Monthly Archives: February 2016

Our Story

It’s our anniversary, so I’m going to tell you our story.

It was the summer of 2001. I had spent all summer working weekends in an ER and spending the weekdays at the lake with my daughters and our dog. Every weekend I dropped them (the kids, not the dog) at their dad’s, worked two 12 hour night shifts, picked them up on Monday morning and headed back to the lake. We spent all week walking in the woods, floating in the lake and doing whatever we wanted. When summer was over and the kids had to go back to school, the ER manager asked if I could work some extra shifts during the week. So, I picked up a random Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, on that same random Tuesday, Joe picked up an extra shift on an ambulance. When he and his partner arrived on a scene to pick up a patient, Joe stepped out of the ambulance into (he would soon discover) a hole that was concealed by overgrown grass. He twisted his ankle. I don’t know all of the details of how the fire department handles these situations. Someone had to take Joe to the ER and someone else had to take his place transporting the original patient. What I do know is that they brought him to my ER.

When I saw a firefighter in uniform in the waiting room, with an ice pack on his ankle, I couldn’t resist making fun of him. “You’re supposed to bring the patient, not be the patient.”

I checked on him frequently between my other patients. He must have been there a long time because we talked quite a bit. When he told me what firehouse he was working in that night, I told him that I went to the high school right behind that house. He said that he went to that school too. Um… what? I didn’t believe him, but it was true. We went to the same high school and didn’t know each other.

I also learned that, in addition to the fire department, he served in the Air National Guard and would be shipping out for a two week deployment in a few days. On my birthday. To Hawaii.

What I didn’t know then, is that Joe is very shy the first time he meets someone. So the fact that he talked to me at all was amazing. But asking for my phone number when he was discharged from the ER… that was a miracle!

We went on a couple of dates before he left for Hawaii, including the best first date ever. He called me frequently while he was there. Two weeks later, when he was scheduled to fly back to Memphis, September 11th happened. He tried to gain my sympathy for being unable to fly back home. Sorry buddy, you’re stuck in Hawaii. I don’t feel sorry for you.

September 11th had an effect on everyone. For some of us, it accelerated our relationships. Another side effect was that people were afraid to fly, so flights were pretty inexpensive. Joe wanted to take advantage of the cheap flights and show me Hawaii. We left Memphis on a cold, rainy Valentine’s Day and a few hours later we were in warm, sunny Hawaii. Two days later, we rented a convertible and drove along the coast. In the words of Adele, “it was just like a movie, it was just like a song.”  I said, “This place is so romantic. Are you sure you don’t want to get married while we’re here?”  He said “OK.”  That was not the proposal of my dreams, but it’s how we became engaged.

It was a weekend, and the following Monday was a federal holiday. It would be Tuesday before we could find out if we could get married there. Yes, we could.  We got a marriage license. One phone call got us a location, preacher, and photographer. I got my nails done and ordered flowers. We bought rings and a dress.

On Thursday morning, the same day we were scheduled to leave Hawaii, six months to the day after we met, we stood at the base of Diamondhead and got married. This weekend, we’ll celebrate the 14 wonderful years that have passed since that day and the many more to come.

Blame It On Barbie

Have you seen the new line of Barbies? They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and skintones.This was done at the behest of grown women who blame Barbie for their insecurities. I can almost guarantee that Mattel did not receive letters from little girls begging for these new dolls. I don’t take issue with them for making a new variety of dolls. The problem is that they’re calling them Barbie. These dolls are not Barbie.

There are articles that blame Barbie not only for body image issues, but also for the gender pay gap and domestic violence. Seriously! I have not found an article that blames baby dolls for teen pregnancy or GI Joe for war. Barbie is apparently the Oprah of toys. She influences everything!

When we were kids, we played for hours with Barbie. I didn’t have any of my own, but my best friend Erby had enough for both of us. This was long before the Corvette and the Dream House. All we had was our imaginations, two Barbie dolls, and a folding case that opened up into a closet full of Barbie clothes. We’d dump out all the clothes and divvy them up. Each of us secretly wanted the fanciest dress. It was silver and shiny.

We’d dressed Barbie up to go out. She was always glamorous. So glamorous that her feet rejected any shoe that was not a high heel. Our Barbie didn’t cook or clean or work. If she ate, it was only in fancy restaurants with Ken. At no point did we ever say, “Hey let’s throw some sweatpants on her and go grocery shopping!”

We also never compare ourselves to her.  It never occurred to us that we should. We were eight-year-old girls, with normal eight-year-old bodies. Barbie was a 12-inch tall, plastic doll who was not real. She was there for our make-believe fantasies about glamorous clothes and elegant dates.

Barbie didn’t look like my mother. She didn’t look like the teenage girls in my neighborhood. She didn’t look like anybody. She was Barbie. These new dolls could be her friends, but they are not Barbie.

Of all the toys my daughters had, I think their Barbies were there favorites. Playing with Barbie was when they got along best. Their Barbies had careers, cars and a pink RV. They had several Barbies, but only one Ken. Poor Ken had to escort all of those Barbies to every dance, wedding, and party on their social calendars. He was exhausted. After we saw Phantom of the Opera, the girls came home and reenacted the play with their Barbies and TurboMan as the Phantom.

One of the new Barbies is referred to as “curvy.” As I understand it, the problem was that original Barbie is too curvy, with her tiny waist and big boobs. Isn’t this what some women have been complaining about? So now they’ve made one that’s a little heavier, and call her curvy. I don’t get it. What’s next, Dad Bod Ken with love handles?

I predict that these new Barbies will not sell. If they do, it won’t be because kids ask for them. They’ll be bought by the women with body image issues who hounded Mattel until they gave in to their demands. As for me, I’ve got a pink RV full of Barbies, waiting for my future grandchildren to come play.

I can’t wait to see what these dolls get blamed for.