered laying on the horn until someone came to save us (or we attracted a starving bear or another equally horrifying animal). Finally, we decided to go back to the asphalt road and hope for the best. TA-DA! New route, and down a paved road (mostly), no less. We finally made it to the reunion, about thirty minutes after everyone else. Jokes all around, hardy-har-har. Yes, we're idiots. Moving on...

Personally, I have always been a fan of family reunions. My grandmother's family hosted reunions every single year since before I can remember, and we always had a blast. Three days together, laughing, eating, staying up late, and catching up. Wonderful memories. However, it's a slight different when it's not YOUR family with which you're reunioning (not sure if that was an actual word, but you get me).

If you're lucky, you know a handful of people there. Extremely lucky if you know ten people. Myself, I somewhat knew about 9 people. Other than that, complete strangers. So, of course you get the "who is that girl?" stares. People asking you a million questions about who you are, what you do, where you're from, blah blah blah. Then if you're a parent, any time you do anything at all with your child(ren) you get the looks that say "I would never let my child do that/give my child that/etc." These people don't even know you and within ten minutes they've decided that you're a terrible parent and can't understand why in the world someone in their family would be with someone like you. Then comes the advice. People want to share their wonderful parenting skills with you.

I'm not saying these aren't good people. They are all probably wonderful people. My thing is this: if you don't know me, please don't attempt to enlighten me.

I endured four hours of uncomfortable conversation and strangers holding my children before Gary - thankfully - decided it was time to go. Back to the hotel for a rest, then dinner AGAIN with about twenty-five people. We sat down at six and ordered. At eight, we were just receiving our dinner. My girls were restless, we were tired. Gary decided we would get the food to go and just leave. Apologies all around, goodbye.

So last night everyone gathered in Gary's parent's hotel room to tell stories and hang out. I luckily needed to stay in our room to tend to the babies. After putting Anna down, I got in bed and drifted off into a peaceful sleep, dreamily awaiting morning and our return home.

Back to today. We're home. It's fairly late, both babies are asleep. Peaceful. I'm sure I've rambled quite ridiculously here. I don't even know if it all made sense. Hopefully I made some sort of point. I can take some joy in knowing that these reunions are only every OTHER year. Yay.