Getting pulled over … causes mom to pause

I couldn’t locate the cash box anywhere in the house. And it was driving me crazy. After looking in everyone’s closet and in the basement, I decided it was either loaned out or simply stolen.

I needed more tables. The tables set up in the garage were already filled with old board games, decorations, bedding, clothes and knick-knacks.

And soccer practice started at 6 p.m.

Dinner had to be made. Dishes had to be washed. The cats needed fed. You name it, it needed to be done.

Add into that the twins were talking to me non-stop all day about the impending garage sale.

“What time does it start?” “Can we make muffins to sell?” “I don’t want to sell my toys, but can I still keep some money?” “What if no one comes?”

I was beyond stressed out and my mind was literally spinning in 100 damn directions.

“Let’s go NOW,” I screamed to my 14-year-old son.

And off we went to soccer practice 4 miles always, my spinning mind and all. The fact is, we left the house early. We had plenty of time to make it to the soccer fields.

But I was in a hurry.

Driving down the road, my mind wasn’t on the drive at all. I wasn’t paying attention at all. I make the 4 mile drive to the community park, once, if not twice per day. I was driving on auto-pilot.

But then I saw the lights go off … and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a finger pointing to me to pull over immediately.

I was caught.

Nearly 1.5 miles from my house, a county sheriff pulled me over.

“I clocked you going 68 miles per hour …” he told me.

I couldn’t even complain as my mind was still racing about what else I had to do that evening for the garage sale.

Digging through my purse, I found my driver’s license and then by some grace of God, I actually put the insurance card in my van the day before, so I pulled that out along with the registration papers.

I have lived in the same county for 16 years and have never had so much as a parking ticket.

My only response was, “Yup, OK. Sorry.”

I know I looked like a trainwreck. I had Jazzercised that morning, and taking a shower was an afterthought to getting the sale ready. I didn’t care how I looked.

Maybe that actually helped my cause? You know the look – hair pulled over with a clip, yoga pants on, coupled with a work-out tank and gym shoes, all sans makeup. I may have had deodorant on, but who knows. Thank God I tossed on  my prescription sunglasses – I am required by the State of Ohio to wear glasses due to my poor vision that over the years has worsened due to being pregnant with the kid(s) I taxi all over the place. So, I actually had on two pairs of sunglasses – my Dollar Tree pair on the top of my head and the $100 pair covering my eyes.

I was a hot mess.

As I sat in the car, looking at my teenage son, I saw the sheriff sitting in his car too. He was running my plates through the system. I knew he’d find nothing on me since I am boring-stay-at-home-mom-turned-taxi-service-in-the-summer.

Making his way back to my vehicle, I knew I was gonna get a lecture about safe driving. I was right. “Doesn’t it bother you when drivers speed down this road? And you have kids! It bothers me and you live on this road, just like me!”

The truth is, yes, it bothers me a lot when motorists speed down my road. But, on the flip side, my kids don’t play in or even near the road. I am more worried about a driver losing control and hitting a tree head on than hitting a kid. I dread the day when I hear a crash only to run out to my front yard to find someone incapacitated. That scares me. That bothers me.

Thankfully, the sheriff only gave me a warning. But it was a warning that changed my life. Ever since that day, I have set my speedometer on 55 miles per hour. I’d rather be late than get pulled over again. It’s just not worth it.



Protecting your children means you have to learn how to protect them yourself

I own a weapon.
To be specific, it’s a small handgun, but before ya’ll go judging me for owning a weapon, let me tell you what has happened to me in the past six years living in BFE.
Before we moved out to BFE, we had neighbors so close to our house, we could easily hear them eating dinner in their dining room while we were grilling on our deck. We lived in a “cookie cutter house” in a “cookie cutter development.”
We hated it.
So, when we saw the chance to move, before the housing market crashed, we took it and ran. We sold our house within six months, to some clueless people wanting to escape an even worse community than we were trying to leave. The community from where we came from wasn’t bad, I just knew I didn’t want to live there forever.
We found our house on a popular “country road.” I no longer heard our neighbors devouring their meals. But, I can see a house to my right, left and across the street.
However, I don’t associate with my neighbors on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis – unless it’s to call the local sheriff department when a horse escapes its pasture – and yes, that has happened at least four times.
Therefore, the way I see it, if anything were to happen on my 2.6 acres of land, no one would be running to my rescue.
We are surrounded by farm land behind our house and across the street.
But where we live isn’t the reason behind the weapon – it’s more related to the number of odd people who have rung our doorbell; knocked on our door; or driven onto our property.
There are 365 days in a year. Of those, my husband works from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and sometimes he works over. That means five days a week, I am the only adult in this house during “normal-working business hours.”
And let me tell you, if you thought living in the city was scary, you ain’t heard nothing yet folks.
Example A:
Shortly after moving here, a man pulled up into our driveway, knocked on the garage door, asking me if I had any GOLF BALLS to sell him. Apparently the man who lived here before us used to scour golf courses for used golf balls and he would wash them and resell them for profit. I looked at this man as if he was from another planet and told him through a screen, “No, I don’t have any golf balls.”
Example B:
A woman knocked on our garage door (you’d think by this time I would have learned to close the garage), announcing she was “here.” I looked at her as if she was an alien as well, and told her I had no idea who she was or why she was “here.” She left with a look of utter confusion, much like the one my own face showed.
Example C:
Oh, this is the worst!
After having the twins, one fall day, I pulled into my garage (left the door open), when a vehicle pulled in directly behind mine (allowing no room for escape) and a young girl stepped out of her car, begging me to “smell her hand soap.” This brought out my inner bitch (all of us moms have this gene). In my oh-you-have-got-to-be-freaking-kidding-me tone, I told her to leave immediately. She tried to get me to smell it again and almost tossed her ass off my property. The only thing stopping me was the fact she had two men in the car with her, trying to “sell the soap.” I immediately called 911 and gave the description of them and the vehicle they were driving. Since that time, I have been told how some people try to get women to “smell the soap” and then kidnap them. After I called 911, I also called my other “country friends” and told them to not answer their door.
Example D:
The meat selling man in a truck.
Yes, this man knocked on my front door, I did not open the screen, but spoke to him via the closed door. “No, I do not want any meat.”
I also called 911 and gave them a description of that man and his “meat packing” truck.
Example E:
Our wacky neighbor despises us for calling the local sheriff on him and his horses. He also hates the fact my dad planted pine trees on our property line. If this man ever knocks on our door, I will run with the kids and hide in my bedroom, with my weapon close by.
Example F & G:
You would be surprised at the number of people who randomly stop in our driveway. We have had a car simply “die” (lucky for this woman, I interviewed her for a story and she was 90 years old); we have had an older gentleman run over a bush down the road, preventing his car from moving any further down our road than our driveway; and recently, a car ran out of gas. For all of these “incidents,” my husband has been home.
But for the other times, I have been here with either my oldest or all three of my children. Since we live in the country, it can take a sheriff deputy almost 5 minutes to reach our house, unless he is patrolling another area close by and reach us sooner. A lot can happen in 5 minutes – we have all heard what happened in 5 minutes in the community of Sandy Hook, Conn.
I have no problem calling 911, and I trust them, but when it comes down to protecting my children, I will stop at nothing to make sure they are safe. It’s my job as their mom to protect them. The gun is in a safe, locked away from our children. But knowing it’s there provides me with peace of mind, and in the world we live in today, I need that reminder.

Life BEFORE my life

I was chatting with a friend the other day and she said to me, “I never thought my life would be like this.”
I said, “What do you mean? You mean, like driving your kids everywhere … being a mom?”
Yup, that was exactly what she meant.
The mom saw herself working in a New York hospital as a nurse.
I think most of us “moms” had a different view of what our lives would be like after we graduated from high school or college.
Before I declared journalism as my major, I was taking criminal justice courses.
Yes, my first plan was to “Save the Children” as a probation officer. I wanted to live in an inner-city and work with at-risk children.
About half-way into Criminal Justice 101 we had an FBI agent give a presentation. I learned most law enforcement agents had to carry an extra 30 pounds of gear on their bodies when patrolling the streets.
I thought to myself, “No way! There is no way I can carry 30 pounds of gear and run after a criminal or delinquent!” (Little did I know that a pregnancy would allow you to carry 30 pounds of “gear” … but at least I no longer have to lug that around!)
So, I chose a “less physical demanding” career – journalism.
Yes, it’s not physically demanding. It’s more of a mental challenge. Speaking and dealing with the public – at times – can be exhausting. The constant games of phone-tag/text-tag/email-tag are never-ending. The complaints are constant.
But, again, I thought, I would live in New York City and my byline would be read by millions of readers. I thought I would work for a big newspaper, chasing down story leads and frantically working on deadline while bosses breathed down my neck.
Some days, I do think my “dream” life would be easier than my real life.
Some days, I would give anything to be chasing down a story.
Yet, I do have the best of both worlds as I freelance for a local newspaper. I still get that little thrill when I see several law enforcement vehicles driving in one direction – oh, to chase them and find out what is going on … YES, PLEASE! And, to be able to say, “Hi, is Mrs. Smith available … this is Melissa with The Chronicle-Telegram …” – that still makes me smile.
True, most days now I am chasing around the 4-year-old twins instead of a story. Or around 4:30 p.m., you can find me telling my 9-year-old to finish his homework – so I guess I am like the editor breathing down his back on deadline.
But no, I don’t think I would necessarily wish for a different life – yet it would be kind of fun to have one day where I could time-travel somewhere and be a different “Melissa” for a day.