Monday, June 25, 2012

Driven to distraction

Gosh I love alliterations.

Do you ever reach a point where thinking about yourself and your life make your heart hurt like crazy?  Or you mind explode with doubt?  So you just have to find the right distraction.  One that will remove you from reality JUST ENOUGH to forget the problems but not forget life.  You can still function, you know?

That's me.  Driven to distraction.

Funny thing is... the distractions don't make me happy.  They never did.  But now I'm more aware of it.

I hate when it washes over me like a wave of water, an undertow pulling me down.  An immediate rush of adrenaline to fight the currant surges through me, but it is short lived.  So I just let myself be pulled down, down, down.

I'm tired of down.  I thought it would go away.  But it doesn't.  Just like the tides of the ocean, my need for distraction ebbs and flows in a constant circle.  Just when I think I've got it figured out, it smacks me down again.  Down, down, down,

I'll do what I must to break free.

But sometimes... I just get tired.

Soooo tired.

Too tired.

So I've asked for help.  Cause all the resources I have now aren't enough.  Outside sources must be tapped.

Alors, voila quoi.

I'll be fine.  I believe that.  I hope for that.  I don't feel it right now.  But the circle will turn and so I'll feel it soon enough.

Plus the first round of help starts tomorrow.  HALLALUYAR!


And some great lyrics about the ocean from random artists, seeing as I was apparently so inspired by it tonight:

Now floating up and down 
I spin, colliding into sound 
Like whales beneath me diving down 
I'm sinking to the bottom of my 
Everything that freaks me out 
The lighthouse beam has just run out 
I'm cold as cold as cold can be 

I want to swim away but don't know how
Sometimes it feels just like I'm fallin' in the ocean
Let the waves up take me down
Let the hurricane set in motion, yeah
Let the rain of what I feel right now, come down 
Let the rain come down

and in my dreams
we can live about the ocean
only in my dreams
will we live above the ocean

Deep in the ocean 
There lies a wave for you

I wonder 'bout the herds of the sea
If they will hurt or if they will help me

Monday, June 18, 2012

Righteous Ray, Rotten Radiators and Rad Realizations

People keep laughing at this story.  And there are some parts that are funny.  But... I saw it as a huge tender mercy.

When I drove to Grandma's on Wednesday morning, I thought, "huh... is that steam coming from my engine?"  I pop the hood in Hanford and see nothing too strange, but in all George Washington honesty (or Elephant honesty, as Ben would put it), I wouldn't know something strange from something normal.  I just saw some coolant on my engine.  I checked the coolant and it was half empty.  "Hmmm," I think to myself, "gotta get me some of that."  Well, hunting in Grandpa's shop was unsuccessful, so I thought, "I'll just keep an eye on my heat gauge and if my engine overheats, I'll pull over immediately."

That worked.  Almost.

See, I was doin just fine, rollin' along Fowler road.  But once I stopped to get on the 99, I saw steam coming out of my engine again.  "Baaaaaaaddddd news," je me suis dite.  But again, my heat gauge reported nothing out of the ordinary.  That is, until I tried to climb an overpass at 75+ mph.

Then the needle shot STRAIT UP.

And I pulled over.

When I left Grandma and Grandpa's, I prayed "Please let me get to the temple alive.  Please.  Then home."  But as I saw the engine over heat, I prayed "Goodness, please just let me get home alive!"

Of course the place I have to pull over is Jensen and 2nd.  What a weirdy part of town.  I pull into the closest parking lot which was that of a MacDonalds.  Before I had even turned off my engine, a black homeless man ran at me with his stroller filled with windshield cleaning supplies.  He shouted "Open the hood!  Open the hood!"  I figured if I was still in the car, he couldn't do anything to harm me.  Yes, I am ashamed to admit that THAT was my first thought.  But anyway, so I open my hood and started to cry.  And call my dad.  And decide that it's safe enough to go look at my engine.

His name is Ray.  And he said he was gunna get some water for my engine.  "You're overheated.  You need water.  If you move it over there, they've told me I can use the hose to get you some water."

"I can't move my car.  I can't do it."  I didn't know why, but I was stubbornly staying in my little parking spot.  Later, I decide that it must have been the Spirit telling me NOT to move my car.

Undeterred, Ray runs inside the MacDo's and I finally get ahold of Dad.  "Call AAA," he tells me, "And I'll come pick YOU up."  By the time I've hung up with Dad, Ray is back with a GIANT pitcher and jug full of water.  He pulls out a rag and opens my radiator.

"You're dry.  There is NO water in here."

"That's bad I'm assuming," I reply.

I talk to AAA and Ray at the same time.  Even though all I really need is to tell them to send me a tow-truck, Ray tells me to give them the whole diagnoses he's found.  He tells me "I'm a mechanic."  I believe him.

While I wait for the tow truck, Ray discovers that there is an 8 INCH crack across the front of my radiator.  "Thank you Jesus!" he yells all of a sudden.  I jump a little in my little white dress (remember, I was on my way to the temple).

"Yes, thank you Jesus," I repeat.  "What happened?"

Ray tells me that if I had tried to go even across the street, the block would have been damaged.  "Thank you, God," he mutters.  "You barely avoided DISASTER.  It is by the grace of God that your car is fine."

"I completely agree," I told him.  "I couldn't agree more."

While we stood there and watched the water drain out of my engine, two men came over and mocked me.  One made a single comment, then got into his truck and drove off.  Another man, parked on the other side of the parking lot, came over and lectured me about how much this sucked for me.  Seriously.  He gave me outrageous estimates at how much it would cost to fix.  Then declared that it was unfixable and I'd be lucky to get two grand for my car.  Oh goody.  GO AWAY.  Then Ray asked him if he could wash his windows for money, and the man went off for another five minutes about how he should be on welfare not begging in parkinglots.  Gosh, made me so angry.  Finally the man went away, and Ray went into MacDo's to get more water for my car.  When he came back he told me to go inside the MacDo's where it's cool (it was around 100 degrees outside).  He'd watch for the towtruck.

He tried to take care of me in every way appropriate.  I only had three dollars on me, and apologized for the small amount.  But I gave it to him anyway.  He thanked me then thanked God.  I told him, "I'm a Christian woman, and what you did was very Christian."

He replied, "I'm a Christian man.  I saw you and asked myself , you know, what would Jesus do?  And I think Jesus would have helped you."

I did too.

When Dad showed up, he gave Ray another ten bucks.  But all I wanted to do was give him a Book of Mormon or pass along card or ANYTHING.  The man was an answer to my prayer and helped me in a time of need and distress.  I wanted to give him something that would last longer than $13 would.

I haven't stopped thinking about him.  I hope he stays around that area, because I'm heading over there to give him a Book of Mormon.  I haven't felt the desire, or NEED really, to give someone a BOM like that since my mission.  And there's no way I'm not acting on that.

So, the lesson I learned is:

My radiator broke.  Luckily, it has been fixed.  Radiators can be fixed.

Heavenly Father often sends homeless men to help me (totally not lying or joking... it's a series of long stories).  Especially ones who think about others much quicker than they think of themselves.

What I want people to have more than anything else in the world is the peace and joy that I find in the true and full gospel of Jesus Christ.  So now I have two BOM's in my car.

No more hesitating.  No more hiding.  No more hating.

What a Righteous Ray, Rotten Radiator, and Rad Realization.

For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend 

upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which 

we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for 

silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

Mosiah 4:19

Thursday, June 14, 2012

"The less I give the more I get back..."

"Oh I don't love you but I always will...."

Less is more.

I really should have remembered this lesson a lot sooner.

I usually like more.  I'm a talker.  I love talking.  I love people talking to me.  I cannot imagine a life where I am not allowed to talk.

But sometimes, just sometimes, talking should be limited.  Not in a like freedom of speech way.  Not even in a "She talks too much" way.  But... when dealing with people... less can be more.

I guess the lesson I learned this week was that it is better to just let go of something than to be right.  I can rally all day what I'm trying to get across, but if this person doesn't want to listen, then it doesn't really matter.  But even then... even if he did want to listen... is it important enough to risk hurt feelings?  To risk more confusion?  To risk broken hearts?

I asked him if he wanted to hear my side.  He said yes, he does.  But... I don't want to tell him.  It's not worth the backlash.  Because even if he "wants" to hear my side, who's to say it will even be viewed with a clear and unskewed perception?  Who's to say it won't spurr another argument?  Or another disagreement.  So today, when he told me "I want to know your side,"... I decided to not tell him.  Not yet.  I'm still too scarred from the last time I told him my side.  He got angry and defensive.  He didn't understand me.  He REFUSED to understand me.  The lense in which he views me is marred and dirty, leaving out plain and precious evidences that support my honest claims. 

And then he had the nerve to correct me on something.  Show me how silly and dumb I am.

Hahaha.  Funny thing is... I don't care.  I didn't tell him what I told him for the reasons he believes.  And I could correct him.  I could make some snarky remark about how he totally and egocentrically misinterpreted my remarks.  I could be very clever and mean.  And, had this conversation been in person, I probably (unwisely) would have.  But seeing as we are corresponding through other mediums, I have the chance to step back and think a good long time before I react.  And... I have decided that it's not worth it.  His need to be superior, to show me how I lack, to show me how he knows what's better for me than I do... I don't care about it.  I have no desire to feed into that.  Actually, a better way to describe it is that I have no desire to ACKNOWLEDGE his poor behavior.

Yeah.  He thinks he knows what's best for me better than I do.  That's one of the reasons I have a hard time opening up to him.  Because he'll tell me what to do, because I OBVIOUSLY as a 23 year old have ZERO experience or ability to orient myself.  Obviously.  sheesh, wonder how I missed THAT memo for so long.

I choose to believe that his intentions are without guile.  Intentions or not, I don't have to subject myself to his scrutiny.  I don't have to be everyone's friend.  I have to love everyone.  That's what the Savior taught.  But I don't remember being commanded to be everyone's friend.  And honestly, it's easier to be his friend when I'm not talking to him.  When I'm not under his "care".  That's one of the saddest parts: him telling me what to do is how he SINCERELY shows that he cares about me.

No more.

I'm a grown up.  And I've had to be humbled to admit that... that less is more.  I do not have to explain myself to him.  he may never believe my side of the story.  And that doesn't have to matter.  I really can just step back, let go, and walk away. 

Maybe someday I'll look back and say hi.

But not yet.  today is not that day.  And that's okay.

Because today... less is more.

"You only know what I want you to
I know everything you don't want me to
Oh your mouth is poison, your mouth is wine
Oh you think your dreams are the same as mine
Oh I don't love you but I always will
Oh I don't love you but I always will
Oh I don't love you but I always will
I always will

I wish you'd hold me when I turn my back
The less I give the more I get back
Oh your hands can heal, your hands can bruise
I don't have a choice but I still choose you
Oh I don't love you but I always will
Oh I don't love you but I always will
Oh I don't love you but I always will
Oh I don't love you but I always will
Oh I don't love you but I always will
Oh I don't love you but I always will
Oh I don't love you but I always will
I always will
I always will
I always will
I always will
I always will"   

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

J'suis maudite moi...

I don't know why I agree to house sit for people.  It can be a nerve wracking experience.  I'm the queen of scaredy cats, especially at night.  I hate sleeping in my room at MY house because it's far away from all the other bedrooms in the house.  And when I'm in a house alone... oh my imagination runs wild. 

But that's not the worst part.  The worst part is that I'm actually cursed.  Bad things happen my first few days.  At Tammy and Jeffs it was the Tuesday from Hell.  Ohh that day was awful.  I babysat the nephew who wouldn't take a nap, no one wanted to stop playing the slip and slide, and someone locked the bathroom door shut which means Violet made a mess in her underwear.  Yeah.  That was a rough day.  That's also the day I got sick.  Yeah.  Tuesday was bad.

My first three days out here were okay.  Except that something went wrong every day.  Not huge things.  Just... minor panic attacks. 

Day One: Saturday.
Kit and I arrived a little later than planned.  I lassoed the little dog and coerced her into her pen with treaties.  Then we settled in for an evening of TV... but not just yet.  Kit hit the "reset" button instead of the power button on the remote.  So for a tense ten minutes we waited to see if she'd broken it or not, the problem resolved itself.  Hoorah for Israel.  Then I apparently sent some sleep texts-- much like drunk texts but no alcohool was involved.  I think at one point I texted Kit telling her to go to bed. Yes, I think I did that.

Day Two: Sunday
Left early for church.  Fed everyone.  Except Chewy.  I totally spaced that one.  By the time we got home he was spazzing out.  I made up for it.  But of course, that wasn't the main problem.  The big problem was that the MyFi that Dad let me borrow like DIED on me.  I was super stoked because we had no internet access until Dad told me he had a MyFi.  Score.  When we got home with it Kit called him and asked for directions.  They didn't work.  So Kit turns to me and says "I'm taking the battery out; don't tell Dad."

Great.  That's a sweet way to start my evening.

Well, Kit takes out the battery and the entire interrior is filled with this goopy stuff that smells like DEATH.  Hoenst, I nearly vomited when I smelled it.  Kit passed the thing over to me and said "Ugh.  Now what?"
"We're gunna clean it."
I took a damp cloth and wiped down the battery then got a bunch of q-tips and cleaned the inside as much as I could.  Gahh it was horrid.  The whole time I shot murderous threats at Kit, muttering "If we freaking broke Dad's freaking MyFi on the first freaking night, it's going to be YOUR neck on the line!"  She replied with a lot of "You saw the goop, I saw the goop.  I sure as heck SMELLED the goop.  We didn't put it there, so we're not blame."  To make matters worse, the thing wouldn't turn on after the cleaning.  I spazzed.  I literally disassembled that thing over twenty times.  Kit kept telling me to let it rest.  Like it was a loaf of bread or something.  Well, fine.  I let it rest all night.  Which leads me to ...

Day Three: Monday
I woke up and let the little dog out of her pen, fed all the animals, and did my scripture study.  I ran around the house a bit getting stuff done.  I actually got the MyFi to work, thank heavens.  Around 9:30, Kit emerged from the back room, and I decided to go see if I could find a working bicycle while she checked facebook.  When I got outside I was greeted by Candy and Sally.  Sally was normal throwing her toy at me.  Candy, however, had something in her mouth.

Or so I thought.

It took me about fifteen seconds to realize that there was NOTHING in her mouth.  Her face had just swollen to double its size.  Honest.  From her eyes down to the tip of her nose, she was a puffed up hot mess.  Normally an aussi mix, she looked like a pitbull.  I poked her a bit to see if she cried or anything.  Nope.  Didn't even bother her.  She was happy as a clam, breathing normally.  Just horribly ugly. I go inside and say,
"Hey, Kit.  you took a vet class, right?"
"........ Yeah......"
"Come look at Candy."
I was still inside when she first saw Candy.  How do I know she saw her?  I hear her say "Whoah."
"What do you think it is?  I think she either got into something she's allergic to or she got stung by a bee.  Seeing as she lives with beekeepers..."
"Dude.  I have no idea."
"Me neither."
"Maybe it'll go away."

We stand there for a minute before the answer comes to me.
"Kit.  Text Sheehan."
Sheehan is Kit's FFA leader thingy as well as her vet class teacher.  Kit did as I asked, and told me that the odds of Sheehan replying on the first day of vacation were pretty slim.  Luckily, she did reply, and told us to give the dog 25 mg of Benadryl.  So we shoved a pill in some string cheese and candy gobbled it up.  By four o'clock that afternoon, Candy was looking normal again.  And yes, we found the bee sting.

Those were my first three days.  holy crap.  Yesterday went fine, if I remember correctly.  Today was okay, except I got a spooky phone call and now I'm super on edge.  But I'll be okay.  I've got the dogs and Dad's shotgun (that I'm very apt at using).  So.  I'll be fine.

I'm glad the firrst few days are over.

Tout est bien, tout est bien.

But man, I do feel curse.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Turning Point

When Hall came home that evening, the wind was raging so hard it slammed the front door shut behind him.

“Holy crap!” he yelled as he jerked the hood of his sweater off his face.  I don’t think he intended to wear his sweatshirt like that.  “I almost blew away today!  Was it like this in New York?”

I smiled from my fauteuil.  “No.  It was lovely in New York.”

“Well, I’m jealous.  I’ve had nothing but wind and rain today.”

“Stayed local, eh?”

“Hilmar,” he informed me as he brushed some leaves out of his kinky curls.

“And..?”  I moved my stack of paperwork off the couch next to my chair.  I have this terrible habit of leaving what Hall so affectionately calls “piles” around the living room.  The contents range from paper work to sewing projects to dirty dishes.  He frequently gets on my case about it.

“And what?” he replied smiling as I tried to slide the pile behind the couch with my foot.  “I saw that.”

“Saw what?” I responded in a sugary sweet voice.  He took the spot I cleared for him.  I continued.  “And where else did you go today?  I mean, Hilmar isn’t that big.  Oh but there is that GREAT Portuguese bakery on—”

“I was just in Hilmar all day.”

“Okay.”  I waited for an explanation.  Hall doesn't usually cut me off like that.

“Head on collision,” he informed me.

Oh no. 

“I’m sorry, Hall.”  I reached over and placed my hand on his knee as a gesture of comfort.  “All day… it must have been… I’m sorry.”


Liar.  He always tries to convince me that car accidents don’t get to him, but they are one of the few things that really hit home for Hall.  We’ve been partners a total of twelve years.  You’d think he’d be less guarded about it with me.  And in a way he is.  I allow him to act all distant and nonchalant for a while then he’ll come into my room later that night and have a good cry about it.  Well, honestly, it’s usually just him telling me what happened and then I cry about it.  Sometimes he does too.  Once he told me that seeing me express grief in a way that he was still too shocked to do helped him move from denial and onto acceptance.  We deal with eternal things, my people do.  We see death as a passage from one life to the next.  That doesn’t mean we’re immune to grief.  I once heard a prophet say that the only way to avoid grief would be to not experience love.  Then he so aptly explained that “it is love that gives life its richness and meaning.”  A big part of who we are is love.  So yes, we grieve as well. 

“Was the job finished when you left?” I inquired, probing to see if he wanted to talk yet or if he would rather move on from the subject entirely.

“Yes,” he sighed.  “Thankfully.  The accident happened around eight a.m., so we finished everything today.”

“How big was your crew?”  Sometimes when there are multiple souls, or multiple jobs, a group of us is assembled for one day. 

“Just three.  Me, Adam, and Mackenzie.  Adam and Mackenzie escorted the fatalities.”  His eyes started to glaze over.  Uh oh, today was bad.

“If you didn’t escort, did you comfort?”

“I contained.”

Ooooohhhhhh man.  Hall hates containment almost as much as I hate surveillance.

“Was it a stubborn spirit?”

He blinked twice.  Whenever he got this pensive about a job his hazel eyes turned a greenish grey.  It was amazing really.  The kid didn’t need a mood ring; just pay attention to his eyes.

“Yeah.  The problem was he saw his sister and mom get escorted to the Room.  He saw NO reason to get back into his body.  There was nothing left for him.”

Containment can be a job that requires steel will and lots of negotiation.  If Hall was there all day then he probably used both.  Mortality is HARD, and as soon as someone has a taste of escape from it, it’s difficult to make them go back.  Why would we do that?  Everyone has missions to accomplish in this life.  And if you haven’t finished what you came to do, then you are preserved until that point.  I have had assignments where the spirit was supposed to see the world beyond this one, then go back and either change their life, or help others realize that death was not the end.  I’m okay with those ones.  They remind me to have an eternal perspective in my life.  But today… today was a hard one for my friend.

I looked my partner over and tried to assess how much this had really sunk in.  His posture was slack and his eyes were definitely grey.  I hated to see him look so sad, but I knew better than to try and cheer him up.  He’d let me know when he was ready.  I removed my hand from his knee and settled back into my chair, preparing for the heavy silence that accompanies Hall’s processing moods. 
It was a good five minutes before he spoke again.

“I sent a request to headquarters to have his memory erased.  The scene was so… violent.  And we stood there for hours.  He got to see everything from… well, everything.”

“That was a good idea,” I encouraged.  “I’m sure they’ll grant your request.”

“Unless he’s supposed to remember,” Hall said, quashing any comforting I had tried to accomplish.

“Well, in that case, you know it’s for the best.”  I didn’t use a sweet and soothing voice this time.  Reassurance wasn’t breaking the pit he was sinking into so I figured realistic views would.  “When was the last time headquarters did something that wasn’t the best for your ward?”

Yup, that did the trick.  Hall looked over at me, and smiled.

“TouchĂ©.”  He sat up straighter and the cloud in his eyes dissipated.  Good.  Pits of despair were slippery slopes.  He’d process more before he’d be ready to talk about it.  Suddenly he looked over at me and half smiled.  “How was YOUR day, Lina?”

I giggled nervously.  “Oh boy.”

A full smile erupted onto his face.  “That good, eh?”

“How much do you want to know?”  I always asked him that.  I’m never sure how much Hall wants to know.  I often feel like I tell him more than he desired to hear or really even be aware of.  He tells me I’m stupid for feeling that way.  I just can’t shake it, though, so I always ask.

“Tell me everything.”

I didn’t get the chance, however.  At that very moment, Benjamin walked through the wall, television, and coffee table.

“Dude.  Evelina.  Alice’s sister is going BALLISTIC!  This is NOT going to help her.  We need to do something!”

I stared at Benjamin with disbelief.  “What were you doing in New York?  I told you to stay AWAY from ALICE!  You’re going to screw yourself over if you are too strong of a presence around her.  She’ll never move on and you’re little quest for perfect-husband-man will FAIL.”  I must admit, even after Benjamin was reassigned to me, I decided that professionalism was just not going to last.  I wasn’t going to play polite anymore.  It had the desired affect at the moment.  Benjamin shrunk back a little.

“I didn’t.  Her sister lives in Le VĂ©sinet.  In France.  That’s nowhere NEAR New York.”

Hmph.  Fine.

“In Ile-de-France?” I heard another voice ask.  It was at that moment that I remembered that Hall was in the room.  I looked over at him and saw that he was fixated on the tall young spirit in before him.  Benjamin nodded.

“Yup!  Right by Versailles,” Benjamin declared.

Hall backhanded my arm.  “Lina!  I forgot to tell you!”

I was stuck in incredulity land, however, and wasn’t interested in hearing Hall’s news. 

“I’m wondering why you’re not surprised by a tall skinny blond in our living room,” I said.  Hall shrugged.

“I dunno.  I figure, he walked through a wall, so… it’s not like anything … hinky is going on.  The dude has no body…”’

This time I wacked him.

“Hall!  Why would you assume that a man in our apartment MUST mean that he’s my secret lover or something?”

He looked offended, a dramatic expression of defense on his face.

“Did you not just hear me?  I just said I knew it COULDN’T be anything like that because the dude’s a spirit!”

Grrr.  He was totally missing the point.  Or I was.  Oh heck, I don’t know.  Benjamin just pissed me off and made my ability to reason really crappy apparently.

“My name’s Benjamin Holden.  I’m dead.”  He walked over and stuck out his hand.  Hall shook it.  Oh, maybe I should explain: it’s not so much that I can’t touch Benjamin that assures Hall that we’re not involved.  I, being the being that I am, have the ability to touch spirits as if they have a body.  But it’s impossible for someone who has a body and someone who is dead to have a relationship unless it was established BEFORE the deceased person died.  So if a random chick spirit showed up in my apartment, I’d know that Hall wasn’t dating her.  Well… that’s the super simplified version.  I’ll explain more later about the enduring family ties that have to be officially established before death in order to remain valid.  But suffice it to say neither Hall nor I have made these official ties with anyone of the opposite sex.  Ensuring that any spirit is not attached to us in that way.

“Alright already.  Benjamin.  You need to leave Alice and her family alone.  I know it feels like you’ve been dead for weeks, maybe months, already.  But time moves faster for you as a spirit than it does in the mortal realm.  You barely died this morning.”

He looked slightly deflated.

“That gives me an advantage, right?”

“It means you have to be patient and allow certain things to happen before we can proceed with your little project.”

Sighing, he crossed his arms and slouched to a degree that I did not know was possible.  Man, this kid was like Gumby.  Except his eyes weren’t so buggy.

“I like that suit, Ben.  Where did you get it?” Hall asked.  Yes.  That is Hall.  Asking my ward where he got the suit he died in.  Benjamin straightened up enough to preen a little.

“Call me Benjamin.  You like it?”

“Yeah.  And that tie is killer.”

“The tie was only five euro.  Yves Dorsey.  Totally worth it.”

“Was that during Soldes?”

“Year round.”

Such girls.  These two grown men were discussing clothing like I do with Kim.

“And the suit?”

“Now that I got during Soldes—”

“Okay, sorry to break this up, gentlemen.  But my head hurts.”  I stood and turned to Hall.  “Any requests for dinner?”

He shook his head.  “No chicken.  I can’t look at chicken for a week at least.”

“Why you hatin’ on the poultry?” I asked.

“The collision was with a truck from Zacky Farms.  A truck with live chickens.”


“Okay.  Red meat it is!”

I started to walk towards the kitchen.  Instead of explaining why a strange male spirit was in our home like I expected to, Hall and my newest annoyance were discussing Paris fashion.  But honestly… it was comforting to listen to.  Hall loves clothing.  And I know Benjamin is going to be around for a while, so it’s better that the two of them get along.  I eavesdropped for a while as I cut up the zucchini for dinner…

“Now Brice has some pretty great deals during Soldes, especially in Les Halles…”