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Out of Gems

Occasionally, I play those cheeky games on Facebook. I limit myself to one at a time because they tend to be time-consuming and you always reach a point in the game where it is nearly impossible to be successful without purchasing on all those special, sparkly gems that you need for all those extra game goodies. All those lovely unicorn trees and dancing water flower sprites inevitably end up being a requirement to complete a mission or adventure. These games are designed so that eventually you will need a sparkling pink marshmallow boat load of gems in order to be successful. In a cruel twist of fate, the world you were building suddenly comes to a screeching halt unless you dig into your wallet and surrender those debit card digits.┬áThere is always that small amount of money that you easily rationalize spending. “Pft! It is only a $1.99”, however, once you give into “it is only” then everything becomes a slippery slope and soon, you need more gems so you spend more money on precious glittery little gems to fill your cartoon kingdom with yummy flying magic dragon tarts.

Meanwhile, here in the real world, I live on a tight budget that does not allow for too many gem purchases. My household tends to allocated our money for more tangible items such as food or a place to live. I know that there our other households where twenty dollars a month isn’t a deal breaker but at my house, there are weeks where twenty dollars is the difference between eating or not. That is just my less than sparkly reality. I do, however, still enjoy playing a game every now and then.

More often than not, I have to stop playing in all those magic kingdoms because I arrive at that tipping point where I can not continue dwelling in my fantasy world without purchasing gems. I lose out on missions or special buildings due to lack of gems. The worse ones are the special missions for extra wonderful prizes in which I start the mission but find that I am unable to successfully complete it because I lack a sparkly boat load of gems. Eventually, I quit playing.

A few weeks ago I quit another one of these games. I spent weeks building a shiny, thriving city. I attempted special mission after mission, only to fail, repeatedly. My wonderful, carefully planned city became a futile exercise in wasted time. I invested hours planning, decorating, harvesting and selling all kinds of weird items only to run out of time. Every mission designed to only be successful if you purchase gems and use them to grow 300 boots on a tree in less than 24 hours. Sigh. Discouraged, I quit showing up every day.

A week after I abandoned my city. I was grocery shopping when it occurred to me that all these failed missions are ireily similar to how I feel some times. I feel like, years ago, I started out to build a life. I had huge sparkly, magical dreams. In hindsight, all those unicorn, marshmallow, glitter filled, sugar plum visions were fruitless missions that I was unable to complete due to lack of gems. All those elusive gems necessary to a construct a successful life, whatever they were, I was missing them.

Instead, I attempted to succeed despite where you are or what you have. I am not sure that has gone well. My kingdom looks more like a nuclear bomb went off rather than a joyful world of success. The moving to Prescott endeavor is a perfect example. I’ve wanted to move to Prescott for close to a decade, no lie. Finally decide to go for it only to discover that affordable housing for a family with pets is near impossible to find, let alone secure. I need a gem to finish this quest. I have no money to click and make one appear.

I am at the point where I have to ask, do I abandon this effort or do we pursue further?
Where are all the gems?

Be Brave.
Jamie Christine

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Tired Tuesday

It is 2:58 a.m.
I have been up since 6:30 a.m. Monday morning.
I am still awake. I am tired but can not seem to climb into bed and go to sleep. I wonder why?

I have always had strange sleeping habits. My parents would often tell stories about me, at 2 years old, waking up in the middle of the night and going outside to play. I had the terrible habit of getting sleepy then falling asleep under the cars in our neighborhood. My mother told me that she had locks on the top of the door. I would stack chairs and such to climb up to the top of the door and unlock it. Fleeing to the great outdoors in the middle of the night.

My parents warned all the neighbors about me because one crisp morning, a neighbor almost ran me over if it was not for a tiny piece of my Dad’s stark white t-shirt that caught his eye. I wore my Dad’s t-shirts to bed. He brought me home and woke my parents with his knocking. The neighbor found me, sound asleep, near the front tire, oblivious to the danger around me.

After my parents managed to fasten a lock that I could not open, my mother told me that I would wander the house at night. She told me that because I was in my Dad’s white t-shirts that she would often see me flutter through the house. More than once she thought I was a ghost. Ghost girl in the white Fruit of the Looms. She said I was one of those creepy kids who stared at you till you woke up. I was always scaring the crap out of her.

My father worked over nights. He once told me that my mother would spend all day cleaning the house and I would terrorize it in the middle of the night. He would come home at 6 or 7 a.m. to find the house turned upside down by the little ghost girl. His favorite recollection was the morning he came home to find that I had discovered the 8 mm home movies and strung them around the living room like party streamers. He often cleaned up the house before my mother ever woke up so she would not be upset.

They bravely fought the midnight battle with me until the morning they woke up and I was not home. They searched all the normal places I would be sleeping. I was no where insight. A neighborhood search ensued till someone found me and another little boy. I have no idea where I found him. We were walking in our diapers and me in my white t-shirt along the side of major road. My mother asked me where I was going. I replied, “Dairy Queen.” It was at this point they started locking me in my bedroom at night.

It is safe to say that I have always loved the night. I work best in the early morning. When I was working the newspaper route, I loved being outside during the night. I was thrilled to see the nocturnal animals roaming about town. I always gazed at the stars. I soak in the coolness of the morning. The silence of the city has always been music to my ears. I always hear the moon call my name. Being awake while everyone else is sleeping is the best time to be playing in the night.

I am a long way from 2 years old but I still find the best time to go to bed is just after sunrise and a delicious breakfast. The moon and stars still catch my dreams. The magic night still calls to me.

I often feel like I am locked in a room. I despise the feeling of being forced to do something I don’t want to do or being confined. I will rail against being “trapped”. I have never reacted positively to locked doors. To people who tell me I can’t. To places I can’t go. Makes me wonder, how much do we really change as we age?

Be brave.
Jamie Christine