He chose his profession perfectly

It was errand day today.

My instagram story (click the icon) has a bit of documentation.

One of the errands I had to do was pick up a prescription for my grandma at her doctor’s.  I was in a bit of a hurry because I wanted to complete my entire to-do list in three hours and I was late by like, seven hours.

I got to the parking lot and there was an ambulance, all the lights on, doors in the back open.   I was immediately sorry for whoever was going to get in there.  I knew it was most probably an old person because the doctor mostly tends to those and I went out of the car wishing I wouldn’t have to see someone gravely ill.

I was so relieved when I got to the door and heard people inside talking calmly, a smiley lady was opening the door.  There was an old lady laying in a stretcher, her right knee looked like it had a ton of liquid in it, it was very swollen.  Her daughter was standing by her side helping her answer the questions of the paramedic that was standing behind her.  That’s when I saw him.  I literally WOWED in my mind.

He was a hunk!  A tall, most handsome face hunkity hunk.

I couldn’t walk past them so I stood at the door while they finished the questionnaire.  When they did the daughter said “ok, mom, I’ll see you in a little bit.”  She made this mischievous face while she said it, her eyes darting up to the paramedic.

And then the old lady smirked the cutest, most gleeful smirk.  If there was ever a lady that was happy to be riding an ambulance with a paramedic, it was this lady knowing that she was riding the ambulance with the hunkiest paramedic in all America.

 

I Remember: Her wet hair

What I remember the most is the back of her uniform being wet from the middle of her back down and her hair dripping on it.

Every free moment we had she ran to the bathroom to wet her hair in the sink.  It started with just running her wet hands through her hair but in a few days she was dipping her head into the open faucet.  It meant that her uniform was wet pretty much all day long.

She would rather walk around as if her head had just left a shower than have her natural curls be dry and free.  She topped the look with red lipstick.  One that she needed to remove before every class because we weren’t allowed red lipstick at our school.

Wet hair, red lipstick and a tough attitude.  That was her thing.

She was tough enough that guys teased her about liking girls – even though she was making the biggest efforts to appear attractive and easy to all of them, often throwing herself at them – and she spat a slew of dirty remarks back at them with such speed and ease that it was clear their words couldn’t make a dent on her.

She took that spitting part pretty seriously too.  In fact, the most famous girl fight in my entire ten years in school (and probably for a couple of years afterwards too) featured her spitting the face of her opponent (another very tough girl who could never see that one coming) and ending up the fight with both girls writhing in the floor pulling their hair.

I have something from each one of my classmates edged on my memories, having been with most of them for ten years.  What I remember the most about this girl was that the way her hair was dripping on her reflected how much she wanted to be accepted.

Enough that she walked around looking like someone hosed her head.

Ocean clean

A few days ago I went to the beach with Baby J, just the two of us.

As it is my usual when I’m alone with her, there’s this ‘mother radar’ that gets turned on and I’m triple checking everything around us, the people, the moves.  I scan everything in our surroundings to find a good spot to cross the street, seat, play.  I know a bit about self defence and it begins, simply, with choosing your position wisely at all times.

So, we strategically sit down and start playing sand castles when I see these two women come out of nowhere – I immediately know they’re twins – walking towards us.  I’m usually very chill, but there is something off about them that makes me nervous:  they are wearing the most unusual clothes and a scary attitude.

They were both large women.  One of them was blonde and was wearing a pink dressing gown, the kind that your button up in the front.  The other one had red and green hair and was wearing an under shirt and panties.  They walked towards us with a face that seems unreal in a beach setting, they looked inherently angry, like the sort of people that can go off at any moment and not know themselves why they went off.

I noticed that they were speaking English as the blonde one sat a few feet from us.  Her sister ordered her up (this was no asking) and told her to “lets go because I say so”.  They started walking back in the direction they just came from as my mind is reeling thinking about the very few reasons that could bring these two women to the beach in that attire.

They stopped in a sand spot where the one with the green and red hair ordered the blonde one to burry her feet in sand while she took photos with her cell phone.  She was recording and taking photos with an iPhone and I was pouring sand into our castle bowl but I couldn’t take my eyes off of them.  The men sitting in the park close to the beach arranged themselves so as to better see the butts of the twins, which were being displayed quite regularly.

Baby J stood up to go find a tool, she wanted to poke something and started grabbing tree branches.  I said no to all the pieces she held because I thought, hysteric mom style, they could all be contaminated by bats or rats having fallen from the trees nearby.  She ended up deciding she was going to use a former lollipop stick.   I cringed about it but when I saw it up close, I noticed it was unusually white.  Like, clean bright white.  Baby J was very happy about the work it was doing and when a wave washed off some of our work of art, I calmed down finally remembering that the sea washes almost everything away.

Whatever is left at the shore gets completely soaked at night and the waves do a pretty good job of rubbing dirt off.  Baby J’s lollipop stick was pretty much disinfected.

When I looked up the twins looked even weirder than before.  Both had begun laughing and playing in the sand and with the waves.  They kept running towards and away from each other, splashing and whooping.  They looked almost happy, joyful.   They certainly did not looked as terrifying as they did when they were serious.

There’s this thing about the sea;  it washes almost everything away.  Dirt, sadness and uncertainty.  It will both rid you of all your filth – inside and out – and ground your thoughts, rooting them clearly up front as if they had never left you.

We all got a good scrub that day.

Sorry, wrong number

My history with wrong numbers began in 2003.
I had that boyfriend that was my boyfriend for eight years (EIGHT FREAKING YEARS WHAT WAS I THINKING) and my calls were mostly from and to him and my immediate family.

And then one night I began receiving calls from complete strangers, mostly women, interested in getting to know me.  Did I want to go out?  Have a drink?  Have sex later?  I was absolutely dumbfounded.  They got really angry when I told them I wasn’t interested in any of those things, mostly because I had a boyfriend and also I’m straight.  I could never really talk to them past all their insults afterwards.  There was a pair (oh yes, they called together) that kept leaving me horrible voicemails (basically insulting me for “being a closet wh***”) for a week before getting tired of harassing me.

A guy called me one night with the same line of interest and I told him I was going through this nightmarish time were strangers kept asking me out and I had no idea why but NO I DON’T WANT TO HAVE SEX TONIGHT.  He was extremely polite and explained to me that my number had been listed in a TV program that served as a dating place, for people that wanted to hook up and get down to it.

I thanked him profusely for finally clarifying the situation: someone had listed my number.  And then he asked again if maybe I wanted to have just a bit of sex.

That was the beginning of a long story of wrong number calls for me.
While I was working (circa 2006) the same old lady called me several times a day asking for her grandson.  Most times she woke me up very early in the morning and called a few times non-stop.  This mostly on mornings were I had been working third shift. I’m not ashamed to say sometimes my answers were not very polite.

Then a few weeks ago I began receiving text messages directed at a “Joel”.  Joel owed money to this person who was trying to make him reason and pay before things had to escalade via the legal way.  He wanted him to know he was only asking for what was his.

After a few days the person tried to contact Joel again, this time to let him know that if he didn’t responded he was going to find him at work and maybe make a scene, did he wanted that?  It could all be resolved if he received his money.  Or he could sue him and THAT would be a pain.  For both of them!

I began to feel really bad for Joel because someone was trying to threaten him with some sort of lawsuit for money and he didn’t even know.  And I felt bad for the guy trying to collect his money because I’ve been there, it’s so uncomfortable.  The detail was the person thought Joel was reading the messages because I was.

After much debating I decided to  send a text message back telling the guy that he had the wrong number, I wasn’t Joel.  Joel wasn’t getting all his threats because Joel probably gave him the wrong number on purpose. Sneaky Joel.  But he could think that I was Joel and I was just lying to avoid paying him and he could get angry and send me many more text messages and even begin calling to insult me.   That’s what wrong numbers do in my case.

At the end of that day I got a text message back “disculpe hermano” (“sorry brother”which by the way, why assume I’m a guy?).

My faith in humanity grew about thirty percent.

Have a great day!

Lean on me

I was going out of the grocery store a few days ago when I saw an old couple walking in front of me.

 

I smiled when I saw the lady’s arms wrapping the gentleman’s body, her head almost resting in his shoulder.  She was holding him steady while they went down the ramp, and then to the parking lot.  They were walking ever so slowly, so slowly that any other day I would’ve been annoyed to be held up, but that day I just observed them with a smirk on my face.

How sweet to see her effort to help them both look so poise.

 

But oh, what a surprise to see;  when they reached their car he gently helped her to the passenger’s seat, doing everything for her, even placing her hands where she could find support.

He had been carrying her all along and giving her all the credit.

 

How sweet they were, how very sweet.

 

Our first Christmas

So. Santa duty.

Was a bit harder than I expected given that baby J is only six months old and I thought I could get away with an easy performance. Wasn’t possible because this happened:

 

Santa was in da house. Because apparently, is not about knowing Santa, it’s about knowing someone who knows Santa. At least that’s how it works in manfriend’s family.

I’m pretty sure we got high on Santa. Partly because, upon meeting him, baby J pulled Santa’s beard and it was pretty much the funniest and cutest thing ever. No illusions were harmed in the incident because that beard is real.

That Santa was the sweetest man ever, God bless him. It takes him eight months to grow that beard (from a short beard) and he’s been doing this for seventeen years. He’s quite old now and since spending the whole night until the wee hours of the morning visiting houses is too tiring, he thinks this was his last Christmas being Santa. Very sad to know after you’ve seen the faces of the kids when they see the sledge arriving and Santa entering their house ho-ho-ho’ing.

 

Then, on Christmas day;

 

 

Robbers carried an entire section of the copper line of the power service company in a sector in the hills ON CHRISTMAS DAY so we didn’t had power service that afternoon, that night or the next morning. I spent all that time asking out loud how was it possible that someone would do that ON CHRISTMAS DAY. I actually used caps in my voice.

At the end of the day;

Those are going to be the highlights of the story when I tell it to baby J later. Can’t complain about the amusing material.

 

Hope you had a great one!

What’s that thing they say about books and their cover?

The other day I was paying our power service and received one of those unexpected surprises that make your day.

Three persons in front of me was this man; very dirty, skin and clothes. Ragged, painted pants. Very long and unkempt beard. He was wearing a dirty cap over his long, white, dirty and unkempt hair. And he smelled a bit like… someone who’s been sweating and hasn’t shower.

In front of me was this lady. Probably in her fifties. Wearing sport gear as if she had been on the gym. She kept turning around to look at me and I kept pretending I didn’t notice because I hate to talk to people in lines. I’m that hermit of a person who just won’t acknowledge strangers while waiting for a turn because this is Puerto Rico and saying ‘hi” will make you listen to the story of how her sister’s husband cheated on her with her best friend, including the details of the best friend’s diet. It has happened, trust me. Anyway, it didn’t work because again, this is Puerto Rico, so SHE TALKED TO ME ANYWAY. I was there looking outside the window and she was talking to me.

She turned around and touched her nose saying “it stinks here doesn’t it?” and gestured with her entire body towards the man that was now the next in turn to pay. (Oh, this is Puerto Rico, so there was only one person collecting.) I gave her a half smile that lasted 0.32 secs. It meant shut up in hermit. She proceeded to show me her bill and explain she had to pay twenty eight dollars which was ten dollars more than her usual bill. She whined a lot because of this. Power service here has skyrocketed this year so whining about the costs (of power and water and every other thing that the government provides) is what everyone does. I actually try to contrarest this on a daily basis, we can whine all we want but it’s not going to solve anything, so it’s better to focus on something positive instead. Look, the Christmas breeze is FINALLY here, it means we are not melting! HALLELUYA!

Then she asked how much more I was paying and I said the inflated bill (expected in every household) hasn’t come yet, but I have heard of some neighbors who are paying around ten dollars more so that seems to be the number. More whining was expressed. But while she was whining, the man, the “dirty” one went to the collecting window. He started the most lovely conversation with the employee about how pretty were her glasses. She told him the bill was seventy two dollars and change.

So the man takes money out from his pocket to pay and here’s where it got quiet in there: he had a pack, like a solid half an inch pack of fifty dollar bills. I don’t even know when was the last time I had a fifty dollar bill in my hand, probably because it was never, but the point is, everyone is thinking the same thing. People are all whining about paying ten dollars more, this lady had a new car, good clothes, expensive tennis shoes and she’s crying her eyes out because she has to pay ten more dollars. That guy clearly had to work hard for his money (the dirt on him looked like bits of cement and paint, construction?) and there he was, first having more cash than all of us together and secondly handing it over without any complain. In fact, he was more cheerful about it than anyone I’ve ever seen paying that service.

I went outside happy. I don’t even know why exactly, but somewhere in the middle of showing that lady in her face that he was more than she imagined and how simply cheery he was, I got happy about the whole thing.

Patience can make cool transformations

When I was a child, let’s say, in the eighth grade, I was possibly the un-coolest kid in the school.

 

My hair was a bushy mess. I wore literally the cheapest glasses in the store which were HUGE. I had braces. I had the thinnest legs in the country. We couldn’t afford trendy clothes so my mom sewed everything I wore. I was so shy teachers people thought I couldn’t speak. I was ignored by boys. My backpack disappeared sometimes because it was in the dumpster. I was squirted with milk so many times I became immune to the smell others flee from.

 

It sucked some days.

 

Most kids in my situation looked for a quick way out. There were many ways to convert yourself from a nerd to one of the members of the cool pack. Wear expensive clothing, or accessories. Wear a shorter skirt. Stuff your bras with socks. Get bad grades. Makeout with a boy in a corridor. Smoke. Use drugs.

 

I was in a private school and drugs were accessible. If kids had money drugs were a recreational tool, if kids were poor drugs were good business. In any case, it was a quick sure way to be cool. I witnessed one of these transformations with one of my friends. One day she began wearing her curly hair dripping wet (literally dripping and wetting her uniform) to stop it from frizzing, she wore red lipstick in the lunch break and she started smoking cigarettes and weed. In a week’s time the prettiest and coolest boys were sitting with her in the lunch break.

 

I thought it was the stupidest and most pitiful thing ever. I felt she was pathetic. For me she was just a nerd pretending not to be and it was ridiculous. She was delighted with her new found status and I was glad when she stopped talking to us, the group of nerds.

 

 

I guess not everyone has that perspective at a young age, but while school was emotionally hard some days, I didn’t thought it was tragic or unbearable. I just went on with my things knowing that middle school would be over one day. I never touched drugs, I never have and I think I never will.

 

 

My first Christmas working (in 2004) for our office Christmas party we did an activity to interact with each other. We made official-looking certificates for every technician in the lab using everyone’s distinctive traits: The Lifesaver for our internal auditor, The Encyclopedia for the technician that knew everything about pop culture and history, The Best OJT (On the Job Trainer) for my trainer who was, well, THE BEST. I was part of the certificate-making committee so I thought I wouldn’t have one made for me but on the day of the party they called my name and I was given a certificate that read “to The Coolest coworker”. I felt like my eighth grade self, in huge glasses with my bushy hair when I posed for the picture holding the certificate.

 

My friend’s (Diz) cousin was found in coma from an overdose beside a MCDonalds establishment in Minnesota last week. She died the next day when she was disconnected in the hospital. Her battle with drugs began innocently in school, trying to fit in. Trying to fix her isolation. She was my age.

 

I held on for a few years and it made such a difference. I wish I could’ve told that to Alicia when there was still time.

Now we are even: Part II

This is Part II of a two parts post;  you can read the first part here.  

Every morning I take my Maltese (who’s also a rescue) outside to pee.  I really like that moment in the mornings when I can watch the sky, feel the sun if it’s already out, and breathe fresh air for a couple of minutes.  The doggie really likes it too, he spends the whole day inside (ruling our house like a prince) and he likes to stretch outside, walk a bit faster, pretend he’s wetting trees with imaginary pee.

Triunfo always monitors this walks.  He’s trained to never go outside without command, so he sits very still at our gate with his ears perked up watching my every move.  Sometimes he whines if he can’t see me. (Side note: my mom used to walk thirty minutes everyday and Triunfo howled from the moment she hit the corner of our street to the moment she reappeared there.)   Sometimes it’s his first time going downstairs too, so he scans the area and then goes back to the yard to pee the four spots he has marked as toilets.  He checks on me in between pees.

February the twenty first was just another morning.  Triunfo had been sleeping, so he came downstairs with me, looked outside and went to the backyard for his morning pees while I walked the Maltese.

When I went outside I saw a woman that lives close by standing close to one of the trees in front of our house.  As I moved closer to her, with my Maltese in his leash, she called out to her dog, which was hidden from view, and then I realized I had seen her many mornings with that dog around our block, she NEVER had him on a leash.  I hated that.

I knew it was a big dog.  I realized only seconds before it came running at my Maltese that it was a Pitbull.

She told me to hold my dog way after I had reached for him, but what a surprised when we both saw that her dog didn’t respond to her commands!  The result of this was that, within seconds he was jumping on me, growling viciously,  trying to get my Maltese, who was in my arms.  I instinctively covered both my Maltese and myself as best as I could against a jeep my father parks outside.  I felt his paws and his face around my shoulder, when I saw she couldn’t control her dog I got nervous.  And yes, I’m very surprised I didn’t die of fear, I just wanted my Maltese to be safe.  Unconsciously, I shouted “No!” twice.  Only twice, because I hadn’t even drawn new breath when Triunfo slammed him against the pavement.

The Pitbull grabbed him on the face, which drove me crazy.  It’s the only way I can describe what I felt.  It was a rage I have never before felt in my thirty one years of existence.  That dog was biting my dog and I wanted him to let go at any cost.  I kicked him several times, he didn’t even bothered.  When I realized I wasn’t going to get anywhere, I ran inside, dropped my Maltese and grabbed both a wood hand-plow and a dustpan with a hollow handle.  I ran half way to where the dogs where fighting and dropped the hand-plow because something in my head told me I didn’t want to kill the Pitbull with the hand-plow.  I proceeded to hit him with the hollow handle of the dustpan.  One minute later I wanted it to be the hand-plow.

If you are wondering, like I did, where the heck was the owner of the Pitbull or what was she doing, let me tell you now:  she was standing as many feet as she could from the fight and was doing nothing.  She was afraid of her own dog.  The one she was walking outside without a leash.  Inside a heavily populated residential area.  WHERE FAMILIES LIVE.

The fight didn’t last long.  It must have been some five minutes.  But I’m sure we woke up all the surrounding streets.   I was screaming at the dogs, my mother was screaming at me because she was afraid the Pitbull would bite me while I kept trying to get it off Triunfo and then a couple of neighbors came out to scream at everyone because they didn’t understood what was happening.   Finally somehow, the fight stopped.  We were standing in front of the woman’s apartment building because the Pitbull, though it had been biting, had fled from the attack.  One of the neighbors told me to calm down because I was making the dogs nervous.  If I wanted to scream now like I screamed then, I couldn’t.   I told him not to tell me to calm down;  he was waiving a broomstick towards my dog, OF COURSE he was making him nervous.

As I held Triunfo, who struggled to get back at the dog, blood dripping down his neck, I turned to the woman:  “HOW DARE YOU TAKE THAT DOG OUT WITHOUT A LEASH!  THAT DOG HAS TO BE ON A LEASH!”   Then I begged my father to pick up my dog and take him home.

I can’t even imagine what would have happened if that Pitbull had continued to struggle with me.

This is the face of my sweet hero.  He excuses himself for having his tongue out.

 

We are working with one stubborn wound to make it all better soon, other than that, he is doing everything he wants and receiving lots of extra treats.  As for me, I bought an industrial can of pepper spray.

Now we are even: Part I

This story is a bit long, so Part II will posted Thursday, it’ll be worth the wait.  — You can read Part II here.

Many years ago, I’d say around 2001, my mother and I came home one day and found someone abandoned a dog in front of our house.

He was lying with the bottom half of his body inside a broken carton box, barely a bunch of bones, he only lifted his head  when we approached him.  Then we heard a rhythmic bang against the box, he was wagging his tail.  I lost a piece of my heart right then.

We knew he was a mixed breed;  black, with longish ears, long snout, very small brown eyes, relatively short legs.  He couldn’t walk.  He just dragged himself when he wanted to move (one of the reasons why this story resonated in my heart last year).

We were coming home from the grocery store and had a bag of dog food in the trunk (we already had our boxer) so I opened it and with my hands poured some food in front of him.  He began to eat immediately.  I told my mom I just wanted him to have a full stomach if he died.

I poured much more food before he stopped eating.

Later that day we went back outside to check on him and didn’t see him.  We walked the whole street and found nothing.  Since he could barely move, we thought we were going insane.  Maybe the dog was a vision.  Maybe it was like a heavenly moment, “because I was hungry, and you fed me” or something.

But the next day, he was in the same spot we saw him the first time.  He had dragged himself back to us for food and we were delighted to see he was alive.  I fed him again and while he ate I had a long conversation with him where I told him:  “if you don’t die, I’m going to give you a home.  You’ll never be hungry again, and your name is going to be Triunfo.”  Triunfo means Triumph.   I thought it fit.

Several days passed, and then weeks and he continued to gain weigh.  Eventually he started walking.  We discovered he hid in our front yard at night and carried his plate of food and water in his snout  -without dropping anything- to the corner of our house and covered it in leaves, camouflaging it so well I replaced his bowls almost daily because I couldn’t find them.

He began to feel territorial about the space in front of our house, and began to bark at people when they stepped too close to our home so we took him to the vet, treated him for scabies, gave him all his vaccines and when it was time, we took him inside.

Our boxer and Triunfo fell in love through our gate.  They cried for each other and gazed lovingly into each other’s eyes;  until Triunfo was inside and it was time to decide who was the boss.  They fought for two days straight.  I was terrified either of them would be injured.  I don’t know who won, to this day, it’s not clear who’s the alfa, but they stopped fighting and finally Triunfo officially became part of our family.

He is incredibly smart.

I thought, since he was an adult when we rescued him, it would be harder to teach him new commands. One day I had both our boxer and him in front of me waiting for treats, I commanded the boxer to sit and when she did, I gave her the treat.  Then I jokingly commanded Triunfo to sit, laughing even, and while I lowered my hand with the treat;  he sat down.   I was flabbergasted, but that day he learned to sit and stay.

We had a bit of a challenge with him when it came to broomsticks.   Whenever we touched one, he fled, hiding for hours.  The vet told us that’s probably how his previous owner broke his hipbone.   We also gave up on trying to tie him up on special occasions because he can escape from any type of brace or collar or gate, even, that we’ve tried to put him in so when someone visits he gets to hang inside the laundry room where he plays with any piece of dirty or clean clothing.  I bet if we left him there long enough he would learn how to open the door.

He’s sweet, decent, thankful and turned out to be a great guardian.  He’s never had any issues with people or animals, as long as they don’t come too close to us or he feels they are a menace to our safety.  We’ve always suspected he would put himself on the line for any of us.

On the morning of February the twenty first he confirmed it.  Triunfo saved my life.