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Tag Archives: Rebekah Wigley

I can’t tell you how bad it hurts to only be a convenience in certain people’s lives. It sometimes kills your inner-being just knowing how much you long or yearn for their company even though I know that it can never be the same. Each time I only allow myself to be let down even more when I do see or hear from them. But then my gut sinks when I realize that all I ever was-was just a convenience at the time. How unfair is that? Whatever happened to humans being treated with dignity and grace? This definitely isn’t what I have in mind when I think of those two words. How much can one actually take from a specific person before they succumb to their mortal ways? God I hope I never treat anyone like that. I could never imagine, and Lord if I have, I apologize in every way.

“Every convenience brings it’s own inconveniences along with it.” –Proverb

I guess what I’m trying to say is the only thing I’ve ever been great at is being this persons convenience but mostly their biggest inconvenience. How’s that for a self-esteem booster? Sucks.

That’s all I have and I’m afraid that’s all it’ll ever be.

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Look into my eyes
Tell me what you see…
Is it everything that you hoped it would be?

I’m everything everyone warned you about
the girl opposed — contrary of your dreams.

I’m no poster girl.
What about me?
Look into my eyes
Tell me what you see…

Look at me,
Do you see what I see?
I’m just a girl,
living in this cruel, harsh world.

Small town truth,
small town lies,
Despite the one you never recognize.

Look at me,
See what I see?
I’m just a girl,
living in this cruel, cruel world.

Masking this soul,
kept undone —
I’m breaking outward
Hatred exposed.

Window to my soul,
Scars stitched on my heart —
Every girls secret,
kept hidden in the dark.

Blind sighted by pain,
the weakest of all steel,
I’m not machinery,
my feelings are quite real.

Look at me,
Ya see what I see?
I’m just a girl,
Existing —
This cruel, harsh world.

It’s the relationship between mother and child
when they’re in the hospital.
It’s what we wake up for each morning
and shows the true meaning why we’re alive.
It’s inside the cancer patient waiting
for the doctor to tell her she’s in remission.
It’s what held a nation together
while terrorism stuck.
It’s in the nine-year old girl
who just lost her grandmother.

It live in each and every one of us;
surviving everyday life.
It’s the applauding that comes
from your parents when your name is called on graduation day.
It’s in the way we speak towards one another.

It’s the work that you do everyday
to try and get by and make ends meet,
To go home to lives that love and trust in you,
to see what God has given you, that makes you trust in HIM.
It’s the reason we wake every morning,
to journey through the maze of life;
— it’s in this room as we speak

The Day My Life Came to a Screeching Halt

Saturday, October 23, 2004: It was a normal fall day, leaves on the ground, the air was brisk, and the weather was favorable. It was the perfect day, not too hot, not too cold. It was just right. This was the type of day you would see in a movie, leaves rustling on the pavement and the kids running around outside raking piles of leaves and then jumping in them. The season is always long-awaited by us here in the South, because of the pollen-filled spring and the hot and humid summer.

This special day held one meaning, to gather our family to celebrate my cousin’s eighteenth birthday, her introduction and induction into adulthood. Although family get-togethers happened frequently, it never hindered the emotion or expectation of these events. They’re time-telling traditions, rituals, and customs. These gatherings are sacred and will be passed on for many generations to come.

I remember sleeping in that day since I had school that week before. I cherished the weekends, because they allowed for catching up on one’s rest and curing a student’s best friend, sleep deprivation. Mom came in my room and woke me up at nine. The day started off like any other with the normal morning routine that we as humans grow accustomed to, using the restroom, brushing our teeth, showering, grooming ourselves, and getting dressed. It’s one of those things in life that uses no brain power whatsoever so we never complain about them.

After getting dressed and making sure everything was squared away I was ready to go. Along with every family get-together we organize, I remember never eating breakfast beforehand, so instead I ran over a checklist of things I needed to do or had to bring. Do I have Crystal’s present? Check. Did I make her card? Check. Do I have the pineapple salad that mom made? Check. Did I bag up the two-liter bottles of drinks? Check. Do I have my brain? Check. It was time to go.  After making several trips from the house to the car to load everything up, I was ready to pull out of the driveway. My E.T.A status was 1:30 p.m.; I was en route.

1:40 p.m.: After my long-awaited arrival, I turned into the driveway at my aunt’s house. Halfway down the driveway I hear a sudden thud. First thinking I hit something, I look to the side and it’s nothing more than my cousins attacking my car. I finish parking the car and I turn off the engine. As I step out of my car that’s when all of my cousins scatter, because they know it will excuse them from unloading duty. After making several trips from my car to the deck, I eventually had the food, supplies, and presents in the right place. Slightly thereafter I head inside to see the rest of the family. I made my rounds; there were different family members in several locations around the property. Some of them were up in the game room decorating or setting up tables, some were in the kitchen cooking the side dishes, the men were outside in the gazebo grilling all the meat, the kids were all running around from one point to another, and the rest were either sitting around or getting presents together.

As the adults finished up with the food we started a game of backyard football. It was equal teams on both sides ranging from the smallest kid to the largest adult; the first one to six won. I remember it took forever; there were constant turn-over’s on the ball. While we finished up the long, drawn out football game, a couple of others brought the four-wheeler out to ride up and down the roads and around the property there at the house. Being of age and having possession of my license, I was the one who drove the kids around the yard and down the road so they could have fun. After riding the four-wheeler for a while, dinner was finally ready.

4:00 p.m.: As everyone huddled around the tables to join hands and bow our heads to pray, my uncle Kelly delivered the blessing and upon the unison “Amen,” we all dug in. We had everything: barbequed ribs, hot dogs, hamburgers, barbequed chicken, regular, grilled chicken, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, potato salad, macaroni salad, chips, dips, salsa, you name it. We had all the toppings: tomato, lettuce, onions, sour kraut, slaw, ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise. There was wall to wall food. There was no way you were leaving that house hungry. There were always extras to take home and drinks were stocked out the yin-yang.

After we were done eating, we decided to take the four-wheeler out for its last spin before nightfall. There were several different people that wanted to ride, so we all took turns. I was the last one. As I hopped on to start it up, several of my cousins begged to ride. Fighting over who was going to ride, I calmly said, “whoever is going to ride has to go ask first.” Without thinking to look behind me to see who was on, I take off. Of age and license in hand, I took it out on the roads for a while. As I came to the end of Clearwater Lake Road, I stopped from exasperation. Coming through the dam like a bat out of hell, there is a dangerous curve with the speed limit posted at forty miles per hour. I came through the curve going forty-five, which lead to maintaining the curve on two wheels. Upon stopping I look behind me to see who was on the back and it was none other than my cousin and daredevil, Richard.

As I sat in some stranger’s driveway that day thinking about how stupid I was for taking the curve the way I did, Richard was behind me persistently saying, “let me drive, Becky, let me drive.” I knew the only way to shut him up was to let him drive, otherwise I would have never heard the end of it. Negatively persuading me, he and I switched places. Before we took off to head back to the house, I told him to take it easy through the curve, because he previously had seen how I took it on two wheels. He said ok and we were off.

Being the “hugger” that I am, I like to hold on to the driver. As we started to take off Richard was standing and I told him to sit down numerous times. Finally he sat down and I look down at the odometer and it read forty-eight miles per hour. As it gradually increases I start yelling, “Richard slow down!” Several times I repeated myself. Looking down at the gauge I watch the speed increase. I watch inadvertently as the numbers appeared on the gauge, fifty, fifty-three, fifty-five, fifty-seven: I could barely speak. Fed up, I yell at the top of my lungs, “Richard slow your ass down!” Starting to repeat myself again I said, “Rich—, I never remembered finishing the phrase.

Off behind me in an abyss-type black hole I hear, “Becky, wake up. Are you ok? You know I would never do anything to hurt you. Becky, wake up! Becky?” As the sound draws nearer to what finally becomes reality, all I feel is someone shaking me. Feeling like I was lost inside a vacuum, drowning in its silent echoes, I finally wake up. Visually grasping the thought of why I was on the ground, I look down to see that I lost my left shoe. Sitting straight up as if I were in a chair, I try to stand. Basking in the pain that is indescribable, I felt like everything inside of me was shrinking but on the other hand it felt as if I was about to explode.

Finally after several attempts, I could stand. Inside my head it felt like I had no brain activity, I couldn’t even hear. The constant shrinking sensation inside, I felt like I was going to die. Gaining the strength to walk, I was still upset I didn’t have my shoe. I begged, pleaded, and forced Richard to climb over the guardrail in order to retrieve it. Now that I had my shoe, I was able to focus on better things. Barely able to walk, I managed to hobble over to the four-wheeler and back it out of the railing. We attempted to ride the four-wheeler all the way back home, but the wheel was completely separate from the axle.

Focusing more on our injuries, I was trauma compared to Richard. Richard had a cut across the crease of his arm and a little bump on his head behind his ear. Looking down at my right ankle, I saw gashes. This is the leg that had gotten trapped between the four-wheeler and the guardrail. There wasn’t much other at the time that I could think of other than I had a severe headache, my entire right side was numb, and I could barely walk let alone breathe.  Feeling as if I was about to pass out, Richard and I both flagged down two men in a small boat on the lake. The road that we were on had a lake on one side and a concrete dam on the other. We asked the men did they have any cell phones on them by any chance and luckily one of them did.

Dazed and confused as to why the men never called anyone to begin with after watching and hearing us wreck, they asked for a number to someone we could get in contact with. Being our luck, the man had Nextel. The coverage out this way doesn’t make for the best of situations; it only contributes to more stress. Finally getting in touch with his boss, he tells us that he is two minutes away and that he will kindly take us back to where we need to go. After his boss arrived, a man and his daughter hopped out of the truck and Richard and I got in. Speeding seventy-five miles one way headed towards the house, we happened to pass my uncle and Richard’s dad. He was speeding about one-hundred miles per hour in the opposite direction. Richard and I kind of looked at each other and asked “how?” The man on the lake radioed his boss back and went on to say that he finally got in touch with someone at our house.

Experiencing everything happen was like watching a movie in slow motion. As we proceeded into the driveway, everyone was gathered atop of the concrete surface awaiting the arrival of someone with some kind of news. Walking down from the game room inside the garage was my mom with my baby cousin in hand. The look on her face was ghastly, matching the white t-shirt she was wearing. Bringing me to tears for the first time during the wreck, the family came to open the doors of the truck to let Richard and me out. Overwhelmed with the crowd of people only upset me more; The crowd wouldn’t let me through, first my Aunt Edna, then my Aunt Karen, then my little cousins; I was afraid I was never going to make it back to my mom. Finally with a twist of faith I did, I never felt the woman cling on to me as hard as she did that day.

Finally making it inside, my brother took turns cleaning out our wounds in the kitchen sink. With my mom right there, she lifted up my shirt to see something; I believe she saw blood on my shorts. Sure enough, when she lifted up my shirt I was scraped from my bra-line down to my hip. Still completely numb, my mom asked if I was ok. I’m not exactly sure what I said, but all I remember was looking down at my hip and seeing it. It wasn’t of normal size, I was afraid I was bleeding internally. With numbness being a sign of internal bleeding, I was scared. I remember mama taking me into my aunt’s bathroom and making me get inside the tub to rinse out the rocks and debris from the wounds on my side. My body was so tense and yet so sore. I could barely move. Lying there, I remember several people coming and going out of the bathroom. The only one of significance was Aunt Edna. She asked if I would go to the hospital and get everything checked out just to make sure. I agreed. Mom helped me up out of the bathtub, dried me off, and helped get me dressed.

Back to the driveway once again, we were getting in the car. We took my Aunt’s car, the Monte Carlo. It’s a two door, five passenger vehicle. I remember trying to climb into the backseat. It was nothing but pure misery. We loaded up the car; it was Richard, Michelle, and me in the backseat and Edna and mom in the front. We were headed to the hospital. It was a pretty quiet ride, not much was said. The utter shock echoed in the pure silence of the car that night.

8:45 p.m.: We just arrived at the hospital. We get checked in and wait in the waiting room for what seemed like forever and a day. After many of the family members went outside to take smoke breaks, they finally called both of us back. He and I had separate rooms but right next to each other. After settling in the room I had to take my clothes off and get into the generic hospital gown. While laying there in the hospital bed, I reflected back on the previous events of that day. Thinking about going to Judgment Journey the night before and everything following it that day, it really made me think. Lying there freezing, they finally decided to take us down for x-rays and cat scans.

Upon exiting the room in the hospital bed, the nurses crash our beds together. I kindly told the woman, “We’ve already had one accident together; I guess we can just count this as two.” After taking multiple x-rays, they took us back to our rooms. Shortly thereafter, everything appeared fine. The ER doctor came in and told us that we were very lucky to survive a wreck like that without any helmets, and he put triple antibiotic ointment on my wounds and fixed me up. He didn’t do anything for my gashes on my ankle, because it was too close to the bone; it had to heal from the inside out. After he left, I got dressed and mama gathered our things. I remember walking out to the car that night, it was horrific. For every step I took I would have to stop and take a breath. It was impossible to walk and breathe at the same time. It took me twenty minutes to get from the door of the emergency room to the car itself.

We finally made it back to my aunt’s house. Before falling asleep on the couch I went up to the garage where the men had the four-wheeler at. They told me I actually saved Richard’s life. With the way Richard was leaning on the steering column, he would have flipped over the front of it into the dam if it hadn’t have been for me holding on to him. I took the blow to my hip with him and me both landing on it. Meanwhile the women cleaned everything up from the game room and the mess that the party had caused. After they were finished I remember the family sitting in the living room just goofing around and telling jokes. They did it on purpose knowing good and well it hurt me to laugh. I’m glad they did it though. It helped me gain composure and softened the awkward mood from earlier that still lingered in the air.

1:30 a.m.: Mama was ready to leave; after all, she had a pretty stressful day. After waking me up from my well deserved nap on the couch, I gathered my things, put on my shoes and was ready to leave. Dad had to drive my car home because it was past the curfew on my license. After arriving home I remember going to my room, laying on the bed, and crashing for the night. The normal night’s rest turned into all day until I woke up from the smell of mama cooking fried chicken. I remember moving that day. It wasn’t easy; I was stiff, inflexible, and in tons of pain. I remember eating, taking Tylenol, and going back to bed.

The wreck kept me in bed for four days; the Sunday following and the next three school days as well. The wreck changed not only my physical state, but it changed me as a person as well. Following the months after my wreck, I lost thirty pounds, declared my faith, and turned my life completely upside down. To this day my hip has never returned back to its original state. I sorted out problems that haunted me before, I answered questions that I normally was not able to, but most of all, I was happy to be alive.

“Don’t let one bad mishap change your overall outlook on life.” This is the motto that I swore to live my life by. Although I have vowed to live by that motto, waking up to these scars that mask my body have changed both my perspective and outlook on life. Getting a second chance at life is a rare opportunity that most people take for granted. Although I could conform and live my life like other’s do theirs, I have decided not to. I live each day to the fullest and it shows. I have pledged my life to be an example for others, and I still live my life like that to this day. I try to be a beacon to others and shine my light for them to see that there is hope when all is lost.

On the rare occurrence of my second shot in life I turned my complete life around. My life has forever been changed and rewritten according to this wreck and it has been for the best. I rebuilt everything from the ground up; I am much happier, a lot healthier, I always have a smile on my face, and I have a completely different outlook on life. In Jeremiah 29:11 it states, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” These are the guidelines as to which I live my life. I am His sheep, and His sheep I will forever be.

So I was reading my previous post, “Shocked,” and read that it said I had 8 months until I was getting married and what plans I had left to affix to the debt I would undertake myself in planning a wedding to someone who didn’t deserve me at my worst, nor at my best. It’s amazing how time flies and how fastwe make our trip around the sun. Two days before the wedding date and I’m so glad to be able to sit here and say that I’m not getting married. This is beyond the wisest of all decisions made yet in my short 20 (almost 21) years on this gracious earth. Time works out the finest details about who you are, what you want in life, and who in this lifetime matters most to you. I figured this would be a good notary point of reflection and also a good place to pick back up with blogging.

Life’s great once you weed out all of the bad seeds. If you have too many
weeds in a garden it strangles everything else. Same thing with life. Upon weeding out the bad seeds I’ve found myself able to love again, laugh again, and smile all the time. I’m in college pursuing a degree to better myself and provide a future and foundation for where ever God takes me. I have belief in more things than I ever had before; Especially myself. Self-esteem is something I’ve never had but I find myself gaining it little by little. With massive dedication and love along the way, I find myself bound for great things. I know
it sounds like something out of a children’s book about the places you’ll go; but I feel as if I’m on top of the world at times. Substance doesn’t filter my highs; life does.

I’m glad where my life ended up, and yes, even through the hardship life handed me in 2007. I’ve learned a lot and grown even more. Trials and tribulations build the path in order for us to be able to look back and reflect
on. Without a path; you have no story. There’s a story in each of us; in lives within your soul. Will you let it be heard?

Time

By: Rebekah Wigley

Time is a murderer

And a healer;

It’s another year

Costing us a millennium.

It is life,

But mostly it is death;

It is the beginning

And the end.

Time: Ever passing

Everlasting

Evermore

Time is the past,

It is our predecessor;

— Ever passing —

It gave birth to the present,

We’re standing within it;

— Everlasting —

It holds promise for the future,

It’s where our dreams have life;

— Evermore —

Time: Ever passing

Everlasting

Evermore

It is the Alpha,

And the Omega;

For it is God.

Every line of a face,

Is time beautifully sketched.

It is many things;

Time –

But above all;

It is all things.

Two Thousand Seven:

The Year of Great Attributes and Disheartening Upsets

By: Rebekah Wigley

In the year two thousand and seven, life had many great attributes and a lot of disheartening upsets. I learned many things that only begin to defy who I am as a person. Understanding the world is a relatively hard task for some, but others are faced with multitudes of distress trying to figure out their place within it. Defining yourself is much more than telling someone who you are, what you do, or where you’re from. It’s a sense of  accomplishment for some and even heartbreak for others. I’m a firm believer in a higher power on this earth and that you’re only given situations that you can handle.

As we walk through life following a narrow path we begin to question so many things and who we are as a person. I’ve learned a lot within the containment of four walls and the stillness of the night. Everything we do in life echoes in eternity but even louder in the quiet demur of the night. There are so many standards and inequalities in life with every piece of it stacked up against you. Powerful overstatements and minuscule idiosyncrasies are what brainwashes us as Americans. It’s true what they say, time can play tricks on you. Here we are, it’s two thousand and eight and were seven days in. The hopes for a new start are ever willing but it’s all still the same. As we embarked on a new year things stayed the same, and life went on. The ball dropped as the clock struck twelve. For the hopes of some for a better year were only struck with the roll over of another digit to add to the age that classifies us as people. What makes a new year so different? Since the start of this one I’ve seen the ups and downs. I had a friend lose his mother, another friend is awaiting the death of her aunt, Soldiers are still in Iraq fighting this war that for some doesn’t seem worth it at all, and the economy of America hasn’t changed. I started my new job, but I’m still in the same place I was before. Mom is still struggling; this makes the eighth year in a row. We could tip our glasses to good health but who even has that any more?

Another truth; Time is a murder and a healer. January 13th marks the tenth year anniversary since the suffered death of my beloved grandmother. As time drags on, I’ve only seen myself grieve the loss of her more and more. The situation with my “father” and my parents divorce doesn’t haunt me like it once did and things have gotten a little better with him. The scars that one masked my body from my four-wheeler wreck are slowing diminishing from my skin. But mostly, my personality and self esteem has healed to great extents from previous instances in my life.

Fact: There will come a time in your life where you’ll have to make a decision based solely on your well-being and you’ll have to ignore your heart. Result: You will be battered, bruised, and broken but you will learn more about yourself in that instance than you will in every day life. Life is your battlefield, choose the ground you walk upon, and never lose sight of the small things. Be who you are, stand behind it, and evolve as a human being. Although, love bears all things; relationships are only what you make of them. Fight for what you believe in and be the change. Minimalism is greater than materialism and life is just another reminder of that. Don’t be afraid to stand out from a crowd and wear your heart on your sleeve.

This past year has taught me a great deal. I wear my heart on my sleeve and always get hurt, but I’ve trudged through my battles and I have what I need in life. If I had an open view of the characteristics of my heart there’s no telling what image it would depict. Although it may be a horrific sight, the stitching of scars have only become minor details of who I am. Putting all the pieces back together and moving forward with my life has been one of the most trying experiences I’ve had to face. I’ve been used, wounded, jaded, and hurt but then again I look to one of the most prized possessions in my life and see that I was blessed, appreciated, and loved for who I am. Finding my way through life’s maze is a treacherous path, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I have someone walking beside me every step of the way and wants to share in not only the highs but the lows as well. No matter how many times your heart breaks, there is always that one person you can let see the scars. When you do, they help heal the stitches and tape up all the cuts. A very inspirational person once said, “Let them see the cracks in your armor. Let your light be seen in order for others to find their way. “Having the power to liberate yourself is beyond the most invigorating emotion known to man. Having the ability to set your heart free is having the courage to follow it.

In life, nothing is certain but living behind walls has put me at a place where I never want to end up again. Having someone brave enough to pulverize them in order to love you is the most courageous thing one could do as a selfless act. I owe a debt of gratitude to a certain someone for saving me from myself. Being able to showcase myself once again showed me that not all people are one and the same; there are genuine people left in this world. Just know I would go to the end of the world and back for you. I love you. Being able to share the unlikely events in one’s life with someone and having a bond so strong to hold dear to your heart is enough to unmask all the scars and heal all the stitched wounds that once dismantled a poetic soul. For one to say they’re not powerful beyond means are robbing their self of greatest gift in life. People look to other’s for guidance. Having the selflessness to show the cracks in your armor means you’re genuine enough to saves one life. A quote to live by: “You’re only as strong as people you surround yourself with.” No matter what one may speak of oneself, they’re more powerful beyond belief. It’s amazing to think how powerful one can be by surrounding their self with the most compelling people. Bestowing love upon a person is enough to save them from their darkest hours and their deepest fears. Take the time out to listen to what people have to say. It’s amazing what can happen when you just lend an ear.

I refer to life as a mountain range; hilltop crests, benevolent valleys, beautiful scenery, and dangerous paths that were made to hike. No matter what story has been told and no matter what people say, the ending is always different. What lies behind us and what lies in front of us is nothing compared to what lies within us. Everyone dreams of their “mountain top experience.” I don’t understand why there are boundaries to how many we are allowed to have, for there are countless ranges left to hike. Life is filled with so many things that mold the people of who we evolve into and become. My wish for the world is limitless “mountain top experiences” and the opportunity to seek them. If you stick by and take the path that was chosen for you, you’ll grow as a person and you’ll learn multitudes about your will and testament in life. Be profound; refer to yourself as a masterpiece. God made us a canvas and I’m a coat of many colors.

Today, Uncle Greg took Nicholas to the psychiatrist. I was trying to catch some sleep when my mom came in and told me that the psychiatrist found out that his special ed. teacher has been abusing him. He’s autistic as most know and has an infatuation with cuss words. It’s just a part of his condition and when he gets stuck on something, he can’t quit. Popping him only makes it worse so ignoring it is the best thing we can do. The teacher already made comments to my Uncle that every time she hears him say it while in class that she just wants to pop him on the butt for it. My Uncle told him DON’T because it only makes it worse. Well, come to think about it, she couldn’t or isn’t supposed to anyway. We’ll I take it she found an alternative way to “punish” him, because while at the psychiatrist, they found the marks on my baby boy’s little wrist. They asked him about it and Nicholas told him that she would use a “stretchy band” every time I would say a bad word. He may be autistic, but he’s a total genius. The Shrink immediately called the school’s principal and they said they didn’t want to deal with a lawsuit, to go ahead and report the teacher to DEFACS. Surprisingly enough, the teacher didn’t show up for school today; she called out sick. Needless to say, I about went up to the school and handled the matter myself, but was told not to, of course. I’m furious on this matter. Not only do we have to worry about sending our kids to school these days due to gangs, drugs, and everything of that nature; but now we can’t even trust our own educators. How pathetic is that. My kids will definitely be home-schooled.

Other than that though, nothing spectacular happening in life right now. When I get home from work at 8:30 in the morning I’m going back to work on the fence-line. By tomorrow night, I hope and pray that the front will be finished and the gates hung. Keep your fingers crossed!!! I’m still pulling graveyard at Hart-line, hoping and praying I can find something else real soon; it’s getting beyond ridiculous. In 5 months time I have not gotten one weekend day off, been cheated out of two raises, and get treated like shit.

Oh well, we’ll have to see what happens. We’ll it’s 3:34, and I’m getting tired. Guess I’ll go catch a few zzz’s on their time and get paid to sleep 🙂 Sounds good to me.

Update: Can you believe it’s been like a year and a half since my last post…wow.