Archive for the ‘james’ Tag

The Ballad of   Leave a comment

Yesterday at work was very tiring, mentally and physically, so last night I mostly laid in bed and vegged and this morning I did the same thing. At least now I’ve had some coffee and cleaned the kitchen/dining room, which is what I wanted to get done last night. Tonight, I need to go shopping:

-grocery shopping
-pet food shopping (both kitty and lizard need food)
-Birthday present shopping

Technically there’s nothing stopping me from leaving now. Eh. I’ll leave after I finish this entry. And tonight, I’ll do my nails. Oh, I need to make phone calls. Eh. After I finish this entry.

Lacey texted me this morning asking for advice: whether she should travel this weekend or stay at home and eat s’mores with Katie. She wanted me to decide, but mostly I just asked her questions to get her to think more about each consideration. I think she decided to travel.

Anyway, part of the consideration had to do with Lacey’s new boyfriend. He’s a guy we knew in high school. If they got married, the official wedding announcement would probably say that they “reconnected after high school.” I’m a bit jealous of stuff like that, because when people ask, well, I have to say that James and I met online. Which is not a very exciting story.

I started thinking about “how we met stories” two weekends ago, during the Deb Meyers Memorial Tour. At every single memorial, someone mentioned her relationship with her husband, Steve, and how special it was. I’m not saying that’s weird, bad, or unusual. In fact, it’s pretty typical and should be celebrated. I’m just saying that I remember it distinctly.

Deb was widowed for five years almost exactly before she died. People inevitably asked her why she didn’t bother looking for someone new. She told one of her friends that “men were looking for a nurse and a purse.”

“But,” said this friend, wearing a Jamaica visor and Penguin socks,* casting her eyes around the room, “I think that her relationship with her husband was so special that she didn’t want a new man. She had had Steve for over 30 years.”

I’ve said several times that I stood with Deb over Steve’s body and asked her how they met. But one thing that surprised me at the last stop on the Deb Meyers Memorial Tour was that afterwards, the other Mrs. Meyers, Mrs. Meyers Version 1.0,^ stopped James and I and told us her side of how Deb and Steve met.

They were part of a group of college kids that “ran around together” during Sophomore and Junior year of college at Ball State University. They met at a party and started “going together.” But the summer after Junior year, Debbie was going to study abroad in England. Steven talked with her about it. Deb interpreted whatever he said as him dumping her, so she drove the two hours from her parents’ house to his to give him back all the presents he had ever given her.

From even that little bit, we (or just I?) learned that the catalyst for Steve “dumping” Deb Junior year was her going to England. The rest of the story I knew. But the story continued, a year after graduation.

Steve came to his mother, excited. “Debbie invited me to a party! She wants to see me again!”

I knew from conversations with Deb that she only invited him to her Christmas/New Years party because a friend talked her into it. It had been long enough, the friend argued. He was part of the group. It wouldn’t be weird anymore. Steve and his mother apparently didn’t know that. Neither James nor I felt like telling her now.

“They started going together in February, and they got engaged in April,” finished Mrs. Meyers, smiling.

“That’s interesting,” said James. “Both of our parents got married after a short time dating.”

“I think they just knew,” said Mrs. Meyers.

“Well they did date for two years in college,” I said.

“Yeah, but your parents got married after what — four months?” James said. “And then mine got engaged after two months. But we dated for six years before we got married.”

“Five years. But my parents knew each other for a year or so before they started dating. And like I said, your parents dated for two years in college.”

“They just knew,” Mrs. Meyers insisted.

But I think it’s interested that the Ballad of Steve and Deb isn’t about how they met. It’s about how they got back together again. Just like the interesting part of James and my relationship isn’t how we met, it’s how we stayed together through job loss, career change, and long-distance dating. And so comparing us to Lacey’s latest relationship is irrelevant. Irrelephant.

New adventures will be made.

*Presents from Deb, from various travels and Christmases
^James’ paternal grandmother. Sometimes my sarcastic storytelling gets in the way of clarity. Listen, James’s paternal grandmother is Mrs. Meyers 1.0. Deb was 2.0. I am 3.0. Get it?

Posted June 24, 2016 by agentksilver in Personal

Tagged with ,

It’s another one of THOSE posts   Leave a comment

I only have two memories of my paternal grandmother:

1) when I was very little, I was sitting in the van with Gramma Hancher and my mother. Mom was driving, Gramma Hancher was in the front passenger seat, and I was in the middle back. Mom and Gramma Hancher were talking. Actually specifically Gramma Hancher was saying something, and I interrupted to say whatever thought had come into my little head. Gramma Hancher stopped talking and instead listened to whatever it was that I had to say.

Even then, as an early-elementary-schooler, I thought that it was weird that an adult, a grandmother no less, had stopped talking to allow a little kid to speak. She had deferred to me. Neither Mom nor Gramma Hancher commented on my interrupting. That was the first time I had ever noticed my interrupting habit and swore to stop it. (I still interrupt people, but at least I try not to)

2) When Lion King came out in 1994, I was seven and it completely rocked my world. So when we went and visited Gramma Hancher at the nursing home, I took along some of my Lion King stuffed animals to show her. I remember showing them to her. She took the time to listen to everything I had to say and commented on the Simba and Nala toys that had magnets in their noses so they kissed.

I have other memories, like Dad talking with Gramma Hancher about doing physical therapy and getting enough movement, or the time we were visiting and I pressed a button out of curiosity and a nurse came running (turned out the button was a nurse call button). And of course I remember her funeral. It was the first funeral I ever attended. I remember looking at her body in the casket and thinking that it looked nothing like her. I had to make myself cry over it, and I only cried because I had been taught that that was what you were supposed to do at funerals. But I couldn’t mourn this body. It didn’t look like the woman I knew, who made two toy lions kiss and listened to whatever it was that I had to say.

Gramma Hancher died before I was ten. I never knew Grampa Joe, her husband. He died before I was born. Dad says that I would have loved him and that he would have loved me. He would have taught me checkers, Dad says. But because they died when I was so young/not around, I hardly think of them as my grandparents. My grandparents have always been Mom’s parents. Gramma died when I was in my 20s, and Grampa is still around. I don’t call them Gramma Sherman and Grampa Ron, I just call them Gramma and Grampa, because that’s who they are to me.

Still, I think Gramma Hancher had an affect on me. Especially her funeral, when I looked at her face and felt nothing. I don’t want an open-casket funeral. I don’t want my body preserved, I don’t want people to see my face and think how strange and artificial it looks.

Today is the first of the three memorials for Deb. We’re doing the memorial for her North Carolina friends today. In two weeks, we’ll have the memorial in Indianapolis, and we’ll distribute the ashes on the Appalachian Trail in the same spot as his dad.

That makes me happy, that her final resting place is in the same space as her husband. Gramma Hancher and Grampa Joe are buried in the same space. My maternal grandmother is buried under a tombstone that she and Grampa bought together. But Grampa wants to have his ashes distributed in space, leaving my grandmother alone for eternity.

I was thinking today about what I want for my final resting space. Well, our final resting space.

One of my favorite stories from Greco-Roman mythology is the story of Baucis and Philemen. Apollo and Jupiter visited a town dressed as bums. No one let them stay the night except for an old couple, who were very poor, but shared everything they had with them. In the morning, Apollo and Jupiter revealed themselves, and said that they would grant Baucis and Philemen a gift for their kindness. The couple said that they were so old and that they had everything they needed, so all they wanted was to be together forever. So Apollo and Jupiter turned them into trees that were right next to each other, whose trunks were intertwined. Together forever.

I’ve heard of these tree pod urns, where you turn your ashes into a planter for a tree.

So I want James and I to be turned into trees, with a plaque (or two?). I want my plaque to read:

FEBRUARY 1987-(whatever the date of my death is)

(Okay, I assume that I’m going to be a mother, and a friend, and that my family would want to put something self-deprecating on my plaque, who knows, maybe they’ll want to put something nice about me like “she will be missed” or something)

And the image will be something that reflects our mutual love of space. I love the solar system so I want something like a planetary system, a planet revolving around a sun, or two planets sharing an orbit, or something.

I don’t know what James would want?

JUNE 1984-(whatever the date of his death is)

Posted June 1, 2016 by agentksilver in Personal, Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

And now for something completely personal   Leave a comment

My grandmother died in August 2009. She had been very sick for a long time, and when it came time, her insides were eating her, slowly shutting down one by one. It was time. I remember how swollen she was; she had always been a slender woman, and in her later years her skin had become delicate and paper-like. The woman on the bed before me didn’t seem like my grandmother at all, a red, swollen, Gramma-shaped creature.

This is her in December 1987. I am the baby on the left, saluting.

We all arrived at the hospital to say goodbye, and to watch her die. My grandfather told us that someone had to hold her hand at all times, so that she wouldn’t feel alone. I replied that hearing is actually the last sense to go, and so talking to her would be better. Grampa snapped at me for being so cold. I felt stung and walked away sulking, but I know now why he snapped at me.

She died surrounded by her family; her husband, her two children, their spouses, several of her grandchildren. Unable to come up with words, we took turns reading the Bible aloud. When all of our voices gave out, we sat in silence, watching her chest rise and fall, less and less and less.

Two hours had passed.

Gramma’s chest rose.

Gramma’s chest fell.

Mom stood up.

Gramma’s chest didn’t rise.

“Sit down,” Katie hissed.

Mom sat down, but Gramma’s chest didn’t rise again. Gramma was gone.


Most of James’ family did not attend our wedding. They live several hours away and have small children, so it made sense. We invited them, but didn’t expect them to attend. But at the last minute, several of the Yesses on his side of the family dropped out. Even one of his groomsmen cancelled. James’ grandfather was dying, and most of them felt it was more important to say goodbye to him than to see James married. Which made sense. If we weren’t getting married that weekend, James probably would have gone to see his grandfather as well.

This is one of the few members of his paternal side that was able to attend. Almost everyone else from James’ side that attended was from his maternal side.

My grandfather’s girlfriend also wasn’t able to attend. She was still recovering from surgery. In fact, she’s still in recovery. We were able to see her the next day after the wedding though, which was wonderful, because she’s a lovely human being.

James’ grandfather died while we were on our honeymoon.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this in a public setting ever, but James’ mother has been in and out of the hospital for the past four years. It was a trial for her to be able to attend our wedding. But James is her only son, goshdarnit, and Deb was bound and determined to attend.

Deb was admitted to the hospital while we were on our honeymoon.

She ordered everyone not to tell us because she didn’t want to disrupt our honeymoon. We found out as soon as we came back.

Today, her spasms returned with a vengeance. We spent five hours in the hospital with her today, doing what we could to ease her pain. She took a strong painkiller, but she was too tense to have it actually work. She panted and squirmed and shook on the bed. We helped her with her bedpan. I waved a magazine, hoping to cool her down. We helped her drink water through a straw. James helped bend her legs at the knee, hoping to ease the tension. It didn’t. Nothing helped. For five or more hours, Deb could do nothing but sweat and writhe in pain on the hospital bed.

I took a break and got some coffee from the Starbucks downstairs. I did a crossword puzzle. I watched Deb gasp into the phone that she wanted a strawberry milkshake for dinner. The nurses arrived to try to get a liquid painkiller in her, so we left and sat outside the room. We listened as the nurses struggled to get an IV in her, but she couldn’t stop shaking. I worked some more on the crossword puzzle, sipping the coffee and trying to think of something, anything.

James drank some water. The nurses were gone. I didn’t want her to be left alone, so I came back into the room.

I looked down at Deb. She gasped and shook with pain. The spasms were much less violent, but they were still there, and they were still painful.

“They should put you on some knockout gas,” I said.

Deb chuckled. “They should,” she said.

Then a strange look crossed her face.

“It’s gone,” she whispered.

Then she closed her eyes and went still.

I thought, Oh my god she’s dead. Oh my god I killed her.

But a quick look showed that her chest was rising and falling. She was fine. She was just asleep.

Posted February 4, 2016 by agentksilver in Personal

Tagged with , ,

Part two   Leave a comment

I told the elephant story four times yesterday. I’m going to have to get used to telling that story, due to the whole engaged-without-a-ring thing. I called Mom as I was getting out of work. I was very very nervous about it. What if she was, for some weird reason, angry? But Mom was delighted.

“Now that that’s out of the way,” she said after giving me congratulations, “Any plans for the wedding?”

“I’m thinking late December or early January,” I said.

“Why not New Years?”

Mom went on and on about how much fun it would be to celebrate on New Years. Then she said, “What sort of venue are you thinking about?”

I said, “I want to get married surrounded by trees, but I don’t think that’s possible in the middle of winter. So I was thinking about a greenhouse.”

Mom’s reaction:

reaction joyce
(clearly this is my new favorite reaction image)

Apparently she didn’t get a lot of work done for the rest of the afternoon, because she was too busy researching greenhouses as wedding venues. She also thinks we should go with green as a dominant color, but I disagree. I told Lacey as much, and she said that purple might work. I’m thinking gray and blue, but James thinks the colors might not work together.

Mom has already picked out a potential venue, and we’ll be checking it out on Monday. I told her that it didn’t necessarily have to be a greenhouse. I just wanted it to be in the woods and for there to be lots of windows. “Like that restaurant in the forest we used to go to a lot,” I said. “The one in Maryland.”

Mom’s reaction:

reaction joyce
(all the time now)

Apparently she and Grampa have always wanted to host an event there.

But the next step is to figure out who all we’re inviting. I made an initial list last night. It’s about 80 people. I have no idea if that’s workable or not.

One set of James’ many Aunts and Uncles was in town last night, so the family had a get-together at a family restaurant in Durham. It was so clearly meant to be the way we announced our engagement to the family. James waited until dinner was almost over before he made the announcement.

Finally,” said Deb, my future mother-in-law.

When I explained why I didn’t have a ring on, James’ aunt Marcia said, “Well don’t have too untraditional of a wedding now!”

James and I were surprised, because we are two of the most traditional people that ever existed. I just…don’t like wearing rings.

Posted March 24, 2015 by agentksilver in Personal

Tagged with ,

This was the opposite of a surprise   2 comments

Sunday was our fifth anniversary together, in case people are wondering why James proposed on March 22 rather than a more typical day, like February 14 or January 1. I had had an inkling that he was going to do it. He’s said, a few times, “My mom will probably give us the down payment on a house as a wedding present.” (James’ mother is rich) Sometimes, when we’re discussing the future townhouse, he’s said that we were probably only going to be there for the eleven-month lease and that we might be moving to a house we own next. Not subtle.

Other things, like a few months ago, he was talking about rings. Was there any kind of jewelry that I would be interested in? And I gave my usual spiel about how awful diamond companies are. Yeah, but there are other kinds of rocks. Are there any I like? I replied no. No matter how significant or sentimental a piece of jewelry is, I’m going to forget about it and stop wearing it after a day or two. Was there anything that I could think of that I would want in lieu of a ring?

James is just not a subtle man.

In January, I was looking at a particular toy elephant online that I had had my eye on for a good long while.

James asked why I was staring at it, and I explained that I would buy it, but it was $115 and there were much better things to spend that kind of money on.

James’ face:

reaction joyce

About a month ago he began to talk openly about both of us needing to have March 22 off. I duly requested the 22 off, and then asked him what sort of plans he had for that day. He said he didn’t have any. He just wanted the day off.


I suggested that maybe we visit a restaurant downtown. But all of the nice restaurants in the area are either closed on Sundays, or only open for lunch.

We ended up hosting Game Night as usual. Only the three regulars showed up, Matt, Gary, and Linus. We played a few games and I lost horribly at two of them (Whitewater and Wise and Otherwise), but I won Kalimambo the second time. “Come on, guys,” James said as Gary and Linus openly discussed shoving my raft into the rocks, “I need Kelsey to be happy tonight. Then, when they left and I started cleaning up a bit, James disappeared into the bedroom and reappeared with a suspiciously toy-elephant-sized box.

I delightedly opened the box. We worked together to free the elephant from his chains (I felt like a Kyoshi warrior in Appa’s Lost Days, the episode of Avatar we watched a few days ago). I went and got my Elephant Fighter Attachment from the bedroom so that attachment and main item could be together at last.

Truly a thing of beauty.

As I worked to get all the elephant warriors to sit correctly on the harness, James reappeared with a small stuffed purple elephant. It was the last of the elephants that James’ parents had collected at various hotels in Taiwan (all hotels in Taiwan apparently come with elephants).

“This is also for you,” he said.

I laughed and said that it was weird that he was always giving me those, since my interaction with them had been to throw them at his head when his father was sick.

James told me that I had been distracting him and showing him affection, which was helped him during those dark days. So maybe they were more important to him, but he important thing was that he wanted to marry me, would I marry him.

Well, finally.

Posted March 24, 2015 by agentksilver in Personal

Tagged with ,

Though the truth may vary this   1 comment

During my Week Without a Phone, I received a phone call from one of the Starbucks I had applied to. I obviously missed the call, but when I got my new phone —



–I was able to get all the voicemails. I missed at least 5 calls.

So I called the Starbucks this morning. I introduced myself to the manager.

“What’s your availability?” she asked.

“I have open availability,” I said.

“Do you have any plans?”

Assuming she wanted me to come in for an interview, I said, “I’m available today, Thursday, and Friday.”

“That’s your only availability every week?”

“Well no,” I said, feeling confused, since I had just said I had open availability. “I have open availability.”

“Right, and you don’t have anything else to take up your time?”

“I’m thinking about going back to school, but I don’t know what the class schedules around here are yet.”

“Well then, why don’t you call me back when you do know when you’re going to be available.”

I thought quickly, wanting to recover the conversation. “When would you like for me to get back to you with that information?”

“I don’t know, sometime next week. Or maybe April. Do you have anything else?”

“No,” I said.

“Okay then, have a good day.”

I puzzled over my Colosseum puzzle. I reran the conversation in my head. I thought that maybe if the manager acted like that, I maybe wouldn’t want the job anyway.

Twenty minutes later, my phone rang. It was the same manager. She gave a full introduction of herself this time. She asked what I thought made me qualified for the barista position (I have literally been a barista before). She asked what I do for Harris Teeter and if I have other customer service experience. This was a question I was prepared to answer; I gave a basic rundown of my last four years of work, emphasizing the customer service experience. She asked about my availability.

Hadn’t we been through this before?

“I have open availability,” I said.

She went into an explanation of shift times for Starbucks; was I able to come in at 5:00 AM? Would I be able to work evening shifts? She asked more and more questions about this, pressing more and more on the 5:00 question. She eventually explained that she was trying to hire full-time worked for the morning shifts. I said that as long as the hours were consistent (always working morning or always working evening) that I could do it.

So I have an interview at noon on Thursday.

After the phone call ended, I wasn’t really sure what to think. I had just had two very different phone calls with the same person.

On one hand, Starbucks would probably pay me better than what I make at Harris Teeter; I would work with a team of people instead of doing it by myself; it would be work I had done before and felt comfortable with; Starbucks has a tuition-paying program so I could go back to school in January (with no limit on what courses it covers, unlike most retail tuition-assistance programs). If I worked only morning shifts, I would have time in the evenings to pursue outside activities, like theatre, gaming, school, volunteering, or a movie-watching club (there are some of those on meetup). Also: free Chai Tea Lattes.

On the other hand, this would be just another “settling” job, rather than a job I was truly interested in; the manager was potentially insane; I’m not interested in being a job-hopper. I want one job and I want to stick with it for a good long while.

With this on my mind, I drove around Raleigh for a bit, trying to find someone to donate my garbage bag of teddy bears to. My immediate thought was police and fire station, so I visited the Morrisville town hall, but neither service would take them. They only accept toys in their original wrapping. Teddy bears don’t come in wrapping, but whatever. I just ended up driving it to the Raleigh Rescue Mission on the east side of town. I thought about writing. Mostly I thought about Ghost Hunters, even though I only have 18 days left in my self-created deadline for The Adventures of Pizza Boy and Maggie.

When I got home, James was clearly dressed to go on a walk, so he and I went on a walk. I told him about the two phone calls with my potential new manager. I told him about my concerns. He didn’t have much to say beyond that I was correct to be hesitant.

I found a new path into the woods behind our apartment complex. James refused to follow me in. I managed to pick my way across the creek and turned around to shout in triumph, but he had walked away. I crossed back over the creek and found him sitting by the pond.

“I looked for you but you weren’t there,” I said. “Are you mad at me?” This is always my go-to assumption for some reason.

“No, I just didn’t feel like slipping and falling into the creek,” he said. He pointed at nearby geese and said, “I wonder how close you can get to them?”

I stayed far back because I’m scared of geese. James walked slowly, crossing closer and closer to the geese until he was maybe four feet from one of them. It honked gently at him. He honked gently back. He squatted down and stared at it. I watched the two of them eye each other. Behind them was the creek, brightly colored in the late afternoon light. I told myself I would remember this moment forever.

Posted March 11, 2015 by agentksilver in Personal

Tagged with , , , , ,

Apartment Hunters, Season 2, Episode 1   1 comment

So the planned first episode of Apartment Hunters: Season 2 did not actually happen due to behind-the-scenes drama: one of the stars poisoned the other star. James is now dead. Long live House Hancher. He insists that it was indigestion due to the canned peas he heated up as a side, but the chicken quarter I gave him was totally undercooked you don’t have to spare my feelings you know.

Anyhoodle, we might check out a potential place tomorrow morning before James goes to work (I don’t work until the afternoon). On the plus side, I discovered that two of the places we’re looking at have MOVE-IN SIMULATORS. (When I saw those words I said “what’s a move-in simulator?” and James said “oh god I’ve lost you already” and it turns out HE WAS RIGHT)


I think this one is for an apartment complex called Preston? Or Biltmore? Or something really New-Englandy sounding. Maybe. Look, James made the apartment list. Whatever this place is, it has the better move-in simulator. Better fake furniture options. You could change the size and color of the furniture. It didn’t have everything, and I had to completely guess at the proportions, but it was a lot of fun.

It’s going to be really nice to have all of our furniture out for us to use.

Because James and I had a…not a fight? We didn’t really disagree on anything. We just sort of snapped at each other a few times because we were stressed out and upset. Anyway, whenever I took a screenshot and emailed it to myself from James’ computer, I made up a little letter from James.

My dearest Kelsey,

I love you so much. I think you are very very pretty and I want to kiss you and hug you all the time. I know that today you have snapped at me a couple of times and I also know that you are very sorry. I love you very much because you are so pretty.

My most sincerest regards on this letter that I totally wrote and you totally did not write,

your cute James bear

If James had actually written that I would have made coughing noises and pointed at the back of my throat. I read it aloud as I wrote it and he laughed hysterically, so. (he once actually did write me a love letter and I’m pretty certain he opened with “my dearest Kelsey” so I’m not making that up probably)


My sweetest Kelsey,

I don’t mind at all that you are pretending to be me because all the words you say are complete accurate. You are so pretty. You don’t really remind me of Elphaba because you are just so goshdarn pretty. And not evil. Not even a little. Okay a little. But I love you anyway.

Hugs and kisses,

Jamesy poo

Anyway, that was all that we did for Season 2, Episode 1 of Apartment Hunters. Hopefully in the next few weeks, as I leave one job and start up full-time at another, I will be much less stressed out and won’t snap at him anymore. Plus hopefully I’ll be getting benefits soon, which means (hopefully) that I’ll be able to get treatment for depression, which I’m sure isn’t helping matters.

Also, I treated myself to some retail therapy. It’s amazing what you can get for $24.50 at your local thrift store.

Alright, so, this is me, in an everyday outfit, what I would wear whenever.

Look at this sweater. It like molds onto my body. Like I was born in it.

Summer sweater!

I have a less-than-secret love for sweaters that have the blouse collar built in.

HOW CUTE IS THIS DRESS? Someday I’ll have the perfect body for this dress, which is rather body-hugging. It’s my Goal Dress.

And this dress too! How cute is this dress? I don’t even know when I would wear it. I bet I could combine it with my Summer Sweater and then break into the 1950s. I don’t know why I would want to do that. But I could.