In the past I’ve posted random pictures I’ve taken. This one I took a couple months ago. I think what struck me at the time was this was a perfect image of how I, or I guess most people feel sometimes. I don’t want to come across as a pity party but you ever feel like where ever you go there is a dark cloud looming over you? Like everything is just working against you? Well this particular day this cloud was hanging out right over our house when I walked out. It wasn’t much bigger than what was shown in the picture and appeared exactly like that- no filters. I saw it and felt “Yep. There you are.” At least this time my dark cloud wasn’t invisible. It actually showed it’s face.
Author Archives: z5000
This girl stole my heart 5 years ago. She’s a thief. Call the cops.
Babe, I love you with all my heart and can’t wait to marry you later this year. I love you for all that you are, all that you have been, and all that you have yet to be. ❤️
Happy Valentine’s Day to all you romantics out there. Hope your valentine is as great as mine.
**Please note this picture was taken at the party which happened in January. It’s taken me much too long to get this post drafted.**
Living in New Orleans there is never NOT a good reason for a party. We attend many but throw none. This year is a bit different though in that we are engaged and it is a very exciting time for Cristina and I. In our engagement bliss, we thought this would be a perfect reason and time to get our families and closest friends to come together and have a little soiree.
I thought that it was going to be easy peasy lemon squeezy but realized shortly thereafter that I was being naive. I had envisioned a small personal gathering of family and friends but the number quickly grew. Cristina’s list was approaching small wedding numbers and I had expressed that this wasn’t the actual wedding but just close people near and dear to us. 🙂 Also when I originally envisioned this small intimate party I wasn’t really remembering that Cristina’s family actually lives here locally, whereas, my entire family lives in another country. After some discussion and going over the list a few times we reached our magical number of 60 people.
Well then there was much to do. I knew people who have never been to our house would want tours. Well that can’t happen unless the house is in the shape I would like it to be in. I have had plans to completely overhaul this under utilized room and as well as repaint the master bedroom and bath. There was also the issue of re-staining the deck that really was the focal location of this party. Mother nature beat us out on the deck staining but all other items on the checklist were completed.
The menu needed revising as the naive me hadn’t planned on 60 people. After a small panic I got my wits about me and got it done. My angelic mother was EXTREMELY helpful and came up with a few other items to cater as well that she would cover. I also tasked my sister with a couple of her signature dishes. Good thing I had their help because even though many people commented on the abundance of food we had- it all went! Which made me happy because that meant it was good.
Well families met, drinks were drank, food was eaten, DJ was popping, people danced, and the night was a success. If there was any regret it was that I never saw Cristina the whole night. Sure we got together for the occasional picture but honestly I was too busy playing host, making sure everyone had everything they needed, introducing people, visiting with everyone so that they were not left out, making sure everything was refilled, tending to needs, and before I knew it the night was over and I finally got some time with her. It was our engagement party and I never even got to enjoy it with her. I sort of didn’t really enjoy it at all since I was busy every minute. In expressing this feeling I was given some great advice by a friend named Sarah. She told me that when we get married we should promise to stay by each other’s side no matter what. That it had been a promise her and her husband had made prior to their wedding. After this party I could see how easy it was to get separated talking to guests, and so, I told my now fiancee that would have to be a pack we make. Based on this party I definitely don’t want the same thing to happen at our actual wedding.
Well even though the party was a bust for me I was happy to know everyone had a great time. Some people didn’t even want to leave! It hasn’t discouraged me from my next party idea which is a mustache party! Cristina will stick a mustache on her face if it kills her. (She isn’t a fan of this idea.)
Since sharing the happy news of my engagement to Cristina, occasionally we get asked when our wedding will be. Our answer is always that we are unsure because we are waiting on SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States). Our hope is that SCOTUS will make marriage equality the law of the land. Assuming that is the case, we will be married in Louisiana so that our family and friends may attend. Plan B is that we would be married in Florida and that our family and some close friends might join us. So we anxiously wait. And although chances are this will be announced on the last Monday of the SCOTUS term, you never know. Until then I stay glued. Everyday reading my twitter timeline and Yahoo news for the big headline.
In doing so I came across an article by Michael Abernethy on PopMatters.com about the upcoming SCOTUS decision where he quotes an episode of Glee. I thought the quote was humorous and couldn’t be MORE truthful so I wanted to share it. A character named Brittany tells her girlfriend’s homophobic grandmother, “You know The New York Times said half the increase in support of gay marriage is due to generational turn-over. That’s what smart people call crazy uptight bitches dying. You guys lost, okay? And honestly the rest of us are just going about our business being normal and waiting for you to not be around, not because you can stop us from getting married, but just because you’re kinda annoying.”
So whether marriage equality comes down in a couple weeks or if it delayed a bit longer eventually it WILL come to the other 13 states. And it will be a very sad day for you crazy uptight bitches.
As I am more than sure most people reading this know what the Second Amendment states, for those of you who may not I’ll quickly recap. The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution gives us the ability to keep and bear arms. Guns people. That’s the topic today because a few weeks ago I decided that I will be exercising my right to own and carry a gun.
I must admit that the thought has been in the back of my mind for a few years. I think about it here and there especially with all the stuff I have been reading in the news (thanks, Twitter). Nothing sealed the deal for me though then my experience a few weeks ago.
Cristina and I were on the way to pick up our daughter from the airport as she was visiting her Uncle Richard in Texas. After being in the car about 7 minutes I realized we needed to get gas before getting on I-10. Since having an experience with purchasing bad gasoline in the past I really only like to stick to gas stations I know and trust. But because we were running a little late and didn’t really have the time to turn around to go to our usual spots, we opted to stop at the nearest station. My mindset was that I would only get a few gallons worth ($10) to get us there and on the way back I would fill up at our trusted vendors.
Well I made the purchase and hopped back in the car. Exactly 2 miles later the car started behaving strangely. It was acting as if the car didn’t have gas although the gauge reported it did and we KNEW it was not empty. I made the decision to turn around and attempt making it back the two miles we traveled from the gas station but the car gave up. It wasn’t moving any more.
Well now I’m in a pickle because 1. there is no way I’m making it to the airport in time and 2. the area where the car decided to quit is NOT a good area. Unfortunately in New Orleans there are many good/safe areas in the city that are neighbored by bad/unsafe areas. And many times to get to a destination or good area you must travel through the bad. Well we were in the bad and I knew we were unsafe. Lets also add that it was night time and a nearby street light was out- it was dark.
After making the call to my future in-laws and asking them to run to the airport I made the call to a tow truck company. I opted for one that was physically close to us hoping that the wait time would be minimal. I was glad to hear it would only be 30 minutes. Well that quote wasn’t very accurate. I called 30 minutes later and was told it would be 20 minutes. I thought to myself “Okay. So far so good. I can do 20.” 20 minutes later I called again and was told 35 minutes. 35 minutes later I called again and I’m told 30 more minutes. In my frustration I hung up and looked up from my phone. I was startled as I saw man dressed in all black with his hip leaning on our car two feet from my seat. He was wearing a hoodie over his head and I couldn’t see his face. He just sat there peering into the car for some time. In my mind I started running the worst case scenario. How do I make sure Cristina’s safe? How do I keep his focus on me while she runs? How do I escape? Instantly I thought “I wish I had a gun.” That man leaned on the car staring at us for what seemed like forever. Finally he started walking slowly past me and around the car. I was following his movement in my rear view mirror and then he disappeared. I asked Cristina if she saw where he went and she hadn’t.
Well I called the tow truck company yet again and was told it would be another 40 minutes. I was so angry but knew I had to keep my cool because unfortunately we were at their mercy. I dialed another company who told me they were in the area and could snatch us up rather quickly. The second tow truck company arrived and actually stated he would wait with us while the first tow truck company came. His reasoning was he didn’t want to jump the other guy’s job and would never want his wife or daughter to be sitting in this area alone at night so he would wait with us. As angry as I was with the first tow truck company I said, “Don’t worry about them. You got the job!”
Needless to say the first tow truck company was very angry I cancelled. Supposedly they were ten minutes away. Sorry buddy. I don’t care. You basically said that over two hours ago. Our second tow truck driver named Super Dave had us home 20 minutes later. We were safe and I was thankful. Once home we had to jump in our other car and pick up Raimee from her grandparent’s house.
I couldn’t shake the adrenaline rush I experienced when that man was leaning on the side of our car. I felt helpless at the time and didn’t know what I would do if we were attacked. Since this happened I have been increasingly aware of murders in this area. There has also been shootings, assaults, and murders around popular locations we frequent. That night as soon as the car stopped and we were in the dark I thought to myself I wish I had a gun. And when I saw that man staring at us I thought it again. I have decided for the protection of my family I will be a gun owner and a responsible one. I have picked out several classes I will attend with a private instructor and even take the Concealed Carry class. I plan on putting in many hours and months at the shooting range to be proficient in being a gun owner. Since I am deciding to do it, I will do it right. No that does not mean I will be sporting a gun daily but if I feel the need to or have one with me in my car I can do so legally. Do I think I could have shot that guy if we were being attacked? Absolutely. For my family’s safety I wouldn’t think twice.
Now to deal with getting bad gasoline a second time in my life….
Mardi Gras season is once again upon us and so far it’s been a pretty good one. Last year Cristina and I joined the Krewe of Cleopatra after being invited by Cristina’s friend. She mentioned having two spots available on the float and also mentioned some of our other acquaintances that rode as well. Although we both had ridden in a parade before we haven’t done it together and since EVERYTHING we do together is a blast- how could we resist?
I will admit that since it was our first time in this Krewe with mostly a bunch of strangers we weren’t as sociable as we could have been. We skipped meetings, get-togethers, the Coronation Ball, etc. Cristina felt more badly about it then I did but since none of it was mandatory I didn’t really care. I knew one event we would be attending was the Rendezvous Ball which is the Mardi Gras Ball for Cleopatra. Cristina told me as soon as we joined that there was no skipping that one. She wanted to go.
Well we got dressed to the 9s and attended the Ball with the friends we joined the Krewe with. It would be our first time meeting the rest of the people on our float and to my surprise they were very friendly. The very people we avoided couldn’t have been nicer. Our lieutenant (person in charge of everything for our float) was very personable, thoughtful, and an all around good time. The drinks flowed, food was good, company was great, and that equation makes up for a pretty fantastic night.
Fast forward several days and it was time to get the float loaded. Now as I mentioned before we skipped all the extra curricular activities which meant we missed Float Day. That is the day you get to take family and friends to an event where all the floats are on display to marvel in their beauty. Well with a combination of a miss-marked float and missing Float Day, we almost packed all of our overflowing bags onto the second deck of the wrong float. That would have been a disaster because loading your throws is not exactly fun, much less having to unload them, tote the heavy bags to another location, to then reload them again. Crisis averted we were loaded in the right spot.
The very next day was the day of the parade. Our float lieutenant arranges a pre-party to the official pre-party that the Krewe hosts prior to the parade rolling. Cristina and I dubbed that party the pre-pre-party. It was a private party held in the warehouse district of New Orleans. Again with drinks flowing and the great company it would be impossible NOT to have a great time. At the conclusion of the pre-pre-party we all walked together to the nearby official pre-party of Cleopatra and continued to have a great time and make awesome memories. I think it was at that time I maybe started feeling a teensy weensy bad about not attending the other events. Everyone there was very nice and included the two rookies into their Cleopatra family. Lesson learned.
Well needless to say Cristina and I will be riding Cleo again next year. We quickly learned by speaking to other members that they were previously on other floats within Cleopatra and transferred to ours because it is known to be the funnest group. I can confidently say in my experience of that day: I concur. Hail Cleopatra!
It’s a fine day in our great nation when nearly 70% of Americans live in a state with the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. I must be honest in saying at one point in my life I NEVER thought I would live to see the possibility of our 50 states offering that privilege and right to all Americans not just the heterosexual ones. But the course for change dictates that my feeling/thoughts will probably be wrong (gladly).
When it comes down to it, something so simple as two people marrying should just be an AMERICAN right. It shouldn’t be all rights for straight Americans and only certain rights for the gay ones. I shouldn’t be treated as a second class citizen. I certainly don’t get tax breaks for the luxuries I miss out on because I’m gay. In fact it’s almost as if I essentially pay higher taxes because the money I pay is used to provide civil benefits to the heterosexual community while I am denied those same benefits. The day is nearing though where I can gladly say that I’m not second class but equal to all my friends and family because I too will have that right to marry and gain in the 1,138 benefits afforded to married couples.
Although the tide has shifted in the correct direction there are still marriage opponents willing to waste MILLIONS of tax dollars fighting a losing cause because well….they just don’t like it. Of course religion is a huge reason as is homophobia but they can’t quite say that in court. You can’t mosey in and state God wanted, Jesus preached, the Bible says. According to Bible thumpers a gay act is an abomination and they will not inherit the kingdom of God. In hearing a conversation that was being had I thought I should look up other abominations according to the Bible. I mean you can’t quite pick and choose right?. If you are going to live by a statement in the Old Testament you should live by them all. Here is a very short list of my personal favorite abominations:
- Enjoy a rare steak? Leviticus 7:26
- Arrogant or Conceited? This one is for you. Proverbs 16:5
- Wearing clothes of the opposite sex Deuteronomy 22:5 (Watch those Halloween costumes! Red dress run?…eek)
- Drunkenness, orgies, jealousy, fits of anger, and many more Galatians 5:19-21
- God didn’t hate gays. He hated shrimp, lobster, crawfish, and crabs. Leviticus 11:10-12
- Ever lied? Proverbs 12:22
- A scale that isn’t accurate? Proverbs 11:1, 20:10
- Visit a barber? Leviticus 19:27
- Don’t feel like hearing the law? Proverbs 28:9
- Adultery? Damn…death for you. Leviticus 20:10
- This one is just WRONG. Physically handicapped, birth defects? Leviticus 21:16-23
And the list continues on. In fact reading all of the abominations according to the Bible there is at least one to cover I would say 100% of the population. Well isn’t that something? But somehow man has altered God’s “instructions” to fit their own desires and beliefs. Also remember there is no degree of sin. A sin is a sin is a sin. What makes my supposed sin much more grave than yours? While on the topic of Biblical verses lets turn the page to the New Testament where there is a verse everyone should live by:
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Matthew 7:1-2
Let’s be quite honest. My relationship with the woman I love has no bearing on you or your household. I don’t recruit people to become gay. I’m not contagious. You can’t catch “gay”. Our child won’t be raised to be gay, which in fact, I hope the absolute opposite for her with all the hate and prejudice in this world. It’s honestly easier to be straight. Also, remember it wasn’t that long ago that interracial couples weren’t allowed to marry. However since becoming legal in 1967, I doubt the people lobbying against it are still losing sleep over what they thought might have happened if two people from different ethnicities were to marry.
And speaking of the word “marry” what’s with people wanting to claim the word as a religious word?? Should the word not apply to Americas who are athiest? I guess there should now be a special term for them. What about Americans who opted to go to a Justice of the Peace to get married? Should a special term be given to them since God was not invited into their ceremony? Why should I have to be “civilly united” when God will be present at our ceremony? Or better yet “pairried” which is the laughable term a Utah Republican is introducing in a bill that would apply the term “pairage” all Utah gay marriages. He believes “pairage” should be applied to all couples who cannot biologically procreate. Someone please alert the thousands of Americans in Utah that are infertile/sterile that they are now “pairried”.
The truth is having one term for a group of people and another term for a different group is discrimination no matter how you dice it. I am a patriotic, tax paying, law abiding citizen that deserves ALL the rights as my other fellow Americans. There should be no difference. As a very proud American I will be even more proud when the Supreme Court eventually sides on the the right side of history and says I’m no longer second class.
Well I’ve been gone for a while although not intentionally. It was mostly because of writer’s block. My pistons were completely frozen. Nothing in the news I was reading would get my creative juices flowing, I had nothing that I felt I needed to discuss, and in the event that I did have something to post I felt like too much time had passed by to put it on Mad Pad. Of course I’m more than sure I am over-thinking the latter of the three but I just feel I should talk about relevant/current topics. I mean I am supposed to keep you guys’ interest.
Well our summer was pretty great. We were able to get home a lot earlier every evening and not have to worry about assisting with studying, doing homework, running Raimee to practices or dance classes. Raimee was in a new summer camp that she LOVED. We had no traffic or long daily commutes to the Westbank. We were able to do what we wanted not having to worry about a whole lot. We got to spend a lot of time poolside which is absolutely my family’s favorite pastime. We vacationed on the Carnival Dream for a week and had a fantastic time while meeting new friends (shout out Melanie and Kevin!) It really couldn’t have been better. But with every pastime that is a blast, the summer flew by and well ……. all good things come to an end. *sigh*
But not all good things. I FINALLY have something that has my Mad Pad pistons firing once again. Finally something to post because sharing it here will be the closest I can get to shouting it from a proverbial mountain top. After 4 years of relationship bliss we are engaged! SHE SAID YES!
Now I didn’t put that sentence all in caps because I thought she would say no or I was surprised. LOL It was more because I am so excited to be starting another chapter in our lives. This is the relationship I always dreamed about having. One of those relationships people looked at and thought “Wow. I want that.” Well we have that. I found the person I was supposed to be with. The person that completes me. The person that comforted me when I was having the scariest moment I’ve experienced to date. The person that I can tell my deepest secrets to without judgment. The one that I can be the silliest form of me and she is silly right back. I love that smile. I love her. She is my fairy tale ending.
And with this fantastical news the next year will be a busy one. A busy one I’m definitely welcoming. Lots to do and see. Lots to research. Things to plan and places to go all leading up to what will be the best day of my life where I can say I am married to Cristina Baudier. *big sigh* Yep. I’m already secretly counting down the days. 🙂
Saving a dog has had MANY ups and downs. We were determined to rescue a dog. We tried several times unsuccessfully. It has honestly left a bad taste in my mouth. That shit is for the birds. Now, I absolutely believe in it. I would recommend anyone attempting to rescue before going to a breeder but if they came across any of the trouble my family had to incur, I wouldn’t blame them one bit if they went out to get their desired designer breed. Fuck it. It is what it is.
Well we did it. We went dog shopping. We wound up with the cutest little French Bulldog you ever laid your eyes on. He absolutely is the the coolest dog ever. He is cooler then most humans I know. This little boy had stolen my heart. Someone this cool needed a name equally as cool. Cristina suggested giving him a name with a New Orleans tie to it which was an easily accepted idea as much pride and love I have for my city but what?? Many really good ones came up but my favorite was the first one Cristina suggested. She said we should name him “chop” but spelled T-c-h-o-u-p like the New Orleans street Tchoupitoulas. I was sold.
Well as apart of the breeder’s contract you have 48 hours to have your dog evaluated by your vet in order for the 1 year health guarantee to be in effect. Tchoup’s appointment was made and for whatever reason that day I had a bad feeling waiting in the lobby. Well my feeling was confirmed when I was told Tchoup had a rather moderate heart murmur. I was told to make an appointment with the cardiologist the next day and let the breeder know his findings. He also told me that if I wasn’t too attached to this dog I may want to consider getting another one because if this isn’t fixed he will die very soon of heart failure. The procedure to fix him would cost somewhere around $2500-3000. Tchoup’s heart murmur was graded as a level IV-V range. In case you don’t know much about murmurs, they only go up to VI.
The breeder came back with “well vet’s say that to make more money and some heart murmurs are innocent and dogs can live healthy long lives with them, blah blah.” I said yes that is true I had a dog that was diagnosed with an innocent heart murmur from this very same vet and she lived to be 12. My vet let me know with her that no further action needed to be taken but with Tchoup it was different. The breeder asked I get a second opinion. Fair enough.
Well on we go to vet #2 which happens to be my brother’s vet. I went into the visit not mentioning the murmur at all. Just stated I purchased a puppy and would like to have him checked out for the health guarantee to be in effect. I wasn’t in the room for 3 minutes before that stethoscope went on Tchoup’s chest and the vet’s (who was delighted to be examining a Frenchie) smile dropped to explain Tchoup’s condition was serious and needed to see an internist to have an echo-cardiogram done to evaluate how severe Tchoup’s heart murmur was.
A $500 internist visit later and well my initial vet was correct. Tchoup had Pulmonic Stenosis and needed surgery. I was sent to see the cardiologist at LSU where Tchoup would spent a couple days having tests done and being prepared for surgery. LSU was forwarded the internist’s echo-cardiogram but he wanted to have his own. *cha-ching* The silver lining though was that his eco-cardiogram showed the best of two possible scenarios. The leaflets in Tchoup’s pulmonary valve (feeding blood to his lungs) were fused resulting in the blood having to pass through a very narrow passage way causing the right side of his heart to be enlarged because it was working so hard to get the blood through the narrowed valve. To fix this the cardiologist would go in by Tchoup’s groin, insert a catheter, and inflate a little balloon in Tchoup’s pulmonary artery that would tear the leaflets and allow for better blood flow. Ugh. I was a nervous wreck.
Well the surgery was a completed. I was called as Tchoup was going under, once during the 3 hour procedure, and when Tchoup went into ICU. I made sure that the technician verified that Tchoup was breathing on his own off the machines as I have a couple acquaintances that have had a few bull dog horror stories about them and anesthesia, however that is another story for another time, but I could finally breathe easier. Now I can’t wait for my boy to be back with us.
The next day after surgery they conducted another eco-cardiogram *cha-ching* to determine if the surgery was a success. They compare the pictures before and after as well as the pressure he had in his pulmonary valve. Normal pressure for a dog in that valve is 0-4. Tchoup was a severe case and prior to surgery was 120. Post surgery his pressure is at 60. The cardiologist thinks in a month the pressure could go down more once the swelling in the valve goes down from having the balloon in there a few times stretching his valve. This will be determined with yet another eco-cardiogram *cha-ching* scheduled June 9th. Of course I’m hoping to hear even better news on that day which is that the pressure has indeed gone down but if it doesn’t a dog with the pressure of 60 in that valve is considered a mild case and expected to live a long, normal, healthy life. In fact a dog with that pressure wouldn’t even require surgery. Yes!
So we didn’t rescue. We tried several times and it wasn’t in the cards for us but we did save a life. The breeder asked a couple of times if I wanted to swap for a healthy dog but we refused because Cristina and I had already made up our minds that Tchoup was ours. We loved him and we couldn’t just give him back. I did ask the breeder out of curiosity what would become of Tchoup if we did give him back. The answer wasn’t a good one. We were praised by all the doctors we visited through Tchoup’s treatment (there were 4) because many people would have just opted for the puppy swap. Each told us breeders would just destroy the dog as it would be just another mouth to feed. Well we feel good about our decision and would do it again. Sure it was definitely the costlier route but Tchoup was apparently meant to end up with us and us with him.