Mail call! #100HappyDays

Day 59: Getting things in the mail makes me happy. 

Quick clarification: Getting things in the mail that aren’t bills makes me happy. ūüėČ I ordered some pictures to hang up in my home and they finally arrived! For so long, my walls have been bare. But my boyfriend’s recent home decorating inspired me to do a little decorating myself. Family, friends, travels, and of course my favorite drag queens–I’m covering the walls with them! 

Looks like I’m gonna need to do some thrifting to find frames for all these (and the ones I still need to order)…

Yes, the picture of me with RuPaul is an 8×10. To quote Queen B, “And I don’t feel bad about it.”

Money in the Bank #100HappyDays

Day 46:  Having available funds makes me happy.

In my last post, I mentioned that my garage door wouldn’t open. ¬†Well, a repairman is solving that problem literally as I type this…for the (not really) low, low price of $425. ¬†It turns out I needed both tension springs replaced (one of them broke, which is why the door wouldn’t open) as well as new cables and rollers (because mine were corroded–yuck). ¬†The parts are originals, and my house is almost 20 years old, so it makes sense that they failed. ¬†But damn Gina! ¬†They can’t make indestructible garage parts yet? #homeownerproblems #goodlawdthatsalotofmoney

Now, please don’t think I’m jumping for joy at paying damn near¬†five hundos for this repair job. ¬†Y’all know I’d rather spend that money on makeup and snacks! ¬†But I am thankful that I had the funds to cover this unexpected expense. ¬†I worry about money constantly, but my worries aren’t nearly as severe as they could be.

There are plenty of people here in America today who are struggling to find money to get their next meal or clothes and shoes for their kids. ¬†Across the globe, people are walking miles for clean water and dying from curable diseases because they don’t have access to basic healthcare. ¬†So, I’m happy that I had the funds in my bank account to cover this expense. ¬†I’m not rich, but I do have enough, and that’s a lot more than some have.

(And for the record, if anyone wants to donate to the “Ashley Loves Makeup and Snacks Fund” you are more than welcome to PayPal/Venmo/Chase QuickPay me anytime!)

Solving Problems and Celebrating People #100HappyDays

Day 32: ¬†Solving people’s problems makes me happy. ¬†This was my last day of customer class this week, and I love seeing how our software will solve the problems people have at their organizations. ¬†I spoke with a woman who was very excited about the provider suspension workflow she saw in class–apparently it would make her job much easier–and her excitement made me excited. ¬†I know I didn’t develop the software, but being able to share it with customers and see their delight makes me happy.

Day 33: ¬†Finalizing decisions makes me happy. ¬†This day was a rough one. ¬†I had a headache that just wouldn’t go away, a rough morning class, and a million things on my mind. ¬†However, something did make me happy–I signed papers to purchase a new car! ¬†I love my current car–I’ve had her since I graduated college–but she is not the best car for Wisconsin winters. ¬† I’d been stressed about my car situation all winter, so finally making a decision on which car to get and getting everything signed was my happy point of the day.

Day 34: ¬†#HomeownerProblems make me happy. ¬†I know it’s odd to be happy because of a problem, but that’s the case for this day. ¬†ūüôā ¬†This summer I finally decided to do my lawn maintenance myself, only to find that my lawn mower wouldn’t start. ¬†I was initially very frustrated by this–once I made up my mind to mow the lawn myself I just wanted to get it done–but the situation taught me a lot. ¬†I learned how to change a spark plug and that a clogged carburetor can cause small engines to refuse to start (#TheMoreYouKnow). ¬†I got an exercise in patience and realized that I have a great support network. ¬†And now I’m extra motivated to mow the lawn myself sometime soon.

Day 35: ¬†Boyfriends and moms make me happy. ¬†This day was twice as special as most days–it was my boyfriend’s 31st birthday *and* Mother’s Day! ¬†My mom is the most spectacular human being–she is my role model in life and I love her more than anything. ¬†My boyfriend is such a great man; he’s kind and patient and funny and actually lets me be myself. ¬†Honoring both of them on the same day was so powerful and I’m so blessed to have both of them in my life.

Day 36: ¬†Travel agents make me happy. ¬†I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to plan my sabbatical, but thanks to the advice of my officemate I now have a travel agent to help me! ¬†Originally I thought that a travel agent would be too expensive, but her rate is very affordable and she’s got decades of experience too. ¬†Planning this trip has been stressing me OUT and the thought of someone doing the heavy lifting for me makes me so very happy!

Mistaken Identity

A few weeks ago, some of my neighbors stopped by my house to return some mail that had been mistakenly delivered to them instead of me. ¬†I rarely get unannounced visitors, so I curiously approached the door–perhaps it was a teenager doing a fund raiser or a friend who happened to be in the neighborhood.

I opened the door, said hello.  A white man and woman stood on my stoop.  Their faces quickly went from placid to surprised.

“Are YOU…?”

“Yes, sir; this is my home. ¬†How can I help you?”

A quick explanation of the mail mishap and they were gone, leaving me with a Women’s Health magazine and feelings¬†of resignation.

This¬†interaction was, unfortunately, not a first for me. ¬†People have been surprised at my Blackness more times than I can count. ¬†Perhaps it’s the unassuming first name. ¬†Or maybe the lack of accent–my extensive public speaking background nipped that in the bud real quick.

But multiple times in my life, I’ve spoken to someone on the phone and heard a shocked, pleased, or even disappointed exclamation of “I didn’t know you were Black!” during our first in-person meeting. ¬†Or gotten a look of confusion in a doctor’s waiting room when I stand after my name is called. ¬†Each time, I roll my eyes and add the interaction to the list of acts of subtle racism thrown my way.

Why do people live with stereotypes–usually negative–of what Blackness is? ¬†Why, after meeting me in person, do people feel the need to remark on how “articulate” I am? ¬†Or how I’m “not what they expected?” ¬†Most people probably don’t even realize what they’re doing–and they definitely wouldn’t call it being racist. ¬†However, stereotypes about Black people are so deeply ingrained that most of the population doesn’t even recognize them unless they are explicitly pointed out.

Sometimes, the stereotypes have terrifying–even deadly–repercussions. ¬†A Black woman was held at gunpoint because a white neighbor thought she was breaking into her own apartment.¬†Luckily, this woman wasn’t injured or killed.

…However, this Black man wasn’t so lucky.

Neither was this Black woman.

For those who continue to mistakenly believe that we live in a post-racial society, look around you. ¬†Look at your own actions. ¬†Scrutinize your reactions to and interactions with people of color. ¬†You don’t have to wear a white hood, rep the Confederate flag, or say the n-word to be a racist. ¬†You don’t have to be a billionaire raised with the finest of things to have privilege. ¬†Remember this each time you open your front door and the person on the other side acts like you belong there.

Welcome to the neighborhood…

Well, we had our first real homeowner issue Tuesday night.  Whodathunk that, exactly one week after signing the paperwork, JB and I would be standing outside (in the RIDICULOUS cold) terrified our house was going to blow up?  Long story short, we are fine and the house is fine.  It just took a few fire fighters and a gentleman from the gas company doing readings for carbon monoxide to reassure us.

While the fire engine was outside. lights blinking away in the pitch black of 5:30 pm, a few neighbors stepped outside to “check the mail” or “shovel the driveway.” ¬†No one came up and outright asked what’s going on, but I guess Midwesterners are too formal for that. ¬†Where I’m from, someone would have probably walked right up to us, introduced themselves (and probably invited us inside their home to warm up). ¬†Once we got inside, they would have asked us a million questions about ourselves while simultaneously telling all the neighbors’ dirty secrets and offering us something to drink.

I was wondering when someone would notice the new young Black couple that just moved in.  I think I have my answer now.

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Welcome to the neighborhood…