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Archive for the ‘ Florida ’ Category

A Cruise with my own Paparazzi!

I was invited on a little trip. Just a simple little cruise to the Bahamas.

I had to weigh the pro’s & con’s. I only had one con. My husband was not invited.

But he put the phone call on speaker and said “Absolutely YES, I should go.” How could I argue with that! ;o)

4 day/5 night cruise from Port Canaveral, FL to the Bahamas on the Carnival Sensation. Heeeeerrrrreeeeee we go!

I wasn’t sure what this trip was going to entail since I was with my mom, an aunt, uncle, a boatload of cousins I had never met, my sister, her boyfriend…..and…..their hair stylist!

Yep, that’s right, they brought their HAIR STYLIST.

With such a large crowd, we didn’t need to all do the same stuff all the time, so I ended up spending some much needed time with my sister. With my sister came the boyfriend and the hair stylist. Sis & boyfriend were all cute and cuddly, that left me roaming the boat & the Bahamas with the hair stylist whom was MALE.  Awkward…..right….NOPE, not at all, wanna know why???

I GAVE HIM MY CAMERA!

WE HAD OUR OWN PAPARAZZI!

It was a BLAST!

We decided from the very beginning we were adding a special ‘dynamic’ to our trip. Picture Crashing. We jumped in MANY other peoples family pictures. We attacked random strangers and took pictures with them. We took advantage of as many opportunities as possible…. WE…HAD…FUN!

Here is my mom, my sister & her boyfriend.

He (Adam, the boyfriend) didn’t get the memo that we were picture crashing OTHER peoples pictures. NOT our own!

Here are a few complete strangers we found along the way….

I crashed the comedy show stage….

I sort of attacked the cruise director…..TWICE….

Fun times OFF the boat…just stepped off the boat with my sis & mom….we look soooo full of attitude!

We went to Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas and had a TON of fun….we learned that there was a suite that used to be owned by Michael Jackson that now gets rented out for $25,000 a night. MJ is inspiring! ;o)

The fabulous cartwheel picture…

I have umpteen million more pictures…..but I think your eyes are likely bleeding by now. I will close with one more picture. Me and my momma. Mom, you are the VERY BEST and I can’t  thank you enough for such an AMAZING trip. I LOVE you TONS and cannot wait for our next trip!

Ok, I lied….just one more picture….

Are you ready for this????

Love you sister!!

Well, it happened today.  I hit my breaking point.  My rock-bottom.  My worst experience of my life.  I didn’t think I would ever write a super downer post, and I’m totally fine if you stop reading RIGHT now.

I have been crying today.  Almost ALL day.

I actually read a blog someone wrote about pulling up to a stop light and looking over at the car next to her and the driver was just crying.  This particular woman looked so broken.  And the writer of this blog beautifully wrote about not knowing her situation but having such compassion.  By the way, if you happen to stumble across this post and you are the author I am referring to, please let me know so I can give you proper credit.

POINT being – TODAY I was that girl.  Sobbing hysterically in the car while driving from the hospital to the house I am currently staying at.  Every stop light I try to hide my face from any other people.

I can barely eat.  I feel so incredibly sick.

I actually feel like my heart is no longer in my body.  Like I am a walking shell that is only useful to fill up space in a very lonely world.  I am of no value except companionship.  Oh awesome…..I am now apparently a dog.

Today is day 24.  24 days that I have been away from my husband and kids.  I am not in the military.  I could never choose a career that would possibly take me away from my home for more than a week at a time.  I’m not just down the road either, I’m across the country.  I’m in Florida.  My family is in California.

I have been busy here with my parents, which helps keep me distracted, but today I broke.  I went through every scenario to determine my actual value here. I looked at airline tickets.

My heart is in California.  With my 7 year old girl named Lexi.

She is a sweet & beautiful little smarty pants.  She is super helpful and independent.

My heart is also with my 5 year old boy named Brayden.

He is unreal!  He’s super handsome and soooo funny and incredibly tender-hearted.  He also loves to snuggle.  He is NOT independent.  He loves to hang out.

My heart is also with my husband.

He stole my heart 14 years ago and I haven’t questioned that for 1 minute of our history!

My perfect husband drove me to the airport on November 1st.  I haven’t seen him since.  He asks me often what the “plan” is.  It seems to change daily.  The big picture is to liquidate all my parents stuff and move them to California to be near us.  Great plan, but next to impossible.  They have soooo much stuff.  Plus we are dealing with a lot of emotions here, NOT including mine.

I am normally seen as the steady headed, honest, common-sense member of the family.

My little boy asks me often on the phone when I am coming home.  One night he was crying for ever on phone trying to understand when I would be home.  He would say “are you coming home tomorrow?”  “The next day?”  And of course they “Buy why not????”  Each word would break my heart a little more.

Today was the end of me.

After a long conversation with my sweet hubby, he tells me last night before bed Brayden asked him if I was EVER coming home.

And that is when my heart actually left my body.

My dad has always been the strong one.  The one who could fix anything, and I mean anything.  As I was growing up he collected old Cadillacs.  He would rebuild the engines, sometimes restore the interior and then would re-sell the car and make some cash.  We never had less than 65 or so cars on our property.  Out of all these cars, only a handful were drivable.  They all needed something.  But they were ALL special to him.  He even named them.  He called them his savings accounts.  He knew that even when he had NO money, he had these cars and he knew than in a bind, he could get money fast.  I always dreamed of restoring an old car with him and keeping it forever.

He always had BIG dreams.  He wanted to retire early to fish for the rest of his life.  So when he was almost 60, he talked my mom into moving to Florida.  The rest of the family was in Idaho, but he was determined to get warm and close to the part of the ocean he wanted to fish in.  He went to Marine Mechanics school and graduated at the top of his class.  He toyed with becoming a fishing guide.  My mom got a job at Disney World to pay the bills while my dad was in school.  After my dads schooling, he got a job at Sea World.  They never made it to the water.  They got comfortable.  Its been 5 years and they are still in the Orlando area…and miserable.

But worse…dad started getting sick.  He started loosing weight so fast and had no desire to eat.  Doctor said it was his gall bladder.  They scheduled to remove it but when my dad couldn’t even get out of bed because he was in so much pain, my mom took him to the emergency room.  That’s when they found the spots.  On his pancreas.  And his liver.  And…his lungs.  Just the month before my brother-in-law was diagnosed with Multiple Meyloma (cancer of the stem cells) and my mother-in-law was diagnosed with Lung Cancer in January.

Its been 8 months since he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer, metastasized to his liver and lungs and its been hard.  We (me, my husband and our 2 kids) moved to Florida to be with my dad.  Then as he was recovering and my husbands mom was getting worse, we moved to California to be with my MIL.  We stood by her side as she fought a loosing battle.  She was strong, but the cancer was stronger.  She passed away on September 1st.  She will be GREATLY missed.  She was a legendary woman.

Through my dad’s roller-coaster ride of chemo, hospitalizations and the regular pharmacy that is on the  kitchen counter that consists of his hourly medicines, we have watched him battle and do well.  He has amazed the doctors.  Pancreatic Cancer is the most “lethal” cancer.  It is detected so late that there is only a 4% survival rate.  His original prognosis was 6 months to a year.

His dreams have changed.  He just wants my mom by his side at ALL times.  She had to quit her job to be with him.  How do you handle this when you still have bills to pay.

Its been 8 months.

My mom can’t do this alone.  I flew back to FL to help.  I convinced them that we want to help and care for them both, but we have to do it in California.  That is where the rest of the family is.  So we are in the middle of a massive liquidation sell.  Everything must go.  Our time is short.

And now I am seeing the signs I don’t want to see.  Dad is falling asleep in the middle of meals.  Even if we are at a restaurant.  Mid-bite he falls into a deep unconscious state.

He is confused.  As he is staring at my feet while I was driving him to the doctor this morning he asks me where the dog is.  As if I had the dog the size of a small horse down by my feet.  He’s confused and I’m getting scared.

I am not ready to watch him fade away and the cancer take over his body.  I need my husband by my side to help me.  I need to be back in California where we will be surrounded by support and people who truly understand.  I need a shoulder.  And if I need this support, love and personal touch so bad, I can NOT even imagine how bad my mom needs it.

We don’t have much time left and I’m scared.

UGH! In Hell…errr..I mean Florida.

Is that even an ok blog title?

I guess I really don’t care, hence the title….ugh!

It’s ugh because I am in Downerville, with sadness, crazies, waterfalls of tears and dirt….oh and HUGE bugs, frogs, turtles and dogs. (the rhyming was totally NOT planned)

My husband and 2 awesome kids are in California.  I am in Florida.  That’s enough Uggghhhhhh for anyone, but for me its just the icing on the cake (a phrase I actually think is really dumb cuz nobody calls it icing, it’s FROSTING…..).

My dad has Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer, metastasized to his liver and lungs.  Yes, the same cancer Patrick Swayze fought and just died from.  My dad (waaayyyyy more important to me than Patrick Swayze, even though I have probably watched Dirty Dancing a few dozen times..) is going through difficult stages.  He was taken off chemo after the doctor said it was no longer working.  He was not doing well, the doc said he had 2-3 weeks.  I fly here to hell Florida ONE week ago.  Now my dad is actually doing quite well.  He is feeling good.  He has a few side effects from meds that are making me and my mom crazy (considering popping a few of his pills) but it’s not about us…..

So, since dad’s feeling good, parents decide they want to pack up and move to California to be near us (my family, my kids…).  Great, excellent, wonderful, but have you seen their house?  Or their vehicles?  Or their crap stuff?  OMG….throw me a friggin bone here people.

They ask me to help them.  You have to know me, I don’t like “stuff”.  I don’t like pretty little trinkets that fit perfectly between the 176 other trinkets squeezed within a 10 square inch space on top of the cable box.  I also don’t like things that don’t work, and that goes for clocks, tv’s, lawnmowers, golf carts OR vehicles….in case you were wondering.  I don’t really care about the “value” it has when it is all fixed and clean.

So, my first suggestion, sell a couple vehicles.  Done.  One (yes, my dad has more than one) of his trucks and the old uhaul moving van (that clearly can’t be used for moving) are on Craigslist.  I then say, “Hey, how about a Moving Sale?”.  They say sure, let’s do it this weekend.

Here we go.  Oh gosh, I totally forgot to mention we are in a part of Florida that is simple described as EWWWW!  We set up the tables and as we take stuff out to the tables, my dad takes the stuff off and hides it.  I totally forgot he wanted to keep that dusty old weird beer thingy that has a horse on it…..silly me.  So, we painfully make it through the 2 longest weekend days of my life to make a total of $187.00.  Sweet.  That will get us from Polk county to just shy of the neighboring county.

Now what.  I’ll tell you what.  My parents are both asleep.  I have my laptop and my camera.  I also have skillz.  8 new Craigslist ad’s.  Yep.  Bring it on.  If only I could send them away for a few days.

I am ready to go home.  I am ready to snuggle on the couch with my kids.  I am ready to kiss my hubby.

I’m going a little crazy here…so I decided to write a little song for ya, well, it’s for us all!!!

*I expect to be accompanied by a banjo, harmonica….and a pair of knee slapping hillbillies.  Alright….Here we go!

Weeeeeelllllll, I woke up this mornin to a normal day,
had lunch with friends the Applebees way
Gotta call from momma sayin dads in the ER
He’s got spots all over and they think it’s cancer.

*don’t cry…it’s a country song*

I kissed the husband and the kids, flew across the US
It’s been 3 months and my lifes a mess
My fam flew here but our stuff went Weeesssstttt…..
You see, we’re supposed to move there cuz it’s for the best

Oh Florida, oh Florida….where I spend each and every day
Oh Florida, oh Florida….so much to do….if your rich and can afford to

Mom and dad are in the mobile, we’re sleepin next door
It’s like upscale campin on beds, not the floor
We’re here in Polk City, the lightening Capitol of the world
And of course it’s storm season which makes me wanna hurl

My skins a new shade but it’s a new texture too
A little hot and sticky but the blisters are a few
We got the pool from Walmart, parked in the front yard
It’s a picture that should really be on a postcard

Oh Florida, oh Florida….where I spend each and every day
Whether at home, with Mickey or by the Bay
Oh Florida, oh Florida….so much to do….if your rich and can afford to

We’ve been to all the parks and seen alligators too
We’ve eatin fresh fish and stayed in hotels with a view
We’ve grown webbed feet from the pools and beach,
We’ve even had sand stuck in places we can’t reach

My dads much better so we can’t stay long
We got the plane tickets which brings an end to my song
And while we wait you can hear from me from…..
Twitter, Facebook or www.jennheffer.com

I find this soooo ironic…we are here in Florida, were we expect the sun to shine continuously, but NO, this is “storm season.”  Not just any storms, LIGHTENING STORMS.

If that isn’t LAME enough, lets go ahead and add in the IRONY.  The city we live in is Polk City, a beautiful country town, where the cows are a mooin’ and the stupid dumb peacocks wander freely.  Ya, when is the last time you spent any time near a peacock.

As I digress…back to my irony.

We just learned that Polk County is the “Lightening Capitol” of the bloody country .  Yep, lightening strikes here MORE than any other place.  Isn’t that just AWESOME!