Great (Mississippi) Expectations

Sometimes visiting home can be stressful.  Who are you going to see?  Will you have time for everybody?  What are you going to eat (which is obviously the most important question of all)?  But seriously, there’s a part of me that really hates planning things out especially when it comes to my social engagements.  So when I’m forced to divide my time between mom, dad, sisters, and friends AND I need to come up with some suitable activity, I get a little stressed out.  I have all these expectations of how my trip should go and other factors are always getting in the way!!

But all my neuroses aside, I had a great time at home.  I got to see some friends and catch up, but I also got to relax quite a bit.  Highlights from the trip include: seeing at dear friend at a barbeque (and no one does a barbecue quite like Mississippi in my opinion), playing Settlers of Catan, insisting on a ‘spa day’ (which just means I forced my mom and sister to use this awesome new mud mask I bought), and watching Lifetime original movie Steel Magnolias starring Queen Latifah with my mom.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t have extremely high expectations for the film, but mom and I were both quite misty by the end of it.  Was it exactly what I was expecting?  Maybe not.  But sometimes that’s when the best things happen.

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A beautiful view of a Mississippi interstate highway.

On a slightly unrelated note, I stuffed all three of the Fifty Shades series in my suitcase for my return flight home.  My sister convinced my mom to read the first one and she just had to finish the trilogy.  Do I have great expectations for these books?  Not really.  When I asked my mom about the books she said, “I have to admit, I do not think I am limber enough for some of the activities in those books.”  These books may be trashy and horribly written, but with a statement like that, how can I not read them?  I need to see what all the fuss is about!!


Please, take me back home to Mississippi!

Tomorrow, I leave for an extended Memorial Day Weekend getaway.  I’m going home for a few days which I realize doesn’t sound very exciting, but I haven’t been home since Christmas.  I’ve gotten proportionately more pumped as my travel day has gotten closer.  I’ve called my mom/sister what seems like every hour just to remind them that I’m coming home.  They will probably be sick of me before I even arrive.  Needless to say, the excitement of my trip has made it quite difficult to give a damn about anything going on here in Chicago.

A few examples:

1.  Yesterday, I thought it might be a good idea to skip my morning shower (it was not).  Since I am classy, I did wash my bangs to get rid of the greasy/creased mess that wouldn’t fit in my ponytail.  Clean bangs does not offset the effects of not showering!  However, I just didn’t care, because I was leaving in just two short days.

2. I have gotten fast food for almost every meal in the past three days.  I was basically out of groceries and didn’t feel like shopping before I left town.  Gross?  Yes.  Do I care?  Nope.  (I also had another incident with a giant Diet Coke from Subway.  Basically, I squeezed it too hard and soda spewed all over me like a fountain…on the day I skipped a shower.  Still – not caring)

3.  I just found out I have to present my principal with certain data from my students Drama assessments.  Somehow, I didn’t realize exactly what form this information was supposed to presented in.  But am I stressed?  Nope.  Just something I’ll figure out next Monday when I’m back in town.

4.  I noticed that my throat was a little scratchy and my glands might be a little swollen.  Usually, I pay attention to this kind of stuff, but I’m just bee-bopping along.  Even a little cold/allergy flare up will not bring me down.

5.  Even an empty Hulu queue couldn’t diminish my mood last night!  Bring it on Mississippi.  (Now, if only I was packed!)

Didn’t your mama teach you manners?

I always smile at cashiers.  I ask people how their day is going.  I try not to talk on my cell phone if I’m checking out at a gas station or grocery store.  I’m always nice to waiters, and I apologize if I have to send something back.  I say thank you.  And I say yes ma’am.  They’re called manners, people.  Didn’t your mama teach you any?

My mom certainly taught me to always be friendly to everyone.  Strangers, acquaintances, everyone!  I don’t think this is solely a Southern thing, some people are just nicer than others.  But there are certainly differences from region to region.  People in Chicago certainly don’t smile at each other on the street like people do in my hometown.  (I’ve learned this is because if you smile at a homeless person this can be interpreted as an invitation to ask for money or start a conversation.)

Recently, I’ve become more aware of my ‘extreme friendliness’.  To make extra money, I work in the box office at the theater where I’m interning.  This isn’t my first job in the customer service field, but I’ve never gotten so many compliments before.  I’ve had tons of people telling me how friendly, helpful, nice, etc. I am.  Isn’t that my job?  Why is friendliness  deemed unusual?

However, niceness does not always encourage niceness from others.  I recently had a patron on the phone who wanted nothing more than to release all of his frustrations with our theater.

“I’m sorry sir, but I don’t make any decisions regarding the theater, I was simply returning your phone call because I thought you wanted to reschedule your tickets.  No, I don’t have the authority to give your account a  credit.  No, I did not make the decision to postpone the opening of the show.  I’m sorry for the rescheduling issues.”  This went on for exactly 9 minutes and 48 seconds.  And I just allowed this man to release his verbal abuse even though I had nothing to do with any of it.  But I was nice.  I apologized.  I promised to follow up.  In my mind, I wanted to tell this man to go to hell and if he wanted to stop coming to see our shows that was perfectly fine with me.  But I didn’t.  I was nice.

I would never in  a million years be so rude and outwardly angry with a person who was simply doing their job.  Being truthful is one thing, but this man was simply hateful.  But in true Southern gal fashion, I just put up with it and smiled.  However, after I had this conversation, I told my friends about the giant prick who called in at work today.  Just like if a waiter is terrible, I will discuss all of their shortcomings after leaving the restaurant.  Or if a cashier isn’t very friendly, I will wait until I’m safely inside my car and mumble ‘Rude!’ to myself.  And that’s what you call manners!


But I’m not leavin on a jet plane.  Actually, my bags aren’t packed…yet.  But in approximately 12 hours I will be on my way to Mississippi!  Aside from the fact that I will spend 10 plus hours in the car tomorrow, I can’t wait.

I do love living in Chicago, but home is home and there are some things even the big city can’t replace. Things I can’t wait for in Mississippi:

  1. Presents.  (It’s Christmas and I like stuff – sue me!)
  2. Spending quality time with my mom and my sisters – including going to see Les Miserables in the movie theater! (This list is not in any specific order.  Of course I want to see my family more than getting presents!)
  3. Going to my favorite bar (where everybody knows my name).
  4. Going to my favorite Mexican restaurant and having a waiter bring me a giant Diet Coke before I even give him my drink order.

That’s all I can think of for now.  But I pretty much covered the basics: family, presents, and Mexican food.  What more could a girl ask for?  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Some people when faced with an illness refuse to let it beat them.  They will power on, refuse to take even an aspirin, and go about their business.  They are the people who you force to leave the office because you realize they are running a fever, even when they insist they are fine!  Let me say, I am not one of these people.  If I feel the slightest tickle in my throat or just a minor pain in my head, I’m ready to completely abandon the world and lock myself in my room until the plague passes.

Maybe I’m not quite that dramatic, but I have felt pretty crappy the past couple of days.  Now that winter has started to appear, I came down with a major cold to accompany the changing of the seasons.  I left work early on Tuesday and have been out of commission ever since.

Being sick in a new city really is the worst.  What makes it even worse: I had almost no groceries to speak of.  So, I’m alone in my bed hacking and coughing, I don’t want to go to the doctor because I don’t have health insurance, and there is nothing for me to eat.  I had no soup which is what I really wanted, and I had no one to call who would fetch soup for me.  These are the thoughts that will send a person into a downward spiral of self-pity *cough, cough*.

In Mississippi, I had plenty of people I could call.  Both my sisters lived in town, although if I’m being honest they probably would have blown me off to do something they felt was far more important.  If I couldn’t get my sisters, I would call my friend John but he was a very busy person.  Then, I would have called my mom.  Yes, that’s right, I would’ve called my mom.  And she would’ve brought me soup.  This thought occurred to me yesterday around 6 p.m.  And then, I thought “Kate, you are 27 years old!  Go and get your own damn soup!”

So, I got out of bed, put on a hoodie to hide my dirty hair, and walked (the whole one block) to the small, neighborhood grocery.  And guess what?  They didn’t even have the kind of soup I like!!  Maybe I’m a little picky when it comes to soup (and by picky I mean I will only eat chicken noodle).  I was very sad and decided to go with hummus, bananas, and Diet Coke.  When I got to the cash register, the nice cashier offered me some candy since it was Halloween.  I politely declined and he responded, “Oh wow, you don’t sound so good.”

“Thanks guy!  I know, I sound like a frog and by the way, where’s the chicken noodle soup?  My throat hurts and what do I want?  Chicken noodle soup!  But you don’t have it.  What’s up with that?  Yes, I’m sick.  Do we need to bring more attention to it!”

But, I didn’t say that, I just smiled and said “I guess it isn’t a Happy Halloween for me,” and picked up my hummus.  As I was leaving, he told me to feel better which made me feel like a total tool for having an imaginary freak out over the soup.

But, the happy ending is this: I’m starting to feel better.  So with only the aid of NyQuil, I made it through my first ‘illness’ in Chicago.  I nursed myself back to health!  I am an independent woman (who subsequently is completely caught up with all my favorite t.v. shows and recently completely over half a season of The Office.)