About this blog....

Welcome to Things In My Rear view Mirror. This is a collection of stories based on true events throughout my life. Some are very good memories, some are not so good. However, all are written from my point of view at the age they occurred. No harm, pain or otherwise negativity is meant with my writing. This blog is intended to help me heal as well as share with those important in my life the good, the bad, the ups and the downs that make me who I am and who I am proud to be today.
And no, I do not and will not change names.
All material, stories, pictures, videos on this blog and all it's pages are completely and fully the original work of Janet Jones and are not permitted to be used in any form without express written permission of the author Janet Jones. Protected by Copyscape DMCA Takedown Notice Infringement Search Tool

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Buttered Toast

I have to consciously tell myself to close my mouth as I watch her bite into yet another piece of buttered toast. I can't believe she is still eating and to top it off all she has eaten thus far is buttered toast. Not fancy, jellied toast. Not the hot sausage or even the beautiful yolk intact fried eggs on her plate but just more toast.

Peering over the top of her toast as she takes another bite she winks at me. Between chewing and wiping the crumbs from the corner of her mouth she mumbles, "I love buttered toast! I could eat it all day!"

The smile she gives me seems to warm my insides to the point that nothing else matters. I quickly follow her example and pop two pieces of bread into the toaster and anxiously wait for it to pop back up all nice and golden brown.

What seemed like hours but was only about a single minute the toaster spits out it's prize and we both make a quick grab for it, laughing as we both pull back a slice. A mischievous grin spreads across her face and just as I understand the reason we both quickly grab for the only butter knife on the table.

In this moment I was completed connected with my Aunt Sybil. A person who before then I only saw on special holidays or occasional visits.  However, from this point on we would always have a kindred spot for sharing something as valuable and tasty as buttered toast.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Vultures and Spaghetti Noodles.......

The two hour drive back to Columbus to meet the girls' mom and drop them off to go back home seemed to be going quite well. The kids in the back were either sleeping, playing their video games or reading a book.

Harmony and I sat in the front seat viewing the countryside as I drove down the seemingly never ending highway. The trip from San Antonio to Columbus is basically nothing but a few towns peppering the otherwise blank countryside. There is the occasional gas station or fast food but mainly it's just fields.

Over the hills off to the right Harmony notices a gathering of black birds flying in a circular pattern. "Ma, what are those birds doing?"

"Well, I think those are just a bunch of nasty buzzards. You know, like a vulture," I said.

"Oh, you mean those ones that God made to eat all the dead stuff on the ground right?" she questioned me.

Surprised that she knew that information at her young age I nodded my head and decided to see how much more she knew. After all we didn't have anything but time to kill.

"So, Harmony. They eat dead stuff on the ground?" I asked her. She nodded her head and I then asked, "Like what?"

"Well, you know," smacking her gum, "Things like mice, rats and Oh Yeah! Snakes! They really do eat snakes." Being quite impressed and honestly a bit grossed out at the knowledge she has on this subject I just nod my head.

"They have really ugly eyes. I know. I saw one on the grass one time eating a dead animal! Their eyes are black and mean. They use them to see the animals when they are flying around up there in the sky," she explains.

Really into the story now and again her depth of information she is providing me with I am completely engrossed in her story at this point. She continues on for about another five minutes or so explaining the buzzards habits and how they hunt.

Then all of a sudden silence over takes the car. She stopped talking as if in deep thought. Enthralled with her story I eagerly wait to hear more as I continue to drive down the never ending highway.

Suddenly, out of the blue she says, "I think they have something weird though. They love snakes and they are pretty gross. But I figured it out. From way up there the snakes must look like spaghetti and that's my favorite food."

Not quite understanding where she is going with the story I slowly ask her, "Harmony what do you mean honey?"

Exasperated she claims, "Well, they are eating spaghetti snakes! At least that is what they think they are seeing from way up there with their ugly eyes! The snakes look like spaghetti noodles!"

I busted out laughing and said, "SPAGHETTI SNAKES! I GET IT!" To which we both broke into a loud tummy hurting type of laughter.

~~Based on a true event in the summer of 2010~~

Saturday, April 23, 2011

We'll be ok....

"You know, it's ok to go," I said as I choked back my tears.  I am determined to be strong and present a non emotional front because I know that I am really treading out on thin ice so to speak with this subject.

Uncle Bill takes a deep breath and turns his head towards me.  Shockingly, he doesn't seem upset with me as I had expected he would.  Instead, I think I see a single tear escape the brim of his eyelid and roll unwanted down his cheek.

"Not yet. I can't. Who will take care of everyone? That's my job."

"Oh, Uncle Bill. You already have. You've been taking care of us all our entire lives. It's time for you to do what you need to for you," I said.

Uncle Bill looks at me with searching eyes and turns away pretending to fiddle with the bed controls as another tear escapes down the crease in his cheek. Waiting for both of us to gain control of our emotions I too turn away swallowing hard and hoping my tears would not fall.

Taking a slow, deep breath I say, "Uncle Bill. We would not be the people today without everything you have done for each of us. I mean look at Billy Joe and Collin. They are both happy and doing great.  Look at me. Did anyone ever think I would find a man as good as Chuck to take care of me and my kids?"

Sternly, he says, "No. You will never find another good man like Chuck." Uncle Bill has always been firm on this subject. I think it's because he doesn't have to worry about me or the kids.

"I know this is a tough subject but we have to talk about it. I promise we will be ok. You need to think of yourself for the first time in all these years. Think how happy you will be Uncle Bill." I am openly crying now and I don't care.  I want him out of pain and for him to be happy so badly.  "Uncle Bill, I know you don't want me to say all this." He turns and looks at me with what is clearly an unhappy, almost mad facial expression.

Taking a huge breath and going for the plunge I say, "Well, what do you expect me to do? I learned from the best how to take care of business and the ones I love.  And right now you, how you feel and how I love you are my business." I quickly look down at my lap fearful I may have gone too far with my words but knowing I am the only one that could get away with saying it. I take another huge gulp of air and say, "You should be proud of me. I learned and listened to you.  I am who I am and I do what I do because of you."

Looking down as if he were a tiger that had just realized his match he sighs.  Slowly, he brings his eyes back up to meet mine and he says, "I am proud of you, Janet."

I draw in what feels like the biggest, deepest breath I have ever taken and softly say, "Then trust that we will be ok and trust me when I say I promise you that I will make sure that everyone is ok."

Several minutes go by before I finally see or I think I see what is the tiniest nod of his head.  "Yes, you'll all be ok," he whispered.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Poop and the corner

I can see the setting sun shooting rays of it's last bit of light through the partially open curtains as I begin to relax or more like fall exhausted into my rocking chair having finally convinced Ashley Renee to go to bed.  She had been an extra handful that day eating entirely too much sugar and running like a mad woman all through the house in just her princess panties. She has refused to wear anything else as we we have been potty training for almost a month now.

My eyes begin to drift off and suddenly a whiff of poop fills my nostrils.  Completely disgusted I jump up searching for the spot that the cat has designated as the new litter box. It's not behind the couch, not by the lamp and not by the entertainment center.  I soon realize it's behind the rocking chair and choke as I clean it up. This was the third time this week I had cleaned up poop in this spot.

After cleaning the mess I decided there had been enough events to call the day done. Including mine and Ashley Renee's attack of the dragon mountain. I take the short walk down the hall to my room and fall completely spent into my bed closing my eyes.  It's only a few short hours later when my delightful dream of a far away beach, cabana boy and a tall fruity drink are rudely interrupted by a 2 year old princess-panty wearing child creature jumping in the middle of my bed.

I drag myself out of bed and trudge to the living room with the small creature jumping around my feet. When I exhibit difficulty finding the remote control she happily grabs it and shoves it in my hand all the while begging for her princess cartoons.  I begin struggling to turn on the TV and Ashley Renee is bouncing all around me chanting princess, princess, princess.  The incessant noise only stops as I shove the beloved princess video in the player and push start.  The music fills the living room and my ears as I turn to the couch and lie down hoping to catch a few more moments with my cabana boy.

What seems like only seconds later an all too familiar odor drifts through my dream causing me to open my eyes.  Turning my head my body jerks to attention with complete horror and disgust.  There behind the rocking chair was Ashley Renee squatting down with her princess panties around her ankles pooping on the floor!

Realizing she has been caught Ashley Renee jumps up attempting to pull her princess panties up and run causing her to fall flat on her face halfway down the hall. I pick her up taking her back to the living room and make her clean her own poop up off the floor all the while as she cries, "Yucky mama, yucky!"

"Yeah, you will think it's yucky in the future when you are cleaning up poop after one of your own kids too!" I said.

Things settle down and I begin to think about the poor cat being blamed for all that poop.  Boy she must hate me.  But I do take a little comfort as I realize surely she hates Ashley Renee more for putting the poop there in the first place!

~Based on summer of 1993~

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


 I'm walking around the campsite collecting any discarded trash and waiting for the rest of my group to come back from their hike when I hear Ashley Renee come bursting out of the nearby trees.  She is completely breathless and has a difficult time trying to talk. 

Confused and thinking something must be really wrong, I simply stare at her.  Still very out of breath but clearly excited she says, "You gotta come!  Seriously, you just gotta see this!" My mind was racing thinking what the hell????  I mean for the last several weeks Ashley Renee and I had not exactly been seeing eye to eye on more than one occasion.

As she kept INSISTING that I come with her, I made the decision to go.  However, I did not go without protest.  I kept asking her over and over if she were plotting my death.  She assured me she was not and continued to lead me down the embankment into the woods, although I kept thinking she was planning something bad.

At one point I stopped walking and bluntly asked her if a chain saw murderer was in the woods waiting for me.  She laughed and swore no.  So, I continued to follow.

Just as we turned the bend she said proudly, "SEEEEEE!!!"

I slowly approached and was faced with an awesome sight!!  Around the corner was a clearing in the woods that overlooked a parital cliff type area. Literally there was at least 200 fireflies twinkling in the night sky!!!  It was sooo amazing!!

Ashley said, "I had to show you!"

Emotions overcame me and tears began to tug at the corners of my eyes.  I stood there thinking how could she remember our firefly hunts when she was a little girl? I was so overwhelmed that I had stopped long enough to realize that we had taken a moment out of our busy lives to have a memory moment like this!!

~Based on events in May 2008~

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Bubblegum Eyes Scandal...

As the sun hits the mid way mark in the sky the heat index begins to climb. It looks like it will be another typical hot Texas summer afternoon. I shove my feet into my flip flops and take off down the stairs towards the courtyard where Billy Joe is standing.

Walking up to Billy Joe I catch his eye and he puts his finger to his lips hissing a quiet shhhhhh.  He points to a groups of guys sitting on their apartment porch hanging out laughing, smoking and playing their guitars. Confused at what he is getting at I raise my eyebrow as if to ask him what's going on.

Billy Joe says, "You want ice cream today right?" I nod my head slowly and he then says, "Watch this."  I stand by watching him and wondering what he could possibly be up to this time.

Casually, as if he had done it a million times, Billy Joe walks up to the group of guys and positions himself into a leaning position against the door frame to their apartment. He is pretty much given a quick once over by the guys but other than that isn't given much attention.

Over the course of the next 10 minutes or so Billy Joe begins to ask the group of guys what is entirely too many questions. I couldn't quite hear what was being said but the looks on their faces and the glances they were giving Billy Joe clearly told the story of the building frustration the guys were having towards him.

Eventually the guys handed something to Billy Joe and he turned towards me with a huge cat ate the canary smile on his face. He practically danced over to me with his accomplishment plastered on his face and promptly stopped right in front of me. Opening his hand and revealing a pair of shiny quarters he exclaimed, "Ice cream money!"

Suddenly everything became clear to me and I realized he had just taught me what I eventually named the Bubble Gum Eyes Scandal.  You see every single day the ice cream truck came through the apartment complex peddling his goods. And every day I had wished I had enough money to get the one with the bubble gum eyes.  However, Aunt Linda only gave us between .50 and a dollar but the bubble gum eyes cost $1.25. So, I either had to go without ice cream one day to have enough the next day or more often than not I simply got the cheaper selection. 

However, now I had a plan of action.  Each day, I became the little girl with the freckles and pigtails that danced over to that group of guys and pestered the hell out of them until they paid me quarters to leave. With the money I had just conned out of the guitar guys added to the money Aunt Linda gave me I knew I would soon be enjoying the deliciousness of the bubble gum eyes ice cream.  And everyday I heard the magical call of the ice cream truck I knew I had accomplished another task in the Bubble Gum Eyes Scandal.

Little did I realize that years later as an adult I would run into one of those guys and we would eventually meet, fall in love and get married. Me realizing he was one of those "guitar guys" and him realizing I was that freckle faced little girl pestering him for quarters.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Roller Skates and Hell

I gather up my courage one more time to stand upward while attempting to keep the roller skates from sliding in opposite directions again.  I can hear my heartbeat pounding in my ears as my fear rises.

I want so badly to be able to skate like the other girls in the apartment complex. They seem to do it with such ease and grace. I know that I will never be fully accepted until I can roll smoothly along side them as they zip through the sidewalks passing each apartment door.

My knees resemble a mess of meat that just came through a grinder because I have fallen so many times while practicing all day.  The other girls have gone on ahead without me showing no concern if I am with them or not. I'll show them! I know I can do it. I take a deep breath and grab the rails of the nearby staircase and pull myself up. Steadying my feet, I slow my breathing down to a semi-normal speed and slowly let go of the rails.

I'm doing it! I'm standing! And I'm not rolling away or falling uncontrollably! Gaining a bit of courage I slowly begin to work my way down the sidewalk to the middle of the courtyard. I am smiling now as I begin to get the hang of gliding my feet with the clumsy skates on.

Just as I think all is well, from behind me I hear a maniacal laugh and only realize who it is just as his hands hit my back and begin shoving me along the concrete.  My mean and horrible cousin Billy Joe who always derives such pleasure from causing me torture had rounded the corner in time to see my clumsy attempts to skate.  Now, he had his hands on my back and was pushing me at a blazing speed straight for the open gate to the complex swimming pool!

Completely helpless I ended up flailing like an injured sinking sea cow with the skates on my feet acting as brick weights.  The fact that I couldn't swim either didn't help anything. I began splashing around, sucking in enough water to sink a ship and attempting to scream for help.  All the while Billy Joe stood laughing so hard he was doubled over.

The world went black and I don't know who helped me but I do know roller skates, swimming pools and Billy Joe do not make a good combination.

Piggie Farts

A quaint little conversation I had with my often too blunt 10 year old daughter.

Me: Megan, you really need to get ready for the dentist.
Megan: Okay, I will.
Me: Remember to brush your teeth.
Megan: Why?
Me: You don't want to have bad breath when the dentist tells you to open your mouth.
Megan: Oh, yeah! And I don't want to burp then either!
Me: *sigh* No, that wouldn't be polite.

A few minutes pass.

Megan: Mama, can we take Bugsy to the dentist?  (He is our guinea pig.)
Me: No, it wouldn't be sanitary.
Megan: Oh, you're right. Especially if he let out a piggie fart.

Gotta love a child!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's a Croaker

It's a cold, gray miserable day as far as weather goes.  With the rain falling just enough to be a nuisance, the wind whips my hair and causing it to sting my face. Smoke bellows from the nearby chemical plants causing the sky to appear even more gray than it actually is. My nostrils fill with a mixture of chemical smoke and salt water as I take in a huge breath. I nearly slide down the muddy bank into the canal as I feel a jerk on my fishing pole. I excitedly begin to reel in my catch.

With careful instructions from Uncle Bill, I continue to reel in the line. After all he is the expert at this. For what feels like hours but really is only minutes I struggle to follow his directions perfectly. Not only am I filled with the excitement of catching this fish but also I secretly love the attention from my Uncle Bill.

Standing there in what is now pouring down rain, reeling in this fish with no one else around I am completely and totally the center of Uncle Bill's attention. What else could I ask for?

With the perfect amount of coaching and direction I finally pull the fish out of the water and proudly turn to peer into Uncle Bill's face. With a hearty laugh he grabs the fish and begins to take the hook out of it's mouth. It's scales catch the light and momentarily I think it certainly must be the best fish in the entire world because I think it's a rainbow fish!

And just then a very weird noise comes from it's belly. Wondering what the heck is going on I ask Uncle Bill,"What's that noise?"

Through his laughing he tells me to just listen.  I lean closer to the fish, wondering if it's actually a fish now. I mean how could that noise come from a fish? Still confused and not quite sure of what was going on I back up a bit and look up at Uncle Bill again. Once again, through his smirking Uncle Bill instructs me to listen.

Not really sure of what to do I just stand there and suddenly the horrendous thing croaked again! As Uncle Bill erupts into a full belly laugh I am feeling very confused and quite a bit insecure of myself. Tears are pulling at the corners of my eyes as I almost begin to cry. It's only then that Uncle Bill says, "Croaker! It's a Croaker!"  Suddenly, everything makes sense! As if I knew what he was talking about I thought,  of course, it's going to croak! It's a Croaker fish!

Now, I join in with the laughter and watch the fish flop on the muddy bank where Uncle Bill tossed it. We laughed for a few minutes more and I danced around to the noise of the croaking fish.  When a few more moments passed Uncle Bill bends over, picks up the Croaker and casually tosses it back into the cloudy water of the canal.

We both looked at each other and said,"Croaker!" and fell into a laughing fit.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Toasty Toes

I anxiously wait at the top of the apartment complex staircase.  Glancing down at my bare feet, my string tattered home-made-from-an-old-pair-of-jeans shorts, and my cousin's too-large t-shirt.  I shrugged at myself and turned my gaze back towards the sidewalk.

It wouldn't be long now before it would be Toasty Toes time.  My foot began to tap in that OCD manner which I was usually oblivious too unless someone pointed it out to me, usually in a firm WILL YOU STOP THAT tone of voice.

The sound of car after car pulled into the parking lot as the dad's of different families in the complex returned home after a long day at work in the chemical plants. Each time my heart beat would quicken as I strained to see down the sidewalk that turned the corner at the far end of the courtyard. Disappointment filled me as each burly figure turned the corner and I realized it wasn't the right person.

Oh, WHEN would he be home? My impatience was nearly driving me insane, if an 8 year old girl could go insane that is. Toasty Toes was OUR special time.  It belonged to none but us. Oh, some had joined us on occasion and others had even crinkled their noses at the mention of it, but not us.  It was a ritual; a bonding of sorts.  I knew without a doubt that for those few minutes our Toasty Toes time would be special.  We would laugh, talk and share silly jokes that usually no one else understood, but it didn't matter to me.  As I said, it was Toasty Toes time.

Just when I thought I would explode from anticipation I caught a glimpse of the one I was waiting for walking around the corner.  It was Uncle Bill! He glanced up, caught my eye and gave a quick smile.  You would think that I would jump up and run down the stairs to go greet him like in some sort of movie but nahhh that was for those foo-foo, girly types.  I wasn't foo-foo, dainty, or even girly.  Unfortunately, I was tall, skinny, and very clumsy.  Running down the stairs to greet him would most likely have ended in some sort of bloody mess aka me at the bottom of the stairs. So, instead, I waited excitedly at the top of the stairs for Uncle Bill to make the climb.

As he reached the top stair, Uncle Bill stopped looked at me and gave me a funny face.  A quick wink and he disappeared into the apartment. Like a lightening bolt I raced through the door behind him.  Depending on the day and what report Aunt Linda had to give him regarding my two cousins' behavior I often felt as if time had been stopped by some master clock ruler.  My mind wandered into the possibility that somewhere perched upon a high mountain was some evil little guy torturing me by controlling the hands of time.  He was visibly laughing at the agony he caused me knowing that because of his small size the only real power he had in his pitiful life was slowing, even freezing time for anxious little girls like myself.

To be continued...........