Someone Wants Me

After upwards of 400 job applications submitted from the East Coast to the West Coast and the No Coast in between, finally someone wants me.

It took until the interview process to realize how much I actually want/need a job. I mean, I knew I needed one, but it wasn’t until something actually seemed promising that I felt that drive again.

I’ve loved the jobs I’ve had. And I haven’t had many. I started at Goodwill when I was 16 and worked there for almost four years, then at a car dealership for almost four years, then at NP Dodge for a year. Then London for three months while I finished my masters, followed by a couple years of unemployment and self-employment.

When the Target opportunity came up, it reminded me of the NP Dodge opportunity. When I was desperately trying to get away from the car dealership, I saw an opening for an escrow officer at NP Dodge and had no idea what that word even meant. I knew I fit most of the requirements and I knew that I was a quick learner, so I went ahead and applied on a whim. Much to my surprise, I was called in for an interview. I remember exactly what I wore. I had a great time in the interview and was told that they had a few others to do, so I should hear at some point. I went home and took a nap and was woken from that nap with a phone call: a job offer.

I ended up absolutely loving escrow and real estate. And I really excelled at it. After a few months, I was promoted to a salaried position and had a junior officer working under me. Soon after that, I was handling all of the REOs and FSBOs. It really killed me to leave. I know I wrote about it in here somewhere. It really did. I should have gone back, actually, after finishing my masters. I was just so sure that I’d land the perfect job in social media somewhere in New York.

Until I didn’t. I had quick-links at the top of my browser for HBO jobs, BBC jobs, BBC America jobs, AMC jobs, NBC jobs, ABC jobs, Discovery jobs, Time Warner jobs; pretty much every major network. I was on LinkedIn for hours every day scrolling through page after page of social media manager jobs and the like. I realized quickly that with the SM manager positions, they required anywhere from 1-5 years of experience. I applied anyway, but it was just one meme after another.

I had limited myself to the coasts, so I started pulling in from each direction. Okay, no one in New York or California wants me, maybe something in Connecticut or Washington? Okay, no one there, so maybe Colorado or Chicago? On top of that, I had started applying for whatever job was available at the places I actually wanted to work (the networks). Got a receptionist job open? Okay, hire me. Someone needed in the mail room? I’ll do it. Finally, I was applying for the same thing in Omaha, wondering if I’d ever be able to do anything remotely like I had dreamed.

When I moved to Minnesota with Andrew, I started looking around at anything surrounding me to see what kind of jobs were available. Lo and behold, the same IT/nursing jobs that were in Omaha were up here, too. i.e. nothing for which I was qualified. I found some social media or otherwise media-related positions open, but either I didn’t have the experience (cue the memes) or I just didn’t get the job in the end.

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but just in case I haven’t: I know how extremely blessed and fortunate I am to having been able to support myself off of my savings/trust for so long whilst looking for a job. I wouldn’t have been able to do it, much like much else, without my grandparents having the foresight and ability to create such a thing. I think it also enabled me to not search as frantically, and it definitely allowed me to hold out for the right job. Even when I panicked and got anxiety about my dwindling savings, I knew I had at least another year, if I so needed. But then it’d be gone, and what would my grandparents say, if they could?

So in the midst of another mild panic attack regarding just that topic, I decided to see if there were any openings at this Target Express down the street. Yes, Target Express. Google it. It’s amazing. I’m obsessed with it. I’m possessive over it. I need one like, in my apartment. Anyway, there was a Team Lead position open. My first thought was, oh I don’t have any leadership experience – thinking, I’ve never had the title of ‘manager.’ But like the escrow officer situation, I did meet the other requirements, so I submitted an application.

Two days later, I got a call about coming in for an interview. That interview was life-changing, no joke. The woman I met with just totally turned my view around: I had loads of leadership experience, I had led many people and many situations. She told me to be confident in that. She even said that I was phenomenal. I can say with 100% certainty that I’ve never gotten that compliment in my life. I walked out of that interview with my head held so high. And I actually had hope again. I didn’t even realize just how hopeless I’d become until she gave some hope back to me. I doubt very much I’ll ever have an interview quite like that again.

After that, I interviewed with that woman’s mentor, who has been with Target for as long as I’ve been on Earth. Then I got to move on to the next one, and the next one, and suddenly, I’m at the First Ever Target to make sure I will be a good fit. When the store leader of THE Target said she’d love to have me as part of her team, I legit got choked up right there in her office. Someone actually wants me. Someone actually sees value in me. Someone thinks I’d be a good addition to their team, their company. It had been so long.

I walked straight out onto the sales floor and bought a few pairs of khakis and a few red shirts.

My goal is to not only sail through training and rise in the ranks, but to hopefully express just how thankful and honored I truly am for this opportunity. I know I expressed in each interview just how much of a Target fangirl I am, but I mean, I’m actually sitting here in tears just writing this up.

Who knows what this opportunity has in store for me. And Andrew. And for us. I mean, this is going to help us with our goal to find a house in another year or so. This is going to save us so much money on groceries and everything else we need. Personally, this is going to give me something to do. Something to get me out of the house. Something to feel like I’m part of the human race again. I have worth again. I can get rid of the guilt I’ve felt for depleting my trust. Hell, I can better serve the purposes of Far From Everything Films. Just.. so many good things.

Oh, one of my favorite parts: I had forgotten to take my lip ring out when I was meeting with HR, so I apologized for it. She said, “so what? You can wear that here.”

I have half of my head shaved, gauged ears, and a lip piercing, and all of that is okay. (Here come the tears again). Seriously, it’s never been okay. I had to ask/beg permission to put blue in my hair while I was at Goodwill. I got written up at Woodhouse for forgetting to take out my lip piercing. The head on the stud was stuck and I couldn’t get it off without greasy pliers from the service department, cutting up my lip in the process. I couldn’t wear it at NP Dodge either. Nor do I remember having any sort of wild hair along the way.

Now it’s okay. Now I’m okay just as I am. Not like these things make me who I am, but they are part of me. And they’re okay. What a relief.

This whole situation is such a relief. Finally, someone wants me. Target wants me. And Target wants me for me.

 


 

Speaking of someone wanting me, I’m also blessed to have a partner who wants me, and wants me for me. In spite of the fact that I worry too much and I’m a shit and I’m petty and I hardly ever put any effort into my appearance (subject to change with impending job) and I never help with the dishes and leave hair in the shower and otherwise leave the house a mess and whine when he stays at work late and whine just a lot of the time, probably, and make the occasional comment about wanting a ring and a baby and a house and an additional dog (or four) and all these other things, he seems to love me and even like me.

I’d quote a bunch of Sara Bareilles lyrics now, but I’ve already wept enough during this post.

What Is Life

Almost a month ago, I spent my last night in Omaha.

Most of my things were moved already, and all that remained were a few odds and ends, and my furniture.

The morning of the big move, I was seriously anxious. What was going to go wrong? What was going to get broken? What if this happens? What if that happens? I was also very emotional, even though I tried my hardest not to be.

My parents showed up to say goodbye; mom was a bit weepy and, of course, my dad says the things I always need to hear: I am worthy, I deserve everything I want, I can do anything I want to do, and I am loved. So, there went the tears. My brother showed up a bit later and stayed with me until just before I hit the road. He helped calm me down and let me know on his way out how well the moving truck was being packed. Phew.

The drive up here went by quickly and slowly at the same time. I got caught in five o’clock traffic just two miles from my exit and I was absolutely livid. I just wanted to be there!

That evening, and the week after, are a total blur of unpacking, buying shelving units and other fun IKEA things, building said things, hanging photos, organizing the kitchen, organizing the closets, etc. Oh, and sleeping poorly because one huge window in our bedroom was missing blinds. Waking with the sun every morning, regardless of when I went to sleep the night before, was aggravating as hell. And didn’t really restore me for a new day of work.

By the next week, we were already looking at puppies to adopt. I got Andrew caught up in the search and essentially all of our texts consisted of puppy photos all day. We knew we wanted a bigger dog and we wanted to adopt a rescue. In looking at the adoption process, I got discouraged. An application, an interview, references, a meeting, a home visit?! Jesus Christ, are we adopting a child? Applying for a government job? I had no idea it was so thorough and difficult. I understood and completely support the method behind the madness, but for those of us normal, decent human beings who aren’t going to chain the dog up outside 24/7… ugh.

We ended up applying for a dog that we totally fell in love with and then got denied because another couple was ahead of us in the process. Then we applied for a couple more and the same thing happened. At this point, I’m going, Jesus Christ, I’d almost rather pay double to just get one from a pet shop. But instead, we applied for a few more.

Finally (I say, finally; it was probably like, within a couple days), we got invited to go meet one of the puppies. He was adorable and cuddly and I think Andrew was pretty goddamn set on him. We fell asleep that night discussing ridiculous names, such as: Sterling The University of Nebraska Cornhuskers versus The University of Iowa Hawkeyes… [last name].

We communicated to the foster mom and the lady from the shelter that we indeed wanted this little pup… and then we never heard anything from the shelter.

Then, in true things-happen-for-a-reason fashion, the day I was bitching about the lack of communication and consideration, I got a call from another foster mom about another puppy we’d applied for. Apparently the people who wanted her were having trouble coming up with the adoption fee (red flag, much?), so if we want her, she’s ours.

I think this was a Wednesday. We set up a meeting for Friday, we filmed a home video (in lieu of a home visit) Thursday, we drove an hour to meet her Friday, and that night, we brought her home.

Meet Olive Adventure (and insert heart-eyes emoji):
Olive Adventure

She’s a (now) nine-week old Shepherd Mix. We aren’t sure what she’s mixed with, but we’re pretty sure that it’s a wirehair of some kind. She’s a joy and a laugh and a little shit and a snuggler and a whiner and so sociable and sweet. She’s super outgoing; she’ll go up to anyone and any dog. She wants to play with everyone. She doesn’t like being hot and will whine (kinda like me) and she has recently started fording the stream in the park across the street.
Olive in the stream

Andrew and I are now ‘daddy’ and ‘mommy’ and we’re just totally in love. (Cue: ‘awww’)

We’ve had her a week and a half now and, well, she’s exhausting. ‘Daddy’ is at work five days a week, so ‘mommy’ has to do the most potty breaks and cleaning up accidents and trying to get her to stop biting or chewing on absolutely everything. Not to mention, she’s up with Andrew when he gets up for work (somewhere in the neighborhood of 6am). So yeah, I’m getting a spa afternoon on Thursday lol

Adding to the frustration, I’m getting paranoid about my dwindling savings, so I’ve resumed the job hunt… again. I’m being fairly goddamn picky because I just am, but I want it to be within walking distance (which isn’t a huge ask, seeing as we’re downtown), part-time so I can be home with bb most of the time, and not a receptionist or food service job. Actually, what I’d really like to do is some writing from home. If only I could get myself to finish that ‘novel’ I started.

I’ve also resumed the fitness journey. Buzzfeed posted that circuit workout a couple weeks ago and I’m on the third week today. You’re supposed to up the weight each week; I started with 10lb dumbbells. Because the tiny rec in my building didn’t have 12s, I had to go straight to 15s… And to be consistent, I need to use 20s tonight. I’m a tad nervous I won’t be able to do it all, because I also have to up the reps by two. I don’t know how much physical change I’ll see in two more weeks, and I haven’t weighed myself because fuck the scale, but who knows. I’ll prob just keep going with it and eventually be curling 50s LOL

Anyway, I love Saint Paul. I keep saying it’s like Omaha and London had a baby because it really does feel like home and the city I adore. Our apartment is brilliantly located a block from the train and ten meters from the park, a few blocks from the river and a half-mile from Starbucks (win). There are a bunch of microbreweries and awesome restaurants within walking distance and anything else is on the trainline. I probably came up here with 6100 miles on my car, and I noticed the odometer read 6171 today. So, about seventy miles in almost a month? Not fucking bad.

The only driving I do now is to the chiropractor, which is still only about seven miles away. It’s a different technique than I was getting in Omaha, but apparently, this is the next step in my treatment that makes the most sense. Here’s to hoping I get back to 100% after a couple months of this. I got really emotional when I had my consultation with the new bonebreak. It just dredges up all of the accident memories and memories of all the pain. It’s almost been a year and I’m still dealing with everything. Thank God for Andrew, seriously. What a loving, caring, thoughtful support system I have. I’m embarrassingly lucky to have him. And my family, holy shit.

Tell me, what is my life without your love? Tell me, who am I without you by my side?

When You Walk Through My Door, You’ll Be Home

When I moved into this apartment, I planned on being here for quite a while. I spent a lot of time applying for over 300 jobs outside of the Midwest and finally accepted the fact that I just wasn’t going anywhere at the moment. Hence, starting Far From Everything Films, LLC with Jennifer, and basing it out of Nebraska.

When I had spent two and half years being single, I planned on being that way for quite a while. I mean, I didn’t have a job-job, I don’t like bar-hopping, I’m anti-social; where the hell was I going to meet somebody? Hence, downloading Tinder.

When I started talking to Andrew, I really just knew that was it.

When he told me he may be transferred to Minnesota, I knew I wanted to go with him.

When he officially got the job and asked me if I wanted to move when my lease was up, I said, ‘yes.’

Today, we officially signed the lease. So, by the end of May, I will have become a Minnesota resident. 🙂

Richard, My Darling

Richard, My Darling

After all the fruitless searches (thanks, Peter Gabriel), the frustration with MINI of Alexandria in Virginia (thanks, ‘salesman,’ for calling me back jerking me around and completely blowing me off), and the otherwise mentally-crippling anxiety (thanks, driver-at-fault), I found and bought the perfect MINI Cooper.

In the end, it was the first one I’d bookmarked. Of course.

I came across this blue beauty at MINI of Loveland in Colorado and really liked the look of it… minus the non-black wheels and the lack of sunroof and lack of heated seats. It was almost 100% what I wanted, but I wasn’t going to the whole settling predicament.

I had also found a nigh-perfect one in Virginia that ended up being sold right out from under me as I was speaking to the salesman about transport prices. The funniest thing was when someone from their customer relations department called me:
Guy: “I was wondering if you’d like to come out today or tomorrow to test drive something.”
Me: “Um, I’m in Omaha, Nebraska, so… no?”
Guy: “Oh, okay, (blah blah) Is there a time later this week you’d like to come out and take a look at our inventory?”
Me: “…. No. As I’m in OMAHA, NEBRASKA and I will not be booking a flight to Virginia, where you are, to test drive a vehicle I’ve been driving for the past four years.”
Guy: “Oh, okay, I totally get that. (Me thinking: Do you?) What can we do to earn your business?”
Me: “Well, you would have had my business already, but your salesman sold the car I wanted right out from under me, so I’ll be finding a MINI elsewhere.”
Guy: “Okay, well, please let us know if we can (blah blah blah).”

Yeah, no. I also got two calls from an English salesman (I see your strategy, MINI of Alexandria) assuring me that they’re looking all over for a MINI for me and they’re checking the auction list because they have the biggest used inventory in the country la-di-dah. Well, *checks watch* I wonder how long that list is, because, uh, I still haven’t heard back. Stay tuned to see if they ever find me a car!

Anyway. After all that garbage, I went back to the one in Colorado. The day I found it, I sent an email through their website asking some details and got a call from a salesman within the hour. It was late, even; it was like, past 6pm. Dave Parent of MINI of Loveland called me during an ice cream social they were having – yeah, the dealership was having an ice cream social – to tell me about the car and ask me some questions, etc. After that call, I already had an emotional attachment to this place and this car. I kept the tab up on my browser for days.

We talked again, and I told him the only thing kind of holding me up is the fact that it doesn’t have black wheels; by the time I spend the money buying black wheels, it’ll be way over my budget. He goes, “Why don’t I see if another MINI on the lot can swap wheels with it.” I was like, dude, if you can do that, it’ll be my MINI.

So a couple days later, he calls me back and tells me he wasn’t able to swap wheels without it significantly changing the sticker price, which I understood. This was after the MINI of Alexandria ridiculousness and I’d about had it. I told him the only other thing I wanted on that car was a luggage rack. He said, “I’ll put it on myself.”

Within ten minutes or so, I’d told him to do that and have it on by the next evening because I’ll drive down to get it myself. I could have had it transported for about $500, but where’s the adventure in that? Plus, I’m too damn impatient.

The next day (see, impatient), dad and I rented a car and set out for Colorado. This was the first time I’d been behind the wheel of a car since my accident (so, about forty-one days at this point), and I looked like this:
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The drive there went smoothly. There was quite a bit of anxiety to overcome, but luckily it was all interstate. The trees were changing colors and the weather was gorgeous. It was the perfect day for this journey. Then we encountered 5 o’clock traffic upon entering Greeley, which I hated. I was totally exhausted by the time we made it to Loveland.

But, boy, did MINI of Loveland totally rejuvenate me. That place is like a toy store to me. There are so many fun things and beautiful MINIs. The people are all great and enthusiastic. No one could believe I walked away from my accident and even asked to use the photos to show at meetings and to customers. Apparently, I’ve already helped sell a couple cars to people who worry about the small size of the MINI being unsafe. That makes me feel good.

I really wanted to cry right there at the sales desk. I’d just accomplished such a daunting task and overcome so many fears. I knew I was heading toward my freedom. I was heading toward the key to putting this awful experience and time behind me. It was going to be worth it. And my salesman and finance gal couldn’t have made the process any easier once I got there. They stayed past close and helped us into the MINI and directed us to an awesome BBQ place just down the road.

The next day, dad and I got up and had breakfast at the hotel. We were going to pop over to Estes Park to see the hotel from The Shining, but it was so foggy. Instead, we hit the road and took a detour through Wyoming, up to Alliance, Nebraska. I had never been in Wyoming and I had never been as far northwest in Nebraska. The drive through Scotts Bluff actually took my breath away – I couldn’t believe the land formations and valleys and trees. Who knew we had such a diverse landscape! In Alliance, we ate at a cute little diner off of Main Street and then popped over to see Carhenge.

Yes, like Stonehenge.
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I’d never seen it, so it was amazing. Dad and I spent some time geeking out, and then continued on home. Of course, with such a detour, we ended up with part of our drive past sunset. I hadn’t driven in the dark since the accident. Then we encountered some emergency closure of I-80 and had to squeeze into a caravan of semi trucks with trailers on a two-lane highway through a bunch of small towns. We were stop-and-go, and I was constantly worried the truck behind me wouldn’t stop in time, and at one point on the two-lane highway I randomly noticed how close opposite traffic was (I missed the median and four-lane interstate). There were a few times where my heart may have stopped.

We made it home safely and upon backing into my garage, I broke down. I did, not the car. I sat in my car and had a little weep. I stroked the steering wheel and tenderly caressed the dashboard and ran my fingertips over the MINI wings emblem. No joke. I didn’t know when I’d be back in a MINI Cooper. Let alone one so perfect for me. I didn’t know when I’d be driving again. I didn’t know how I’d do driving again. I made myself drive to Loveland, not only for the fun of it, but as a test. One I had no other option but to pass. And no matter how the drive there went, I had to turn around and drive right back. I was so proud of myself. I’d done it. And now I had him. My MINI. My darling. My Richard. Yes, that’s his name: Richard.

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It’s been a couple weeks now that I’ve had him. I’ve got my C. Friis rally sticker on the back driver’s-side window, I’ve got the grille badges on: a black, white, and grey Union Jack and then the Sir Alec quote, “I don’t want bloody women driving my car.” Those were the two I’d had on my British Chap; the grille, badges, and my license plate disappeared in the accident. He’s taken me to a friend’s wedding and to Target (oh lawdy, how I had missed going to Target) and to Starbucks. He whips ’round the roundabouts and is just a total stunner. I really couldn’t be happier with him.

Alas, I’m still incredibly anxious while driving. I have been doing my best to keep my eyes fixed ahead and not on the rear view window when I’ve come to a stop and I know someone is coming up behind me. Every car coming opposite is going to swerve at the last minute and hit me, I just know it. Honestly, the only way I’ve been able to get around that is to just resign to the fact that if that’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. And I’ll be hurt again or I could die. And my car will be wrecked again and I’ll have to start all over again.

Everyone says because I’ve been hit twice, statistically it won’t happen again. I almost failed statistics, so I’m not really sure I can grasp that logic. I think, if anything, it’s even more likely to happen again. I feel like a target. The dumb motherfucker who decided drinking and driving was a good idea that night sought me out. and now I feel like a target. Everyone is going to hit me and I don’t trust anyone. That person is going to decide they want that exit and they’re going to side-swipe me at the last minute. That person isn’t going to see me and they’re going to send me into the guard rail. That person is going to drop something and jerk the wheel and hit me head-on.

There was one day, though. One day since I’ve been back from Loveland, I went for a drive. Just to drive. Like I used to. I took Richard to Ponca Hills, my old neighborhood. I took him through the hills and around the bends and past my home that will always be my home. I took him out on I-680 and saw the trees looking like autumn and the sun was shining and I felt like myself again. Just for a moment. I hadn’t felt like me in a long time. I was on my way back.

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I am on my way back.

An Ode to MINI Cooper

An Ode to MINI Cooper

Dear MINI,

I apologize in advance for my verbosity and the lengthiness of this letter, but I think it’s true that when one is passionate about something, one can go on forever about that something. And this something is really something. Or something.

I grew up a huge fan of The Beatles and also VW Beetles. But then a teenier and unbearably cuter car rolled into view: The MINI Cooper. I was instantly enamored. My seventh grade boyfriend even got me a mini yellow MINI model for my church confirmation. I still have it yet today.

When I turned sixteen, my lovely Grammy gave me her ’96 Chrysler Concorde. It was a fair bit longer than a yacht. My parents used that as part of a trade-in for my younger brother’s first vehicle (still not over it), so I was left carless. As much as I begged and pleaded with my aunt, the designated coinpurse, I was not allowed to get my coveted MINI Cooper as they were “small and unsafe.”

‘Sputtering’ doesn’t begin to cover my reaction to those words. 

I ended up with a Dodge Caliber, which was… not a MINI. But I got a job at a car dealership in town and always kept an eye on the inventory.

One day, a co-worker told me that someone had just traded in a MINI Cooper hardtop to another location. I hadn’t even seen it, but I had it sent up. I’m pretty sure that was that salesman’s easiest, quickest sale to date.

I loved that MINI. It was black and had broad, red stripes up the bonnet, across the roof, and down the boot. I found blue ones online and had the red ones replaced. I bought ridiculously huge fog lamps for the grille and had a push-pull, choke-like knob installed to turn those on and off. I bought an S chrome gas cap to replace the non-S gastank door. It was a beauty, and, oh, it was so mine.

Then, as it happens, I got into (read: obsessed) the BBC show Sherlock. Shortly thereafter, and I don’t even know how I found this (read: I was probably google-searching any and all things Sherlock Holmes), I saw that MINI had a Baker Street Edition. 

Wat?(son)

I had to have it. 

I went straight to the local dealer, MINI of Omaha, met with the most perfect saleswoman and kindred spirit, Kim, and I probably had the Baker Street Edition ordered that same day.

Saying goodbye to my first MINI was tough. I got emotional right there in the parking lot. I knew it would be going to a good home and an excellent driver who would have even more fun with it than I did. I’ve yet to see it around town, but I’m still hoping to someday.

The Baker Street, though, woof. What a beauty. The Rooftop Grey paint, the dapper-cut bonnet stripes, the door sills, the door scuttles, the dash panel, the floor mats, the seat fabric and stitching, oh, God, I’m drooling just thinking about it. Utterly gorgeous. And don’t even get me started on the delivery process, oh, too late:

When one orders a MINI directly from Oxford, one gets to track their baby, and that’s not even my word, online. Like a package. Like a delightful bundle of joy. There is no stone left unturned by MINI. They literally think of everything and everything is bespoke and simply perfection. But yes, you get to watch your baby being ‘born’ and when it’s having its last check-up and when it’s making its way across the pond and when it reaches dry land.. It’s just a wonder to behold. 

Now I’m getting emotional again.

Anyway, that MINI was my pride and joy and I planned on having it until it couldn’t tick over any more miles.

That is, until, that feat was made impossible. 

One night in February of this year, I was driving to see my dad. His driveway leads out onto a busy street, so it’s sometimes nerve-wracking to park in it. This night, as with every night, I signaled my turn from at least two blocks away. As I was slowing and turning into his driveway, I looked up in my rear view mirror and saw headlights coming quickly right for me. I thought, “they’ll see me, they’ll see me, oh my God, they aren’t going to stop!” and I went to press the accelerator. The last thought I had as I stepped on the gas pedal was, “this’ll be a narrow miss.” 

It wasn’t.

If you’ve never been in a car accident, you won’t know what I’m talking about; and if you’ve seen one on TV or in a film, you still won’t know what I’m talking about; but there is a noise unlike any other. Louder than I can explain. I can still hear it if I think about it. 

A suburban rear-ended me going about 45mph which swiftly sent me skidding in the snow and T-boning into a utility pole in my dad’s yard. 

In my daze, I tried to open my door and it wouldn’t open. I then panicked a bit and shoved into it a few times. All of a sudden, it was like someone had reached in and lifted me over my gearshift, across the passenger seat, and out the door. To this day, I don’t remember how I got out so easily that way. 

I walked around to the driver’s side of my MINI and my heart absolutely broke. I couldn’t even feel any pain other than that, between the adrenaline, the shock, and the anger. When the driver of the suburban got out, a teenage girl, I yelled at her. “I am so fucking pissed off at you!” 

My MINI, my baby, which I was supposed to have forever, was gone. But I was alive. And I was alive because of my MINI. The curtain airbags kept my head from crashing right into the window, the seatbelt kept me from going anywhere. I was able to walk away. I sustained a bruised and very sore right side, a stiff neck, and anxiety. The MINI sustained quite a bit more.

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You can see how deeply the pole lodged. It still hurts to look at these.

It took a long time to get over, and I’m not particularly over it. It was a loss. It was also a loss of some of my confidence in driving. I’ve always loved driving. I go for drives to calm down or just for fun. After this accident, any time I would pull up to a stoplight or stopsign or anywhere someone would have to stop behind me, my eyes would be glued to my rear view mirror, pleading with everything I had that the person would see me and stop. Even in broad daylight. There were a few times I actually began to take evasive action and pull to the side because I thought, for sure, this person isn’t going to stop. 

Now, with insurance and the rental car and having a job, I knew I couldn’t wait the month or so to replace my baby with another Baker Street, so I had to go for something else. Which was also very difficult. Part of me wanted desperately to just have it back. Go back to the way things were. Start fresh. But then part of me knew it wouldn’t be the same, even if it was physically the same down to the last V on the dash.

I’d only had her for a year. And in that year, she was kept in a garage for three months while I was living in London. I hated that I’d missed out on those three months of driving her. She was truly my dream car.

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When the Clubman came out years ago, I’d always loved the idea of the barn doors. They were adorable and fun, not to mention totally handy and perfect for when you’ve got your shopping and can’t manage a hatch. 

The Clubman came to mind when I had to look for a new car. And because I couldn’t possibly drive anything else, obviously, I was back at MINI of Omaha.

I also thought, sort of as an homage, I’d get it in British Racing Green. I’d actually painted my nails that color as I was in mourning. I warned you: passionate.

MINI of Omaha found me a 2014 British Racing Green Clubman, manual (because how could I do anything else), brand new, with leatherette heated seats, a panoramic moon roof; pretty much everything I wanted besides the black wheels and bonnet stripes. Which was fine, I could take care of those things later.

They got it in for me and it was beautiful. It was hard after the Baker Street, but I grew to love my new MINI, of course. Especially when I went in to order bonnet stripes and I noticed that I could get Baker Street Edition bonnet stripes… Ohhhh, boy. I couldn’t contain my excitement at the parts counter. And when they were installed? Wow. It was perfect. The perfect combination. 

I had a Black Jack rear view mirror cover and a Black Jack grille badge to match. I also installed another grille badge that had a quote from Sir Alec himself, “I don’t want bloody women driving my cars.” It was all coming together to be my little British Chappy.

Then this past Saturday, 30th of August, just hours after my mom’s wedding, I was driving to dad’s – this may sound familiar – and as I neared his driveway, I noticed that his friend had parked a bit crooked and if I parked behind him, I’d have to let him out eventually. For the sake of ease and laziness, I decided parking on the side street would be best. 

There was not another side street to the west until further south, so I moved over to get into the center turning lane to take a turn eastward. As I was slowing, downshifting, and moving into the center turn lane, no sooner had I done so that I heard loud, drawn-out screeching of tires. I couldn’t see anything, so I had no idea what was coming until it hit me head-on.

The impact was hard and loud, but luckily I had no time to react, otherwise I would have tensed up. When I came to a stop, I was facing the opposite direction on the opposite side of the street. My horn was blaring, the airbag had gone off and the windshield had shattered. I had glass and airbag residue in my mouth. I tried to open my driver’s door and it wouldn’t open. In my panic, I rolled down the window and was prepared to climb out. Thankfully, I didn’t even attempt it, and I crawled across the gearshift and passenger seat to get out that way. Even in my state, thinking, “this is harder than last time.”

I walked around the back of the car because the horn was just so loud. I couldn’t even look back at it. My left hand was bleeding and I could hardly walk, but I almost started to walk the couple houses to my dad’s before I thought better of it. Luckily, there were, what seemed like, about six witnesses who took care of calling the police and getting the driver’s license plate number and letting me phone my dad. I remember asking, “do you hear the horn? I was in an accident.” He half-shouted, what?! and I was so upset and furious that I wasn’t thinking clearly. I shouted back, “CAN’T YOU HEAR THE HORN? Just come down the street toward the horn!”

For the sake of things to come, I won’t go any further with the details, but I will repeat what the responding officer told me: When the tow truck came to pick up my car as I was taken to the hospital, the tow truck driver thought he was picking up a fatality. That told me exactly how bad it looked.

I mean, I knew it was bad. It was a head-on collision with a drunk driver. I couldn’t put weight on my right foot, I had a laceration requiring stitches on my left middle finger and couldn’t use my left arm – it took the airbag in less than a stride and my chest took the rest of it – I had cuts and glass all over me. Amazingly, the x-rays were negative for breaks in my foot, hand, and chest; I had no breaks anywhere else. I am, however, mottled with bruises and contusions, and in pain just about everywhere. 

But I’m alive.

I didn’t actually see photos of my car until the next day. Then not in person until I had to go to the impound lot to get my personal items.

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My British Chap saved my life. MINI saved my life again.

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So, in ready conclusion, it is with my whole heart that I say: Thank you, MINI. I would not be here today if it weren’t for your brilliant engineering and attention to safety. There was a reason I was inexorably drawn to your little cars, what, with their bulldog stance and protective snarl. You better believe that as soon as I can physically and psychologically get behind the wheel again, I will be back, yet again, at MINI of Omaha. How could I possibly drive anything else.

Sincerely and loyally yours,

Christina Friis, MINI Owner.

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T-Minus Twelve Hours

So, in twelve-ish hours, my mom gets remarried.

I’ve been trying to tease out my emotions for a while now. Maybe lining them up would help me deal with each one. But I’m finding that I can’t, really.

I always cry at weddings. I’m a huge fan of happiness and love and I just get overcome. So there’s that. 

But this is my mom, you know?

My dad got remarried like, a year after my parents divorced, to a stranger (to me) in China, who still isn’t here due to immigration. He flew over on April Fools Day and stayed for three weeks. Sometime around Tax Day, he married her. He brought home a DVD of the wedding. I got to watch her get ready and him get ready and them saying their vows in Chinese and him playing Stairway to Heaven on an acoustic guitar. 

It was odd because I felt happiness for those two people getting married. Finding happiness. Finding love. It was like I was watching a documentary or a home video of two people having a foreign wedding. I couldn’t really connect to it being my own father. 

Tomorrow, I’ll be standing next to my mother as she gets remarried to a high school sweetheart of sorts, and I am wondering how I’ll feel. How I’ll react. Will I cry because it’s a wedding? Will I cry because it’s my mother? Will I feel like I’m watching from somewhere high above the ceremony, from someone else’s vantage point? Will I be sad?

I was a bit sad watching dad’s wedding DVD. Watching all of these family members be a part of this special day, but my brother and I not being there. Part of me was glad I was left out, but of course, it’s my dad; I wish I could have been included in some way.

Tomorrow, I am included, but I worry about how I’ll be. No, I’m not, I’ll do and say all the right things and it’s her special day and seeing her so happy will warm my heart. And yet, part of me thinks it’d be a bit easier to not witness it. 

I don’t know. Like I said, I’m having trouble teasing out my emotions. 

I’ve said it before, numerous times, but this is just something I never thought I’d be dealing with. My parents were married for twenty-five years, which was twenty-three years of my life. I’m twenty-six years old and I’m just now having to deal with a divorce and already remarriages. I’ll never be able to say which would have been better: them getting divorced when we were younger and we’d just be used to it by now, or doing it this way. I’ll probably always argue that it was harder for me this way. 

Of course, in the end, everything happens for a reason and everything happens when it should, as it should. How can I argue with that?

What’s even stranger is that dad’s wife has a son about my age, mom’s soon-to-be husband has a son just older than me and then two sons, seven and nine, I believe. 

I’m being very resistant to any ‘step-‘ terms. I have a mother and a father and a brother. I cannot call anyone a step-mother or step-father or step-brother at this age if no one has step-parented me or no one has been a step-sibling to me. I’m very possessive of my parents and brother. They’re mine and that’s it. 

But now they’re not. They’re other people’s, too. Perhaps I haven’t learnt to share quite yet.

I’m guessing most people who’ve gone through their parents getting divorced and remarried and doing the step- thing are wondering what I’m on about. I know. I’m an adult. I should have the tools to deal with this, I guess. Or at least be more open to these things. 

Maybe someday. 

I wish I could be a bit more like my brother in this case. He’s been very strong and ‘as long as they’re happy’ and ‘I’ve always wanted a large family/more siblings.’ I just haven’t, you know? I mean, sure, it would have been nice to have my cousins closer and whatnot, but Conor was just always enough sibling for me. I used to think having an older brother would have been nice, but Conor has the qualities of an older brother, so I get the best of both worlds. 

Now there are too many worlds, I think. 

And mom having these little kids around now. It makes me a bit.. I don’t know.. I wanted the first little kids she was looking after to be my kids, her grandkids. She’s going to be doing the parenting thing all over again before I’m even doing it. 

I am really going to hate even posting this, but I’m being fatally honest. And maybe someone will stumble across this open-heart surgery and think, finally, someone gets it

I don’t know. I guess I should get some sleep before the big day.

Mom’s going to look so beautiful in her dress. 

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