My Nightmares Involve Missing People

There was a time in my life when I became obsessed with missing people. I’d spend hours searching the internet for stories about those that went missing, digging up every bit of information I could in regard to the events surrounding their disappearance. I’d scroll through the missing individuals Facebook page, and that of their parents / loved ones. Part of me has always been curious and intrigued about missing people, but my interest has grown throughout the years.

The part that I obsess about more than anything else is the unanswered question of WHERE IN THE HELL DO THEY GO? Why are there no clues, no remains, no confession or guilt ridden individuals? When I’m bored and have nothing else to do I let my imagination run wild. I’m on a mission to find the “land of the lost”, and when I find it, I will also find all those people who seemingly vanished into thin air.

I’m pretty sure my obsession comes from in intense fear of disappearing myself. Nothing in this world could be worse than disappearing, leaving those you love with unanswered questions. Perhaps my coffee would be half finished, or I’d be in the middle of a text message. Maybe I hadn’t transferred the wet clothes to the dryer yet or I was in the process of browning rice. I literally have a thousand reasons that would make disappearing the worst thing that could ever happen to me. One thing will always be scarier than disappearing, and that is having someone I love disappear.

In 2007 my younger brother vanished. One minute he was standing outside our front door, and then he was gone. I never heard his usual gallop / stomp down the outside stairs to the parking lot. It was as if he opened that door and evaporated into thin air. The worst hell is not knowing. I’ve heard many people say this exact thing, and it’s true. If you ever feel like going completely crazy and on the very verge of losing your shit 24 hours a day, try experiencing this whole missing persons stuff. My brother was missing but I also lost my job, was going through a divorce, couldn’t pay my rent and was watching my entire world fall apart. This was the lowest point in my life.

Years of therapy and thousands of dollars later, I’m able to better understand my obsession with missing people. I can relate to this event. I want to see how their stories turn out, because I already know the ending of mine. Tonight as I go over the newest missing people’s posters I study each face and the features on it. I might stare a little too long at the grocery store clerk, scanning her face for similarities or randomly call my teens just to make sure they answer.

In 2004 Kimberly Forbes went missing from Hood River, Oregon. Her case is one that I’ve checked in on for several years now. I find her case most intriguing because there are so many factors and clues, all leading to nothing. You can check out her case on the Namus Website. Currently, there are over 400 missing individuals just in Oregon on the Namus site. Maybe my fear of disappearing isn’t so irrational after all.

 

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Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) wants you to give some summer lovin’ to your teeth!

What better time than the present to ensure you’re taking tip top care of your teeth? Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) wants you to give some summer tips to keep those pearly whites happy and healthy.

Tip 1: When at a backyard BBQ, bring a cheese tray so you know you’ll have something healthy to nibble on! Cheese is not only healthy for you, but it’s also tasty and the calcium and phosphates help neutralize plaque acid, which ultimately reduces cavities.

Tip 2: While camping, it’s hard to stay away from the s’mores and sweets. Be sure to drink a lot of water and brush and floss when you’re done. Water helps wash away food debris and keeps your saliva levels high. Saliva is your mouths best defense against tooth decay because the proteins and minerals counteract enamel-eating acids.

Tip 3: Taking a trip to the beach? Pack simple snacks, like apples, almonds, and carrots. Fruits and veggies are high in fiber and produce salvia, which rinses away bacteria and food particles. Almonds are also great for your teeth because they are a good source of calcium and protein, but low in sugar.

These easy to implement tips are good for the whole family! Thanks Great Expressions Dental Centers for the tips!

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How to Get a Job in The Dalles, Oregon

A couple of weeks ago I got a hair up my butt and decided I needed a J.O.B. A real job. You may remember my post where I expressed my displeasure in “real jobs” but I suddenly felt as if I must have a job – a real one.

I’m not 100% ready to start working yet but after hearing some of the locals speak, I figured I’d better get a running start. I was under the impression that jobs are hard to come by. I didn’t have that experience when job searching. I cruised the Gorge section of Craigslist and also utilized Indeed for my job search. There are TONS of jobs in The Dalles, Hood River and across the river. Not all of these jobs are desirable positions but if I ever became desperate for money, I like knowing that I could go out and get one of those jobs immediately. I applied for 7 positions and received an interview invite for 4 of those.

The first interview was at Coastal Farm and Ranch. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked in retail but a low stress, low responsibility job sounded really nice. Coastal has really good employee ratings on Indeed.com so I felt really good submitting my application. I got a call from the Assistant Manager just an hour or so after applying and I scheduled an interview. I haven’t been on the applicant side of the interview table in over 10 years, so I was pretty nervous. The interview went well and I felt empowered knowing that I wanted this job vs. needing this job. Unfortunately, I was dismayed to be told that they only start associates out at $10.25/hr. I was momentarily tempted to proceed with the interview but decided I didn’t want to waste anyones time – mostly my own. The interview was good practice and a good ice breaker for future interviews.

I had 3 other interviews scheduled for this week but after some reflection and a pep talk from my husband I decided that working outside the home isn’t what I want or need right now. I’ve been feeling down about my eBay sales being slow but I realized that I’m still making more than I would at a part-time entry level position. I also have all the perks of working from home: unlimited coffee breaks, a person kitchen full of snacks, working in my pj’s, and endless mom-buns. If I’m being honest with myself, I need to up my eBay game a little and get back to where I was 3 months ago. There was a time not that long ago that I consistently made $200+ every single day. I’m currently making about $40 a day and it just feels bad.

I’ve decided to push the idea of finding a job out a few months. I am going to set some clear and precise WAHM goals and see what happens in the next few months. My youngest starts Kindergarten in the fall so I need to be home with him until that point. What I’ve learned from this experience is that if you can’t find a job in The Dalles its most likely because you’re not willing to do what it takes to get a job. There are many companies out there that are desperate for good workers, go hit the pavement!

 

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I Tell My Kids They Can Drop Out of School

The school year is coming to an end and it seems everyone has checked out as of last week. On Monday of last week my son’s teacher called to tell me he was having a problem with being tardy as of late. She also mentioned that he was being an asshole (my words, not hers) in class that morning when she asked him to remove his sunglasses. I should have been mad. I should have cared. Instead, I just thought, “I’m sick of this shit”.

I am a huge supporter of public schools and teachers. I cannot even imagine the struggles they must have in dealing with students, parents, regulations and social criticism. Honestly, I don’t know why anyone would choose such a thankless profession. Maybe it just feels that way to me, perhaps there are also rewarding aspects of the job that I’m not picking up on.

My son, “M” is an average student, a C student for the most part. There’s always the occasional A or D thrown into the mix. For the most part I leave him alone about school. I don’t expect straight A’s, I expect effort and a good attitude. Giving your teacher shit about removing sunglasses in class is not acceptable. When I brought the issues up the second he walked in the door from school he had a few excuses for being late but was absolutely confused about the sunglasses incident. If you have kids you’ll understand why I had so many questions:

“Did she ask you to remove ANYTHING this morning?”

“Could it have happened YESTERDAY instead?”

“Did an incident similar to this EVER happen?”

“Was another child asked to remove sunglasses this morning?”

He answered “no” to all questions. I typed up an email to his teacher asking if there had been a mistake, all the while warning “M” that he better not make me look like an idiot. A few hours later I received an apologetic email from her. She had called to tell me about the tardies but in the middle of the call got me mixed up with another parent. It was NOT my son who got snooty with her. Well, I guess there’s something to be thankful for.

However, the very next day I got a call from this same child’s Math teacher to tell me that he didn’t do any of his work in class that day. He just sat there and didn’t say a thing until the end of class when he told her he didn’t understand the assignment. The teacher asked me to work with him that weekend to get it done. I nearly told her “I’ve been failing math since 1984…” Luckily, my oldest is a math wiz, actually an everything wiz, and he helped get it all sorted out.

The older I get, the more people I meet and the more I’ve come to the conclusion that education is not the final say in the life you have. Your effort and hard work is. Sure, you can argue with me and you probably will. I have one child who I am almost certain will go off to college and graduate with some fancy degree. I am 100% OK and supporting of this. I have another couple of kids who will most likely get their GED’s and attend a trade school. I am also 100% OK with this. My youngest is still too young to make any assumptions. Once my kids turn 16, if they want to get their GED and start making plans for their adult lives, I am fine with this! They all know this is their choice and an option I will support them in.

Kids in my house have several options, beginning at the age of 16. Unluckily for “M”, he is just about to turn 14 and he has ONE option available to him. Go to school and have a good attitude about it. Keep on keeping’ on kid, you got two years.

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10 Things I’m Doing This Week

  1. Planting a plot of corn
  2. Finishing planting my salsa garden
  3. Watching the Ugandan Kids Choir at Cornerstone Church
  4. Making my boys deep clean their bedrooms
  5. Starting my indoor vermicomposting bins
  6. Applying for a job with the North Wasco County School District (on-call)
  7. Listing 5 items each day on eBay
  8. Catching up on my favorite podcasts
  9. Beginning a serious probiotic regime
  10. Cancelling our cable TV subscription

Planted corn plot

tomato, peppers & onion

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Yard Sales in The Gorge Can Be a Success – Selling eBay Dead Stock

eBay is still insanely slow. The norm is 10-30 items sold per day, with a price range from $10 – $60 each. A slow day usually entails only selling 5-10 items at the same price range. Yesterday you hit a new low, your total sales were ZERO. There’s no reason to panic, its the time of year. However, you are wondering if you would feel better if you stopped putting so much time into your eBay store. Currently, you’re working a lot and getting very little return. Perhaps if you worked just a little, the lack of income would feel more inline with your efforts.

You don’t have many bills, and are blessed that your husband pays most of the expenses. However, you still have a small list of financial obligations that you cannot ignore. For instance, you are making payments on a huge lot of Nautica Fleece pajamas  that you bought for resale. They were supposed to arrive around Thanksgiving, just in time to cash in on the Christmas rush. There was an incredible storm and they arrived late, leaving them nearly un-sellable until the upcoming winter. It’s the gamble of reselling.

It’s also yard sale season and the temptation to browse all the sales for items to flip is driving you nuts. As you take a step back to reevaluate your business you decide to focus on higher dollar items, even though you will sell less of them. The first step is to start clearing out some of your lower cost inventory.

YARD SALE

The Dalles seems to be a pretty yard sale friendly town. There are 3 billboards in the town that are specifically for yard sale postings. You enlist your kids to pull out all your old junk / dead stock and slap price tags on them. Meanwhile you drive around, placing flyers on the billboards. You pass Dutch Bros. and see that the line is short, maybe 2 cars, you pull in for a Dutch Freeze. 22 minutes later, you are on your way. You are friendly but feel like asking “what in the hell took so long?”, you resist.

One of the things you love about your house is that it’s hidden. You decide you hate this aspect of your home when it comes to having a yard sale. It is just too hard to find and you believe attendance is down because of that.

After all is said and done, you made a few hundred dollars, met some of your neighbors and still had a truckload of stuff to donate. You’re glad its over. When asked if you found it “worth it” you think it over and quickly decide it is not worth doing again. It’s nearly summertime and weekends will be spent on the deck, hoping that Mt. Adams will be visible, and enjoying the company of your family.

Each day you tell yourself that the summertime eBay lull is temporary, and can’t figure out why you’re so distressed over it. The truth? You don’t want to be stuck with a bunch of crap, cluttering up your home. You’ll keep trying but it’s more of a 1/4 time job now.

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British Soccer Camp is Coming to The Dalles Summer of 2017

British Soccer Camps are the most popular soccer camp in the US.

With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed and confidence in players ages 3-18, The British Soccer Camp provide boys and girls with the rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international expert’s right in the heart of their own community. In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and is the most fun your child can have learning the sport they love!
Enroll you child in a British Soccer Camp today REGISTER FOR CAMP & GET FREE SOCCER JERSEY, SOCCER BALL, T-SHIRT & POSTER with code: CAMP17

There is a camp running in The Dalles, Oregon from July 10 – July 14, 2017.

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It’s High School Conferences In The Dalles This Week

You live in The Dalles and have kids in the local High School. It conference time – again. The end of the school year is just around the corner and you’re just realizing that you’ve skipped out on every school conference for this school year. It wasn’t exactly your plan to be completely hands off when it comes to school conferences, it just sort of happened. It’s been a long time coming.

You went to M’s school conference at the Middle School in the Fall, and it was about that time you decided you simply didn’t want to do this anymore. In fact, you were absolutely not going to attend anymore conferences. You hated them when your kids attended the David Douglas School District and you found the one conference you did attend in The Dalles was equally awful. You don’t blame anyone or think its anyone’s fault – the way the school systems are set up just make conferences less than ideal. Teachers have never called you out on your absenteeism, but you have your argument cocked and ready to go in the event that they do.

  1. Conferences these days are on a drop in basis. You come, you find your child’s classroom and wait your turn in the hall. This could be 5 minutes or it could be an hour. Your time is just as valuable as anyone else and waiting around for extended periods of time would mean you had pretty high exceptions about what would come next…
  2.  Upon meeting your child’s teacher you can tell they want to act interested in your child. In reality your child isn’t a troublemaker and is a pretty average student. You wonder if this teacher even knows anything about your child, besides his name.
  3. Student led conferences suck. If you’ve ever asked a teenager a question then you  know their responses are mumbled, shitty responses. The same type of reaction is given at these conferences. Teacher plops down a pile of work and tells the child to go over the work with the parent. Meanwhile, teacher pretends to look interested as she makes note of your attendance in her book.
  4.  You’re a pretty damn involved parent on the day to day basis. You check Parent Access several times a week, you know what they are missing and how their grades are. You leave communication open and ask loads of questions. You already know what the hell is going on and have lost  feeling the need to show up and waste everyone’s time for student conferences.

Part of you feels bad, mostly because you know it might look bad or sound bad that you don’t go. However, you also haven’t brushed your hair all week and that probably looks pretty bad also. Sugar-free candy has been making your skin break out and you’re pants are ready to bust at the seams – all bad looks.

Mother’s Day is coming up and you’ll be praised for all the things you do, and no one will mention the things you don’t. So, while you haven’t attended a school conference in several terms, you’ve still done a lot and that is going to have to be enough.

 

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You Always See People You Know When Living In The Dalles

You live in The Dalles, a city with approximately 13,000 – 15,000 people depending on the source. Either way, its much less then the city you came from. In contrast, Portland has about 600K people sitting one on top of the other. There are good and bad that go with living in a town with such a small population.

The good: You see people you know or recognize all the time. In fact, every time you go out you either see someone you know, someone you’ve done business with or someone who lives near you.

The bad: You see people you know or recognize all the time. In fact, every time you go out you either see someone you know, someone you’ve done business with or someone who lives near you.

Yes, the good and the bad are one in the same. Recently, the bad outweighed the good and you’re still a little red faced about it.

In Portland, your kids had their regular hair cut spot. It was a small, tidy salon staffed with Mexican stylists who understood the importance of a good fade. In fact, they had mastered the fade and knew exactly how your kids insisted it be. For a while you made the 160 mile round-trip to continue patronizing them. However, as your appointments in Portland dwindled you decided the teens would just need to find a place in The Dalles to get their haircut.

Attempt numero uno: Studio Beauty located on W. 6th street.

Review: 2 of the 3 teen boys hated their hair. It didn’t look that bad to you, but what do you know? In fact, one of the haircuts looked really good in your opinion and the other two looked acceptable. There are no bells or whistles, its a quick in and out. English is choppy, but that  has never bothered you in the past. On another subject, you also got a pedicure there and it was terrible. Sloppy polish, no foot filing and the massage was about 2 minutes long. You definitely wish you had saved your money.

Attempt numero dos: Great Clips on Mt. Hood Street.

Review: This is where shit went bad for you. The haircut just looked terrible. It was sloppy and unkempt  looking. Before your sons chair was spun around, you knew he was going to be mad. The finished product was similar to what you remembered as an overgrown bowl-cut. Not cool, right? After double checking with your son, you asked for some revisions. Instead of accepting the constructive criticism, the stylist repeated everything you said in an incredulous questioning tone. “It’s uneven?!”, she questioned as she combed through the tangled knots. It was her tone. It was shitty and you could feel your annoyance building.

“Just fix it!” and “I don’t care what the notes from last time say” are things that may have been snapped in her direction. Eventually she evened it out  but it was obvious her skill level wasn’t matching up with your expectations. You paid for the service, left a tip and walked out the door – never to return again.

You really didn’t think of her again until your other son asked to have a friend over, to which you agreed. As the visit neared, your son adds that his friends mom wants to meet you and she’ll be at the house to drop her kid off on Friday after school. As he walks away, he adds on, “Oh, and his mom is that hair stylist you were being mean to – the one that cut T’s hair”.

First off, you weren’t being mean. You were being assertive, or so you thought. Second, god-damn it. Why does this always happen to you? Maybe this is something you need to be more careful of as a small town-liver? Or maybe not.

Friday comes and Friday goes. You had prepared the perfect, light-hearted response to meeting her face to face. It was going to be more of a play it by ear thing. If she mentioned it, you’d apologize and move on quickly. If she didn’t mention it, neither would you. However, at the last minute you get a phone call from her instead – she was super busy that day and needed to just go over some instructions about her kid. Whew! Crisis averted – or pushed to the back burner to deal with at a later date.

You’d like to learn from this experience. You hope it reminds you to be mindful about what you say, the tone of your voice and the look on your face. In reality you already feel that old boldness creeping back. You try, but in the end, you do your thing.

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How To Be A Victim

It’s 2017 and you’re in your mid 30’s. You feel young most days, and you  still look half way decent when you apply the effort. The gray hairs around your temples can still be counted on one hand, okay – maybe two hands. You live an average life: Average income, average house, average cars, average problems.

You think about the journey that led you to all the things you have OR don’t have in your current life. The time you got fired from the Parks department for being an asshole and “dating” the married maintenance guy. The other time that you decided it was time to get your shit together and put in nearly 10 years as a solid, trustworthy and dependable employee, allowing you to purchase your first home and begin life as you know it today.

You remember people telling you your misfortunes were because you were female. When you got the job over your male competitor those same people said it was because they would have had to pay the male more. You continue on, doing your thing – working your jobs. A conflict arises, a fellow co-worker doesn’t like you. It doesn’t tear you up too much because you’re sort of that way. People love you or they can’t stand you. You’re OK with this, its kind of become your thing. You chuckle about it as you’re telling a friend, and try to remain still faced and serious as she gives her two-cents.

“Its because you’re Mexican”

You nod and pretend to consider, but deep down  you know its actually because you can be a loud mouth and are known to always say the wrong thing even if you have good intentions. Some people can handle this, others cannot.

College was never of interest to you. Two years was a sacrifice you made because you were still deciding what you wanted to do and needed something to occupy your time. You put minimal effort into each class, some you passed and others you did not. When your overly educated and unemployed acquaintance lends you some sympathy you don’t say a word in response.

“They make college so unattainable for most people! It’s no affordable and access is ridiculous”.

You try and relate but can’t. You never enjoyed community college but not because it was “unattainable” or “overly expensive”. Registration was as simple as going in and explaining what I wanted to accomplish. Buses from all over the city dropped you off right in front of the campus. FAFSA, Scholarships and loans were available for anyone who put the paperwork in.  When and if you were ready to transfer to a University, there was a department to help you with that. Sure, you might have some debt when you graduate but you never expected anything different. No one tricked you into anything. All your life people would tell you something hadn’t worked in your favor because you were Mexican. You feel guilty about not speaking up and saying that things haven’t worked in your favor because of your own choices.

You turn 30 and then 35. You have a baby boy, you start a business, you buy another house, you do your thing. You work hard and save money to feel secure about life, but end up having to send it all in to cover your income taxes. You are angry and hate people who don’t work for what they have. It was a personal attack, if anyone asks you. You think of all the $5 coffees you purchased and the $100 dinners you splurged on. You add up what you spent on those things and are angry at yourself now.

It’s almost summer and you’ll be 36 soon – closer to 40 than you are to 30 now. You self regulate and allow yourself an allowance, and save as much money as you can. You dine out less and make healthier choices for both your wallet and your waist. When someone asks you how you like your life in The Dalles, they may be surprised to hear you say that you feel “Powerful”. Starting over, isn’t always about a new house or a new town. It’s about learning to take responsibility for your choices and using your strengths / weaknesses to catapult forward instead of wadding in the same muddy waters.

 

 

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