Showing posts with label communication. Show all posts
Showing posts with label communication. Show all posts

Monday, April 21, 2014

There ARE MANY Perks to Eloping

A few of my posts have included dreams that I’ve had. Each of those posts concludes with how I don’t put much faith in dreams.  But there is one dream that I definitely interpreted to be quite meaningful.  I made a life changing decision as a result.

                  I met Roland for the first time on December 31, 2000.  He asked me out that night.  We would go downtown to celebrate the coming of the New Year.  I missed playing games with my family – a ritual I have enjoyed about New Years.

                  Roland was quite forward.  I had dismissed guys for being too forward – and none had ever been as forward as Roland had.  I didn’t understand why I felt so comfortable around him. By the end of our date we had set up a second. I don’t know if I knew then that we would be seeing the movie Castaway with Tom Hanks.

                  So during our second date, I cried and cried – not for Tom Hanks’ character, but because I thought of my dad.  Though he was never stranded on an island with a ball-turned-companion, I just remembered the frustration that dad must have felt in trying to communicate with anybody outside of his hospital bed. 

                  Roland was so gentle with me and seemed to understand.  He passed no judgment.  I was grateful for that. 

                  That night I had a dream that it was summer and my mom was trying to get all my sibs together for a family portrait.  In the dream Roland and I had been dating for six months.  He had not yet proposed, but I knew that he would be proposing.  I was wondering how to ask mom to allow Roland and the boys to be in our family picture, as I knew that we would be together by the end of the year.

                  In real life I shot out of bed.  I had met Roland only two days before.  We had only had our second date – a movie, at that. Why would I be dreaming that we would become an item?  I didn’t even know him!  I was less than thrilled about having this dream. 

                  The next day I went to work but returned home in less than four hours as I really didn’t feel well.  I told my brother that I’d be going back to bed and under any circumstances I was NOT to be disturbed.  But less than an hour later he knocked at my door to tell me that Roland was waiting for me.
                  For reals?  Or was I having another odd dream?  Roland was there to propose!  We had met just three days ago and he wanted to marry me!  Get real!  So of course my first thought was: “No, no, no, no, no . . . .”           actually the reaction was pretty much as it had been when I awoke from the dream.

               Was there a connection?  Had my dream been a personal revelation?  Was this a test?  “No – no – I can’t accept a proposal of marriage.  I don’t even know this guy.  This goes against EVERYTHING I had planned for myself.  I wasn’t even going to date a guy I had known less than a year.  And now I was getting this message to marry this complete stranger?”

                  Of course I prayed about my decision – realizing that just because I accepted his proposal did not mean I couldn’t break it off at some point.  Three days?? That’s outrageous!!

                  Since I was knee high my dad had tried to brainwash me into believing that I wanted to elope when I had the opportunity.  To be honest, I really had no idea what he meant. It wasn’t until I got much older than I realized the elopement thing was not a bad idea.  Only by the time Roland came along, dad was gone and mom didn’t want me to elope.  I think my mom saw Roland as the Big Bad Wolf and was afraid for me.

                  Roland and I had changed our wedding date several times.  As I had mentioned in this post, we had wanted to do the right thing and start our life together with a temple marriage.

                    We had the marriage certificate to present to our bishop for the following week, but he realized that he’d be out of town. And I was tired of it.  Tired of changing the date.  Tired of trying to appease everyone.  In fact, I had said to mom and brother, Corey, “why don’t you arrange a date that fits into both of your schedules and get back to us; You two make the arrangements and tell us when to show up.”
                   After several tears and a talk with mom, I went into the bishop and asked if he could marry us that night or the next. Our civil marriage took place September 9, 2001. Everybody (including the groom) who came to the wedding received an eight hour notice or less.  So it wasn’t an elopement exactly, but it wasn’t planned in the way that you would think a wedding should be.

                  On September 11, terrorists attacked our nation.  If Roland and I hadn’t already been married, I would have had him drive me to Vegas upon my return home from work.  For I fully believed that the world had come to an end.  I suppose in many aspects it symbolically did.

                A month later we did an open house – mostly for the benefit of those who attended mom’s ward and made desires known that they wished I would have had a reception or something.  I purchased balloons, baskets and teddy bears for the decor and we’d gone to Sam’s Club for the hors-d'œuvre.  I think we spent 100 bucks tops.

So it wasn’t elaborate.  It worked.  I don’t ever look back on that day and say, “Oh, I wish I would have spent more money on more frivolous things.”
Okay, I’ll admit, I’ve never been overly enthusiastic about weddings.  If I have to be involved in a wedding, I have always enjoyed the simpler ones so much better than all that elaborate hoopla.  When I finally understood my dad’s wisdom, I had hoped that each of my boys would find girls who would want to elope. 

Actually, my first daughter-in-law and I have much in common as far as hoopla goes.  Her attitude pretty much matched my own.  Her family made the arrangements and she and Tony showed up.  Well, not entirely.  But I am under the impression that is how she felt.  It was important to her mom, and that is why she allowed it.  Rochelle’s mom passed away only two months after she and Tony were married.

I don’t know how much Carrie and I have in common.  She likes to visit, but Randy somehow always manages to steal her thunder.  His behavior resembles that of Captain Kirk or William Shatner where “I am important and therefore all attention should be on me”   

It was actually that behavior that Carrie found to be a turn off.  She could see right away that Randy is full of himself (which really most people don’t get because they are always awed by his charisma) I don’t recall why she agreed to go out with him, or why she allowed a second date (her description of their first date is less than flattering) but evidently had enough premonition to make a life with him.

Their wedding was expensive.  We did not contribute financially as we were on welfare when  both Randy and Tony were married to their wives. Perhaps that is part of why I have such a hang-up with the tremendous amount of money spent on weddings.  I have enough trouble  just staying afloat or trying to put food on the table.  Spending two paychecks for one-day event is OUTRAGEOUS.

Jeanie seemed all in favor of elopement initially.  But I think Biff wanted the hoopla – and what they had in mind initially seemed tasteful.  They would get married in the temple and have a luncheon with the family.  They wouldn’t send out announcements to friends until several weeks later to invite them to some kind of reception to pay a congratulations to the couple. At least that was my understanding.

But then it changed.  And changed again.  They couldn’t marry in the temple as they had planned and so they decided just to marry civilly.  They would include family members and have a luncheon afterward.  Later when they were granted temple marriage, they would have a reception to include all family and friends.

We received the announcement of their civil marriage and have been planning for that for over a month.  Two weeks ago Roland received a text from Biff to please escort him in the temple.  They are having their temple marriage on Friday and have changed their civil marriage to something else to accommodate those that are coming on Saturday. 

Two weeks is quite a healthy notice.  It’s not like Biff rushed into a proposal only three days after having met Jeanie.  And they have given us a lot more than just eight hours notice.  I can’t help but wonder what kind of example we set for them though. 

Still no scheduled reception – at least   that I know of.  I wonder if they are still planning on having more.  I think elopement would have been so much easier.  Definitely less expensive.  I can still plant the seeds for Jenna.  Let her know the pros and the cons.  I mean, it would be nice if we could afford something elaborate for her.  But gads, all that money for just one day?  Why not put the money towards a house or tuition or something that you will have with you with more than just a memory?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Remembering Mom

         It was in January of 2012 that my sibs and I worked together with my niece and her husband to put ourselves on a schedule so that someone would always be at home with my mom – which unfortunately did not always work out.

         We would keep in touch by phone and sending the same email to our group so that we could all kind of keep track of what was going on.  It wasn’t until November when Nate decided to create a group page on facebook.  He gave it the name “Operation Grandma Care”.  We started out with Six members and gradually we became Nine.

         The site was up for less than three months before we had moved my mom into assisted living. I don’t know when Nate removed himself from the group but it couldn’t have been more than eight months after he’d created the site.  Nevertheless the seven of us that remained continued to keep tabs on one another, supply information and make inquiries. 

         Pictures we posted and Sunny even posted a video which shows my mom singing three songs. What a treasure that is!  I am so grateful to Nate for having created the site for us.

         After my mom passed away less than five months ago, we decided we would keep the site but we changed the name.  Well, Kayla did.  Operation was dropped and an S was added to make “Grandma Cares”  It’s funny that the site contains only one grandchild. 
         We kept it in order to share stories and photos and memories of mom but also of dad and our family.  Corey will periodically post discoveries he has made while going through her journals. Yesterday I posted one of Jenna’s favorite stories that only Patrick and I had experienced.  (Fortunately for Corey and Kayla they both missed out)

         True story: In searching for creative ways to economize, Salt Lake Tribune had a featured area of suggestions and recipes.  My mom tried one called “Peanut Butter Casserole”  the very idea of putting tomatoes, onions and peanut butter together would make my nose turn – but now that I’ve tasted it, I can honestly say the idea makes me puke.

         Mom decided to go heavy on the peanut butter – which I have no way of knowing weather it improved or hindered the taste.  My brother Patrick thought it was the grossest thing ever.  He had had only one bite and figured out what the ingredients were and pulled away from the table as though he had been bitten. 

         I remember finding the recipe that mom had so carefully cut out of the paper.  I tore it to bits and distributed only a few pieces into each trash can we had in the house.  Mom wasn’t good at puzzles.  She would never be able to put it back together if she wanted to.  But she too, admitted it was bad.

         I didn’t realize until my neighbor commented on my post that she too had tortured her family with the yucky excuse for a meal.  She, too, can testify to its awfulness.  Now we can all laugh at the experience.

         Thanks again, Nate, for creating the site for us.  We do have another site with all of our children to inform them of events taking place currently.  But it’s fun to have a “Grandma Cares” site for memories

Monday, October 14, 2013

Please Check the Collar

After we got Highness (our dog) we went and got him tagged and I went online to change the information on the chip (though I don’t think it’s taken) and somehow lost the tag within the first week or two.  I sent off the renewal fees this morning – but I’ve been informed that he is to wear his original tag.  He had four of them hanging on him this morning.  And now there are two – the newest being the one given for his rabid shots.

When our first dog, Houdini, escaped, animal control picked him up all too often – though we did occasionally receive calls from others who had found him – those that took the time to find the information attached to his collar. We loved Houdini.  But we just couldn’t afford to bail him out of jail.  He was a good dog, but apparently some saw him as a threat.  


Highness is a good dog overall.  I’m surprised he hasn’t spent time in jail.  There was only one time when animal control was called – but I called him in not realizing the animal control was about to step in. Still, I wish I could attach the following note (for those times that he does escape and someone will take the time to read it:

Dear Sir or Madam::

            My name is Highness Romero. I live in West Valley.  I’m basically a good dog, but if you are reading this, I’ve obviously escaped.  But do not worry.  I will not harm you or your animals.  If you heard me yowling or barking, it’s because I am excited.  I would like to sniff your cat or dog.  Once I’ve done that, I will be on my way.

            You can call my owners if you would like to (provide number) but I don’t have dementia and I can find my way home.  I’m sorry if my yowling scares you.  I don’t mean to be frightening.  I don’t bite.  Even when I am taunted and your animal is biting me, I don’t bite back.  I am a good dog.  I’m also adventurous.  Please don’t call animal control on me.  My owners can’t afford it.  It’s really not their fault that I’ve escaped.  For the most part, they don’t even know I’m gone.

            Thank you for taking the time to read about me.  Thank you for being my friend.

                                                Love, Highness

Okay, maybe it’s a bit cheesy.  I guess the name and phone number I’ve written on the collar will have to do.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Communicating In Code

Jenna has always had a fascination with “secret codes”.  She enjoys translating and sending coded messages.  She has rewritten the alphabet and created characters for each letter.  
For a while we were doing picture characters, but drawing an octopus got tiresome after attempting to draw it the last six notes or so. I am okay with stick figures and symbols – but when it comes to drawing, many of my animals end up looking the same.

So I changed some of the characters from the code that Jenna had and wrote a note and told her to translate without using the key.  An early introduction to cryptogram.  More clues.  More puzzles.  How fun!

Jenna’s last code was symbols drawn at random – but it’s something I can/could learn.

L 7 O £ ÷ © ∞ π × " # % + \ [ ^ ] ¦ ¤ ◊ ∂ √
for example

I am so grateful for her enthusiasm and her desire and willingness to learn and create. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Go Camping or Not go camping . . .

     I have gone camping before – several times actually.  I’d gone with my family. I remember times when Patrick and I were younger though not too much with my other two sibs.  I do remember when Corey and Kayla were both a lot younger, we did do a family activity where we stayed in cabins.  That’s the only time I recall camping with the two of them.

     I’d gone to girls’ camp through the church.  When I was twelve and thirteen I went to a camp called Oakcrest.  We stayed in cabins.  I remember going to rough camp twice (we stayed in tents) as a youth and twice as a leader.  That was well over twelve years ago.

     And then there was the one time we attempted camping as a family – before Jenna entered the picture.  Memorial weekend 2002.  The boys were in a tent and Roland and I tried to sleep in the van.

     Roland has actually gone several times with the scouts – even in the winter – which he hates.  Two years ago he took Biff and Randy to a fathers/sons – of course they were all so lucky that they could go, and Jenna was not.

Half of Jenna’s friends have gone camping with their families.  They are so lucky!  The closest that Jenna ever got to camping was sleeping in a tent set up in the back yard.  So this year when she came home from an assembly introducing a camp through the school district – which was actually affordable for us – I signed Jenna up for Mill Hollow.

     The deadline was on April 30 – and that was the day I had turned my money in.  They had two openings – one in June and one in August.  I guess I should have picked the one in June.  But I thought the one in August might be a nice way for her to end her summer.

     None of her brothers had ever gone to Mill Hollow.  My first daughter-in-law had – and she loved it.  Gave Jenna hope.  More reason to look forward to it.

     Meanwhile, Roland is in the bishopric and the bishop was asked to assist in finding another leader to go with them to girls’ camp (the Young Women are from age 12-18) and Roland said my name came up.  He asked what dates Jenna would be going to Mill Hollow and it was for three of the five days that the young women have their camp.  So he asked if I would consider going those three days.

     And then three weeks ago he came home from Church all excited, forms in hand, he just needed my signature.  Word was that permission had been given so that Jenna would be able to go to YW camp with me.  Really?  Because I know that in the past leaders have been discouraged from bringing their non-YW children with them.

     “What about Mill Hollow?” I asked.
     “I think Jenna would have more fun at YW, don’t you?”
     I agreed. 
Still I wouldn’t have mentioned it to her.  But Roland blabbed and she was bouncing off the walls.

     The next day I cancelled her trip to Mill Hollow.  I hadn’t really wanted to. At Mill Hollow she would have been educated and learned more about plants, animals, geology, ecology, astronomy, etc. Learn history.  Enjoy activities.  Not to say that she won’t get that at YW, but she won’t be with her peers exactly.  I wish now I would have prayed about my decision, but I didn’t.

     Last week Jenna anxiously asked if she could tell the only other girl in her primary class that she would be going to YW. 

     “No.  Do not say anything to anybody” 

     I went to the camp kick off by myself.  They started out with a slide show that I thought was pretty cheesy.  Oh, this is so up her ally.  I think she would have liked it.  I still don’t know why I was called when it feels to me like the leaders already outnumber the girls.  I was the only person from our ward who attended the kick off. I did not stay for the entire thing as it wasn’t answering my questions. 

     Even though the forms have been signed and “special permission was granted” I have now been told that we will not be going.  And I fully understand.  I really do.  This program was designed for girls ages 12-18.  Those attending (or will attend) junior high and high school.  To create a bond, to introduce them to explore themselves.  They are not there to babysit or play big sister to primary girls.  If they make an exception for Jenna than they’ll have to make an exception for this girl or that leader and that isn’t right.  So I do understand the reason for exclusion.

     And anyone who knows Jenna knows she is a show stealer and loves attention and has been known to steal another’s thunder – and it isn’t her turn to shine as a young women and she needs to understand that.
     So after a week of bouncing, both of us have cried – her at the thought of not going to camp at all and me because I knew that she had built herself up for another let down.  If she can’t go to YW she won’t be going to camp at all.  We just received the refund for Mill Hollow yesterday.

     Roland said that maybe I could call the district tomorrow and see if I can uncanell my cancellation. But this time I will pray to know if it is the right decision for us at this time. Perhaps this situation is a blessing in disguise.  And perhaps we’ll never know what that blessing was/is.  She’s not as upset about it as she was last week when I told her to prepare herself that we might not be going. Perhaps one day she will understand.

     Truth is, as much as she truly, badly wanted to go – I truly and badly didn’t want to go.  And it is nothing against camping with the YW.  I actually don’t mind the bonding and experience.  It’s the lack of sleep.  It’s the discomfort of the heat and sitting on the ground.  My body wants the comfort of a bed – my bed.  And at least five pillows.  Not a board with a roll up or air mattress and only one pillow. Though it’s a sacrifice that I was willing to make.  But I’m now relieved that I don’t have to go.  But as much as I feel relief at not being able to go, my heart breaks for Jenna who never had an input or say. I still don’t understand why I was needed in the first place.  Perhaps I’ll never know that either. 
Often God does works in mysterious ways, or at least ways that we don’t understand.  I’m quite certain that this is one of them.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Staying on the Same Page

          Communication is SO important – whether it is the working place, or homes, our churches, our communities . . . and it’s important that we all stay on the same page.  We need consistency. 

          I recall one work place that made egg salad sandwiches.  Some of the workers would put pickles into the mixture, while others refused because they thought it was gross.  I don’t care if the egg salad has pickles or not.  When I am in a working environment I would expect to make the egg salad according to what the customer orders from the menu and expects – not to my own personal preference.  I think when a customer expects a certain product, he or she should receive the same product or courtesy or satisfaction that kept him or her coming back to begin with.

          I know different cooks have their own personalities and styles.  I am a wimp when it comes to anything remotely spicy – and so I have learned (well – back when I was single and had money) to ask which chef is in the kitchen before I place my order for there was one who would use every spice in the kitchen I believe and lots of it, while the other probably was not a favorite among those who really do enjoy authentic Mexican food.  It needs to be consistent.  The recipe must be followed exactly the same in my opinion.

          Food is just a very small issue of what needs to be communicated.  I hate being told one thing by one employee or parent or teacher or representative or what have you and being told something completely different by somebody else.  Opinions are often brought in by individuals who pass on their opinions that others accept as gospel truth – even when it’s not.

          I recall failing a class that I had tried to transfer into.  I was livid when I received a failing grade.  Why couldn’t have anybody said anything to me before hand?  I was on the roles already.  On the school record – but they failed to give it to me on the schedule that was handed out.  You think the teacher would have recognized the name from her rolls when I tried to transfer in.  It did not fly well.  I don’t recall there being any problems in my scheduling after that incident.

          I do have a have a similar situation story to share – only it didn’t happen to me personally.  Just someone I knew. It took place in the MTC (missionary training center) nearly 30 years ago (though I’m sure the same still occurs even now – perhaps not weekly, but maybe once in a while) I’m not including his first name in the story, but the last name is real.

          Elder Lovett had arrived on September 6 because that’s what it said on his papers – only those receiving the missionaries that day were actually not expecting Elder Lovett until the following week.  Fortunately he had his letter and showed them that it was indeed the date he’d been assigned to report.  But because there was an error in communication on whatever part, Elder Lovett hadn’t been assigned a companion (partner) or room or books or what have you.

          Six elders had been assigned to our district.  Four had been assigned to one room designed for four people.  The other two elders were also in a room designed for four – but one side remained empty.  So Elder Lovett was assigned to partner up with the latter two.  Six Elders would be serving in Fresno, California.  Elder Lovett was assigned to West Virginia.

          He shared these events with us during our third class (I think) when once more the instructor would say: “Turn to page H5” (for example) and all of us would turn to the assigned page – including Elder Lovett – but he would never be able to follow along.  I think it must have been during that third class the instructor suggested a page that just didn’t exist among the pages that Elder Lovett’s had in his possession.

          “It’s just my book.  They must have gone to the warehouse and retrieved this off some old dusty shelf.  This is out of date.”  I know for a fact that we have been asked to discard old material as it is updated.  Apparently the books that Elder Lovett had been given weren’t as discarded as they should have been.

          Perhaps his situation prepared him to be a stronger leader.  He definitely understood the importance of communication.  Elder Lovett had his first opportunity as district leader serving with us in the MTC.  He was great – throughout his entire mission I would imagine.  I actually never saw him or heard from him again after leaving the MTC. 

          There is the miscommunication between family members.  Just before Tony got married, I had called Roland’s family to inform them about when the event was scheduled to take place and what might be involved for those waiting outside the temple. 

          I was experiencing problems with my cell phone and had made some remark about my frustration.  Unbeknownst to me, the family had me on speaker phone – and whatever snide remark I made (in regards to my cell phone) somehow was interpreted to mean that I did not want them (mom in particular) to come . . . and whatever it was that I said got blown out of proportion as family members related the events to other family members until I realized that Roland’s brother was slamming him on facebook; his brother was not even a part of the initial family I was calling. 

I noticed one of Roland’s sisters had also been misinformed about the events that would take place when their oldest sister died.  Why not just listen and repeat before we jump the gun on something that was just not communicated correctly?
I am grateful to those who do take the time to at least try.  However their attempts to assist are not always profitable when the communication among the employees to employees are even worse than employee to customer. (as I have mentioned in this earlier post

Roland is great at having people and communication skills – problem is not all of those he attempts to communicate with possess the same talent.  And that is sad. It’s sad that so many have become and accept ignorance.  Ignorance is NOT professional.

And machines that talk to you instead of a human being?  Oh, don’t even get me started.  Talk about impersonal – and yet it seems that so many business have picked up on it and wreak havoc on the consumer’s life even more. 
Bless the company that gives you a live human being to begin with. Especially when that human is able to communiacate!