A Sudden Appreciation for Silence

A Sudden Appreciation for Silence

I started losing my hearing back in 1981, when I was 11 years old. This was probably due to multiple ear infections and viral illnesses in childhood. My ENT doctor in 1981, told me I would one day lose most of my hearing and require sign language to communicate – probably by adulthood. By age 14, it was bad enough that I needed a hearing aid. I magically “lost” it a year later and learned to ignore my partial deafness – read lips, pay very close attention to what people said, including their body language. I started reading books at the library about sign language (now called ASL, in a politically correct world) when I was in high school, and practiced on my own for fun since I had no real use for it. That exposure opened many doors for speaking new languages and just “being open” to communication.

It’s been 30 years since then, and after a lifetime of subtle quietness, the deafness has finally started to progress again. Of course, I knew I needed a hearing aid, but with my fixed income, I could never afford one through an audiologist. Even the cheap ones are hundreds of dollars. I researched “over-the-counter hearing enhancement” devices and found one for $30 at CVS. Ironically, it looks exactly like my old hearing aid that I magically lost in a fit of teenage embarrassment, except it doesn’t require batteries – I recharge it overnight just like I do my cell phone. It works perfectly, and I would recommend it to anyone who truly needs it. (It’s called an MSA-30X Sound Amplifier).

Now that I’ve worn it to work and my coworkers have seen me with my hair in a pony tail, sporting this thing wrapped behind my ear lobe, I’ve been confident enough to wear it everywhere – and let me tell you something that I didn’t notice before: People in general, are as loud as chickens in a coop. Clucking together like hens! Even when people are quiet, theres background music everywhere! Or noise from TV sets that are placed everywhere you go. Grocery stores have it, shopping malls, the hospital, the elevator?? And everyone feels like their opinion matters, and that they know more than you do about any given topic, so they have to show you what they know, even if the subject is something intangible and immeasurable. I’d give a dollar if people would just be quiet.

You sure can’t enjoy life if you’re busy pecking at somebody, showing off your pointless trivia, or nit picking, or worried about what someone did, or said about somebody else.

And todays quote-unquote “music”?? I never really tried to understand the words before, because it was muffled and garbled like everything else. Some of it is STILL undecipherable, and others, I wish I never found out the lyrics.

When I’m at work, I enjoy not having to guess what people say anymore. When I’m not at work, I enjoy being able to turn off the crap and retreat into a quiet universe. Take it from someone who never really heard you until recently: If you’re a chicken pecker – just talking to be heard? You sound like an idiot. Do us all a favor, and shut up.

And on the 36th day, she rested.

And on the 29th day, she rested.

On February 15th of this year, the love of my life got very sick. It was some sort of stomach flu. It was going around at the time, hitting people pretty hard. Some people we knew had already had it for weeks and were still fighting it. I got it too, but my immune system is pretty strong, so I only had it for a day. Adam’s was really bad. He came out of it on March 16th. He should’ve gone to the hospital on many occasions, but he kept refusing because he has no health insurance. That being said, I had my work cut out for me. I guess it was a good thing that I was unemployed at the time, because there were some days, especially between the end of February and the first week of March, where he needed round the clock care and monitoring. He lost a lot of weight through the ordeal, and was extremely dehydrated. One of the strangest symptoms of this particular flu strain is the inability to lift your head or stay even awake, depending on how severe your case is.

I’m listing the symptoms below to warn people about it. This is nothing to play around with. If you get these symptoms, or your loved one does, go to a doctor immediately if you have the means. I really wish I had just knocked Adam out cold,and called 911 instead of respecting his wishes, because his body was already weak from having just years of living hard, and any time you have an illness for a long time, your organs are damaged. SO, be on the look out for:


  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • heavy head feeling
  • nasal congestion/runny nose
  • lack of appetite
  • lack of thirst (even when dehydrated)
  • no desire to move


  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • dark colored urine
  • inability to control body temperature
  • loss of weight/body fat
  • inability to get up
  • excessive sleepiness/drowsiness
  • sleeping all the time

I honestly believe the only thing that saved his life was prayers for his healing. Within a day or two of the prayer chain, he came out of this on his own. He started eating and keeping it down, and probably more important, drinking water by the gallon! Within a week he regained most of his strength. We were looking back on things earlier in the week, and talking about all that’s happened in the last 6 weeks. I kind of half-jokingly said, “You do know that you basically slept for like 1/3 of the winter, right?” He wrapped his arm around me and we walked, slowly because at the time he was still a little shaky and weak. He kept saying “Thank you” over and over. For every day when I would force him to drink water and take bites of food, even on the days and nights when he was throwing it back up and had no desire to eat or drink anything. For being patient with him as he slept when he wasn’t vomiting. For just being there when he would open his eyes. That was one thing he did when he came out of it, was just look at me for the longest time! I finally asked him after he wouldn’t stop looking at me for like ten whole minutes “What is up with you?” 😀 He said, “I haven’t seen you in a while.”

The picture I took tonight and shared with you is very special to me, because its proof that he is OK.

I actually took a nap today. I started my new job this morning, came home and rested. When I woke up, he was making dinner.

The man is making dinner 🙂 The crisis is over and he is OK!!!

Messages in The Clouds


I took this photo as Adam was driving down Highway 441 in Sevierville. The mountains on the horizon are the Smokey’s.  The sun was creeping down the sky, peeking out from behind a cloud that looked like an eagle with its wings outstretched, and so I grabbed my camera as fast as I could, to capture and keep it forever. I wrote the “message from God” on the photograph because that’s what I was feeling as I snapped that picture and gazed into the clouds.  It was an almost verbal  response that I felt in my heart, to an ominous feeling in my gut. We were about to get rain… a lot of it.

Just a few hours later, the rain started pouring down.  That was when the Little Pigeon River flooded and just about washed us away. It rose 4 feet in less than an hour.  I wrote about it in my other blog. It’s in the January archives of It’s Not What You Know, titled Roll, Back Water….  

It took me a month to emotionally recover from that ordeal.  Adam and I both had our share of nightmares of rain and being washed downstream, dreams of the cold water waist high, losing everything. In reality – by what I can only say was a true miracle – we lost nothing but our clothes and a few personal items.  Our very good friends and the Red Cross helped us dig our way out. The river was level with the lip of our front door, but didn’t come in the house.

I’ll never question why – because I know in my heart, that the whole situation was Being Taken Care Of, before the crisis, and after.

The crazy world of Craigslist

The crazy world of Craigslist

Since my divorce I’ve not had the best luck when it comes to finding a job that suits me. Part of that is because my ex-husband slandered my name and ruined the career that I attended college for four years to get a bachelors degree and license for. But its also because I have no experience in doing anything. I was a stay at home mother for 17 years who occasionally worked at a fast food job to get away from the husband who made me feel worthless.

I’m not going to bash him.

Things being as they are, I’ve had to relearn how to do a lot of job skills, and scrape and dig in some strange places to find work and try to build my ‘resume’.

I’m from the 70’s and 80’s.  Back then, a resume was a joke. When I was a teenager in the 80’s, to get a job, you filled out a paper application, talked in person to a perspective employer, and shook hands. Now a days, you find a job online, pray its not a scam, fill out an application online, submit a resume, and then pray that someone will actually try to contact you. That doesn’t work for me. I’ve filled out 235 applications at various schools across three states (I’m still trying to be a teacher even though my ex ruined that for me. I believe God called me to teach so guess what, this southern girl isn’t giving up). In the mean time, I’ve also put in about 40 applications for various restaurant positions, factory jobs, receptionist jobs, and even responded to some whacked out modeling ads just to see if I can get anyone to answer my email.

I must be too ugly, old, and way to non-party animal-ish for the modeling ads to respond because I haven’t heard a peep – not even from the “foot modeling” ad.

But you have to do what you have to do in order to eat, and since my career is destroyed and I have no luck with work, I back owe on child support. Never mind the fact that I’ll be homeless and in the food pantry line soon, and I won’t be able to buy gas to go to work, all that matters is my child support is due.

Hey guys? You’ve been doing this for years – how do you do it?

Wait. Chances are you had a job for the duration of your marriage when it ended, so you had experience to put on your resume, and the last thing she wanted when you divorced was to make you lose your job, because after all she wanted your money. Someone give me one reason why I shouldn’t give up and die.

Right now. Because I know the reality of my predicament.

I would post my resume online, but all it shows is that I am a well educated, professionally inexperienced person who has a lot to offer any employer in the children’s education field. I am a writer, I can answer phones and run an office, even though I haven’t worked in one since that summer when I was 20 years old. I do have experience as a production technician, so I can work assembly – but I can’t work at lightning speed because my joints are swollen and reflexes are numbed by age.

I’ll just say this:

To the foot fetish ad (yeh, the whole world knows whats really going on there, so don’t be coy and advertise the need for a foot model whose face you don’t care about who agrees to being tickled for $50 an hour) – you missed out because I have beautiful feet. Size 11 women’s, bet you can’t handle that!

To the receptionist ad, I would’ve give you my total devotion and stayed for years,quite possibly until I reached an age when I couldn’t work anymore due to chronic illness. I have been answering phones and taking messages for three decades, emailing for 13 years, I’m an experienced SEO, and I can file and organize and restock a cabinet, I’ve been a MOTHER for half my life for crying out loud.

To the manufacturing ads who need an assembly tech to make 3 parts a minute:  Slow down bitches. You wonder why your employee turnaround is so high when your benefits are amazing and the pay you offer is great? That’s all I’m saying. The dollar you can make today will be there tomorrow, and you won’t lose a penny. I  believe in quality over quantity. You would’ve had a life long employee too if you weren’t so worried about my speed.

To the painting job that never even replied to me: I am the daughter of a house painter. I know how to operate, maintain and use a power sander, a spray painter, caulk, and sand by hand, and even clean the gunk from the windows of a house that lazy no good painters slop all over the sills because they come in before me to prime and don’t give a crap. I did it under the table for years, but you’ll never know how good I am because I’ve never worked at a recognized company.

To the writing gigs that never responded: I’m a published book author, not to mention more than one college professor asked for my permission to publish MY articles and student IEP specific curricula in THEIR portfolios.  It kind of makes me laugh to know that not even the gig wanting to pay me $1 a page hired me to write in their blog.  What a wonderful outlook on life you must have.

To the Hooters that didn’t want me because I am 43 years old and have a few grays and crows feet that I refuse to hide with make up and color. This Cougar has years of serving experience – hey, I even COOKED it before serving it, on time, every day, with a smile, when my husband got home from work.

To the schools who won’t give me a chance to fulfill a life long dream because of one slanderous letter given to you by my ex: I home schooled my children for years. It was the best time of my entire life. I may not have in-class experience,but I can teach you about diverse learning styles that you can’t learn about in Bloom’s Taxonomy.I would have taught my students to have a life long desire to learn, to investigate answers instead of taking what you tell them as gospel, and to work with their hands, because as I have discovered, earning a degree alone, will get them nowhere. I would’ve continued my education and gotten my Masters, or even my National Certification. BUT that will never happen now because you only hire “teachers with classroom experience”, and you say being an intern for a year was not enough.

And finally, to all the fake people making ads to scam, and the employers needing fake employees/robots/mindless sheep to “work” for them on Craigslist, my grandmother taught me to say one good thing about people like you.  Bless your pea pickin’ heart.

Happy job hunting folks! If you find an actual REAL place to find work, let me know! Leave a comment if you want to hire me too!

Lessons in the park

Lessons in the park

I grew up in Huntsville, Alabama in the 1970’s. From the time of my earliest memory until I was about 10 years old, my parents took me to the horse ranch that was once inside the park on the top of Monte Sano Mountain.

We went trail riding mostly, where I would be perched in a family members lap, clasping with white knuckles around the large horn of the western saddle. When I was a little older, I loved trail riding, but at the age of about 4 years old, I was in my own world on the back of a Shetland pony named Peanut. Even though he was hooked up to large wheel, like a merry go round, Peanut was my key to escaping the real world, and he was safe. He listened to every song I sang, every word I said about everything going on in my life, and never once wanted me to be quiet. Even crazier, he never wanted to stop walking around and around in a circle until I wanted him to stop.

Maybe that was my first lesson in love. It’s true you know.  Guys will run circles and go nowhere fast if it keeps a woman happy.

I think the horse ranch was closed in 1980. My parents split up that year and Mom and me moved away from Huntsville. One year not too long after that, we came back “home” to visit the mountain park and found out that all the horses were gone. To this day the barn is still there. It’s across the street from the park store, probably used for storage. The old horse trails are mostly covered with overgrowth. Very few are still open and used by visiting hikers. I think what breaks my heart the most is that most of the people who make the drive up the mountain to take in the view, don’t really stop and get out and walk around. The majority will roll down their car window and catch a glimpse of the beauty and fresh air from one of the viewpoints where you can pull over.

That’s not the same.

Somewhere in that park, there are older trees bearing the scars of when my father used to climb them so high the tree bent under his weight, and he would hang on and let gravity ride him back down to the ground. There are buried remains of weekend gatherings with family, and I bet if you look hard enough under the brush, you will find hoof prints….

Still A Mom

Still A Mom

When I first had ideas for this page, I wanted to see it turn into a place of support and strength, not ex-husband bashing.

Yeh, I know. It’s hard ladies. I still feel the sting. And when we pay child support,and have to see our money go to the person who, chances are, exist in the top 3 of the people in this world you most despise, it makes everything harder. It makes waking up and going to work feel like a true waste – like you are somehow hurting yourself. I know the sleepless nights, when you wake up from a dream of your child(ren) and its so real you can smell them, you can feel them, its so real you don’t want to wake up…but you do. And when you do, you go to work, and you lose 60% of your paycheck, and that makes paying the bills very hard.

We have to remember one thing, when the days seem so glim and hopeless.

We are still MOMS. The ex-husband can never take that away. The new step-mom, can never take that away.

The star that burns bright in the night sky, that you look at every night when you pray before you go to sleep, was first carved out …by you. She or he grew inside of you, for 9 months.

Don’t give up. You’re not alone out there…. and you can survive, no matter what you must overcome to see your child’s face again.

And they do want you in their life, no matter what their father makes you out to be.

Start Your Engines

Start Your Engines

I’m a girl. I’m not a car girl either, but when I was a teenager, somewhere between Duran Duran and Bon Jovi, I fell in love with the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. It’s was the rumble, I think, that got me. It didn’t matter if it was candle apple red or primer rusted, if it had no interior at all, or was in mint condition. I wanted that car.

It’s 2013 now, and you don’t see many of them on the road anymore – like anywhere. They’ve gone the way of the do-do. Why would something so classic that screams Americana, be pushed off the road map? Because something newer, younger, faster, fancier, with lower gas mileage and less carbon emission has come to take its place. I can almost hear the theme intro to “6 Million Dollar Man” for this . “We can build him… faster, stronger.”

Why do I bother even going to through this build up of a scenario? Because I found out this month that I’m a lot like that classic car….I rumble loudly. I use more fuel to get the job done. I’m not as fast as these newer models. I don’t shine like a polished apple.

I took a job at the end of January, at a factory. Making great pay, with great benefits, if I could get past the 90 day trial period. I forced myself into doing it, with all the determination I could muster, to be my fastest, my best, and work to meet the quota, just like all the other robots around me were doing. That first week I didn’t think I could survive til the weekend. My hands hurt. My thumbs were numb. I woke up in the morning with swollen fingers and couldn’t open the bottle of Tylenol or Aleve that I knew would get me through the day. I changed my mindset about myself. I decided to “put a new coat of paint” on the old car that was me. You know what I found out? A new coat of paint on an old car, still makes it an old car…

By the end of week two, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to work there. My coworkers were all half my age and pumped out 150%, and even though I was doing my required 100%, I was slowing the production because I couldn’t do it fast enough for my peers. And my hands? I don’t know if the pain and swelling will ever go away. God knows what damage I did in two weeks.

I really don’t know what’s next for my financial future. I would love to work in an office, but I have no experience in office work. I don’t think that having a degree in something will benefit you in your career – I’m living proof of that, being a degree bearing licensed teacher in two states. Thats why I named my blog “It’s Not What You Know”. Its who you know, that allows you a chance to succeed, to get a foot in the door, to grab hold of something profitable. I don’t know anyone in the common place working world who would give an old girl like me a chance to shine.

All I know is, this ’57 Bel Air isn’t ready for the junk yard…

The Screw: A Sweet Reminder

The Screw: A Sweet Reminder

Adam and me met when we were teenagers. It was back in 1986, when we were 16, and wild. Believe or not, Adam was also very shy back then. He has always broken the ice with a good joke, and I remember the first time he handed me a screw and said “Wanna screw?” We were 16 and standing in front of my Mom’s house in Virginia, and it was a sunny day, probably late spring or early summer, on a weekend and trying to make plans to get into some sort of mischief.

I think the best part about him handing me that screw and asking me that question was knowing I made him squirm a little bit. It was another year and a half before we dated! We loved each other from the very beginning of our friendship, but neither of us had the courage to come out and say it at the time. Adam said it out loud first, when we were 21.

Now 27 years later, I woke up this morning to see this by my pillow. That screw brought a smile to my face. I’m glad I can still drive my sweet man crazy, make him squirm, and that after everything, he still loves me.

Before and After

The water has dried up now. I was cleaning up the house last night, so we could move back in, and as I was sorting through clothes, I happened to look up at our family photo on the entertainment center.  It was taken in August of 2011.  426646_3437833467732_1406520389_nWe had just been reunited after 20 years apart, and we were as giddy as we were when we were together as teenagers. Looking back now, it seems that we were so naive and innocent when it was taken. Oh, what a difference a little time can make!

This was taken on Saturday, 5 days after we survived the rising of the Little Pigeon River. imagejpeg_2-4_zps78983a94The look says it all!