Friday, March 22, 2013

A Note From the Author

Dear Readers:

Frazzled Fran began as an idea for an interesting character.  Not long after, her story became this blog.  Two days ago this creative exercise came to an end.

I would like to thank you for reading Fran's story.  I would especially like to thank those of you who left comments, nominated her story for awards and pretended as if Fran were a real person.  It is because of you that Fran's story continued past her 30th birthday and into her 31st year.  This wasn't originally the plan.

My other blog P.O.V. went through changes as well.  Founded in 2010 and written by five contributing writers and myself, we launched a fundraising campaign in November in the hopes of raising enough money to become a magazine.  Unfortunatly, we were unable to raise the funds needed and ceased publishing in January.

If you've enjoyed Frazzled Fran, I hope you will continue to support me in my future writing endeavours.  Currently, I am in the process of preparing a book for publication.  I am also working on a novel, although it is still in the rough draft stage.   If you're interested in hearing more about these projects, I encourage you to follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Please feel free to leave me a comment or question about Fran, P.O.V. or writing and editing in general on either social networking site.

Thank you once again.

Melina Druga

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What Is This Feeling?

What is this feeling?  I've never experienced it before.  Is it, dare I say, happiness?  Yes, I am happy.  I never thought I would say that in my entire life.  I have never really been happy before.

But now I can say that I am happy.  I have a fiance who loves me.  I have a job that pays enough to cover my bills and then some and it's a lot less stressful than my old job.  I'm going to school and soon I'll have a career I'll enjoy.  I have friends who count on me and family members who are always there to help me.  I am blessed.

All this means one thing.  It means it's time to say goodbye.  I started this diary because I needed a place to get my thoughts down in words.  I was in a very dark place, but that place no longer exists.

Thank you for listening to me all these months. It was nice knowing you.  I hope you have a good life.  I know I will.

Fran Fletcher

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Proposal

Bill had a big surprise for me tonight.  He took me to my favorite restaurant to celebrate all I have accomplished in the past year.  I was told I could order anything I wanted to so I picked out fillet Mignon.  I had always wanted to try it but was afraid of the prices.  It was pretty good.

Afterward, he suggested we order a large ice cream sundae and share it.  I was full from my meal but agreed anyway.  He ordered one that was Neapolitan. 

The waiter brought it out on a silver platter.  First he set down our spoons then the tray.  On the tray was a little box.  I stared at it, confused.

Bill said, "I thought you deserved one more surprise for the night."

Bill opened the box and inside was a ring.  He got down on one knee and put the ring on my finger.  "Francesca Fletcher, will you marry me."

I shrieked and clapped my hands over my mouth.  Stunned, I sat there for a moment then screamed yes and threw my arms around his neck.

Some people in the restaurant applauded.

We sat down and finished our ice cream.

Best dinner of my life ever!

Friday, March 15, 2013

That Girl

We were sitting on the couch watching TV, nothing special.  I had had a hard day:  the usual work day followed by a couple of hours of classes.  Plus, I got lost in traffic today thanks to a detour.  I was tired and wanted nothing more than to go to sleep.

I was about ready to nod off when I heard Jessica say something.

"When we were high school, do you remember that girl?"

"What girl"

"You know, that girl, the one everyone wanted to be.  Rebecca Lawless."

I vaguely remembered Rebecca.  She was pretty.  All the guys liked her.  She was also smart and ambitious.

"What about Rebecca?"

"I ran into her today when I was running errands.  She wasn't what I expected."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I mean she had some disease of some kind, she said, and she looked like she'd been sick awhile.  Plus, not only that but she's been unemployed for like a year or something.  She gave me a job lead, though."

I finally lifted my head up from the back of the couch.  "If she's unemployed, why is she passing on the job lead to you."

"Because she was doing some executive management position and was overqualified for it but it fits me just fine so I think I'm going to do it.  It has something to do with merchandising at a department store."

"Well, that does sound like Rebecca, executive management."

I laid my head back down and Jessica was quiet.  Then just as I was again about to nod off she said something.

"You're the adult version of that girl, Fran?"

Again I lifted my head.  "How am I that girl?"

"Because you have a boyfriend who loves you, you look put together, you have a job that's halfway decent and you're going to school to be something you want to be.  Plus, you're smart."

"You could go back to school, too.  It took me a while to decide to do it but I'm happy I did."

She shook her head.  "How could I afford it?"

"I don't know.  There must be some way.  We can discuss it in the morning."


She nodded and I laid my head down.  I was that girl.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I never took a speech class in my life.  One isn't required now, although it would have been had I taken the traditional four year course of study.  Then I spent years on a job where I had to be on the phone all the time.  I hate crowds.  I hate speaking in front of crowds.  I hate talking to strangers on the phone.

Yet here I am ready to talk in front of a strange crowd of, well, strangers.  My heart is beating so fast I think I'm going to have a heart attack and I've gone pee about 16 times.

I'm at the university about to give a ten minute talk on my experiences in the fast track program to a group of potential students.  I hadn't attended one of these before I signed up but it was available.

Dr. Clark chose me to speak.  I'm honored, I guess, but this is tough.  Oh, no, it's almost my turn and I have to go to the bathroom again.

* * *

Oh, wow, the speech is over.  Am I ever relieved.  And even better, I nailed it.  The crowd seemed interested while I was talking.  They applauded me when I was done.  Dr. Clark even told me I did a good job and he's tough to please.

I am so relieved.  But I don't want to have to do it again.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Swimsuit Shopping

The stores have swimsuits out so Jessica and I decided to go swimsuit shopping just for the fun of it.  I don't really have a need for a swimsuit.  I don't go swimming and I obviously won't be getting a vacation for a long time.  But Jessica wanted to go.

We each picked out a few we thought were pretty and went to the dressing room for a fashion show.  Jessica had Mackenzie in a stroller so she went into the handicapped room and I went into the one next to her.

"Okay," Jessica said, "one, two, three."

On the count of three, we both stepped out of our dressing rooms to show each other the suits we had picked out.

I had picked out a bikini, at Jessica's urging, but felt really uncomfortable standing there, even though she was the only person who could see me.

"Oh, Fran, Fran, Fran."

"What?"  I looked down and swiveled my hips, trying to look at my hips, stomach and butt.  I looked horrible.  I just knew it.

"It's nothing bad.  I wish I looked like you.  I can't get rid of this damn baby weight but you -- you look amazing."

"I what?" 

I was never a "you look amazing sort of girl".

"No, really, I'm not joking.  You have a body a lot of women would be envious of."


I saw tears swell up in Jessica's eyes.  I don't think she was jealous but she probably did have her feelings hurt a bit.  She never was skinny but now it was worst.

"Please don't feel bad.  This was supposed to be fun.  I don't know about you but I'd rather go try on some shoes."

I went back into the dressing room and quickly closed the door.

"You really should have Bill take you to a pool this summer."

I didn't answer immediately.  "Oh, okay.  Now what do you say about those shoes?"

Friday, March 8, 2013

I Love You

Oh, my God, the most incredible thing happened.  Bill told me he loves me! 

I couldn't believe it.  We had just gotten into the car after we left a restaurant and he said it before we drove away.

I had been looking out the window and I turned and looked at him.  "What?"

"I love you."

"You do?"

"Don't look so confused, Fran.  I love you.  There are many reasons why."

He reach over and kissed me.

I still can't believe it now.  I've never had a man tell me that before -- ever.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Kiss Cam

The basketball game Bill was talking about the other day turned out to be a NBA game in a huge arena.  All and all I have to say basketball is very boring but I went to make Bill happy.

I found the crowd to be the most entertaining part of the entire game.  We were sitting next to a couple of hecklers.  They kept shouting critiques and obscenities at the players.  I don't think the players could hear them or cared even if they did.

The most memorable part of the night was during a commercial break when we ended up on Kiss Cam.  Once upon a time I would have been mortified to be kissed in front of a crowd like that, but once upon a time I dated losers.  Bill is not a loser.  He is a winner.

We kissed until the people around us told us we were no longer on camera.

After the game, when we were leaving, some people recognized us and shouted "kiss cam" at us so we kissed again ever time this happened.

That part was fun, being impetuous.

Monday, March 4, 2013

I Miss You

"I know you're sad.  Why don't you tell me a little bit about her?"

I had my head resting on Bill's shoulder as we both sat on the couch watching TV.

"Well, she's the only grandparent I ever knew.  We used to do all kinds of stuff when I was a kid.  Polly and Brandon used to always be around, too, and it made me jealous.  I wanted Granny all to myself.  It wasn't until later when that happened."


"Because when we were teens, they thought they were too cool to be with Granny.  I never thought that.  I never thought I was too cool for anything."

"Maybe you can get Granny to video chat with you.  Does she have a computer?"

I sat upright.  That was it.  Granny does have a computer, a fairly new one, too.

I turned to Bill and gave him a big kiss.  "Bill, you're a genius.  How did I get this lucky to have you in my life?"

"No, I'm the lucky one."  Bill paused.  "Hey, have you ever been to a basketball game?"

Friday, March 1, 2013

Granny's Goodbye

At the airport with Granny, waiting.  I volunteered to go pick her up from my parents' house and drive her here.  I don't care what my mother says.  I don't love Granny more but I do love her and will miss her when she's gone.  No, not gone, Granny is not dying.  Granny is just moving.

Moving far, far away.  I feel sick.  I want to cry.

Granny is happy.  It's a new start of her.

Only about ten more minutes left together.

* * *

Granny just boarded her plane.  We had a long goodbye.  I held back my tears until she was out of sight.  Now my eyes are so full of tears I can barely see my keyboard.  I don't want her to go.  I'm selfish, I know, but I don't want her to go.  I want her here with me for as long as she is on this Earth.

And I hope she lives for many, many more years.  I don't want her to die.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Suitor

I haven't mentioned it in a while, but class has been going well.  I still go, haven't missed a class, and I still do my studies online.  It's just that with everything else going on lately I haven't mentioned it.  The other things were just so much more interesting.

Chad sits next to me in class a lot.  I don't really know anything about his background.  We chat on occasion, just about school and stuff.

A few days ago, he called me aside when we were all leaving class.  He seemed nervous.  I figured it was probably about our upcoming test but turns out something else was on his mind.

"Um, Fran," he said rubbing his neck and looking down at my shoes, "I like you a lot and we're not going to be in this class for many more months.  I was wondering if, um, you'd go out with me sometime.  Just for coffee or something like that."

"Well, Chad, I'm very flattered, but I have a boyfriend.  I had one before I even started this course."

He looked at me then down again.  "Oh.  I'm sorry to have bothered you."

"No, don't feel bad.  You didn't know."

I walked away then.  I felt that staying there longer would just make the situation worse.  I felt bad for Chad but I felt good for myself.  That's the first time in my whole life that a guy has asked me out and I've been able to say I have a boyfriend.  Usually I just had to go out with whoever because I didn't have any other choices.

Now, hopefully Chad's not a stalker.

Monday, February 25, 2013

It Ain't Me

A few months ago, you would be hard pressed to hear me say what I am about it say.  But I am so glad I'm me.  I have finally discovered there are people worst off than I am.  It could be worse.  I could be Jessica.

Jessica has been a nervous wreck for days.  She's always crying.  I'm not sure who cries more, her or Mackenzie. 

She can't find a job.  I know she's tried.  For real this time, not the sale consultant crap. 

Her marriage is in ruins.  She was cheated on, given a disease.  He was the breadwinner and, because she left, he has the house and will no doubt get to keep it now.

She is flat out miserable.

I, meanwhile, have a job that pays me well enough to live alone in a decent neighborhood.  I have a man who treats me well.

I am so glad I am not Jessica.  So glad.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Attorney

Why am I always taking time off for my friends?   First, it was Lilly and the awful pink.  Now it's Jessica and the attorney.

I didn't want to go.  I didn't think they would let me into the room anyway, seeing as I'm not a relative.  I had to stay in the waiting room with Mackenzie.

I looked around the room and immediately felt uncomfortable.  It was like a doctor's office, nicely decorated and clean but you know nothing nice is going on behind the closed doors.  We were the only ones there.

I grabbed a magazine off the side table and tried reading.  They were business magazines and I immediately felt stupid.  Note to self:  I need to get more educated on current events.

After what seemed like forever, Jessica came out of the attorney's office, tissue in hand, again crying.

"So did you go through with it?"

She shook her head yes and bare got out a verbal response.  "I did it.  The paperwork is going to be filed."

I was happy for her.  She did the right thing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Argument

Other than relatives I have never had a roommate before.  Sure Jessica and Mackenzie stay in the spare bedroom but their stuff is everywhere.  Sometimes I hear conversations Jessica has with other people while on the phone.  I don't mean to overhear but sometimes it's unavoidable.

Like tonight. 

Jessica was saying, "You're such a liar.  How could you say I gave it to you?  I was tested while I was pregnant and I was healthy then.

"Oh, yeah?  And when would I have had time to do that?  If you haven't noticed, I've been busy taking care of my daughter.

"I don't care if she's half yours.  I don't see you begging to see her.  I don't see you making an effort.

"Yeah, well, you'll have to pay alimony and child support.  No more new sports cars for you.

"Well, you should have thought of that before, shouldn't you have?

"Back at ya, creep."

She hung up.  I tried to walk away quickly but she knew I was there.  She burst into tears and started crying on my shoulder. 

"My life is coming to an end," she said.

Monday, February 18, 2013


I can't tell you how many times I've disinfected my living room after Jessica's product party.  I still feel dirty sitting in there.

I offered to babysit today so Jessica could go look for a real job.  I helped her pick out a dress and did her makeup.  She looked very professional.  I know she has plans to apply to a few places in person and go down to the unemployment office for advice.  Good luck there, but I didn't tell her that.

Mackenzie has been crying the entire time she's been gone.  I don't know what to do.  I don't babysit, she doesn't get a real job.  I do babysit and I'm stuck with a baby.

I've changed her and fed her.  She's in her crib now.  Crying.  I'm guessing she misses her mother.  Can a baby miss her mother?

Maybe she could use some chocolate milk.  All kids like chocolate milk, right?  I'll have to look that up online.

I just hope Jessica is having some luck.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Toys! Toys! Toys?

I came home from work to find my living room filled with strange women.  I paused, unseen, in the kitchen and listened to what was going on.  There was a lot of giggling. 

After a few minutes, I heard Jessica's voice.  She was saying something about quality and fit and driving a man wild.  Then she held up a piece of lingerie.  She passed it around for the crowd to see.

The next thing she showed them was a bottle of lotion.  She talked about quality for the price and how it was edible.  It, too, she passed around the room.

Then she held up a sex toy and started to demonstrate it.

I had had enough.  I walked into the living room as if I was just arriving home and said, "What in the hell is going on here?"

The women turned and looked at me.  I didn't recognize any of them.  Who were these people?

Jessica excused herself and went with me into the kitchen. 

"Well, you told me to get a job.  That's what I did."

"You have got to be kidding me.  You have sex toys in my house!"

"Yeah.  I'm a sales consultant for Lovey Dubbie Products.  They sell lingerie and all that other stuff.  I get a commission off everything I sell."

"When I said get a job, I meant a real job.  One with a steady paycheck and benefits.  Not one where you have to throw sex parties."

"That's not technically a sex party, Fran."

I held both my hands up.  "It doesn't matter.  Finish up and get them out of here.  You should be ashamed of taking advantage of these people."

Jessica went back to her party.  I got my keys and went out for a drink.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Get a Job

Since when have I been forced to be an adult?  Well, let me explain myself.  I have been an adult for a while, but I had no one I was responsible for but me.  Now, I feel like I have Jessica to be responsible for, too. 

She's now my roommate, I suppose, technically, but she does nothing other than take care of Mackenzie.  I'm still doing all the cooking and cleaning.  More importantly, I'm still paying all the rent myself.  So now I feel like a parent with a unruly teenager.  We're the same age, but, geez, act like it.

"Jessica, how long do you think you'll be living here?"

"Until things get resolved with Mike, I suppose."

"When might that be?"

"I don't know.  I'm going to divorce him.  I just haven't had the guts yet to go get a lawyer."

"Oh."  Great, she was going to be here for a while longer, making what I was about to say necessary.  "If you're going to be staying here for a long time, I'm going to have to insist you get a job.  You're going to have to build up a resume and save some money so you can get a place of your own."

"How am I going to work with a newborn?"

"How do other moms do it?  If they can do it, so can you.  You don't want to rely on Mike for money if you're going to get a divorce."

She shook her head.  "No, I don't want to rely on that slime bucket.  I'll start tomorrow."

Good.  I was pleased.  That went better than I expected.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hair, Glorious Hair

I got a late start on dying my hair, about a 24-hour late start.  I was so interrupted by Jessica showing up that I forgot about it until almost the last minute.  Then when I got to it I was still distracted and didn't read the instructions.

I thought to myself, how difficult can it be to dye hair?  It's just a bottle and nothing else?

I shook the bottle, put it on my hair and waited a while. I'm not sure how long.  I got caught into a conversation with Jessica and then my phone rang and then I stopped to watch the weather forecast on the local news.  By the time I rinsed some time had passed.

I rinsed my hair and, without looking in the mirror, went to get my blow dryer. 

Jessica walked into the room and began laughing.  "Are you going to a Halloween party?"

"Why would I be going to a Halloween party this time of year?"

"Well, why would you want your hair that color if it's not a Halloween party?  You're not 15."

"What are you talking about?  Lots of women have blond hair.  What's wrong with blond hair?"

I was starting to get really upset.  All I wanted was a change and I get made fun of.

"Honey," Jessica grabbed my shoulders and turned me toward the mirror, "look at yourself."

My hair was green!  I let out a scream.

"You'll have to have a hair salon redo it."

"What am I going to do?"

"I just told you.  You'll have to have a hair salon fix it."

"It's a Saturday night, Jessica.  And my date is in an hour.  Bill, will be here in an hour."

"Wear a nice hat."

I felt lightheaded and fainted.

Friday, February 8, 2013


I pulled in under the carport, relieved it was Friday.  Bill was stuck at a business meeting so it was going to be a quiet evening at home before a date tomorrow night.  I had plans to dye my hair blond for a party we were going to.

I went inside the house and turned on the lights.  Not long after, the doorbell rang.  I wasn't expecting anyone so the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end.  I looked out the peephole.  It was Jessica.

I opened the door.  Jessica was standing there with Mackenzie and a suitcase.

"I'm moving in," she said before even saying hello.

I shook my head, eyes wide.

"You said to let you know if there was anything you could do."

"Yes, but, I, I mean."

"Good.  I have more stuff in the car.  I'll get it later."

Huh, what had just happened?

"Jessica, what do you mean you're moving in?"

"I left home.  I couldn't stand to be in the same house as Mike anymore."

I thought when couples had fights, it was the man who always left.  Had I missed something?

"Don't stand there looking like a deer in headlights, Fran.  I left the slime bucket.  I packed some stuff and left while he was at work.  Mike has no clue where I am.  We had a huge blowout fight last night.  He said he has always been faithful to me.  He said I was lying, that I was the one who cheated.  I was sick, sick."

"He has no clue where you are?"

Jessica shook her head.  "No, and I want to keep it that way."

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Slime Bucket

Do you remember when you first met me?  Do you remember how I was desperately jealous of all my friends because they were married?  Well, I had never really given that much thought.  To me, marriage had always meant having someone there who loves you no matter your flaws and who is at your side no matter what.  That is what I always thought.  Until now.

Jessica called.  I had just gotten home, had literally just stepped in the door and barely had my coat off when the phone rang.  She knew this was the time I normally get home so I automatically assumed she had in car accident and was dying in the hospital.

She was crying when I answered.  But she didn't sound hurt; she sounded angry.

"You'll never believe what that slime bucket did."

I shook my head even though she couldn't see me.  "What slime bucket?"

"Mike.  Do you know what that slime bucket did?"

Mike was Jessica's husband.  I didn't know him very well.  I had only met him a handful of times.

"No, what happened?"

"I found out he had been cheating on me and had been for months."

"What?  How?"


She was sobbing so hard I could barely understand her. 


"You heard me."

Suddenly, I felt very dizzy and sat down.  How awful for her.  I had never been in this situation before, so I wasn't quite sure how to handle it.

"Let me know if there's anything I can do."

Monday, February 4, 2013

Home Again, Home Again

I have not been home since I moved so today was the day.  I had it planned in advance and made the trip, making a point to visit Granny and my brother before my parents.

Mama made an early dinner.  She had made my favorites.  Just as I was feeling loved, she turned to me and said, "Fran, I know the only reason you came home is because your grandmother is leaving."

Dad, upon hearing this, spit out his coffee but said nothing.

"Why would you say that, Mama."

"Because I know you.  You've always loved her grandmother more than me.  Once she leaves you'll probably never come back."

Dad pushed his plate back, stood and left the room.  Did he sense an argument coming?

"What do you mean?"

"You've always preferred her company, spending time with her, having conversation."

"Are you jealous, Mama?"

At that moment, Mama burst into tears, full blown, sobbing tears.  She was breathing heavily.  "I'm very jealous.  You're my daughter, not hers,"  she somehow managed to say.

For a minute or two I stood here dumbfounded.  What was a I supposed to say or do?  I grabbed my napkin and ran over to her side, threw my arm around her and wiped her nose.

"There, there, Mama, I really do love you."

Friday, February 1, 2013

Movie Sized

You may be wondering what happened to Bill's finger.  Well, we went to stat care where they x-rayed it, cleaned it and stitched it up.  He has to leave it bandaged up for a while, just to be on the safe side.  He's otherwise okay.

Tonight we decided to go to the movies.  We hadn't been to the movies in a while.  We figured we both needed a good laugh so we picked a comedy.  To save money, we bought one large drink and one large popcorn to share.

Throughout the course of the movie, we passed both the popcorn and the drink back and forth.

At one point, midway through, Bill reached for the cup with his injured hand.  The cup slipped from his grasp where it landed on my lap and spilled everywhere.

I shrieked and jumped up.  At first Bill didn't know what happened.  People sitting in the rows behind us started to shout at me to sit down. 

"I'm cold and wet," I shouted back, "I will not sit down."

Someone shouted an obscenity about me being wet.  Bill shouted back at him.  I thought they were going to fight.  I was frightened.

Somehow, I'm not quite sure how, they did not fight.  I ran off to the bathroom for paper towels.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Parrot

"What kind of pet should I get?"

"I don't know.  What kind do you like?"

"Birds," Bill said.  "I've always liked birds.  Do you like birds?"

"They're okay.  I'm not a big fan of their poop."

We stepped inside the pet store and smell of animal hit me immediately.  I wrinkled my nose and tried not to start coughing.  What did Bill need a pet for anyway?  He worked for 40 plus hours a week.  We went out a lot.  Why a pet?

"Maybe a fish.  You are gone a lot, Bill."

"No, I like birds."

I sighed.  Fine, let's go look at birds.  I rolled my eyes.  Seemed nothing would dissuade him now.

We went over to the bird section.  A parrot was sitting on a perch outside a cage.

"Oh, look at him," Bill said and reached to pet the parrot.

He yelped and pulled his finger back.  "He bit me."

"You're bleeding.  You're bleeding."

I started jumping up and down, flailing my arms.  The manager ran over, concerned, concerned he was going to be sued.

"You shouldn't have done that, sir.  You come in here at your own risk.  You can't sue us."

"Bandage him up," I said.

The manage brought over a paper towel and we left to take Bill to stat care.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Retirement Community

Granny called me today.  Ever since her visit to the city our relationship as been like it used to be -- good.  So I was shocked when she called me.  We had been talking about at the same time on the same day every week.

At first I thought something was horribly wrong.

"Wrong?  No, I feel all right,"  Granny said.  "I do have something to tell you and you're the last to know."

I was still convinced she was sick or dying until she said it.  "Fran, I've decided to move to a retirement community in Florida."

I couldn't believe it.  "What?  Why?"

"It's a number of reasons.  I'm getting tired of winters. But mostly it's because I have no friends my own age to spend time with.  I need that right now."

"But that's so far away.  Isn't there somewhere closer you could move to?"

"I could, I suppose, but I know some of the ladies who live down there, so I won't be alone when I move."

"Oh."  I sat there, not know what to say.

"Fran, are you there?"

How long had I sat there not saying anything?  I wasn't sure.  I shook my head even though Granny couldn't see me.

"Yes, I'm here.  How can you leave?  I need you."

"You don't need me, Fran.  You're a grown woman with much life ahead of her."

"But I'll miss you."

"I'll miss you, too.  But don't worry about me.  I'll see you plenty of times before I go."

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Trade

When I got here, I had to buy a parka.  Now I'm leaving here and I want to get rid of the parka, but how?  I'm afraid I'm going to have to pay for extra baggage if I bring this thing along but I want my money back.  At least some of my money, any of my money.

But who is going to want to buy a parka in the middle of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport?  But I don't want it. 

Please, please, if you are reading this, buy my parka.  I need to the money to buy something that really matters.


I'll even trade the parka for something else.  Anyone care to trade?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Up North here there is this thing called the Aurora Borealis.  I've heard of it, I suppose, but I never knew what it was.  I figured it was some girl with a weird name. But last night we went out into the middle of nowhere to see the aurora.

We had a tour guide, which was a good thing because I was terrified of the wilderness.  I've heard one too many stories of people being eaten by bears or disappearing into the forest and never coming back.  This vacation is great and all but I'm looking forward to returning to the city.

So we went with a tour guide and a bus full of other people.  We seemed to drive forever and ended up stopping somewhere where the glare of light pollution was negligible.

All the ribbons of light in the sky!  It was very beautiful although I'm not sure they photographed very well.

Bill kept his arm around me the entire time.  I'd like to think it was because he was being romantic but really it was so we both would feel warmer.  Thank goodness for this hideous parka but I am still freezing.

Two more days here and then we're headed home.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Parka

We touched down in Alaska safely.  I brought my heaviest coat.  I'll be honest, my heaviest coat is not that heavy.  I don't like looking fat when I'm not so I'd rather be cold than wear a big coat.

When I went to the airport, it was clear I wasn't going to be going many places dressed as I was.

One of the airline workers laughed at me.  "Honey, if you're going to be trudging around here this time of year, you're going to need a parka."

After she walked away, I turned to Bill and said, "Where am I going to find a parka?"

"At at store, I guess."

I felt sick to my stomach.  I absolutely did not want a parka.  But I didn't want to freeze either.

We had a taxi driver take us to a store and there I found a parka.  I bought a black one since black is slimming.  I could not believe the price, however.  I'm so glad I had spending money as part of my prize package but I didn't expect to spend it on something so hideous.

Friday, January 18, 2013

North to Alaska

Bill and I are on the airplane now.  Soon we will be touching down in Anchorage for the first real vacation. 

Some people think that I'm crazy.  No, not for going to Anchorage in January because that is crazy, but for going with Bill.  These well-meaning people have nothing personally against him, they just think I haven't known him well enough.

Well, I wasn't going to go by myself.  And I couldn't take my friends, and I'd be mortified to take my family.  So I'm here with Bill.

He's asleep right now.  I don't want him seeing this.  It might make him feel bad.  But are we going too quickly, too soon?  I mean, a vacation is a big step, but it will be good for us, I think.  Won't it?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I claimed my prize via telephone and made an appointment with them to go down to the nearest Jack and Jane store to meet with someone there.

I dressed like I would on any other day, nothing special.  I figured I probably had to go there to sign papers or prove my identity or something.

I went down to the store alone and asked for the manager who escorted me to the offices in the back.  There was a photographer there.  A photographer!  He kept taking pictures of me from all angles.  Apparently, when I claimed my prize I agreed to appear in marketing campaigns and on social media pages.  Why didn't they tell me this?  I would have dressed better.  I would have looked halfway decent.

Once it was all over, nearly hyperventilating, I ran to the mall restroom and hid in the stall so I could cry in privacy.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Office

I'm still trying to get used to my new office.  I'm not sure I fit in.  Well, I know I don't fit in.  I'm not used to the company culture yet.  That is what they call it, right, company culture?

At SAT TV, no one cared about anyone else so you had to care for yourself because no one else would.  I'm still used to that.  Even though I prefer it when people are nice to me, I'm still jaded and wondering why they're talking to me.

I wandered down today to see the customer service reps.  They seem like they are in such a better place than where I was when I was doing customer service.  They didn't seem at all overworked or stressed or taken advantage of.

To one of them I said, "It's tough having to work evenings and holidays."

She looked at me as if I were crazy.  Apparently in this company they don't work either evenings or holidays.  Well, they must think that stuff's only for third world countries or something.  They have no idea how good they have it.

Another one asked me what I was doing here if I was going to school as if school pays my bills.  She wasn't being rude about it, more like ignorant. 

I don't know what I'm going to do.  I suppose I should be happy I have a job and be quiet about it.  After all, I'm not really here to make friends, although it would be nice.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Dr. Clark had assigned us a PowerPoint presentation.  PowerPoint is actually a pretty easy program to use and it's not technically graphic design, but he really had other motives in mind. 

We were assigned one of six words or phrases and then had to design a five minute presentation about it.  I got "set goals".

So I gave it some thought and came up with a list of reasons to set goals.  I did this by compiling stuff I read online.  I showed Bill and he said it was very boring.  I was disappointed but decided to try a different direction.  Bill suggested I use my own reasons not the ones of so-called experts.

So today was the presentation.  I started with a slide about school and how we must set goals early to make it through school with good grades then I talked about professional goals and personal goals that come up in adult life.  I talked about how goal setting never ends or else you get stuck in a rut.

When I finished, Clark didn't say anything.  He was writing on my presentation notes.  Finally, he looked up and started applauding. 

"See, students, this is what I was looking for.  I was looking for you to use your creativity, not for you to give me a list of items you found on the Internet.  I was looking to test you and your creative skills not your PowerPoint skills."

He excused me to go sit down and I went back to my seat, smiling, content that I just earned myself a good score.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Pink Skin

"What is that on your skin,"  Bill asked as I was changing my clothes.

"What?  Where?"

I started looking all over, rubbing my skin and swiveling at the hip.

"There.  All over your legs and arms."

Bill pointed at me.  I looked down and saw I had patches of unusually pink skin everywhere.  A rash!

"Maybe you're allergic to something."

I ran to the bathroom where the light is brighter and looked myself over in the mirror.  It was everywhere.  What was I going to do?

Bill followed me and stood in the threshold looking at my pink skin.  "Like I said, maybe it's an allergy."

"Like what?"

"I don't know.  Did you start using a new laundry detergent or a new soap or perfume or something?"

I thought about it for a minute and started to cry.  Sobbing, I ran past him and threw myself on the bed.

"What's the matter?"

I remember what was new.   I had bought a new skin lotion that has perfume and makes the skin shimmer.

"I bought it because I thought you'd like it."

Bill sat down beside me and rubbed my back.  "Whatever it is, it doesn't matter.  I care about you regardless."

I looked up, sniffing.  Somehow that made me feel somewhat better.  "Thank you.  Now can you help me pick out a nice turtleneck?" 

Monday, January 7, 2013

There's an App for That

I desperately need a new phone.  My old cell is, like, five years old.  It's an embarrassment to use because people will think I'm not hip on technology.  I'm going into graphic design.  I need to be hip on technology.

Bill offered to take me.  He knows more about this stuff than I do.  So we went.

I let him do all the talking.  What do I know about 4G, FG, I don't know?  Camera pixels?  Screen size?  Speed?  Well, here's what the new phone looks like.

So when we were done, Bill helped me download apps.  Or is it upload apps?  Anyway, I have one for a ton of websites.
I'm going to have to read the owner's manual.  No way I want to look as stupid in real life as I do in this journal entry. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

And the Boss Says

I walked into Burt's office and showed him the letter.  I thought that was the best way to do it.  That way he wouldn't think I made up the prize just to get a vacation.

He read the letter a couple of times and didn't say anything.

"If you need to say no, I understand.  I'm expecting it.  I can just call them and they can give the prize to someone else."

"Have you ever won anything before?"

I shook my head.  "No, I've never even won a scratch off lottery ticket."

I had actually forgot I submitted my name for the drawing until the letter came.  Then I remembered signing up for it when I was out shopping for Jessica's baby shower.  I'd never been on a real vacation either.

Burt read it one more time.  "I'll tell you what.  Since you would not be asking for time off were it not for winning this prize, I'll let you take the time off.  However, you'll have to take it during the slow time of year."

"When's that?"


Alaska in January?  I shivered just thinking about it, but if that was my only option, I'd take it.

"Okay," I said, "we have a deal."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Winner Is ....

The letter read:

Dear Fran Fletcher,

We are pleased to announce that you are the winner of the Jack and Jane's department store 50th anniversary contest.  Per your request, we are notifying you via mail.

The prize package includes an all inclusive trip to Alaska (hotel, airline and rental vehicle) for two weeks along with $2,000 spending money.  Full details of the prize are on the back of this letter.

Prize must be redeemed within one year of the date above or else it will be forfeited.  To claim your prize please call 1-800-JAC-JANE and when asked, give the customer service representative this code:  AKA50913109087430839.

We hope to hear from you soon.  If you have any questions please call our 800 number.

Thank you,

Martha Marley,
VP of Marketing
Jack and Jane's Co.

So I've won a prize, a big prize.  I should be happy, right?  Well, I'm not.  I just started my job.  I won't get a vacation for a while.  I'll have to ask Burt for special permission to go.  Too bad.  I know he'll say no.
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