Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Freezer Full Of Love

I was standing there doing the dishes this morning, reminiscing about my childhood, and next thing I know I have tears rolling down my face.  Not tears of sadness.  Happy tears.  Lucky tears.  You see, I didn't have a lot of family that I was really close with.  Most of them I only saw on holidays, or special occasions.  My grandmother, who was amazing passed away when I was very young, and so did my great grandmother.  I was however lucky enough to have one aunt and uncle who meant (still do) the world to me.

When you're a kid, it's important to have people other than your parents who you can depend on.  You don't always like your parents, so having an extra set around is nice when you need to vent, or just get away.  My extra set was my Uncle Mike, and Aunt Chris.  I spent many weekends with them, and my cousins.  Got caught stealing, and smoking with my oldest cousin at their house.  We got in some deep shit over that one.  We spent every holiday over there, after all the grandparents had passed.  I tell you what, NOBODY can cook like my Auntie Chris.  NOBODY.  The food and the laughter is what I remember the most.  We were always laughing.  Non-stop laughing.  Laughing and making fun of each other.  Isn't that what family is for?  If you can't make fun of your family, who can you make fun of? 

They made my life easier.  They made me feel loved, and they made me feel special.  I'll never forget the worst summer of my childhood.  I was 14.  It was the year my parents decided to move me out of the state, and away from all my friends.  I lived in a small town, and had gone to school with my friends since kindergarten, and they were moving me 30 minutes away.  When you're a kid 30 minutes is far, especially when you don't have a drivers licence.  I was pretty upset.  My aunt and uncle offered me a place to live.  They told me if I didn't want to move, I could always come stay with them.  When my uncle signed my 8th grade graduation autograph book it said "You will always have an open bed waiting for you here, if you need it".  I used to pull that out when I was a PMSing teen, and cry cry cry, because I knew I was lucky to have people like them in my life.  That's a great feeling when you're a kid.  I just knew there would always be someone there that I could count on, no matter what. 

As I got older, and got my licence, I still spent many weekends at their house.  One summer we went to Great America almost every weekend.  Then I'd go out and get into trouble with my cousins.  My aunt and uncle called me at least once a week to check on me, and just to chat.  My Uncle Mike is the one who made me realize I had finally met the man I was going to marry.  We were all having dinner together and I got up, and made my future husband a plate of food.  My uncle's jaw about hit the floor.  His exact words were "If Jesus Christ himself walked into this house and asked you to make him a plate, you'd tell him his f*cking arms aren't broken, and to get it himself!  I think you've found the one you're going to marry.".  He was right.

After our wedding, me and the hubs struggled a lot, like new couples often do.  We were broke, trying to figure out how to live with each others bad habits, and getting used to the married life.  My aunt and uncle made that first year easier on us.  They would come by every week or two and fill our freezer with meat.  Pounds of ground, big fat ass pork chops, and even some steaks.  We never had to worry about what we were going to eat.  They made sure of that.  We were broke as shit, but we had meat dammit.  Lots and lots of meat.

I could go on and on about all the great things they've done for me.  I could tell you about the food my aunt made for my wedding shower, and all the dishes they bought me, and how they made sure to upgrade and buy a better crib mattress for my kid, because she didn't want him sleeping on a crappy mattress.  I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.  They are amazing, and I am lucky to have them.  I don't think I'll ever be able to repay them for all the kind things that they did for me.  They didn't have do any of it.  They weren't my parents.  They were my aunt an uncle.  There is no rule that says you have to love your nieces and nephews, and that you have to be there whenever they need you.  They just did it, and I'll forever be grateful for them. 

I didn't write this blog so I could brag about my aunt and uncle.  I wrote it because I believe every kid should have at least one aunt and uncle like this.  Someone who is always there to talk, and always there to make your life a little easier, and a lot more fun.  Even if distance prevents it, at least be an ear for your nieces and nephews.  Call them, send them a card, and let them know they can count on you and that they are loved.  I still have that autograph book, and I still pull it out and tear up when I see my uncle's handwriting, telling me that I will always have a place to stay.  Having a relative that's always there, is almost as important as having a great set of parents.  Lets face it, life can be full of suckage sometimes.  A freezer full of love can make all the difference to someone.  Make some memories.         


Friday, March 1, 2013

Don't hate me because I love my stories

About a month ago I told you all I had received some great news.  Life changing news.  News that was going to make my entire year better.  News that made 2013 worth living for.  I didn't go into details because I know I'm going to get some crap for my dirty little secret, that I have kept from my Facebook page.  I am a soap opera addict.  I love my soaps!  I love my stories!  Yes I am the cliche stay at home mom who lives for her stories.  I don't eat bon bon's though.  It's Chex Mix and Doritos.  Get it straight! 

Here's the thing.  I grew up watching daytime television.  Before I could talk, my Bushia (great-grandmother) and my mother always had the television turned on to ABC at noon Monday-Friday.  Neighbors came over with coffee and coffee cakes, and watched with them.  One of my early childhood memories is of Tad Martin (Michael E. Knight) returning from the dead and Dixie (Cady McClain) slamming the door in his face.  I think the story ran for two days like that, with them talking through a door.  I can't remember the whole story, but I can remember my mom laughing and crying all at the same time, and jumping on the phone to talk about it with her friends afterwards.  Even though I didn't watch them all the time because I was just a kid, I still followed those stories.  I watched them on my summer breaks and all my vacations from school.  No matter what was going on, the Soaps would always be there. 

After High School was over I started working right away.  I used to throw a VHS tape (what the hell is that?) in the VCR every morning.  I would record 6 hours of television every day just so I could watch my soaps when I got off work.  I began religiously watching them from that point on.  Soap Network, and DVR kept me up to date with my soaps up until they were cancelled in 2011.  Even my brother got into them a little bit while he was in college.  My family owned a little store at the time , and that was how we spent our afternoons.  Running the store and watching our stories.   

Devastated doesn't even begin to describe how I felt when I read that my soaps were being cancelled.  When I heard the news I felt like I was punched in the gut.  Losing One Life To Live and All My Children was like losing a family member.  These were shows that I had watched almost 25 years.  These were shows I bonded with family and friends over.  I grew up with the characters.  And in real life, the actors are kind of amazing.  Soap actors treat their fans very well.  I cried.  I admit it.  I cried like a baby. 

So what does a huge soap opera fan do when their favorite soaps get cancelled?  You fight for it.  And I did.  I fought for my shows.  I wrote into ABC every single day telling them what a mistake they were making.  I told them they were taking away a piece of my history.  My memories.  I didn't get along great with my grandmother.  We were like night and day.  Some good memories I do have with her though, are the summer days spent at her home watching the soaps.  Days spent with my family watching our shows.  Bonding moments me and the sister in law had.  All gone now.  I joined groups and I did what they told me too.  I wrote letters, and sent emails.  Still the  soaps were cancelled.  We fought so hard, but they didn't listen.  My soaps were gone forever, replaced by more reality television.  Devastated.

Last October I had the opportunity to go to an interactive fan event with a few of the actors from One Life To Live, called Loving Llanview.  I bought two tickets for me and my sister to go see our soap stars.  When we got their my sister upgraded our tickets so we can meet them and get pictures with them and autographs.  It was the best and worst day of my life.  I was so excited to meet my soap stars, but so sad b/c I was there to finally let them go.  I was basically there to give up and say goodbye. 

After the fan Q&A was over we went in back to meet them.  I tried so hard to hold it together.  I really did.  Got a picture with Melissa Archer (Natalie Buchanan) and talked a little.  Made it through without making an ass of myself.  Then we got in line to meet Kassie Depaiva (Blair Kramer).  I could feel myself losing it a little.  I stood in line holding back tears and trying not to faint b/c I was about to meet this woman who I have watched on TV for years and years.  The little old man in front of us followed her everywhere.  She knew him by name!  How cool is that?  She gave him the biggest hug and talked with him for a while, while I sat back and tried not to lose it, praying that I could hold it together. 

Our turn!  If you guessed that I would be strong and hold it together, you guessed wrong.  I walked up to her, and completely lost it.  I sobbed.  I ugly cried, in a room full of people.  I was able to get out a few words about how much I missed my stories, and Kassie gave me a few minutes to pull myself together, and a giant hug.  This woman lost her job, and she was consoling me and trying to make me feel better.  Soap stars are amazing, also they are hilarious.  I made it through the rest of the picture and autograph session without any more incidents.  We met Hillary B. Smith (Nora Buchanan), Rex Balsom (John-Paul Lavoisier), Victor Lord (Trevor St. John), and David Vickers Buchanan (Tuc Watkins).  All of them were so funny, and so sweet.  I did almost cry again on Hillary, but I was able to hold it together, since I had already unleashed on poor Kassie.  I left the event feeling sad and defeated.  I had fought for my soap stars.  I fought and lost.  Now I had just said goodbye. 

Fast forward to this new year.  In January a company called Prospect Park announced that they were reviving the soaps.  One Life To Live and All My Children will be returning, only it will be online.  I don't care where they go, b/c I will follow my shows anywhere.  I'm excited to see the direction the soaps will be going in.  I can't wait!  I know where I will be this spring.  I will be parked in front of my hulu + 4 days a week for 30 minutes, probably ugly crying.  It may not seem like big news to you, but it is huge for me, and I meant it when I said that it would change my year.  I encourage you all to check out the new and improved soaps, and the direction they are going.  Do it for me!  You won't be disappointed.  I would totally do it for you. 

Please check out these fb pages for more details.  There might even be some pictures of me on the last link.  Just look for the puffy eyes.!/paosrevolution?fref=ts!/SaveAMCandOLTL?fref=ts!/LovingLlanview?fref=ts