Saturday, December 22, 2012

This is me challenge: part 5

*What are some of your personal and family traditions for each holiday?  (New Years, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Easter, Passover, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, etc.)

Well, as we are now on our own, (i.e. no family nearby, just the three of us) we are developing new traditions as each year goes by. 

New Years has always been celebrated at home with family. In the past, I have been the only one awake as the ball drops.  In Florida, we would light sparklers and firecrackers in the front yard, then go inside to watch the programming. At midnight, people would shoot guns (highly dangerous), and we would avoid windows waiting for the gunfire to cease. Since becoming a nurse, I have worked every New Year's Eve, except last year. I will be working this year. 

Independence Day is for cooking out, and my son and I go watch fireworks. (Fireworks always make me cry, for some reason.) 

Easter is spent with family. But I want to change that tradition, and go to church.

Thanksgiving used to be spent going between all our families' homes, and stuffing ourselves like crazy (because you can't eat a little bit without insulting the hosts). Last year we went to the movies and Cracker Barrel. This year we spent it with our neighbors.  I made all the sides and they made the turkey.  Next year I will be working. 

Christmas has changed a lot for us. In Miami, we would spend Christmas Eve with Willie's relatives (they celebrate La Noche Buena), then spend Christmas morning with my family. Christmases were always spent at my grandmother's home. We always had lasagna.

It is our tradition to decorate the Christmas tree on the weekend nearest my son's birthday. While David prefers a real tree, I prefer the artificial variety.  Sure real trees smell awesome, but I get so sad throwing away a tree every year. So, large green toilet brush it is. :)  Decorations come down on the weekend after New Year's Day. 

Last year was our first Christmas on our own.  And of course, I worked the 24th, 25th and 26th. This year, I am off.  I will be making lasagna for 12/24. We will watch holiday movies, and spend it together. On Christmas morning I will make breakfast, and then we will go serve dinner at the Rescue Mission. Then home to watch the Doctor Who Christmas special. :)

*How do you celebrate adult's birthdays?

Dinner out and a homemade cake.

*How do you celebrate children's birthdays?

Dinner out and a homemade cake. (It is hard being born two weeks before Christmas. And David is not much of a party person.)

*How do you celebrate your anniversary?'

We used to go away for our anniversary (usually Disney World). This year, hubby rented a hotel room half a mile from home and we went out to dinner and spent a night just the two of us. It was nice.  My dream anniversary would be a trip to Ireland and a gift of a claddagh ring.

Home life:

*Describe the places you've lived.

 So many places... Well, Miami when I was very small was very different than it is today.  Miami in the early 70's was resort-y, and still Southern in a lot of ways. Now, it is extremely diverse, which is good and bad.  Good in that people get exposed to many different cultures and could use this exposure to learn tolerance and acceptance. Bad, because often the diversity serves to create more barriers between people (race, sexuality, language, cultural beliefs, etc). 

When I was really small we lived in my grandmother's house.  From there we lived in several places ( at least three that I can remember...this was all before the age of 5), until we moved to North Carolina.

Wilmington, North Carolina... it was a trailer on the beach.  I don't remember a lot about this time, except that I developed a huge crush on a drummer in a local band. The band played a lot of Beatles tunes, and I fell in love with "Penny Lane." I also remember seeing snow on the beach, which I remember thinking was so strange. 

Wilson, North Carolina.... think oak-lined streets, old houses, brick buildings.  We lived on the corner of Park Avenue and Kenan Street, in a huge old house that was converted into apartments. 

Obviously, it was not boarded up while we lived there.  The front door led into a foyer with stairs going up on the left. The windows on the second floor to the right belonged to my mother's best friend, Macon who was from Virginia. The attic apartment belonged to a guy named Bruce, who was awesome and had those clicker-clacker things.  Our apartment was the one on the lower left.  Being a converted house, the apartment was laid out in a weird way... kind of like a long row of rooms connected by doorways. From the living room, the next room was my parents' room, then the bathroom and then the eat-in kitchen.  My room was a little room that was just sort of stuck onto the back of the house, and when we first moved it was sealed shut.  There was a small screened in patio off the kitchen. There were fireplaces in the first two rooms. My room was always cold. We lived here for two years. 
photos borrowed from workingthejob 

Then we got a brand new trailer in Macclesfield, NC.  (A very, very tiny town.) The trailer backed up to a plot of farmland that had rotating crops, from corn to potatoes. This is a pretty good, though modern, representation of it.

Next to our trailer was a ditch, that my best friend and I would get into a just get covered with mud, and then spray each other with the water hose. 

From here we moved into my father's mother's (Lucy) house. I hated that house, and that woman. I had severe night terrors and walked and talked in my sleep while we lived there. Lucy was a mean, hateful drunk. This was the point at which my parents' marriage fell apart. My mother moved us into an apartment of our own on Elm Street.  I don't remember much about the apartment, except that it was an upstairs unit, it had wood paneling, and that there was a hair salon next door where I loved to hang out. All other memories I had of that time were not good.

Then we moved back to Miami, to live with my aunt.  At the time, my aunt was married to a paranoid, schizophrenic, cocaine addict. He would go off drug fueled crazy times, and we would have to run off in the middle of the night to stay in hotels. (CrAZY!!!!)

We moved several more times after that (11 times that I can remember).  I did not have a stable home life until I moved out on my own.  My first apartment was an over-the-garage in-laws apartment on Miami Beach. This is the main house:

The rent was only $400, and included lights and water. It was within walking distance to the beach, and this was before South Beach was SOUTH BEACH.  Lincoln Road was quiet, and usually pretty deserted. My apartment was a one bedroom, one bath. It had a little eat-in kitchen, and small storage room. I loved this little place. It was close enough to walk to everything, including my job, the grocery, the laundry...It was where I lived when I met my husband, and it was here that I had my wedding reception. I lived there for three years, until we moved off the beach to another apartment.

We lived in the first apartment at the top of the stairs pictured. We moved in October 1993. We moved out August 1997 (days after Princess Diana died). It was a large one bedroom apartment.  It had seven (7!!!!) closets.  We loved that apartment.  The rent was around $700. This was where we lived when I became pregnant with David.  We had my baby shower right under that canopy by the pool. Willie decided that we needed to have a house... that paying rent was a waste of time.  So.....

We bought a house.... where we lived for 13 years. Until we lost it due to foreclosure. Which sucks. 

Now we live in Lexington, KY, in an apartment.  In all honesty, I prefer apartment living. I hated yard upkeep. I like the convenience of just calling the landlord when something breaks. Perhaps one day we will consider purchasing, again... but, I doubt it.

*What was your favorite house or apartment?  Why?

My first little apartment on my own.

*How do you like to decorate?

I like lots of color against white.  However, that is not what I have.  I have beige and dark woods. :(

*What is it about home that you love?

My son.  But, I really like having alone time. 

*How has your standard of life changed through the years?

Well, it has gone up and down. For a while it was really good. But, my husband has never been great with keeping jobs, and the year I became a nurse was the year he stopped being an electrician (2007). He has not had a full time job since.... now, he is in paramedic school, which he should complete in the next three months. At that point he needs to find a full time job, or we will be renegotiating our contract....

Right now... we get by. And that's about it. If we were still living in Miami, we would not be able to make it, at all.

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