Wednesday, July 22

Two Years & Counting

Two years ago today I was sitting by the pool at my apartment complex in Duluth asking my roommate at the time, Adrian, why in the world I had gotten myself into this mess. What had possessed me to listen to my little brother’s coach and his wife about meeting their oldest son? Why on earth did I invite them over to my 1-week old apartment? Basking in the sun, finding courage at the bottom of the cold cooler, I finally was as ready as I would be for the blind date that awaited me. I’ll never forget that night: mom came over early to make low country boil, I tried to help her but couldn’t because I had to pace away my nervousness, I couldn’t think of what I wanted to wear, so I stuck with the barefoot-comfy look – my safe haven. When the Hunt’s arrived I ducked out onto the patio to try and hide… if they don’t see me then I’m not here… Slowly I picked up my butterflies and reentered the apartment to find our guests. That moment is when I met Brandon Hunt for the first time (this is where they say, “and the rest is history.)

Reflecting on that night always brings back butterflies: the first minute, the conversation on the patio that never seemed awkward, the family standing around watching us like we were animals at the zoo, him staying so long that he slept on the couch, the next morning when Adrian and I couldn’t decide whether to let him sleep or wake him up for a Waffle House run, and what he said to me when we dropped him off at his apartment after breakfast… “It was a pleasure meeting you Stephanie, and I’ll see you again soon.” That STILL makes my stomach turn thinking about it.

Two years later, we’ve moved in together, are planning a life together and couldn’t be happier! If it wasn’t for Frontera and Debra Hunt, we’d never be here… so thanks Deb! :)

I am amazed at the relationship that we have and that we continue to build each day. Brandon is my rock, my personal comedian, my protection, my shoulder to cry on, my partner in crime, my best friend, my life, my heart, my everything… Why I’m so blessed, I’ll never know, but I thank God everyday for giving me the courage that night two years ago to be myself and for every moment that I have with Brandon.

"I can't see me lovin' nobody but you
For all my life
When you're with me, baby the skies'll be blue
For all my life

Me and you and you and me
No matter how they toss the dice, it has to be
The only one for me is you, and you for me
So happy together"
~ The Turtles

Monday, July 20

Facing a Lifetime Fear

Almost 23 years ago I was sitting behind a picnic table with my Aunt at a family picnic. Enjoying my grandparents’ HUGE backyard, we had gathered for some occasion, unknown to me. After helping my plate my dad had gone back inside to eat, leaving me and my Aunt alone in the yard with my grandparents’ dog, Brownie.

As I started eating Brownie jumped up on the bench next to me to check out what I was eating. Not being scared of dogs, I started petting him and turned to look at the dog. Being 2 1/2, my eyes were level with his...

Immediately his demeanor changed - a flash in his eyes let me know that something bad was going to happen. He lunged at me, grabbing the left side of my face, and knocked me to the hard concrete patio. My Aunt jumped up and ran to my aide as Brownie was tearing away my flesh. Shaking his head back and forth before my Aunt could pull him off he had already done serious damage as the rest of my family rushed outside.

My face badly torn and bruised, I was rushed to Henry County hospital where doctors were unsure as to what was needed to help me. After my initial assessment, they called in a plastic surgeon to help put my face back together. The only thing I remember from the surgery is the 37 Lanacain shots that they put in the left side of my face. (if you've never felt Lanacain, it feels like acid until it numbs your skin). Doctors told my parents that my injuries were the same as if a grown man had beaten me in the face while wearing diamond rings.

Since this incident I have had to work on facing two fears: needles and big dogs. For years I would fight doctors when having to get shots or have blood taken, but have been able to deal with that issue. Large dogs still make me uneasy, but I am able to cope... Or so I thought...

Yesterday after church we were heading to the lake when I learned that a family friend was there with his Pit Bull. I, totally unaware that my fear was still so serious, began to have a panic attack. I have always thought that panic attacks were just a way for people to get attention, but after yesterday, I change my mind! I started to shake and cry uncontrollably about the dog... Unable to calm myself down, I had to get pep talks from Brandon and my mom.

After the pump up chats, I was nervous, but ready to face my fear when I learned that the dog and owner had left before we arrived. Relieved, I now know that my phobia of dogs is a real barrier in my life that I must face in order to overcome. I'm amazed that an event that occurred so long ago can still cause so much fear and such a reaction today.

Thursday, July 16

Must be Something in The Liberals' Water

Let me preface this blog entry with this: I am not into politics. I do not usually listen, read, or even care to think about the “leaders” in Washington. However, our lovely President’s brilliant (cough… cough) idea called Healthcare Reform is enough to get my attention. Consider my cage rattled.

The US Census estimates that there are 306,928,675 currently in the United States. This figure has a net gain of one person every 11 seconds. With President Obama’s Healthcare Reform, he is planning to spend $1.5 trillion in order to cover 50,000,000; thus meaning that 256,928,675 must already have health insurance because we can’t leave people out now can we? If 256,928,675 Americans are driven enough and smart enough to have health insurance or at least the capabilities to get health insurance somehow, why are we adding $1.5 trillion to our already HUGE national debt which is now at $11,584,939,042,938. Heck, we are already $11.5+ trillion in the hole, another $1.5 can’t hurt too bad…

According to the AP article written by Erica Werner, ”Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf warned lawmakers the legislation that he has seen so far would raise costs, not lower them. Elmendorf was asked by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.S., if the bills Congress is considering would ‘bend the cost curve.’ The budget director responded: ‘The curve is being raised.’ Subsidies to help uninsured people would raise federal health care spending, which is already growing at an unsustainable rate, Elmendorf explained at a hearing. The Medicare and Medicaid cuts that lawmakers have offered to pay for the coverage expansion aren't big enough to offset the cost trend, particularly in the long term, he said.”

I feel that people should work for what they receive and stop waiting around for the government to hand them a decent life on a silver platter. Having said this, I blame the ignorant leaders in this country for giving the American people notions of “free assistance”. Nothing is free – if you are not paying for it that means that someone else is. Being a hard-working young American, I do not understand why I, someone who pays for my own health insurance by working, have to be responsible for paying the insurance of someone else – legal or illegal, working or nonworking. Currently, my boyfriend is without health insurance. If I wanted to help someone pay for their health insurance or was even able to I would help him! Due to the economic strife in the states, people are hurting to pay for their own insurance and have no extra money to help what the government seems to think of as “the helpless”. By the end of the next four years, the best paying job is going to be a single mom on welfare!

Government leadership requires little to no common sense these days. The fact is the economy is suffering because of the expansive national debt. By adding an additional cost to the bottom line, the leaders of this country are only worsening an already dire issue. If a young lady, with little knowledge and no experience in politics can figure this out, then why can’t our elected officials?

“You keep your change… I’ll keep my money and my gun!”

Wednesday, July 15

Redneck Riviera + Adventures at Sea

It has been too long since my last blog. My bad readers… I know each and every one of you have been anxiously awaiting my return to the blogging world… HA!

My absence is due, in part, to my recent trip to the Redneck Riviera. That’s right folks – Panama City Beach! The trip, my second ever to PCB, was a great one. In a nutshell, the vacation consisted of:
“I love a great bridge” + 190 Octanes with Bama buddies + pool nazis and meth mouth + fireworks on the beach with Nashville Fans… and in the room + Hammerhead Fred’s + LONG walks + “Beat It” for MJ (RIP) + Jaeger bombs + Gilligan’s Island… Hunt Style leading to salty Subway + flounder underfoot + jellyfish sting… no pee please + relaxing beach time + stilt chicks and “Sweet Home Alabama” at Margaritaville = GREAT FAMILY VACATION!!

One story that I MUST elaborate on from our vacation is something that I like to call Gilligan’s Island… Hunt Style.

A couple days into the vacation, the family decided to take a pontoon ride out to Shell Island. (Let me interrupt here and mention that there really are very few shells on Shell Island… stupid Florida people.) Monday morning, meteorologists were calling for storms all day, but as we all know, they can be wrong 90% of the time. As 1 o’clock approached and the sun shone, we packed into the cars and drove down to the marina to load up and hit the sea. The sky was starting to get a little darker, but nothing that would spook us from our adventure. With Timbo at the wheel, we headed out into the bay with the storms quickly approaching at our backs. Once at the island, the rain began to fall in sheets. The guys all jumped off the boat and started running around the island like maniacs in the storm, while the ladies stayed on board under a makeshift shelter (made from plastic floats – great buy Deb!)

Just as we started to settle in for the storm, Timbo called out for everyone to follow him. We all jumped from the boat and took off up the sand dunes. Trekking across the island for 30 minutes in the rain really puts a damper on things (no pun intended) and, as you know, I’m not one with nature. Walking through the islands wilderness was not bad, now that I’m safely home, but at the time, I was freaking out. By this time, lightning began to flash overhead and I, being terrified of thunderstorms, was at my wits end. As we made our way back to the pontoon that had been tossed and thrown up onto the sand, the storm slowly passed.

After exploring Shell Island a little more, enjoying a nice watermelon fight, and snorkeling along the jetties, we decided to head back to the marina. Although the waves were still rough from the afternoon storm that had stranded us on the island for an hour or so, the sun beamed.

After getting back to the marina my nerves were shot, but like Timbo said “at least we had an adventure!”