Note: I want to start the morning with this wonderful piece of information: Leigh emailed me to say that last night Tabitha and Allison were finally released from the hospital, and are home surrounded by family. Leigh says the baby is not completely out of the woods just yet, but that the doctors have found a combination of medicines that is working. She wants to thank everyone for their continued wishes, hopes, and prayers. Pish, Leigh. That's the least we could do. :O) Kiss the baby for us and please let Allison know she will continue to be in our hearts, and our hopes that the road is much smoother from this point on.
"That's the least we could do."
I often wonder what is the most?
It's not uncommon for human beings with big hearts, empathy, sympathy, decency to say the words, "Whatever I can do, just tell me" when someone is down on their luck or in distress.
"Whatever"? As in anything? Well, we all can acknowledge deep down that when push comes to shove there are usually some parameters, comfort zones, etc that "Whatever" pushes up against when it becomes a reality.
Maybe we prepare a meal for someone. Give them a ride. Babysit. Even give them some money if we can afford it. But our efforts are typically tempered with how much our own routines, comfort, schedules, heck - even privacy - will be dicked with.
It doesn't make us bad, it just makes us human. Especially in these harrowing times when so many are struggling to keep their own heads above water, it is difficult to attempt to tread water while rescuing someone else.
But that's just what DGMS regular Jamie has been doing. In her case, push came to love, and I am completely humbled by her example of actually doing "whatever" it takes.
I had mentioned in a past blog how I had my friend who fell on hard times move in my home. Things haven't been easy for my family and especially hers.
Here is my story:
My husband is a disabled firefighter - he lost half his lungs in a fire back in the year 2000. He still works as an EMT, but he has to be careful to not be around any smoke, chemicals etc... as it can cause a severe asthma attack. He is on inhalers & medications for life. We pay for the medications ourselves because he was a part-time firefighter & not part of the union. So no firefighter benefits for him. When he gets sick, he almost always gets pneumonia & ends up in the hospital for a week or more & then off work for another week or more. That equals lost wages & past due bills - which all adds up. But we have managed. Struggling as we are.
When my best friend was locked out of her home by her abusive fiance & had no where to go & two small children, I told her - what is mine is yours. So she took her few belongings & we turned my basement into a mini apartment for her. So my family of three turned into a family of 6. Its been hard. Harder than I thought - utilities have gone up, grocery bills, etc... and with the holidays coming, things aren't looking good. She helps financially what she can - but with prices as they are - it doesn't go far.
I am not one to ask for help- EVER! But if your readers could find it in their hearts to make sure that her kids can have a decent Christmas - I would be grateful & extremely humbled.
With our Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus efforts, we will be helping make Christmas brighter, not only for Jamie's friend's children - a 4 year old son, a 5 year old daughter - but for Jamie's daughter, also 5 years old, as well.
Every donation - regardless of size - can help. The permanent link to donate is on the left hand side of this page. Just click on the gift in the open hands for directions. Or you can go directly to Paypal and send your donation to firstname.lastname@example.org .
(To date we have raised over $600. I have already begun using our funds to shop for the children whose stories I have been sharing. I promise you, as the cheapest person alive, I am being a good steward with your contributions. If there is a bargain to be had, a coupon code to use, a twofer to take advantage of - believe me, I will leave no link unturned. :O))
It is easy to talk the talk. But honestly, how many of us could walk the walk like Jamie? Her burden is great, but her heart is greater. Let's help her keep taking those difficult steps forward.
Every year there is at least one Black Friday incident which makes national headlines.
Born of bargain lust, too little sleep, and even fewer manners, somewhere, at some box store in this country, a stampede a la Pamplona takes place.
I call it the Running of the Bullshit.
Someone is injured. A few end up in handcuffs. Even more show just how little they give a hoot about their fellow man when blinded by the prospect of a discounted digital camera or cheap DVD.
This year, the scenario that made it to the top of the headlines is far worse. Because this year someone died.
This is the scene outside the Long Island Walmart where people gathered for those advertised "Door Busters".
When the doors opened, according to employee Jimmy Overby, that's exactly what happened - they were busted. "They took the doors off the hinges."
Hundreds of unruly shoppers (police now estimate, based on photos from the early morning gathering, that roughly 2,000+ people were outside the store) burst into the store, trampling a 34 year old Walmart maintenance worker, Jdimytai Damour. Jimmy saw it happen, "He was bum rushed by 200 people. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too...I literally had to fight people off my back."
A 28 year old pregnant woman was caught in the crush as well. She was taken to the hospital for observation.
According to Kimberly Cribbs, a shopper inside the store at the time, people were behaving like "savages." "When they (management on the intercom) were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling `I've been on line since yesterday morning,'" she said. "They kept shopping."
Sick? Yes. Despicable? Of course. Unforgiveable? Take it up with your deity, but in my opinion, these people are all responsible. WalMart is culpable as well.
These box stores know by now what happens outside their store in the predawn hours. People line up, then lines turn to clusters, then as the bewitching hour draws near, the cluster turns into a mob pressed right up against the doors. There is no order. There is no security. (Police did occasionally patrol the lot in the night, but one of the officers admits they were concerned by the size of the mob. As to whether security was adequate? "In light of the outcome, in hindsight, the answer is obviously no. ... This crowd was out of control," Officer Michael Fleming said.) There is nothing but blind faith that people will hold it together and treat one another decently.
Good luck with that.
I wonder what those folks were in such a hellfire hurry to get to this morning when they crushed the life out of this poor man?
The $49 portable DVD player? (I got it online at 330am - no lines, no hating) How about the $97 Garmin GPS? Oooooo! Maybe it was the $388 32" LCD HDTV? Lord knows that's worth breaking a few bones to get to, right?
There was absolutely nothing in that store worth a man's life. If you wanted the $130 KitchenAid and they were out of stock before you could get to that department? TOUGH SHIT.
Couldn't grab a $9 Iron Man DVD? Cry me a river. (Kind of like the one being poured out by this man's family tonight.)
Civility. Decency. Humanity. None of it was in evidence this morning at that store. As EMTs worked on his lifeless body, shoppers continued to stream past - less concerned about a fellow human being than they were about where the stack of Xbox Consoles was at.
I've written that Kendall and I partake in the early morning shopping of Black Friday. We are in the car before 400am. But I swore off places like Best Buy, WalMart, and Target years ago after seeing firsthand a throwdown over a laptop computer, and hearing the manager over the intercom imploring people to calm down.
Kendall and I stick to Penney's, Michael's, sanity.
My heart goes out to Mr. Damour's family tonight as they begin to process the enormity of their loss.
And my disdain goes out to every single person who entered that store and changed the meaning of Black Friday for that family forever.
Hi everyone - I hope this finds you recovering nicely from your turkey coma. The Sharp gang had a good Thanksgiving, although the ability to just wallow in post-gorging bliss was seriously compromised by Culley and Kendall having to work the UT football game. Oh well, such is life on this end - we take what we can get and enjoy it while we can. :O)
With the holiday sales now officially in full swing (Kendall and I were already out at 4am this morning, and Yes, Virginia, we DID set a new personal best for JC Penney snow globes - 29!), I will be using our DGMS donations to start shopping for the children we will be helping this year.
Last week I shared the story of 4 year old Evan whose wonderful mother passed away unexpectedly last month. Your donations will be going to help make his holiday a little brighter.
Today, I want to share the story of one of our regulars, RBlues (Veronica). Her family's story is the story of so many across this nation. Honest, hard working, loving, caring people who have fallen victim to the downward spiralling economy. I know we can help keep Christmas alive for her kids.
Hi Linda. My story is probably not as bad as many you will receive but we're in a bind just the same. For the first time ever, I am trying to find help with Christmas this year.
I lost my job (after 13 years) in August. I worked for a chiropractor who had herself over-extended. Chiropractic care has taken hit after hit (from insurance companies) over the last few years and collections have gone down dramatically. She could no longer afford me and decided to do my job herself (HAH! Good luck there!) I've been doing little things here and there such as babysitting, my neighbor's laundry and yard work, etc. for money and my husband (a cement worker) has been working his regular job as well as "side-labor" on the weekends to keep our rent paid, lights on, etc. as me getting to stay home with the kids (especially my 6-year old "baby" who just started school this year) has been worth the sacrifice. My middle-schoolers were not able to get any school clothes this year as we are just barely "making" it--but are smart enough to know that it has been worth it--until now. My husband got laid-off about three weeks ago and we are currently waiting for unemployment benefits for him (I had none available) to kick in but that's going to be about half of what he normally earns. He is trying to find a job but it won't be in his field (as at this time of year, NO construction/cement companies are hiring--they are all laying-off for the winter) and as you know, millions of people are looking for jobs right now, so any job he does find will be a significant cut in pay. I used to "carry" the family during the winter and he got to be "Mr. Mom".
My 6 year-old (who TOTALLY still believes in Santa) really wants a "V-smile" (it's like a playstation for little kids and has lots of games that promote learning skills such as reading and math) and my teenagers want/need clothes for the winter.
Any help your blog-munity can provide will be a Godsend to me and my family. I will also understand that there are probably others in more need than me.
Please help by clicking on the Yes, Virginia, There Is A DGMS link on the left side of this page. Any donation you can make will help our efforts! We have so much to be thankful for, but most especially, each other.
As we all come together today in America to enjoy the warmth of family, friends, turkey, and football, stop for a moment, stand back, and just savor all you have.
Sure, your houseful of relatives may grate your nerves like a block of Parmesan, and yes, perhaps the turkey turned out drier than the air in Phoenix.
But yesterday, as the other side of the world again exploded in rage, hate, and brutality, we all received another reminder that, despite the mountain of problems we face as a nation, we do live our lives largely in peace.
Scores of people lost their lives in Mumbai - as the smoke clears, literally and figuratively, the numbers of dead and injured is sure to rise. People who may look different than you and I, who may speak with an accent, enjoy foods you have never tasted, worship in ways with which you are unfamiliar.
But in everyway that counts, they are the same as you and I. They feel, they think, they laugh, they cry, they hope, they dream, they love their children, they worry about paying their bills, they share inside jokes, they have favorite TV shows. THEY are YOU. THEY are ME. And THEY were just in the wrong place when Hell once again came calling yesterday.
So in that moment when you stand back and just observe today - taking in the hyperactivity of the kids, the quirky bags of shit which comprise each of your relatives, the dog trying to snitch the turkey off the tray, the chaos that a national holiday naturally brings to your home - just be thankful.
You are all alive. You are all able to piss one another off. You are all able to kiss and make up. You are all engaged in the greatest gift there is: LIFE.
I want to thank each and every member of the DGMS blogmunity for making my life richer each day, for your laughs, your sharing, your candor, your quirks, your passion, your generosity.
Yesterday marked one year since Rudy left for Seattle. Please know that you all have played such a large part in making that year bearable for me.
When the momentum from his run-leap-catch caused him to stumble into the crowd and onto a seven year old boy, college football player, Mardy Gilyard was more concerned about the tiny tot he nearly crushed than about the call on the play.
He immediately pulled off his helmet, and picked up the child in a huge bear hug. He said, "I wasn't going to leave until he told me he was OK."
Way to go, Mardy. Nice to see the soft side of the big guys on the field.
Received this from Pat and now that I'm finally done laughing wanted to share it with you.
Pocket Taser Stun Gun, a great gift for the wife.
Last weekend I saw something at Larry's Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest.. The occasion was our 15th anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my wife Julie.
What I came across was a 100,000-volt, pocket/purse-sized taser. The effects of the taser were supposed to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on your assailant, allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety....??
WAY TOO COOL!
Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded two AAA batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button.
Nothing! I was disappointed.
I learned, however, that if I pushed the button AND pressed it against a metal surface at the same time; I'd get the blue arc of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs.
Unfortunately, I have yet to explain to Julie what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave.
Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn't be all that bad with only two triple-A batteries, right?
There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently (trusting little soul) while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving target.
I must admit I thought about zapping Gracie (for a fraction of a second) and thought better of it. She is such a sweet cat.
But, if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised.
Am I wrong?
So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, and taser in another.
The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries.
All the while I'm looking at this little device measuring about 5" long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference; pretty cute really and (loaded with two itsy, bitsy triple-A batteries) thinking to myself, 'no possible way!'
What happened next is almost beyond description, but I'll do my best...
I'm sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side as to say, 'don't do it dipshit,' reasoning that a one second burst from such a tiny little ole thing couldn't hurt all that bad.
I decided to give myself a one second burst just for heck of it. I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and . ..
HOLY MOTHER OF GOD . . . WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION ... WHAT THE HELL!!!
I'm pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, then body slammed us both on the carpet, over and over and over again.
I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs?
The cat was making meowing sounds I had never heard before, clinging to a picture frame hanging above the fireplace, obviously in an attempt to avoid getting slammed by my body flopping all over the living room.
Note: If you ever feel compelled to 'mug' yourself with a taser, one note of caution: there is no such thing as a one second burst when you zap yourself!
You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor. A three second burst would be considered conservative?
SON-OF-A-BITCH, THAT HURT LIKE HELL!!!
A minute or so later (I can't be sure, as time was a relative thing at that point), I collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and surveyed the landscape.
My bent reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace. The recliner was upside down and about 8 feet or so from where it originally was. My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still twitching.
My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs. I had no control over the drooling.
Apparently I shit myself, but was too numb to know for sure and my sense of smell was gone. I saw a faint smoke cloud above my head which I believe came from my hair.
I'm still looking for my nuts and I'm offering a significant reward for their safe return!!
P. S. My wife loved the gift, and now regularly threatens me with it!
'If you think Education is difficult, try being stupid.'