Oct 28, 2018

Kindness of Strangers

10/28/2018 — cori

So last week I decided to try a new hair stylist. I also decided to go back closer to my original color. It's been 10 years since I've been this dark. I was finally ready for a change. Unfortunately, new hair stylist made it darker than I had hoped. Especially around my face. I'm very particular about having it light around my face cuz I like to feel sunny. When it's dark around my face, I don't feel sunny, I feel sad. 

I know it's hard to tell from this picture because it's flooded with light, but there was a whole lotta brown hair around my face. I just didn't feel like me. It is never a good idea to make a decision, especially involving your hair, when you don't feel like yourself. So I decided that I could fix this problem all by myself.

However, it didn't really turn out the way I had hoped. In person, this looks orange. I just applied some (alot of) bleach to the hair around my forehead. No biggie. It will just lighten up to the color of my highlights. At least, that was the goal. I didn't succeed. I failed. Big time. 

I texted new hair stylist and confessed my crime and asked if there was any way she could fit me in this weekend or Monday to fix it before I have to stand before my class again this week. She said, "no." She said she'd have some time in 2 weeks though. She didn't even try to care or help me. I got the vibe, you made this mess, it's not my problem, so I'm not bending over backwards to help you. Good luck though. 

I decided to call the first salon I found after googling 'Salon's Near Me'. I explained my idiocy and asked if they happened to have anyone around who could fix a moron's mistake. They told me to come in so they could take a look at it. If it was a quick fix, they would fit me in that day, if not, they said they would work with me to get it fixed as soon as possible. This was no quick fix.

The stylist I talked to looked like she was disappointed in me. She should be. I was an idiot to think I could mess with chemicals I know nothing about and apply them to my hair and hope for a positive result. I'm actually lucky my hair didn't fall out. She asked if I was free on Sunday. I told her I was. She said, "I don't usually work on Sundays, but since you're a teacher and work on Monday, I can come in and do this for you."

I was blown away by her kindness. She let my problem become her problem. I didn't deserve her sacrifice. She gave it to me anyways. She wanted to help me with my problem instead of remind of what a stupid mistake I made. What a beautiful life lesson. It made think of the bigger picture...how often do I let someone else's problem become my own? Being on the receiving end of undeserved grace makes me realize I need to be much more conscious to others' problems and see where and how I can show love and kindness more often.

This is her finished product and I'm beyond happy with her skill. Finally, after 3 failed attempts at finding a stylist in Colorado, I finally found one - and she's an awesome person. This was the best mistake I ever made. It's hard to tell from the lighting in this picture, but I have light around my face again, but not too much. Just right.


10/28/2018 — cori

A lot has changed since the days of the "Daddy Daughter Dance." This was 2009. 

Fast forward to 2018 and now Chloe goes to homecoming dances in HIGH SCHOOL with friends.

 These adorable girls were so giddy to be dressing up and doing a legit 'big people' activity.

Chloe and Brooke (the girl on the right) even let me do their hair. But my make-up skills are now sub-par to their standards. I think their skills speak for themselves. These are adorable girls, inside and out.

The backs of dresses are just as important as the front.

Bennett usually drives these girls to lunch most days, so they are very familiar with him. Poor guy has 3 sisters now. They begged him to be in the picture with him. He conceded as long as his beloved basketball could be in the picture with him.

In her heels, Chloe was taller than Bennett and wanted to be sure to document it. Bennett was not happy about this fact.

They started getting ready at our house at 5pm. We were hoping the lighting would be better for pictures, apparently we timed that wrong because as you can see, it was already dark outside. I filled them up with some tortilla soup and then another parent drove them to the venue. (They skipped out on the actually homecoming football game, cuz who likes to stand during a whole football game?) The dance started at 8. The girls arrived fashionably late at 8:20 and managed to stay until 9:30pm.

Growing up is the best. Watching them grow up is a little harder, but equally joyful. I share their excitement and giddiness because I remember how I felt. Plus, it's hard to believe I'm not that age anymore...and that my makeup skills suck.

Oct 19, 2018


10/19/2018 — cori

This sweet 14 year old is ALL ABOUT MAKE-UP. She knows way more than I do. She also does an amazing job on her make-up. We've never had one argument about her wearing too much or doing it distastefully. I even learn stuff from her.

For instance, last night Chloe and I were out together. She looks at me and does the universal sign for you've got something on your face you need to brush off.  She's swiping her finger under her eyes like I should do the same. She whispers, "Mom. You have fallout under your eyes. You might want to take care of that." 

I immediately take off my glasses and start wiping my eyes. It was as embarrassing as if I had just been told I had broccoli stuck between my teeth. And then I realized, I don't even know what fallout is? So I ask, "Is that like sleep from my eye? Or a mascara smudge?"

"Mawwmmmm! (eye roll) No! (huffy breath) It's the excess powder you didn't shake off your eyeshadow brush and it caused all types of eyeshadow fallout under your eyes. You definitely don't want that!"


No. I definitely don't want fallout.

And I thought I was doing a good thing by using a brush for my eye shadow.  I know I'm still a newbie since I just joined the, "Use-Brushes-For-Eye-Shadow-Like-All-The-Cool-Kids-Instead-Of-Applicators" club. Who knew I was causing fallout? Certainly not me. Applicators are so late 90s/early 2000s. I need to get with the program.

This is why us middle-aged women always benefit from having a much more knowledgable teenage girl around. 

Oct 17, 2018

Adventures at Walmart

10/17/2018 — cori
As a rule, I try never to shop here. I have read one too many articles on their mistreatment of their employees, abuse of power, and their questionable ethics practices.  I also despise how they promote mediocrity in every area...customer service, quality, cleanliness - just to name a few. However, when Gavin and I were in Fargo, I was able to set aside my personal convictions for the greater good of helping him furnish his apartment in the most cost effective manner possible. I was willing to momentarily relinquish my distaste for this company in order to help my son. It's the give and take of life. That's what love does.

I ended up taking this to an extreme. By that I mean, we went to Walmart 3 times in 1 day! Now you can understand how deep my love for my son is! We compared prices of futons at different stores in the area and Walmart won. We even measured the trunk of Gavin's car to make sure the box would fit in his car.

We bought said futon, rolled it out on a special furniture cart, and commenced the shoving it in the car routine. Imagine a square peg. Now imagine a round hole. That's what it was like. Apparently, 1/4 of an inch makes a huge difference in the box fitting into the trunk. The width of the box was 34 1/4 inches. The width of the trunk was 34 inches. All of our will power and cajoling was not going to move that heavy box one iota. We couldn't shove it in the back seat either...the doors wouldn't open wide enough.

That's when the angels in the Walmart parking lot came to our rescue. See...Walmart isn't all bad. It just so happens that the people who parked next to us came back out to their car in time to witness Gavin's and my futile effort at getting a too big box into our too small car. They had pity on us. The Nice Lady said, "We don't have anywhere to be, we could try to put it in our car and follow you home." Gavin and I looked at each other. What choice did we have? She continues with, "You can trust us. I promise we'll follow you." So Gavin and Nice Man heaved and pushed and grunted until we finally got that massive box shoved into their car. We wrote their license plate number down and kept them directly behind us the whole 10 minute drive back to his apartment. True to their word, they just wanted to help. They unloaded it for us and would not even accept any money as a thank you. Instead Nice Lady said, "We've been in this exact situation before and someone helped us out. We're happy to help." I guess Minnesota Nice bleeds into North Dakota too.

The second adventure we had at Walmart the following day did not have a happy ending, I'm sad to say. We went back the following day to pick up a tv stand.  I think this happened on our 2nd trip to Walmart that day. I had only taken my wallet with me to ND because of the airline restrictions for no carry-ons. I planned on only taking a backpack with me as my personal item. So I spent the whole weekend carrying my wallet under my arm or in a shopping bag. On this fateful evening, I was carrying it under my arm. I set it down on the shelf to help Gavin lift a heavy box into the cart. We walked down another aisle. I think we were gone 5 minutes when it dawned on me: OH MY GOSH! WHERE'S MY WALLET?!? I sprinted down the aisle back to the furniture section. It was gone. I walked around in circles looking everywhere, under everything, behind stuff. No where. I went over to some employees working in the aisle next to where I was and asked if they had seen my wallet. Bless their hearts, they were from a foreign country and genuinely believed it when they told me, "Don't worry, mam, someone will find it and turn it into Customer Service."

I started panicking and hyperventilating and then quickly had to turn those feelings off realizing that that was not going to solve this problem. I had to ignore that dread creeping up my throat from my stomach. I didn't want to leave that area. I thought if I just stayed it would show up, I just might not have looked close enough or hard enough. Leaving would admit defeat.

Gavin eventually found me. I asked him to run out to the car to look and make sure I didn't leave my wallet there. He did. It wasn't. I spent a long time with the Customer Service Managers. They were very kind to even check the video camera for that section during that timeframe. Turns out I was just out of the camera angle/view in that area. They could see nothing. They took all my information and told me they would mail it to me if it ever turned up.

That was the big snag in the whole thing. I had to fly back home the next day with no proof of ID. Everything I had was gone. No money, no cards, no ID. I was sick to my stomach. I immediately called Chuck. Between the two of us we cancelled all our cards right away. But what to do about the ID and the plane? He quickly googled TSA rules and found out that I could still get on the plane, but there would be a time consuming vetting process I would have to endure. They had to confirm I was who I said I was.

That process didn't turn out to be so bad. If you're ever going to get stuck with out proof of identification, the North Dakota airport is the place for it to happen. There was not a soul in the security line. They only have 5 gates at the airport. I had to sit with the senior TSA officer while he waited on hold with some government people he was supposed to contact in just such a situation. They asked some questions that only I would know the answer to. I passed. Whew. Then I had to have a full body pat down and all my luggage was searched. The whole process only took 45 minutes. Sometimes I have to wait in the security line at the Denver airport for 45 minutes. So I thought that was no big deal.

Good and bad things happen everywhere - even at Walmart.

Oct 8, 2018

On His Own

10/08/2018 — cori

When Gavin came home from UCI this summer, we spent many a day deep in conversation about school. We could tell he wasn't happy where he was. He was very stressed and didn't seem to be enjoying learning. He also mentioned in passing a few times that he was lonely. After a lot of heart to hearts, he decided to leave UCI for NDSU. Not only was cost a major factor, he missed his friends who were all going there. He missed the midwest - the weather, the landscape, the vibe. He knows himself well and knew this is where he needed to be. We supported his decision 100%.

"Move to Fargo" day finally arrived this past Thursday. He asked me to come with him to help him set up his first apartment. I was honored and more than happy to help. Even though he doesn't start classes until January, he is getting established, learning his way around and already working. His job at Target in Fort Collins transferred him to another Target in Minnesota (10 minutes away from Fargo). The time was right for him to set out on his own.

We divided the drive up into two days. This day was our long one...7.5 hours. It's apparent I didn't sleep very well the night before. We stayed in a horrible motel in Spearfish, South Dakota. Sometimes I wish I wasn't so cheap. This was one of those times.

I drove the first leg of the second day. Two hours in and it started snowing. I was not mentally or physically prepared for snow. I didn't even bring a jacket. My souvenir from ND was a stocking cap and gloves. Those beautiful items made my time there much more bearable and enjoyable.

Here is the "before" of Gavin's new studio apartment. It's in an old building in downtown Fargo. The building was built in 1894. It is beautiful and has an amazing vibe.

This picture was taken from the window looking toward the front of the apartment. We had just been given a tour by the building manager. Gavin chose this apartment online having never visited it before. He certainly lucked out. It's in a quiet part of downtown, across the street from a gorgeous park. The whole area is very peaceful and beautiful.

This is his front door. We both appreciated all the little details, like the ceiling, the nice woodwork, and the garbage chute

This is the inside of the building. The lower two levels are businesses. The upper 4 levels are apartments. It's very safe. Only the tenants are able to get up to the 3rd floor and above. This is not your typical college kid's apartment. But Gavin is not your typical college kid. He appreciates beauty and history and calmness - everything this apartment gives him.

All of his friends showed up to help him "move in" (unload the car). We didn't have any furniture yet. But they were there. And they helped. Some of them even cleared their schedules to be there when he arrived. They were just as excited to have him here as he is to be there. Gavin calls them "my boys", another friend refers to them as "d'crew". Whatever they are, they're friends and that is priceless.

We took time out of our furniture shopping to explore the downtown area. Right across from his apartment is the old Union Station. Now it is just a museum with old rail cars sitting out front. It sure is pretty though.

A block away is the Broadway where Fargo's very vibrant downtown area is. It reminds me alot of Old Town Fort Collins. I loved it there.

Next, we got a tour of NDSU from two of Gavin's friends. One of them is very into landscape architecture and was thrilled to have a captive audience to show every tree on campus to and tell us their scientific names. I don't think anyone else has ever had a tour like that of the campus. It was sweet to see his excitement. But after 2 hours in the cold weather, I was ready to go back to the apartment and build some furniture.

This will be his home for the next however many years. He has no expectations about what he wants to do with his degree, he just wants to enjoy learning and see what interests him and what comes his way. I like how he thinks.

Here is his friend Colin showing him the bus route he can take from his apartment to campus. The bus is free for students. That's a nice perk.

Ahhh....the furniture building. This wasn't Gavin's favorite part, but he sure is happy to have it.

The "after" picture of an almost finished apartment. He still doesn't have a bed, but it's on it's way. 

The tiny kitchen. This is the first and last time it will be this clean.

Good bye, Gavin. We'll miss you! But you are so ready to be on your own. You've got this!

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