Rough Waters

Friday, September 6, 2013

Day FOUR of BlogtemberA story about a time you were very afraid.


I still remember the first time I experienced true fear in vivid detail.

I was seven years old and I was living on a 34 foot sailboat with my Mom, Dad and Brother. 

Now, my parent's aren't hippies - my father just has a love of the ocean and he always dreamed of sailing.  So he made it happen.  With a wife and two kids. 

How many of you can say you've made your dream happen?

Anyway, back to my fear. 

It was a beautiful morning.  We were under sail, (which means we didn't have our engine running) leaving No Name Harbor in Key Biscayne, Florida, headed toward the Dry Tortugas. The trip was supposed to only take about eight to twelve hours, depending on the wind and how fast we could go.

I experienced my first twinge of fear that day, the moment I looked out on the horizon and saw the storm.

You see, when you're on the ocean with no land mass in sight, the sight of broiling clouds and walls of rain in the distance can cause a seven year old girl on a small boat to quiver with terror.

My first thought was, "Oh, no!  I'm going to puke for sure today!"  (I get terribly sea-sick whenever the ocean's waves are bigger than, oh, let's say, a couple inches high) 

What came out of my mouth was, "DAD!  Do you see that STORM?!  We gotta turn around!!!"

My mother surveyed the horizon and felt the wind whipping up around us.  She agreed that it would be wise to turn back.

My father decided to be a bad ass and try to ride out the storm.  Once he sets his mind to something, he usually doesn't back down.

Within the hour, we were in hell.

Have you ever seen Forrest Gump?  The scene where Forrest and Lt. Dan are on their shrimp boat in the middle of a storm?

That was us. 

Our little boat was being tossed around the ocean like a small toy in a crazy two year old's bathtub.

The sky was black, the waves were crashing over us and our boat was making creaking, groaning sounds like it was going to break apart at any moment.

My father told me to go down below in case the boat capsized.  I also heard him tell my mother that he didn't know how far off course we were - but he thought we might get blown to Cuba.

I refused to go below.  I would get even more sick down there.  Besides, all of our stuff was falling out of our cabinets and shit was flying everywhere.   What if we DID capsize?  I didn't want to be stuck in a sinking boat down there with my brother!

So, my father tied me to the boat with a life line (in case I fell overboard, he could pull me back in).

At this point, I had thrown up so much, there was nothing left.  I kept dry heaving and there was nothing left to come up except blood.

I looked at my mother.  She was throwing up too.  We were all soaked and we couldn't see anything.  My father was at the helm. 

We had been fighting this storm for almost twelve hours.  

In my mind, I could see the end and it wasn't good. 

Our boat was going to fall apart and we were all going to drown in this awful storm.  
   Or, we would end up in Cuba and we would all be shot in the head the moment we were captured. 
       Or, I would keep vomiting and my insides would eventually fall out on the floor of the cockpit.

I had had enough.  I wanted it to end.  I started to scream.


I kept screaming this over and over.

My mom made her way over to me as the waves were crashing over our heads.  She said,
"Rachel, you are NOT going to die.  Pray as hard as you can.  Jesus will hear you and answer your prayers."

Normally, this would make most kids feel a little better but it only scared me worse.   My mother never took me to church.  I never saw her pray.  We didn't even say grace when it was dinner time.  Now she wanted me to pray and ask Jesus to save us?  

Holy shit, we were in trouble.

I prayed hard.  I yelled up at God and Jesus and whomever else might be listening, to make the storm stop and to not let us die.  I cried hard.  I kept throwing up. 

I wasn't sure that God had heard me.

Eventually, the storm began to subside.  We had been fighting the wind and the waves for over 16 hours.  My father had to hail a barge we had spotted off in the distance and asked him his location to figure out where we were.

We sailed into the Dry Tortugas the next day just after dawn.  It was a beautiful morning and the waters were calm.  Almost as if the storm had never even happened.

Our bodies were waterlogged and weary from the last 24 hours. 

Our boat may have been small but she was sturdy. She had delivered us alive and well to our destination. 

Everything down below deck was ruined.  All of our supplies were wet and scattered throughout the cabin. 

We surveyed the anchorage and we saw destruction.  Many boaters had sought refuge in the small cove but many had drug anchor and boats had slammed against each other like bumper cars.

The other boaters in the area who rode out the storm couldn't believe we had sailed through it. 

Many other people remarked how surprised they were that our boat didn't break apart from the beating it took.

Our little boat may have taken most of the credit that day but I'd like to think I had a hand in our survival, as well.

God had heard me and answered my prayers.

Father Knows Best

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Blogtember Day 3. Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered.

My father is an extremely intelligent man.  With this intelligence comes an arrogance that I still don't fully understand - but I respect it. 

I must've been about 16 years old when, for some reason or another, I came home very upset about something that had happened at school.  I can't remember specifically what it was that made me so upset (I was sixteen, so everything was a BIG DEAL at that age). 

What I do remember is the advice my father gave me:

He said, "Rachel, most people are NOT going to see things the way you do.  Roughly eighty-five percent of the people who live on this earth are damn idiots.  Be grateful that you're in the top 15th percentile." 

Initially, I was surprised by his statement.  My dad never gives out compliments in any form. Did he just say that I was in the top fifteenth percentile? 

My dad thinks I'm smart! 

As I have gotten older, I can see why he thinks this way about the general population.  His advice
has helped me in many situations and has enabled me to keep my mouth shut when trying to argue about something with an 85th percentiler.

Oops, did that sound too arrogant? Like father like daughter...

My Princess (I'll put her in the top 5%) and my Dad

Pearl Jam

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Day Two of Blogtember! If you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do?




If I could take three months off from my current life and do ANYTHING?  My heart goes thumpity thump at the thought.

It would be perfect timing for me to take three months off RIGHT NOW.

Pearl Jam is launching their Lightning Bolt Tour in October.  I would get tickets to each and every show in every city.

I was introduced to their music when I was seventeen.  The sound of Eddie Vedder's voice and Gossard's guitar riffs washed over my body like warm Caribbean waters.  I instantly fell in love with this band.


I have been held up and moved forward in hard times of my life because of their lyrics.

The sounds and words emanating from their albums have assuaged my wounds.

I have a hall pass from my husband if Eddie Vedder somehow sees me from across a crowded room and wants to ravage me.


Blogtember: A September Blog Challenge

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I have accepted a Blog Challenge.

It's not like I have anything else to do, right?  (My almost 7 month old, Charming, is on the couch next to me practicing his vowel sounds and Miss Sassy (2 year old) is taking a nap).  I haven't slept for more than 3 hours in a row since my 8th month of pregnancy, I am the PTA Treasurer at Princess's elementary school and I'm also a co-scout leader in her Junior Girl Scout Troop.

Sure, I have plenty of time for a blog challenge!  Bring.It.On.

Today's challenge is:  Describe where or what you come from. The people, the places, and/or the factors that make up who you are.

"My Family Tree is Full of Nuts!"

This was embroidered on a pillow that sat on my grandmother's couch for years.  She is gone now - she passed away just a month ago and my heart aches. 

I come from deep Midwestern roots.  My parents were both born and raised in Missouri.  Once they were done with college (my father is a mechanical engineer and my mother is a nurse), they couldn't get out of there fast enough. 

My father has always loved the ocean.  When I was seven years old and my brother nine, my parents quit their jobs and we moved onto a 34 foot sailboat.  We lived on that boat, which my father named Anticipation, for a little over two years.  We began our journey in Gulfport, MS, sailed around Florida and up the East Coast, all the way to Maryland.  We then sailed over to the Bahamas and lived there for about 6 months. 

My Father, Me, My Mom, and my Brother

Although it only lasted two years, this journey definitely impacted my character and worldview from a very young age.

I am a fiercely independent and fun loving person - yet, I can also be a dark, insecure and depressed hermit. 

I am generally very nice and I have the most annoying conscience that never lets me get into too much trouble - yet, I have a bit of a mean streak and a love for putting people in embarrassing situations.

I like to start discussions and arguments.

I don't fight fair (in verbal and physical fights) - yet, I fight for equality and fairness in my political views.

I am currently struggling with my role as a stay-at-home mom. 

I will always be ashamed that the first man to whom I chose to give my heart, broke it into a million pieces the night he viciously beat me in front of our three year old daughter.

I am amazed that I found the inner strength to leave him and start a new life for myself and my daughter.

I am infinitely proud of my husband who works tirelessly to give myself and our three children a safe and loving home.

I love my mom like no other.  You may think you love your mom as much as I love mine - but you don't.

I like to think that I get some of these qualities from my Grandmother.  

She was such a gem. 






Boobs, Butts, Bath - REPEAT

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I'm starting to feel like I'm living my own version of the movie Groundhog Day. You know, the movie where the guy keeps waking up and living the same day over and over and OVER?

I wake up every morning to a two year old flopping her amazingly hard and pointy body on my face and telling me,
"Wake up, Mama!  I wanna watch Dora and the Mermaids!"

"SHIT", I think to myself.  Some mornings I may even say that out loud but you won't get me to admit that in a court of law.

Then my almost 6 month old son, Charming, wakes up and sees me. 

Well, he doesn't actually see ME - he sees my boobs.  Let me tell you, it is something a male is born with.  They look at a woman's boobs the same way when they are infants as when they are a grown ass man. 

(Unless, of course, they play for the other team)

After nursing Charming and watching Dora, I have to start concentrating on their butts. 

I change Charming's diaper and make sure his fat rolls are all cleaned out.

Sassy (my two year old) is potty trained now (can I get an AMEN?!!) so I drag her into the shower with me and scrub off all the skid marks left on her ass cheeks.  Two year olds are not the best at wiping their own butts.

After we finish our bath/shower, I get us all dried off and dressed. 

Charming realizes it's been over an hour since his last encounter with the milk maid, so he starts giving me the 'look'.

Boob time AGAIN.

And so the rest of the day goes pretty much the same:  Boobs - Butts - Baths

There is a nap or two scheduled in there somewhere but it's not so good to count on it.

You may think that this sounds like a very boring and soul-sucking situation....
                                         ....and you would be right!

However, these kids of mine have special powers.  I think they might have the ability to 'glamour' me like a vampire. 

Just when they push me to the brink and I think I'm gonna buy myself a one way ticket to Fiji, I get a look like this:

Do you see fangs?  I think I do...

Getting Older

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It happened all at once.

Last week I started feeling my age. I'm pushing forty but I've never felt like it until now.

I was walking down the stairs and I felt something on the back of my upper thigh.  It felt really wiggly and gross so I reached around to see what it was and to my surprise...
          was my ASS!!!

I'm not over-exaggerating here, people.  My ASS is sagging down onto the back of my LEGS.

Some of you may remember the Breast Pencil Test.  This is where you place a pencil under your boob and if it falls then you pass the test (you don't have saggy tata's - yippee!)

I would fail the pencil test if I put it under my ass-cheek.

My husband tells me, "Just do some squats and run on the elliptical.  That should help."

"Oh, why thanks honey, that makes me feel better", I said, while silently flipping him the bird behind his back.

I'm not a 'working out' kind of girl.  The last time I tried to run with my husband, I barely made it up to the stop sign at the end of our street. I get itchy and sweaty and I start to get all panicky because I scratch my sweaty thighs and that makes them itch worse.

I'd rather starve myself in order to lose weight and I think this is what made my ass fall.

Guess I'm gonna have to go get lipo...

Impending Doom

Monday, June 17, 2013

In July, I will be taking a road trip from Virginia to Kansas City, Missouri. 

I will be squished into my parent's Dodge with my three kids. That's 3 adults and 3 kids.

It's going to take us over two days to get there and two days to drive back.

I may need therapy when this is over.

What was I thinking?
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