Saturday, February 26, 2011

One More Chance

This is the fourth installment of "To Serve and Protect". Check out From Good to Gonzo, Making a Break for it, and Let's Straighten It Out, if you haven't already.

I returned home to Calvin. A few days passed before I called Jeremy. Calvin had forbid me to speak to my former lover again, but I had to get some closure. Jeremy had been there for me when I was too ashamed to turn to anyone else, and I felt obligated to give him some sort of explanation.

"Jeremy?" I said, when he answered the phone.



"Don't say you're sorry."

"But I am. I didn't mean for it to turn out this way."

"I thought you wanted to be in a normal relationship, not with some nut that pulls a gun on his own wife and makes her take a dump in her pants."


"I thought you wanted more. I thought you wanted someone to love and respect you."

"I understand that you're upset. I hate that I put you in the middle of our problems."

"Whatever," he mumbled, before I heard the click of the phone.

For the next few months, Calvin was on his best behavior. Whenever I asked him to do something for me, he did it. He said that he didn't want me to strain myself and jeopardize the baby's health.

"Sweetie, is the baby growing the way it's supposed to? You don't seem to have gained any weight," he asked one day.

I didn't answer him. I wasn't feeling too good about how things were going between us because no matter how many AA meetings and marriage counseling sessions we attended, he just didn't like an act. I just had the feeling that as soon as something else started to bother him, we would re-enact the previous events and I just couldn't live like that.

I often called and left messages on Jeremy's house and cell phones. For a while he just ignored them, but eventually Jeremy did calm down. There had been so many things running through my mind and I was so happy to have Jeremy to talk to again. I missed him too, so one day I came clean with Calvin.

"There is no baby."

"What are you talking about?"

"I lied. I'm not pregnant."

"What kind of crap is that? I knew you were dingy, but damn. Who in their right mind would play with somebody about being pregnant but a crazy broad like you?"

I said nothing. Calvin's true colors were showing. He was too busy ranting and raving to notice when I picked up my cell phone, dialed Jeremy's number, let it ring twice before I hung up. Calvin was still throwing insults when Jeremy knocked on the door.

"What do you want?" Calvin asked when he yanked the wooden door open. I went to the living room closet and grabbed a bag that I had packed days ago. I pushed pass Calvin.

"Where are you going? Oh, you planned this? You gonna make a fool out of me and run off with this so called public servant? Looks like he's been serving himself with my wife."

"Make a fool out of you? You've made a fool out of me for an entire year; probably throughout the seven years I've known you. So don't you dare talk to me about making a foul out of somebody," I said, as I walked out onto the front porch.

Calvin grabbed me and tried to pull me back into the house. But I wasn't having it. "Boy, you better let me go." I yanked my arm from his grasp.

Before either of us said another word, Jeremy had pushed me to the side and grabbed Calvin by the collar. He punched him in the face and let him fall to the floor. I screamed at Jeremy before he bent down to hit Calvin again.

"I see you have no problem hitting and intimidating women but when it comes to fighting men, you're nothing but a coward," Jeremy said. Calvin sat up and stared at the floor like a pouting child.

I told him that I would be back the next day to get the rest of my things. He rolled his eyes at me, got up off the floor, and slammed the door in my face.

I filed for divorce that next week. Jeremy wanted me to marry him as soon as it was final, but I told him that we should wait a little while. I moved in with him instead and he seemed to be happy with that.

"Girl, I think your boy, Calvin has totally lost his mind," Marie said, during one of her frequent visits, since I wasn't with Calvin.

"What did he do now?"

"He looks so bad every time I see him. It's like he's sprung on crack or something."

"He's probably just drinking a whole lot more," I said. I didn't want to believe that Calvin was in that bad a shape.

"I don't think he works for Chevrolet any more either. Jimmy says every time he drives by the house, Calvin is sitting out on the porch looking crazy. Girl, he won't even cut the grass."

"That's his problem. He's just reaping what he sowed. He shouldn't have been so low down to me."

"I know girl, but you need to go over there and check on him. I know y'all getting a divorce but he's still your husband right now."

I just looked at her. Marie hated Calvin, yet she had compassion for him. I decided that I would go see him, but Jeremy was going with me.

Jeremy had mixed feelings about visiting Calvin, "What do you think this is going to accomplish? You know all he's gonna say is that he misses you and wants you back."

"He may, but I don't want him back. Calvin hurt me but I don't have to hate him. I just want to see if he's all right."

"Do you need me to rough him up a bit?" Jeremy asked, looking as if he was ready to knock a brother out.

"No, I just need you there for moral support. If he becomes too much for me to handle, you can arrest him."

When we pulled up in front of the house, I couldn't believe what I saw. The house that had been my home looked as if it was falling down to the ground. He didn't say anything, just stepped aside to let us in. I almost didn't want to enter, but Jeremy gave me a slight nudge that reminded me that it had been my idea to come.

"What do you want?" Calvin slurred.

"Have you been drinking all day?" I asked him, my nose instinctively wrinkled from the stench.

"Since you left me."

"But why? You didn't really want me anymore, and I wouldn't have stayed if you did. You did me dirty and I had to get back at you."

"I'm dying, Shanell."

My Birthday Adventure

Since yesterday was my birthday, I decided to go to a few places I had never gone before. After I dropped Don off at my dad’s house and ate breakfast, my adventure began.

1) Trimming the bushes

I had heard that there was a place in the mall called BrowArt, that arched eyebrows using thread. A few people have teased me about my thick eyebrows so I decided to go to a professional because if I had done them, I would have been looking real surprised.

I was the first person in the lady’s chair when she opened. She asked me if I wanted them thick or thin and I told her thick because I didn’t want a very drastic change. I guess she had the thread in her pocket because as soon as she showed me wear to hold my eyelid down, she got to plucking. Let me tell you, that shhh hurt like hell. I jumped and squirmed every time she ran that thread across a strand of hair. If I was going that crazy getting my eyebrows done, I would have been in a strait jacket trying to get the hair on my legs threaded. Lord Have Mercy.

I was pleased with the results even though I’m mean mugging in this picture. The after effect of the hair snatching was still plaguing me. I read up on this technique and discovered that this should keep the excess hair away for two weeks. Will I be going back in two weeks? No ma’am and no sir. Will I ever go back? Maybe around May, when Don’s birthday rolls around. That should give me enough time to recover.

These are my eyebrows at their worst.

What a difference some thread makes.

2) Dreamy Chocolate

I’ve eaten Godiva candy before but I had never been to the Godiva Chocolatier Shop. The lady could be seen through the window, preparing the displays. After getting half my brains plucked out, I figured I deserved some chocolate. When I walked into the shop, I looked at the lady and said, “I’ve been dreaming about Godiva chocolate.” She smiled and said, “Well, you’ve come to the right place at the right time. What would you like?” I had been hearing people talk about chocolate covered strawberries so much that I had to have some. At $7.00 a pop, I could only afford two. She enrolled me in some kind of rewards program that would give me one free truffle a month if I spent $10 or more a month at Godiva. Since I spent $15 with tax, I got the free truffle. I told her it was my birthday so she let me pick one more.

At those prices, I probably won’t be buying any Godiva chocolate anytime soon, but it sure was good for the five minutes it lasted.

3) Ice Cream Connoseur

I walked to my car swinging my nice gift bag, trying to decide where to go to next. Museums and such went through my mind but I decided to save that for when I had the kid with me. Driving down Poplar, I decided on Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop. Now, I have bought Ben & Jerry’s from Walgreens a number of times but I had never been to the actual shop. Examining the menu on the wall, I settled on an “Addicted to Chocolate” milkshake. I told the guy that was my first time in the shop and he told me once I drank that shake that I would be a snobby, ice cream connoseur that wouldn't settle for any other brand. I waited until I got outside before I took a sip. Believe me, honey, that shake was good, but (shrug) ice cream is ice cream to me. I’ll probably be going back to Ben & Jerry’s but that won’t be the only ice cream I eat.

4) All Natural

When I walked into Whole Foods, I could have sworn that place smelled like incense. I had heard a lot about the place and decided to take a peek. Plus, I figured I’d see what I could get to counteract all the junk food I had eaten. Well… Whole Foods is high. All I bought was 4 oranges, a jar of Shea butter and a bottle of biotin dietary supplements, my total was more than $50. Don killed two of the oranges as soon as he spotted them and the Shea butter got rid of the ash on my hands right away. The directions said that I can put it in my hair too, so I may try that the next time I wash it.

Now the biotin is another story. I’ve heard that biotin helps hair and finger nails to grow, so hopefully they will do the job for me. Don looked at the bottle of vitamins and said that they probably tasted like garbage. I guess, in his opinion, if the bottle doesn’t have Fred Flintstone on it, it’s worthless.

I’ve already got a habit of not taking vitamins long enough to see any results, so lil’ dude’s comment about it tasting like garbage has me scared. Whole Foods seems like a good place to go again but my pockets have got to be ready for it.

5) Italian Cuisine

I’ve passed by the Spaghetti Warehouse a number of times during my downtown drives, but today was my first time going in. I ordered a Sangria and the lady brought me fresh baked bread and garlic butter. My salad and lasagna came out rather quickly and I was even quicker in devouring the whole meal. The price of a little over $16 was very reasonable so I will definitely be going back.

All in all, yesterday was a really good birthday. The celebrating will continue into the next month when my coworkers give me a birthday party. Even if they don’t, I better get my cakes that I was promised or there are gonna be some problems. LOL

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Social Media's Effect on Relationships

Please don’t be silly enough to let Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks contribute to the ruin of your relationship.

I saw a tweet (That’s a Twitter update if you’ve been living under a rock.) Sunday that mentioned how people shouldn’t let social media destroy their relationship. I had heard this before, but hadn’t thought much of it. But after reading that tweet, I decided to see what other people had to say about it. So I posed this question—“Can someone please explain to me how a social network can ruin your relationship?” The first response I got was from my friend Shannon (@youngshay112).

“A social network can broadcast selfishness, expose infidelity, but it can't create those flaws.”

To me, this means that people put too much of their personal business (both positive and negative) in their tweets and Facebook status updates. The whole world can see what’s going on in their lives. Now, if you don’t know, here’s a tip. If you are always talking about what you and your boo did; what your boo bought you; what your boo said to you to make you smile, I guarantee there is someone out there that wishes you weren’t so damn happy. So whenever given the opportunity, they are going to say little things that will make you question your relationship.

For example: Valentine’s Day just passed and you posted that you and your sweetie had a great time at (insert restaurant or wherever) and you really enjoyed your (insert present received). Some jealous chick or dude saw this and commented, “Humph, he did all that? I wonder what kind of dirt he’s trying to make up for.”

You may respond one or two ways. You may shoot off on the person and tell them to keep your boo’s name out of their mouth or that they need to stay out of your business. Or, you may say that your sweetie hasn’t done anything wrong and you may question the person asking them why they would say such a horrible thing.

Whichever way you respond “out loud”, in your mind, even if you are just a little insecure about your relationship, you will begin to wonder if your prince charming is really a frog-legged, two-timing cheater in disguise.

Let’s say he is messing around with some Facebook floozy, keep in mind that this wasn’t a matter of the busy body speaking this negativity into existence, but a case of something in the dark coming into the light.

This takes me to the next response I got to my question, my namesake, Susie (@SusieWriter) said, “people become obsessed with comments & w/e and become paranoid that that's a sign that you're cheating.”

This means that dude is always “stalking” his girl’s social media accounts to see who responds to her tweets or whose statuses she comments on. If it looks like she’s talking to this one dude a little too much, he sees that as a cause for alarm. This brings to mind a YouTube video that I saw some years ago titled “Facebook Breakup”.

To be fair, I asked my Facebook friends what they thought of this subject. Catherine stated:
“I honestly can't see how, but perhaps I lack imagination. I mean, maybe someone could find out something you meant to keep a secret, but then wouldn't it just be your own behavior that's ruining the relationship? Blaming FB or Twitter because you got caught doing something or were indiscreet would be silly imo”.

That’s my opinion as well. People have been messing around for years and getting caught, way before the advent of the internet let alone social media. It used to be where you would get an anonymous phone call from someone saying they say your boo with the next door neighbor or your sister. Now a days they sneak and take a picture of the creeping couple and post a link to it so you and all of your friends can see the drama unfold.

The last response is from my friend and coworker, Amanda.
“Insecurities.. jealousy ..lies. FB should b fun...”

There are a lot of insecure people that seem to always wonder if their mate is messing around on them, whether they are or not. Jealousy can come from two angles. First, one partner or both partners are jealous are always looking for dirt so they can accuse the other of doing something wrong. Second, other people outside of the relationship could be jealous and try to throw some salt in the game. Which leads me to the next point--lies. Some folks just lie on you for no damn reason and what better place to spread those lies than Facebook and Twitter? People love drama, whether it’s true or not. Social media, both Facebook and Twitter, should be fun. If you take some of the goings on too seriously, you will end up being a very unhappy person. Take everything you read on the internet with a grain of salt. You don’t want to be breaking up or getting a divorce because your boo comments on someone else’s updates or tweets more than they do on yours.

I’ve said all of that to say this—
1) Stop putting all of your business on the internet if you don’t want anyone saying something to you about it.
2) If you’re in a relationship, keep your goodies between you and your mate. This will keep the drama status to a minimum or it will be non-existent.
3) Let’s say (God forbid) that you’re going through a crisis (mid-life or otherwise) and you’re anxious to see if you still got it, and you see some pretty young thing or pretty old thing that can get it, make sure there are no pictures taken that could incriminate you. (shaking my head)

Please be safe out there.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Let's Straighten It Out

This is part three of "To Serve and Protect". Check out part one and part two if you haven't already.

Calvin said that he had acted so crazy because he was upset about us not having children. He said that since he came from a big family, where each one of his siblings had at least two kids, he had always felt like his life wasn't complete. Calvin knew that I hadn't been on birth control since we got married, so he went to the doctor to find out if something was wrong with him. He had been told that he had a low sperm count. As a teenager, he had lost one testicle in an accident and had obviously damaged the other one as well.

"Okay, let me get this straight," I said. "You went loony tunes because we don't have kids. I didn't know that it was that big of a deal to you, especially since you always had your nieces and nephews around."

"It's just no the same as having your own. I didn't tell you how I felt because I didn't think you would understand how important it was to me."

"You still should have told me. Then we could have avoided all of this chaos. We could have talked to some doctors and found out what our options were. How do you know there isn't something wrong with me? But the main thing I have a problem with is the fact that you hit me, Calvin. I don't know if I can forgive you for that."

"I'm sorry, sweetie, it's just that when you accused me of cheating, I felt insulted. I would never disrespect you that way."

"So you think waking me up in the middle of the night, with a gun to my head was respectful. How do you see the logic in that?"

"There's nothing I can say to justify what I did to you," he said quietly. "Just let me see you. You know I can make it up to you."

"I don't know. I guess I could meet you at the park or something."

"That'll be fine. I love you, baby."

"That's what your mouth says."

"I can prove it."

Jeremy was very upset about Calvin calling. "You told me you changed your number because you didn't want to talk to him anymore," Jeremy said, pacing in front of the couch where I sat.

"I didn't want to talk to him. Remember when I told you that Calvin was friends with my sister's boyfriend? He probably gave him my new number."

"Uh huh."

"I'm serious. I didn't give Calvin my number. I hadn't even talked to him since I left."

Jeremy stopped pacing and looked directly into my eyes, "Do you miss him?"


"What do you want to do?"

"I don't know yet." I wanted to tell him that I had agreed to meet with Calvin, but decided not to. I didn't want him to talk me out of it.

I thought a million thoughts on my way to see Calvin. Then, I made up my mind to go back to him. I had to try at least one more time, otherwise, I would always wonder about what could have been. Halfway through the twenty-five minute drive, I gave Marie a call. I wanted to get her input on my choice.

"Now you already know I think you should tell Calvin to kiss your behind and stay with Jeremy, but I'm sure you've already made up your mind," my friend said.

"Well, yeah, but I'd still like to know what you think about it."

"You need to do something to get back at that fool. The way he treated you, I'm surprised you didn't kill him."

"I didn't want to go to that extreme. You probably wouldn't have visited me if I went to jail."

"You know that I ain't with that jailhouse stuff. I would have sent you some money though to buy cigarettes or soap or whatever."


"But you need to do something to let him know you ain't to be played with."

Yeah something, but what? As I pulled into the parking space at Overton Park, I noticed Calvin sitting in his van. I got out of my car, walked over and got in with him. We resumed our conversation that we began on the phone. Calvin mentioned the fact that since we wouldn't be able to have children, he would have liked to adopt.

"Or I could get artificially inseminated," I said.

"Yea, that's a good idea. Do you want to do that?"

"Too late, I'm already pregnant." I looked at Calvin, expecting to see a hurt expression, but instead, a stunned, then excited demeanor appeared.

"That's great! You haven't told old boy have you? I want this to be our baby, not anybody else's."

"That's not right, Calvin, I have to tell Jeremy. Keeping him away wouldn't be fair to him or the baby."

"What about us, Shanell? This is my gift from God, please don't take it away from me," he said. He pulled me into his arms and kissed me softly. I resisted at first, but then gave in to my husband's advances. He was once again acting like the man I had fallen in love with. Calvin removed my top. Then the temperature between my thighs rose as he freed first one breast, then the other from their restraint. He began to flick his warm, moist tongue across my nipples. The heat became even more prevalent when he slowly pushed up my skirt and felt around until he found the waistband of my panties. I spread my legs, inviting Calvin's probing hand into my hot opening.

I began to kiss my husband more passionately as he simultaneously helped me up and lead me to the middle seat of the van. We hadn't touched like that in more than a year and at that moment, I hoped that we would never be apart again. Calvin was pleased with the idea of being a father, even with the help of another man. I tried to think about what I was going to tell Jeremy, but when Calvin entered me, I had thoughts of no one else but him and how good it felt to have the old Calvin back.

We were about to start round two, after a short intermission, when someone banged on one of the van doors. I knew that I was very vocal sometimes and guessed that someone had heard my screams of pleasure. Angry because my mood had been ruined, I cracked open one of the doors, prepared to give the perpetrator a piece of my mind. When I looked out and saw that it was Jeremy, dressed in his uniform, I lost all train of thought. Shock, recognition and hurt were the emotions that showed on Jeremy's face. He didn't even issue us a citation for our little rendezvous; he just got into his cruiser and sped away.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Friend Zone

Don’t let a love interest put you in the friend zone that is if you hope it will get serious one day. Once you are put in the friend zone it’s hard to be anything else in the eyes of the person you are interested in.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and I only gave gifts to my dad and son. Even though I enjoyed seeing the smiles on their faces and chocolate around their mouths, it would have been even better to have a sweetie to spend time with.

I have a couple of guys in my life that like me as a friend and apparently nothing more, at least not on a regular basis. We talk on the phone, hang out sometimes, but that’s about it. They talk to me about the other chicks they’re dating like it shouldn’t bother me. I listen attentively for a while but abruptly change the subject once I have had enough. I always ask them if the chick is so low down, or mean, or selfish, or stuck up, why are they still with her? “I don’t know” is usually the answer. Or “One day I’m gonna get custody of my kids so she can pay me child support.” (Hmmm, shake my head.) From that statement, I determine that it’s obviously not the woman who has issues.

There’s a red t-shirt in the bottom of one of my dresser drawers. When I put it on “Single and Fabulous” sparkles in metallic silver lettering across my chest. Of course, when I bought the shirt I was on a strike from serious relationships. Five years later, I’ve outgrown the shirt both physically and mentally. I mean, I’m still single and I am beyond fabulous, but I’m not completely happy about it.

I would love to be with a guy that not only wants to be my friend but also my lover and companion; someone besides this 3 year old to snuggle up to at night.
Realistically, I know I may not be completely ready for a relationship because I’m a little crazy, but I’m working on it. In my 20s I was really nice and timid, but I’ve grown a little hair on my chest (not literally) in my 30s. My tolerance for foolishness is very low and I would have to be with a guy that really had his shhh together in order for me to be even half-way happy.

Being friends with a guy that I don’t like is okay if he doesn’t call or want to come by that much. If I really want to get with him, especially on those days when even his armpits smell good, I crave much more than conversation. Since the Lord is still working on me, I won’t rush and try to choose just any old dude. Don’t want to scar the poor guy for life with all of this malarkey, but boy when the time comes, oooo weee. Well that’s a story for another day.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Making a Break For It

This is part two of "Two Serve and Protect".

Calvin took the gun from my head, opened it and showed me the empty chamber. Then he did something that really made me see how crazy he was--he laughed. I mean a big belly laugh, like me using the bathroom on myself was the funniest thing he had ever witnessed. He walked out of the bedroom shaking his head.

"Why are you being so mean to me? What happened to the sweet, thoughtful man I fell in love with? Now, you're nothing but a psychopath."

I realized that Calvin had missed most of what I had said, when I heard the van pull out of the pebble filled driveway.

After I figured he was long gone, I eased out of the bed. I was sick of that fool. Once I had placed a call to 911, I immediately jumped in the shower, not wanting to smell like I had a dirty diaper when the police arrived. I had never been afraid of my husband before, but I was then, and I hated the feeling. I felt naïve for not noticing he had those tendencies before I married him. How could I let him treat me like that? Love was a hell of a thing.

Fifteen minutes later, I yanked the door open before Officer Jeremy Wilkins had completed his knock on the glass of the storm door.

"We got a call about a domestic disturbance. Are you Shanell Parker?"

"Yes, sir, my husband and I just got into it. He woke me up with a gun to my head. It was empty, but I was scared to death."

"Do you want to press charges, Mrs. Parker?"

"Well, no. He didn't really do anything; I just wanted you guys to have a record of the incident in case he does something like this again and I end up having to defend myself."

Officer Wilkins looked at me and nodded. He wrote a phone number on a sheet of paper from his notepad and handed it to me. I looked at him in surprise.

"Why are you giving me your personal number?"

"I want to be the one you call if you have more problems out of your husband. By the way, where does he work? Relax; I just want to talk to him. I won't even wear my uniform."

"Okay, but I know he's gonna come home clowning, so keep your phone handy."

"Yes, ma'am, I sure will."

Sure enough, when he returned later that day, Calvin began yelling before he could get the front door opened. I just looked at him and shook my head, "If you had not been acting a damn fool…"

"Fool! You're the one who's crazy. A man can't even hang with his boys without you calling, and now you're putting the police in our business. You need to get you a life."

"Tell your other chick to get a life," I screamed, slapping Calvin.

He touched his face and winced. I could see print forming where my hand had landed. Before I was able to register the expression on Calvin's face, I found myself licking blood from a loosened front tooth. Calvin had never hit me before. Normally, even when he'd said he was angry, I couldn't tell it because he always had half a smile on his face. I guess once weapons were introduced, that just opened the door for all sorts of things.

From the look on his face then, I could tell that Calvin wanted to say something, but decided not to. He stormed out of the front door instead. I dialed Officer Wilkin's number as fast as I could.

"Mrs. Parker, are you okay? What happened?"

"Just come get me. I'll be ready when you get here."

When Jeremy arrived, I told him to take me to my sister's house but he insisted on taking me home with him. He said that he wanted to make sure I would be okay. I was glad because Jean would have told my dad and I didn't want him to know what was going on. He'd never like Calvin, but had tolerated him for my sake. I didn't want my dad going over to the house, with a shotgun, trying to rectify the situation.

Jeremy didn't try to prey on my vulnerability, but left me alone to collect my thoughts in his spare bedroom. He took me to get my car and the rest of my clothes the next day, while Calvin was at work. I wasn't ready for any more confrontations. I knew that Jeremy would have had to arrest Calvin if he did anything to me. Even though Calvin had treated me like crap, I didn't want to see him behind bars.

Over the next few months, Jeremy and I became very close. We didn't share Jeremy's townhouse, but I did spend almost all of his free time over there. We took walks in the park, watched the sun set by the river, and either cooked dinner together or went out for a night on the town. It felt a little like déjà vu because Calvin and I had done some of the same things, at first.

Whenever Jeremy and I made love, he was so gentle, never rough and quick like Calvin had become. Calvin had begun to act like it was just another job when he made love to me, like he would much rather have been doing something else. Jeremy knew what I had been through with Calvin and wanted me to feel that there was another man that loved me, truly loved me. Not someone that just said the words then acted like he couldn't stand me.

I was in the tub when my cell phone rang. It was in the living room, so I yelled to Jeremy to answer it for me. He said hello, then a long pause followed. Jeremy opened the bathroom door and handed the phone to me.

"Hello," I said.

"Hey, baby, when you coming home? I miss you." It was Calvin.

It had taken him three whole months to take the time to get in touch with me and he acted like nothing bad had happened between us. When I looked up at Jeremy, he shook his head and walked out of the bathroom, closing the door behind him.

The sequel to Good to Gonzo.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dell Stop Tripping

If I can buy a Dell computer and printer at a store, I should just as easily be able to buy their ink cartridges. What brick and mortar store sells Dell ink cartridges? If you know please tell me because I’ve been everywhere. I don’t mind buying them online but it takes one to two days for it to ship if you pay the extra $5.90. God forbid if it gets lost in the mail or there’s a holiday (shaking my head). It would be so much more convenient to pick it up at Office Depot on my way home from work and finish my project in no time. I guess I should start keeping extra ink on hand, just in case but man, that stuff is kind of expensive. The piggy bank has to get busted open to buy one black and one color cartridge, I would have to get a check advance to pay for two of each. I tried the re-fill thing in the past, but the colors never came out as bright, maybe the places I’ve been to didn’t know what they were doing (shrug).

I had to set up a Dell account online to buy the ink. Then, I had to decide whether I wanted to use my debit card or credit card, I chose debit since I had just gotten paid. The check-out screen told me that the estimated delivery date is 2/10/2011. Now, I know I’ve been out of elementary school for a long time, but last I checked I was still pretty good at basic math. Now, I paid $5.90 in shipping & handling to get the cartridges in two business days. It was a Sunday so if I counted from Monday, which was the 7th, 7 plus 2 is 9? Where did 10 come from? I won’t trip because that’s just one day. I’m usually a very reasonable person, but if they would just sell the stuff in the stores I wouldn’t have to go through all of this.

Monday, I got a phone call and an email from Dell saying that my payment wasn’t authorized by my card issuer. Not sure how that happened because I used my debit card and the money was sitting there waiting for them. Now, if Dell sold the doggone ink at Office Depot, I could have just gone to the ATM, got the money out and bought the stuff. So that meant I had to wait a whole extra day to finish my projects. I’ve got people breathing down my neck because they need Valentine’s Day cards, and baby shower invitations, and mailing labels. My word! I do have enough ink in the cartridges for a few Valentine’s Day card, so everyone else is going to have to wait (shaking my head).

I got a text message from my bank telling me that Dell’s payment went through at 9:26 pm. So now I’m waiting(twiddling my thumbs)until the 11th probably.

Dell, please stop tripping and stock your cartridges at Walgreens or Office Depot or some other brick and mortar building where I can just go in and get them and get on with my life.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

From Good to Gonzo

This is part one of "To Serve and Protect". I finally settled on a title. I hope you like the first installment. All comments are welcome.

When Calvin and I first met, I had just lost my maternal grandmother, my Nana, to ovarian cancer. Nana had raised me, so it was really like losing my mother. I was on my way home from the funeral home, after finalizing the arrangements, when Calvin pulled up beside me at a red light and blew his horn. I looked over and he motioned for me to let down my window. I did it, reluctantly.

"Smile, pretty lady," he said. "Everything is gonna be all right."

I looked at him and smiled, but then I was overcome with emotion and tears started streaming down my face. I couldn't believe Nana was gone. I missed her so much.

"Pull over into that service station, sweetie. You need to calm down before you tear somebody's car up."

I did as he advised, against my better judgment. He could have been a rapist or murderer, but something in his voice made me feel comfortable. I watched him get out of his van and head toward me, so I got out of my car too. Without hesitation, Calvin grabbed me and hugged me. I hadn't wanted to wet up his shirt with my tears, so I started to pull away. He pulled me closer.

"You got a name pretty lady?"

"Shanell, and you are?"

"I'm Calvin. It's so nice to meet you."

It was nice to feel a warm body after feeling so cold for the last couple of days, but I didn't tell him that. As he caressed the back of my head, he spoke softly into my ear. Calvin told me that no matter what was wrong, he would do whatever it took to make it all better. I finally got myself together enough to give Calvin my number and take his. Before we parted ways, he kissed me. The kiss was so strong and intense that it felt like he was trying to alleviate all of the pain that I was feeling. If I had been in a different state of mind, I would have slapped him silly, tore his number up, and threw it in his face. Instead I found myself craving the comfort that I knew he could give me.

Calvin called me later that day. He listened intently as I relayed the details of my feelings that morning. He seemed to really care how I felt, and from that day on, Calvin and I spent a lot of time together, going to the park, seeing movies, and going out to eat at least once a week. Sometimes we would just stay home and cook dinner together. His specialty was shish kabobs, and I loved them. He was excited when I made Fettuccine Alfredo with grilled chicken.

I accompanied Calvin to his family reunion that August, after only dating a month. "I only take women I care about to my family reunions. The last time I took someone was my junior year in high school," he said. I felt very special because it had been at least ten years since he had graduated.

The Parker family reunion was a three-day event. On Friday, there was a picnic, Saturday was the banquet and Sunday, everyone went to the church where one of Calvin's uncles was pastor. Calvin had a huge family--two sisters, five brothers, and too many aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins and in-laws to name.

"Why don't you have any kids?" I asked Calvin.

"Because I've been waiting for you." I thought that was so sweet, I wanted to cry.

Calvin loved kids and often had nieces and nephews over for the weekend. They would order pizza and play Nintendo most of the time. It was all right, but I wasn't used to a lot of children running around. I only had one sister and neither of us had children. Both of our parents had been only children so we didn't have much family.

Calvin and I got married after three years of dating. I was happy with him. I tried to get pregnant for a while, but when nothing happened, I just figured that it wasn't meant to be. Call me selfish, but I kind of liked the fact that I had Calvin all to myself.

I kept myself busy while he worked. Calvin made good money as an auto mechanic, so I didn't have to work if I didn't want to. But I did bring in a little money here and there from the sale of my handmade crocheted items that I sold to neighbors and friends. Nana had left me a substantial sum of money, which I had invested wisely. I had also rented out the house that Nana and I had lived in to some old friends.

Even though things had started off perfect, the last twelve months or so of our relationship, Calvin seemed to do a 180-degree turn around. He avoided me whenever possible. When I called him on his cell phone, just to let him know that he was on my mind, he snapped at me and hung up the phone in my face. I didn't know what had gone wrong in our marriage and Calvin refused to enlighten me.

Growing up, Nana had often told me and my sister, "Don't start nothing you can't finish." So I always tried to be the same person and do the same things for Calvin that I had done to win his heart in the first place. If boredom was the problem, I hoped that we were close enough for Calvin to tell me how he felt. I considered myself to be open-minded and was willing to do anything to make our marriage work. Of course, I couldn't do it alone, but Calvin did nothing to help. In fact, he made things worse.

Whenever I needed someone to talk to, I called my friend, Marie. Marie and I had worked together for a few years before my resignation from Wal-Mart.

"What do you think is wrong with Calvin?" I asked one night while Calvin was out.

"Girl, ain't no telling. I do see him at the club sometimes. He comes in with his boys, but he dances with this one female almost the whole time," Marie confessed.

"Do you thing he's dating her? Have you ever seen them leave together?"

"The club closes at three and Julia and I always leave at around two to avoid being trampled. Calvin and the chick are usually still there when we leave."

I didn't want to believe that Calvin was cheating on me, but I knew that there was always that possibility.

Calvin often did things to express his irritation with me, from cursing me out for no apparent reason to threatening to leave me. It saddened me at first and made me wonder if he was seeing someone else seriously, but I grew used to it. I told myself he was just going through a phase, and would be okay before long. But I soon found out that it was so much more than just a grown man's temper tantrum.

A couple days after my conversation with Marie, Calvin woke me up at 3:00 AM, pressing a cold pistol to my temple. I knew he had been drinking by his alcohol-tainted breath. "Hey, baby," he cooed.

I was speechless. Tears sprang into my eyes as I stared into my husband's face.

"Why did you call me half a dozen times? Don't you trust me?"

"I was lonely," I whimpered. "I just missed you, that's all," which was mostly true.

Sometimes I would feel an eerie aching when I was alone, but that night the conversation that I had with Marie had popped into my head when he said he was going out. I couldn't help but to call to check up on him. I knew there had to be an explanation behind why his feelings towards me had changed so drastically. The other woman probably had a lot to do with it.

"Maybe I should put you out of your misery. I wish I had known you were so worrisome before I married you," he said, grinding the barrel of the gun into my face.

I messed in my pants. I couldn't help it. I was afraid that Calvin was going to take my life just because he was sick of me. A moment passed before Calvin caught a whiff of my accident.

"Huh, you scared, ain't it?" he asked.

Check out part two and part three of this story.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Planning Blog Posts with OneNote

For the next few weeks, my short story Saturday segment will focus on a short story that I wrote a few years ago. It’s over 5,000 words long so I’m gonna break it up over the next 4 or 5 weeks. I don’t want the posts to get too long, unless you, my readers, think otherwise. (Of course, I will continue with Quintina’s and Cortez’s story at a later date.)

“To Serve and Protect” is a story that falls into the mainstream/women’s fiction genre even though it is a mixture of drama and romance. The main character, Shanell Parker, is a woman whose perfect world is turned upside down when her husband, Carlos, snaps. The officer that responded, Jeremy Wilkins, and Shanell become friends and more until she decides to give her marriage another try. After a failed reconciliation, Shanell’s leaves for good and rekindles her romance with Jeremy.

To assist me in dividing the parts of the story into “bite-sized” blog posts, I am using Microsoft OneNote.

This is my first time using this software, so I’m still trying to get the hang of it. I plan on dividing “To Serve and Protect” into five parts. Since the story is already written, it’s just a matter of deciding where to stop the story Saturday and where to pick up next week.

As you can see, the first page is my summary. “Part One” and so on, will be the various blog posts. I haven't settled on the titles for each part yet, which is why I don’t have them on the tabs. I plan to use OneNote to work on Her Leftovers as well. For the novel, each tab will be a chapter.

Sometimes I write parts of my stories out of order. Separating the different parts or chapters will make it easier for me to figure out where I want to add a line or even a paragraph. My eyes get kind of crossed trying to figure that out in Word. I like this program because I can save it as a Word document or a PDF once I’m finished or as I go along.

OneNote does a lot of cool and fancy things that I haven’t figured out how to do yet. Believe me, I will.