The Girl Who Fell Into The Grassy Ditch: The Good Samaritans OnOverload Story



You are supposed to help people, so don't think I am faulting people for that. I'm not faulting anyone for anything. And, also, is "faulting" a word?

No, what I'm doing is just reporting back about a day where I witnessed Good Samaritans coming out the yin yang. This is a good thing. The world needs more days of Good Samaritans coming out of the woodwork. Can I get an Amen?

*screeeeeeeeeech*

Annnnnnnd, the teenager veers off the wet pavement and settles her little car nicely into the roadside ditch all snug and comfy-like just before she was to stop at a red light.

*presses gas*

*wheels spin and just create a groove in the wet, muddy grass*

She isn't going anywhere.

"Did you see that?" We all said together as we drove by her as it happened.

We quickly made a U-turn, pulled over and out of the way of traffic, which meant we weren't right next to the girl.

My husband got out of the car and walked over to her. She was on her cellphone and had already called for help. A police officer and a wrecker were on their way. My husband told her that we would wait in our car until they got there.

And, thus began the sea of Samaritans.

Since we weren't right next to her, everyone thought they were they first responders. Bless their sweet, little hearts. Every few minutes, you'd see a person hastily pull over and get out.

"Hey, are you alright?"

"Hey there, are you okay?"

"Oops, huh? You hurt?"

"Can I call someone for you? I've got a cellphone."

"Hi. Need help?"

"Uh-oh! What can I do to help?"

"Bonk! Called a wrecker yet?"

"So sorry this happened. Are you hurt?"

"You okay? Need help out of the car?"

"Ooooo! Looks like you took a bad turn. Can I call a wrecker for you?"

"Oh, no! What happened?"

"You okay?"

"I'm here to help! Have you called anyone yet?"

Every few minutes, people would pull up alongside us.

"Hey, did you see that girl?"

"Hey, I got a buddy who is a police officer. I can give him a call."

"Hi, there. My uncle has a tow truck. I can call him."

"Wow. Did you see that girl? Has anyone been called?"

"I'm actually an off-duty police officer, so I got this."

"Hey, I can stay with the girl until help arrives."

"No, we can stay."

"No, really, I can stay."

"No, we got it. It's no problem."

"No, really it's no problem. I got it."

"No, we do."

"No, us."

"We."

"Us."

"We."

"Us."

It really was almost comical.

Person after person carefully high stepped it through the long wavy, wet grass to peek through her car window to check on her not realizing they were the 43rd person to do it.

After a while, I was beginning to feel that I had ownership of the girl in the ditch. I would see people see her and begin the process of rolling down their windows or pulling over. I'd yell to them from inside my car (where they couldn't hear), "WE GOT HER, BUDDY! YOU DIDN'T SEE HER FIRST. We actually saw her veer off the road first! WE SAW HER SETTLE INTO THE GRASS!! We already asked her if she needed help! Don't be thinking you're the first one!!! YOU DON'T GET THE PRIZE!!!"

I could see the look of satisfaction on everyone's faces as they stopped to offer help, especially given the fact that it was sprinkling! They saw an area where they could immediately give and they did not hesitate. A little rain wasn't stopping these heroes!! This is a very good thing. Unfortunate for all of them, though, because we were the rightful heirs to the Good Samaritan of the Day crown. 

I pitied them.

We were first, you know?

Eventually, she got out of the ditch, of course. Still, every time I pass that area, I call over my shoulder to the boys, "Look, that girl just ran her car into the ditch" and every time they look.

It was sort of an exciting thing for our community. It was the best combo of someone needing help but not being hurt at all. It was a chance for the good Samaritans of this area to shine.

It was a chance for us all to give ourselves a sticker.

It was a chance for us all to pat our own backs.

"Oh, you just went to Target today? Humph. I helped someone out of a ditch."

"You mean you didn't help anyone out of a ditch today? YOU SELF-CENTERED FOOL!!!"

"Hahaha. That is such a cute story. Hey, did you know I helped someone out of a ditch today?"

"Wow, you don't say. Well, anyway, I helped someone out of a ditch."

"Ditch."

But, guess what? 

We didn't see her first.

learned that devastating news as we drove off that day when we saw the other car that had been there before us. Our Hero Vision had initially clouded our view.

Got me right in the ticker.

 
I took the comments off the blog as a way to tell the spammers to take a long walk off a super long pier. (I don't want them to fall off. I just want them to go away for a really long time.)


Heather's Story: Spreading Awareness of The Harmful Effects of Asbestos and Mesothelioma

Today I have the privilege to share with you the story of a woman named Heather Von St. James.

(Isn't that a cool last name? Von St. James. Some people have some reeeeeeeeeeeeal doozies out there for last names and Heather gets "Von St. James".)




Heather's husband, Cameron, contacted me to ask if I would be willing to spread awareness about his wife's story and about mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, as today is Mesothelioma Awareness Day. I remember when I worked at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston different departments would lament the fact that there wasn't as much exposure and awareness for their particular cancer type as there is for others.  Everyone recognizes the pink ribbon for breast cancer. The awareness for other cancers, such as mesothelioma, is not nearly as great. Obviously, breast cancer is much more prevalent than mesothelioma and some other cancer types, but to the person these cancers effect, it is as prevalent as ever.


Cameron and Heather Von St. James with their sweet daughter.


What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancer that effects the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen. "Pleural mesothelioma (affecting the lung’s protective lining in the chest cavity) represents about three quarters of all mesothelioma incidence. Peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the abdominal cavity, and pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the cardiac cavity, comprise the remainder."

Mesothelioma affects about 3,000 people a year. Once that diagnosis is received, people are generally told they have an average of 10 months to live. Ten months equals 7,200 hours. Heather and those with her are hoping that they can at least get 7,200 voices to spread the word about mesothelioma and increase the awareness of this disease.

Heather had surgery for mesothelioma in February 2005. She has been a survivor for nine years. Looks like she surpassed the 10-month mark by a long shot thanks to wonderful physicians trained in the diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma.

On this day of mesothelioma awareness, I think that they really want to get the message out about asbestos. I have heard this word for so long and always wondered just what it was exactly. Asbestos is a silicate mineral that appears as a long, thin, fibrous crystal. This mineral is still mined in different parts of the world. Per Wikipedia, "around 2 million tons of Asbestos are still mined per year as of 2009, mainly in Russia (50%), China, Brazil, Kazakhstan and Canada (9% to 14% each)." Asbestos is resistant to fire and heat, so it was used for electrical and building insulation mostly. Even after its awful link to health issues, such as mesothelioma, it is still used for these purposes in different parts of the world. "Asbestos" is a Greek word that means "inextinguishable" or "unquenchable".

And do you know what is so crazy?

From Heather's awareness page, I learned that asbestos is still not banned in the United States. Roughly 30 million pounds are still used each year. The fibers are invisible to the naked eye. Even though it has been more than 30 years after its peak period of use, it is still the number one cause of occupational cancer in the United States. Asbestos is still found in many homes, schools and commercial or industrial buildings. It was once used in more than 3,000 consumer products (click here to see a list- warning: it may blow your mind), including toasters and hair dryers (some which may still be in use!). Navy veterans are at the greatest risk to develop mesothelioma as asbestos was widely used in Naval ships and shipyards.

No amount of asbestos exposure is safe.

The first asbestos-linked case of mesothelioma was in 1964. Mesothelioma is expected to reach its peak in 2020. The EPA estimates that there is asbestos in most of the nation's older schools. Mesothelioma usually sits dormant in the body for 20-50 years before a person even knows they have it. It is most common in people 50-70 years of age, but younger people can get it, such as Heather. Remember, the primary cause is of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure.

This is a preventable disease.

I know it would mean so much to Heather if you would help spread mesothelioma awareness by sharing what you learn here, as well as liking her Facebook page by clicking HERE and following her on Twitter, too. You can follow her by going HERE.

With increased awareness of the dangers of asbestos, we can hopefully greatly decrease exposure to it and the subsequent harmful effects! We want everyone around for a long time to enjoy their family, children and life itself. It seems that Heather is now doing just that given this quote from her Twitter page: "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.. ~Mame Dennis"



10 Things You Should Not Do When The Carpet Man Comes To Your House




1.  DON'T sit outside being really approachable when you see strangers walking down the sidewalks in your neighborhood and one comes into your driveway and strikes up a conversation about her new carpet cleaning business.

2.  DON'T believe her when she offers to shampoo one room of your house for free but won't tell you the name of her company.  This is an important detail.  They left it out on purpose.  Don't be so gullible.  What is wrong with you?

3.  DON'T say "Okay, you can come clean one room of my house for free.  I am having company over and was going to call a reputable carpet cleaning business today anyway."

4.  DON'T believe her when she says, "Okay, let me go get my supplies and I'll be right back."  This is when you toss your kids in the car, burn rubber on the driveway and high-tail it outta there.

5.  DON'T keep sitting outside when you see a van drive up with supplies but the girl isn't in the van, but instead two smiling teenage boys jump out with carpet cleaning supplies in their hands.  They look like nice and friendly boys.  They are not.  THEY ARE SHARKS!  CAN'T YOU SEE THIS?!?

6.  DON'T let them in your house!!!

You let them in your house.  *Sigh*  Okay, well, then...
7.  DON'T drool over the fact that your carpets look awesome with their new machine and practically do back-flips when you see that dang paint stain finally disappear.  Don't yell out, "HOT DOG!!!!  YOU GOT THAT BLASTED STAIN OUT!  I LOVE YOU AND WANT TO MARRY YOUR MACHINE!" Wipe the smile, sparkle in your eyes and ooo's and ahh's off of your face.  You are being such easy prey.  How embarrassing.

8.  DON'T just keep sitting there watch them shampoo your entire house and mattress, too, while trying to maintain your friendly "I'm just not interested in your $1,235,235 carpet shampooer right now" attitude.  You are wrong.  You can't afford that carpet cleaner right now.  Stop doing the math in your head and just GET YOUR NUNCHUCKS OUT!

9.  DON'T act impressed that they have a video from Oprah with them that shows the bed bugs before and after they use their little machine on your mattress.  Don't keep smiling and acting like a nincompoop.  THEY HAVE BEEN AT YOUR HOUSE FOR THREE HOURS ALREADY!!!  THREE STANKIN' HOURS!!!!!!

10.  DON'T tell your husband.  He'll be mad.  He'll scold you for a long time about never letting strangers in the house like that.  He'll ask "What were you thinking?" over and over.  He'll wonder where your brain went.  He may auction you off on E-bay.  If that doesn't work, he may situate you on a shelf between beanie babies at a local garage sale.
 
*This happened to me a few years ago when I lived at another house. I felt I needed to clarify that for any neighbors reading this today. I wrote this post back then but thought the lesson is still a good one. I have grown a bit wiser over the years... Just a bit.*

Please make me feel better by telling us your story. Haven't you ever let a complete stranger into your house that would never leave? Ever?


The Wedding & The Preacher: A Funny Story



Last weekend, my brother-in-law got married, so now I have a new sister-in-law! His name is Richard and her name is Stephanie. It was a beautiful wedding from start to finish. They were both so thoughtful and gracious during the entire ordeal. I am really happy for them as they start the wedded life. (We are keeping our fingers crossed for nieces and nephews in the near future. Really crossed.)

The wedding facility was GORGEOUS. Oh, just let me show you what it looked like:


These pictures are from here.


Really gorgeous, right?

The wedding ceremony was beautiful, too. People were tearing up all over the place. My sons kept asking me the next day, “Why do people cry at weddings?” After my husband told them it was because they cost so much, he proceeded to tell them about love and how precious of a moment it is when the bride finally walks down the aisle. I was impressed. (I should note here that he did not use the word “precious”. Pretty sure he’s never used that word before.)

The only thing that wasn’t beautiful was my hair by the end of the night. It started out pretty, or at least I thought so. My mother-in-law thought my hair hadn’t been fixed yet when it was all done. I told her it was a “messy up do” and that I had seen it in magazines, for goodness sakes.

See?

But, by the end of the night, I looked like George Washington with brown hair. Basically, I looked like I had one of those early American gray wigs on, except it was dark brown. That “jump around, jump around, jump up, jump up and get down” song can do a number on your ‘do.

All around, it was a really fun and emotional weekend.

On the five hour drive back home, I had plenty of time to use up my data plan on my phone. This is something that I excel at every month. My husband can tell you. ("How have you already used 65% of our data plan and it started over just one day ago?") As I was scrolling through other people’s pictures from the weekend, I came across this story below on Facebook written by Stephanie’s uncle, Steve Cline. It reminded me of one of those stories you find in Reader’s Digest. I thought it was super funny. You look like the kind of people that would enjoy a story like this one, so I thought I would share it with you.

I have to tell on myself. Last year when my mother passed away, The preacher that officiated the service was a cousin of my sister-in-law, Nancy.He did a fine job! I wanted to pay him for his services. So I opened my wallet and pulled out a $50 dollar bill. I folded it in quarters and placed it in my right pants pocket to pull out later and hand to the preacher at the appropriate time. When the time came, I reached into my pocket, pulled out what I thought was a $50, and cupped it in my hand and shook the preachers hand and covertly slipped him the bill. He put in his pocket without looking. Well in my pocket was also a $1 dollar bill from an earlier purchase that I had forgotten about. Guess what? When I got to my sister’s house and changed clothes guess what I found in my pocket? A $50 dollar bill! It suddenly dawned on me what I had done. I had given the preacher a $1 for his services! I was so red face. What must he be thinking! How can I fix this? When I told my family what I had done, they all got a good laugh out of it. My sister-in-law and brother told me not to worry about and that he had been paid and was happy to do it.
Last night my beautiful niece, Stephanie, got married. Guess who was the preacher? That’s right! My sister-in-law’s cousin. I finally got to fix my problem.

Pretty funny story, right?
 
Here is the nice preacher that did the wedding below. He had just the right mix of seriousness and lightheartedness in his ceremony. It was perfect.


Do you have any funny wedding stories to share with us? You can share it via the Facebook app below or you can hop over to the Kelley’s Break Room Facebook page by clicking the box right here. We’d love to hear what you’ve got! Also, if you liked this post, please consider sharing it!


(Sort of ) Weird Childhood Fears (I shared mine. You share yours.)


 

My sister's neighbor has a map of her own house in the kitchen with exit plans and signs directing family members on what to do in case of a fire, like you might see on the wall of your office building near the elevator like this...


That elevator is not oozing sweet potatoes, Purple Lady.  RUN AWAY!


Living in my sister's neighbor's house are a Mrs., Mr. AND AN INFANT.  Although I know fire departments would advise you to develop an exit plan, I imagine the Mr. and Mrs. could have had a short conversation about the exit plan and placed an oil painting of daisies where that exit plan hangs now.  That plan will be great to go over and discuss with the child as she grows, but, right now, that baby will be waiting for the Mr. or Mrs.' butt to get over there and scoop her the heck up so they can all escape.  Infants are so lazy.

Thinking about this prepared family brought to mind my fear of danger and catastrophes as a child.  Every night I would mention just about everyone I knew in a prayer for protection over them.  I felt like if I didn't mention someone's name, that person wasn't going to be protected and it would be all my dang fault. 


Bed picture from http://www.dabble.org/

I was so afraid of fires that I slept with a bag of things that I absolutely could not lose if there was a fire. I slept with the blasted bag every night.  That fire thought he had me, but I HAD HIM!  I'd kick that fire's butt and escape with the material things that meant so much to me.  That Brownie duffle bag was stuffed to the brim with favorite shirts, favorite books, my purple Mickey Mouse diary, my Cabbage Patch Kid named Kathleen Barbie by her dad, Xavier Wiggins, and probably some tapes featuring Whitney Houston, Cindi Lauper, Michael Jackson and the single to "Eye of the Tiger" (bum, bumbumbum, bumbumbum, bumbumbuuuuuuuuuuuuum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

The natural catastrophe that I feared the most was TORNADOES.  I remember my mom and dad often telling me that if a tornado was approaching, it would sound a lot like a train coming down the street.  There were many days when I told someone to hold the phone and listen...HEY, does that sound like a train?!?!?!???  (To which they would reply, "No.  It's the ice cream man.")

The actual moment where the tornado hit the house was actually not what I feared the most.  It was the bathtub.  My parents told me that my dad, my mom, sister and I would all need to pile into the bathtub if we were to hear a tornado coming over for a visit and it wasn't for a bath.  Tornadoes don't have eyes and don't care if you've bathed!  No, the bathtub was our hideout and THIS TERRIFIED ME.

Although I don't remember my parents explicity stating how we would all fit in the bathtub, my vision was that the most vulnerable would be on the bottom of the pile and the least on the top, so that my sister, who is 4 years younger than me, would be on the bottom resembling a pancake that an 18-wheeler ran over, I would be next, my mom after that and my dad protecting all of us from flying debris while crushing all of the oxygen out of us at the top.




I am grateful that we never had to play the stuff-our-whole-family-in-the-ding-dang-bathtub-game-and-deny-bloodflow-to-all-the-vital-organs-to-every-family-member-except-the-dad-when-a-tornado-comes.  My dad is heavy.  He's 6'3"!! 

One thing is clear, though, my parents discussed emergency plans with us when we were young, but we didn't have fire escape routes displayed promimently anywhere.  I am totally slacking off in this department, too. I need to be fired.


What were you afraid of as a child? 

Do you have an escape route blasted above your mantle?


A MyCharge Giveaway (For All of Your Portable Devices)

myCharge Giveaway

The kids are back to school, but Moms know that's only the beginning! Now that the school year is in full swing, there's no slowing down. In fact, things can start getting pretty hectic this time of year between your work and your kid's homework, after-school clubs and sports, music lessons and carpools, birthday parties and play dates...the list goes on and on! Even the most organized Mom will tell you things can change at the last minute, and Moms of all people can't afford to run out of power...we mean for your phone or tablet, of course!

 myCharge knows how important it is for you to stay charged and connected all day - and all school year - long, so they're giving the gift of portable power so you're never left in the red! To keep you charged and connected myCharge is giving 3 lucky winners each an iPad mini with a myCharge HUB 6000 portable charger! The amazingly compact Hub 6000 features built-in cables and connectors for smartphones, tablets, e-readers and more. Get up to 27 hours of additional talk time for your devices, as well as integrated, quick-charge wall prongs. The Hub series is commonly known as the “Swiss Army Knife of portable power devices.

myCharge HUB6000

Additionally, 40 winners will each receive an Energy Shot compact portable charger for their smartphones that delivers an additional boost when you need it most. They come in a variety of styles and can give you up to 10 hours of talk time! (Please note, smart phone not included in giveaway). 

    myCharge Energy Shot

So Moms, stay out of the red this school year! myCharge is here to keep you charged and connected! For more information on products visit the myCharge website or follow them on Facebook. You can find myCharge products available at retailers such as Target and Kohl's.

Fill out the entry form below September 15, 2014 - October 15, 2014 for your chance to be one of 40 winners to receive an Energy Shot Charger (10 winners randomly selected each week) and one of 3 grand prize winners randomly selected on October 15, 2014 to receive one iPad Mini with a myCharge HUB 6000 portable charger. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age or older, must live in the United States and have a valid shipping address. See giveaway form for complete list of rules and details. a Rafflecopter giveaway This is a sponsored post from myCharge.


10+ Houses That You Won't Believe Got Bulldozed

This house is in the Houston Heights. It is gone, just like many, many others of its magnitude. Source



I'm a nerd and a half and I know it. I don't know WHY I care so much about houses that get knocked down. I don't know why I obsess over audio tours like I do. The fact that I want to be a docent when I grow up? NO CLUE. This weekend as I looked through a book of mine called Houston's Forgotten Heritage, I actually got sad. Sad! I mean, get a life, right?? It's not a normal kind of sadness, but it's still a sort of sadness.

I know it costs a lot of money to restore things. I would love to buy a house that was a 100+ years old, but we don't have the money or time to fix something like that up. Also, those houses are all closer to town and the property value is really expensive. If the house is ancient and the property value isn't expensive, then chances are it's not in an area of town that you would choose to live.

Still.

It makes me sad.

Aren't there enough rich people in the world to keep all of the old houses going? I know, I know. Money to keep old houses in shape would take away money from other important causes.

I just feel like we lose something when we knock everything down.

For the fun of it, I thought I would show you some of the gorgeous houses that once stood in Houston and then show you what is there now. There are many, many more than these, but you don't have all day. Just know that at one time, Houston's architecture was breathtaking. The homes and the scenery were just beautiful and that's all there is to it.



#1 The Charles Shearn House house
(Main at Jefferson)

Then:
Charles House was president of the Houston Street and Railway Company when this house was built, which is ironic since the light rail track runs right in front of where it used to be. This home became the first home of the Houston Art League, which eventually became the Museum of Fine Arts. It was built in 1882 and was demolished in 1920.


Now:
 
 
 
 
 
#2 The Jedidiah Porter Waldo House and Garden
(Rusk and Caroline)
 
 
Then:
This house is actually still around! I can't believe it! I just found that out. It's just not around where it started out, as you can see from the picture below. So, I'll simmer down on this one. I still think it is interesting to see what used to be on that plot of land. This house was built in 1884-1885 and is now in the Westmoreland District. I got excited earlier, because I Googled "historic Houston houses", or something along those lines, and a picture of mine popped up. It was from a post I wrote about living in a cemetery and it featured another house that is in the Westmoreland District.

 
Now:

 


#3 Rows of Houses at 1200 Main Street

Then:
This is actually a post card from the 1800s. At one time, "Main Street" was an elite Houston address. The white house is the Van Alstyne-Dickson house and garden. It was famous for its gardens. It had tall oak trees surrounding it and banana trees in the front yard.

 
Now:



Here are some other houses and their coordinates that have been demolished below. These pictures were found on the Design + Construction Management website. I think these make me almost the saddest. They were bulldozed to make space for grocery stores and parking lots in all likelihood.


#4 Main & Bell
 
Then:


Now:

 
 
 
 

 
#5 Main & Dallas
 
THEN:
 
Now:



I said 10+ houses in the title, so I will let you keep on counting with these beauties below. They got the bulldozer right to the belly. It seems like a lot of houses were getting shoveled out the door in the 1920s, but the flattening trend continued on through the decades.



Something else that I also found interesting was how people migrated through time. These elaborate houses built primarily along Main Street were built "in the country" during that time period. Most people lived near the muddy bayou. These folks wanted to get away from all of that, so they built in present-day downtown Houston. From the Design + Construction Management website, I learned that "Houston's outward migration only continued, as it does to this day, where each generation simply abandons the place where they grew up and moves a little farther out."

So, according to them, the migration movement (primarily of people with the big cash) goes:

1. Buffalo Bayou
2. Main Street, 1890s
3. Courtlandt Place & Westmoreland in the Montrose area, 1910s
4. River Oaks, 1920s
5. Tanglewood & Memorial, 1950s
 6. Sugar Land, Katy, The Woodlands, etc., Present Day

I know houses are just houses, but I think many of them carry stories within their walls that can help ground us today. That is probably being too poetic, but, hey, it's late and I want a bowl of cereal.

Are you an old house hugger or a bulldozer lover?
 
 
 
We don't talk anymore in the comment section here because the spammers wouldn't shut their yappers. I'd love to hear your perspective, though! You can comment using Facebook below.


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