Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Meet the Turner's

The Turner’s Est. July 21, 2012
 It was a marvelous springtime with flowers galore. 
When Lauren met Michael right outside her door. 
Building 26 altered lives for these two. 
It is where their love story began and also where it grew. 
On a fine, memorable September day, 
History for these two folks was finally made. 
For outside the place where they first met, 
Michael’s proposal was thoughtfully set. 
With love, devotion, and trust in God,
 A groom will kiss his bride, in which all will applaud.  
July twenty-first, two-thousand-and-twelve. 
A date to remember that will surely be swell!

(Beautifully written by Brittnie Partin)

 The proposal took place at their old apartments where they first met, with Charlie carrying the ring around his neck and a friend of Michael's snapping pictures of the event.

Sometimes love comes along when we least expect it. For Lauren it came at a time when she was doing some serious soul searching and trying to focus on her spiritual life and relationship with God.

Michael was her neighbor. Their apartments were both at the end of their building, so their doors were on opposite sides of the building but their apt. walls were back to back to one another and they were technically neighbors. 

They both had dogs, but Charlie was staying with us at the time because she was working long days in school. According to Michael, he had seen Lauren with Charlie before and was determined to meet her.

So, one day when they were both outside he let go of his dog, Dixie, and she headed towards Lauren. Lauren immediately started petting Dixie and within a few minutes there was some conversation between her and Michael. I remember getting a photo text that night of Dixie and Lauren telling me  that she was dog sitting for her neighbor while he worked a night shift.

Over the next week or so there were a few calls between us when she mentioned she was grilling with her neighbor. When I asked if there was more to this neighbor than just a neighbor, she said no, he was cute and nice but too young and too short for her. (That has since become an inside joke) He's taller than Lauren, and she just meant too short for her typical standards of always dating much taller guys. As far as his age and him being almost two years younger, well, that was a first for her and she was really letting the age thing get to her.  So, I was told that she thought he might have a little crush on her but that she'd made it very clear that she was working on her spiritual self and not interested in getting involved with anyone. So, they continued their neighborly BBQ gatherings for a while. I went for a visit one weekend and met "the neighbor". I thought he was very nice, very handsome and that he definitely had a crush on Lauren, but she insisted that they were just friends for all of the reasons above. 

Shortly after my visit, it seemed that they were spending more time together but I was still being told it was just a neighborly friendship. That all changed one night when they went with some friends to Lake Travis and stayed up all night sitting on the pier by the water talking, for I want to say like 10 or 12 hours just really getting to know each other. It seemed to be the turning point for these two and when they both realized they had feelings for the other.

Michael was easy to like from the beginning and hit it off immediately with our family. He also became the brother that Caden never had and just fit in like a glove.

After Lauren graduated from Texas A&M she moved back home to live while she looked for a job. Michael followed shortly after her. He's from Georgetown but wanted to be near Lauren. The demand for jobs in his field were pretty good in our area and so he quickly landed one nearby.

 He'd started looking at apartments but it wasn't long before he asked Les for Lauren's hand in marriage. Of course, we were both thrilled because the love between these two was undeniable and we had no doubt that they belonged together. So, after the proposal we decided that both Lauren and Michael should just live here to save money. 

So, we had a house full, which included the two of them and all of their college crap for almost a year before they closed on their new house shortly before the wedding.  

Let me introduce you to the neighbors.

They live two doors down from us and we laugh about it all the time. The house wasn't even officially on the market but the neighbors who live next door knew it was going to be and started pushing them to look at it and once they did and liked it, they wrote a long list of pros and cons to living so close to us. Well, they love knowing all of the neighbors and feeling safe, they got a great deal, it's close (walking distance for Lauren) to their jobs and just offered a lot of good reasons to say yes. It sure made for an easy move! On a side note, she is teaching third grade at her old elementary school, which is so cool!

I couldn't have been any happier than I was about the wedding but was having a hard time with the changes that came with it.  I found myself crying into my pillow the night before we were leaving for the out of town wedding and weekend festivities. It was all hitting me hard and it just felt so strange. Her name was going to change. Someone else would be responsible for making any life changing or emergency decisions on her behalf. We would no longer be her emergency contact! We would no longer be considered her "next of kin". And.....How can we be at this point already when it seems like just yesterday that she was learning to walk and talk. I know that all sounds silly, but it was a very sad and weird feeling and I was emotional the entire weekend.

I still can't look at the photos without getting choked up and teary eyed. It was an amazing and beautiful wedding with 200 of our family and friends in attendance. We had a blast! Every little detail that Lauren fretted over and worked so hard on almost solely by herself was absolutely perfect. Right down to the beautiful handmade broach bouquet that was made from a shoe box full of old broaches from my grandmother, a couple from Michael's grandmother and some pieces from my great, great aunt. It was heavy, too! Just ask Cassidy,, who had to hold it during the ceremony. 


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Two Weeks Down, Ten to Go!

I started TCA 15 days ago, and oh my, what a 15 days it has been. Our days are long ones, usually starting at 7am and officially ending at 6pm. However, we’re expected to put in at least two additional hours working with our dogs each night. I think my body is still in shock. Oh, how I miss my naps!

I am enjoying being here, learning and being challenged. I have met some interesting people from all over the country. There’s Jacqui from New Hampshire with the coolest accent, Jessica from Utah, Kristy from Georgia, Jim from Fargo, Patrick from Louisiana, Shannon from D.C., the two Laura’s from New Jersey and Wisconsin as well as some fellow Texans among the group and last, but certainly not least, is my roommate, Mai (pronounced My), who is Egyptian, but came here from her home in Guatemala. There are 17 of us in all.

We started out with 18 but we lost one 7 days into it, which was a blessing for us all. I predicted that outcome, but even so, I was shocked at how quickly she dropped out. She was my other roommate, and had she returned from her overnight stay “with her aunt” in Waco last Monday, Mai and I had already decided that we had to let the school coordinator know that we couldn’t continue to live with her.

Within 15 seconds of meeting her it was obvious to all that she was loaded with issues and not someone you’d want to be around 24/7, or even 24 seconds for that matter. She provided some great material with her shocking stories and behavior during week one, but she also made studying and getting any peace and quiet in the house impossible. She accused me of going through her pockets on her coat when I was just pulling the sleeves out after finding it lying on top of the stove and was going to place it neatly on her counter space. She was a 50-year-old train wreck to put it nicely. I wish her well, but she was making life miserable for us here in the house.

I brought Jaxon and Sam with me, and was also assigned a rescue dog to train and care for. It’s a bit overwhelming to have three dogs to work with, especially with the fast pace in which we move. I’m living in a 4-bedroom mobile home on-site. I do a lot of walking to and from class and to the kennels and training center. I don’t have my vehicle. I had to leave it for the family. That has taken some getting used to but I catch rides into town with my student neighbors when I need something.

I had kennel duty last week and it nearly killed me. I was up at 5 and cleaning kennels until about 7:30 then had to start my day. We all have to rotate on kennel duty and some people got stuck with it twice but I only got it once. I’m so glad I got it over with and out of the way.

We will be going on a class field trip at some point to Sea World, where we will get to see a dolphin ejaculate on command. I guess that’s something most people can’t say that they’ve seen and I’m not sure they’d really want to. We use clicker training and dolphins have been using it for quite some time and they can actually train a dolphin to do that for reproduction purposes.

There have been plenty of funnies since I’ve been here. Let’s see. I locked myself into the kennel with my rescue dog the first day. I have since learned how to open it from the inside, but was afraid I was going to have to crawl through the doggie door and holler for help or sleep with my rescue. Luckily, Mai showed up just in time. She was upset that she didn’t have her camera.

Then there was the morning after Mai made me some of her Guatemalan tea that is a great laxative for those of us who aren’t always regular. She warned me that it takes about 12-hours to hit and so we had to drink it early or we’d be reliving the scene from Bridesmaids during class. I was out walking my rescue on this 360-acre spread when the rumbling in my tummy started. I thought I’d have time to get him back to the kennel and make it to my trailer, but ended up bringing him back to the house and barely making it to the bathroom. Then, 15-minutes after class started round two hit me and Mai said I walked very slowly and strangely to the bathroom, which made her laugh. When I sat back down I whispered, “I hate you” to her and it wasn’t because of how she said I walked out. I didn’t know that until later. Funny how I vow every morning I’ll never drink it again as I sit here sipping on a cup now. We are on an every other day regime of the Guatemalan tea.

Besides the crazy roommate stories, which I don’t have the time or energy to share in detail, I guess another funny and my biggest blonde moment thus far would be having one of my fellow students inform me yesterday that my rescue dog, Boots, was not a male dog, but a female. I thought she was joking but she said she saw his paperwork and he’d been spayed, not neutered. I rolled her over and sure enough……I’m not really sure why I thought she was a he or why I never really checked or looked closer at her paperwork. So, for the past two weeks I have been giving Boots atta-boys and telling people what a gay name Boots was for such a husky boy dog. I’m still reconditioning myself to say, “Good girl”. I guess I really need to be more observant of certain things!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now and I’m too tired to proof this or to organize the pictures, so this post is going up as is. Mai is the one mixed in with the scenery photos and Boots is the black and white dog, and if you’re reading this then you should know which is Jack and Sam.