Thursday, February 21, 2013

The day the pipes froze

 I've had a lot of liquid. Coffee. Water. Even a Diet Coke. Yikes. My first stop is the bathroom. We've just got home from being on the road over four hours. My contented feeling of relief is short lived when the toilet makes that weird whooshing sound that it does when the water doesn't automatically refill. There is a problem with the water. Before I fully panic, hastily I flip up the handle on the bathroom faucet. Although I am not surprised, disappointment floods me when nothing comes out. And for a moment, I am unsure how to proceed. My green eyes widen with hope that at any moment water will do what it always does and bless me with its blissful liquid presence. I even say please, a couple of times as I flip the faucet on and off.

           Maybe I just did it wrong the first four times.
           I am crestfallen when I call out, “Babe?” 
           Troy looks up and over at me awaiting me to continue. 
          “We have no water. I think the pipes are frozen." I hate to be the one to tell him this. My face reddens a little with embarrassment and I look away with a smirk. He has only just moved in with me. We just got back from his old place in, Boise, Idaho, to gather the last bit of his belongings. We’re tired. Cold. And delivering the news of our water situation makes me feel that I am letting him down. I even contemplate if I could have prevented this. Mostly, I really just want him to feel welcome here. Not, surprise! We have no water. Welcome home, babe. It’s not exactly what I had in mind. 
             But it is what it is.
             Troy’s face is blank as he inhales and then exhales deeply, assessing things. He is quiet for a couple of beats as he contemplates this. Or so I assume. One of the fifteen clocks that I have around the house sounds louder than usual as it ticks. Tick. Tick. Tick.  Finally, he says, “I don’t know what to do I am from California.” He reminds me. “It never gets this cold there. You've lived in southeast Idaho for thirteen years. Hasn't this ever happened before?” Surprise is thick in his tone. We check the weather on our phones and see that is a chilling negative ten degrees outside and the day before it was negative fourteen degrees. Again, I feel like I am letting him down. Or that my town is letting him down. Welcome to Pocatello! It’s freaking cold here. Enjoy! Troy is an amazing person. He takes the news very well. He isn't upset and he doesn't even seem to mind. Much.
            I bit my lip and think for a moment. “No, I don’t think this has ever happened.” I am pretty sure that I would remember this. It’s a haunting, helpless sort of feeling.
            With a confirming nod, Troy says, “Call you parents. They’re from Utah; they have to know what to do.” He then heads outside to begin the hour long process of unloading the truck. He brings in some boxes, his paintings, blankets, our overnight bag, some dog food, and the air mattress we ungratefully slept on the night before. After I spoke with my mom and things were unloaded, we narrowed down the problem to the pipes behind the washing machine. It’s unbelievably cold in the laundry room. Maybe even colder than outside.
Taking my mom's advice heating pads were placed on the pipes overnight, and when that was unsuccessful, a heat gun was purchased. When Troy pulled it out of the box, I thought to myself, that it looks a lot like a hair dryer. 
             Troy was a trooper and took his job very seriously. He was determined to fix our problem, and without spending much money. Patiently he sat on an uncomfortable yellow wooden chair, waving the heat gun over the pipes, hoping to thaw the water in the pipes. Making the best of things, he listened to The Beatles and never complained. This all made me happy. I even feel at ease, despite the fact that we had no water. We were in this together. We were going to be fine.
               While Troy patiently worked, I went to the store to use the bathroom and get supplies. When I returned, I went straight into kitchen and made stew. I was in survival mode. So what if we didn't have running water? We were going to have an excellent dinner. I even pretended that I was a chef on Food Network, my show was called, Dining Without Water. I chopped fresh veggies and herbs like a pro with the help of our new knives, and then I sauteed them in our fabulous new pans. All the yummy peppers, herbs, onions, carrots, garlic, and celery made the house smell inviting and comforting. No one would suspect we had no water. Next, I lovingly dusted the stew meat with flour, salt, and fresh ground pepper. I went to the pantry and pulled out our special Tuscan olive oil. We purchased it while were in Murphy’s, California, a few months back. This oil is nothing short than bliss. Everything tastes amazing when cooked in this oil. Here's the link, if you want to check it out: Murphy's marisolio olive oil Quickly the intoxicating smell of meat combined with our magic oil comforted me almost as much as a hot bath. I deglazed the pan in some red wine. And drank the rest. Happy and relaxed, I tried not to panic. I didn’t want to think about the potential costs of our pipes bursting, when my next shower would be, or when I would be able to wash our again. I was going to be the next Food Network star! 

                    Here's a link to a similar recipe, however, I didn't use one.

              After many hours, lots of phone calls to family, friends, friends of friends, and neighbors, I finally called the city. Our water had frozen outside at the meter outside. There was nothing we could have done. When I heard the music of water gushing out of my kitchen and over the enormous pile of dishes, I squealed, “Yay! We have water! We have water” I danced. I clapped my grungy hands together approvingly. I was as happy as I have ever been. Immediately, I placed by hands under the flow of water. Oh, how I had missed the warm satisfying goodness of washing my hands.
             “Woohoo!” Troy cheered. He jumped up from his bowl of stew and knocked over his glass of wine. He was so excited and in such a rush to talk with the men from the city, he ran straight into the stair railing. His ribs ached for days later, but, we had water.

             All in all, we went without running water for thirty hours, had a delicious meal, and got to know a guy named Marv.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What makes you happy?

As my third cup of coffee is kicking in; I stare off for a moment. As usual, I am sitting in the corner of my well worn micro-fiber couch. My dog, Lucy, is snuggled next to me. Our TV is paused on Food network. My boyfriend, Troy, is sitting at his computer not ten feet from me. It makes me happy that he is so close. Briefly, I wonder, what should I write about today? Should I work on my new novel, Thirteen Choices? Should I write a new blog post for my blog? As I contemplate this, I ask myself, what would make me happy?
 Looking up to my right, I see a stunning bouquet of balloons. Pink. Silver. Black.  And in the middle of the delightful floating balloons, is a special Mylar that reads; Happy Sweet Sixteen! Light glitters and sparkles off all twelve of them in a magical way. My daughter, Ashtyn, turned sixteen yesterday.  I am not sure if she appreciates them as much as I do but either way its ok. These balloons make me smile. They make me happy. It’s amazing and surreal to be a parent of a sixteen year old girl. She’s smart. Beautiful inside and out. She plays first chair violin in the orchestra at her high school and has almost all straight A’s. I even adore her friends almost as much as I adore her. I am one of the blessed, lucky parents. Of course I realize that not one parent out there would say otherwise about their kids.

We’re all lucky and blessed.

Repeatedly I strive to count my blessing and to do what makes me happy and to choose joy. I tell my loved ones to do what makes you truly happy and feel good, too. Personally I love to write. I love to run. I love to bake and cook. Each and every day I make a point of doing some or even all of my passions. Writing is number one for me. Whether I write a few chapters for my new novel, a blog posts, or even just a quick message to a loved one of Facebook, I write.  
While enjoying the balloons in my living room, I opened up Pinterest on my phone. I am a total Pinterest addict. I love Pinterest. I look at it when I am bored, when I need inspiration, when I am in line at the grocery store, when I want a new way to style my hair, when I want to make something special for dinner, when I need fashion inspiration, when I want to daydream about a vacation to Italy, when there is nothing on TV, and even when I am watching TV. You get the idea; I look at Pinterest all the time. Today a super cure pair of shoes caught my eye. I love shoes. These were, oh my god, I want these shoes! Dusty blue heels with cream lace leather detail on the toe! They make smile. It doesn’t matter that in order for me to purchase them I would have to pay more in the shipping costs than the actual pair of shoes, because for a few brief lovely moments, I am smiling! I envision myself wearing them at a book signing, at a fancy restaurant with my boyfriend, or even just with a pair of rockin’ skinny jeans to go pick up the kids from school and stop off at the grocery store. They make me smile. They make me feel good and there is never anything wrong with that. If you want to check out my shoe board on Pinterest, here's the link 
Mindy's shoe board: Life is short, buy the shoes!

Today, I invite you to pay attention to makes you smile and to remember to do more of what makes you happy. Whether you just stare off at some balloons, enjoy looking at a fabulous pair of shoes, or a fourth cup coffee, do whatever it is that makes you smile and watch your spirits sore!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

All about me

My name is Mindy Rae Boyer Larson. I am a thirty six year old writer and a mother to four great kids. I am a big sister to three great brothers. I am daughter. I’ve recently found the love of my life. I am a runner. A baker. A lover. A sister. A friend.
 I have an amazing life.
Some of the highlights and things that stick out as I look back at my life evokes many emotions: happiness, longing, sadness, pain, pleasure. The list could go on. But I really don’t want to dwell on the past. I am so happy in my day to day life that and living in the moment that I rarely want to think about the past at all, but I am who I am today because of everything.
I am not perfect. I am human and I didn’t always make the best choices. Growing up, I was the cliché bad girl. I skipped a lot of school; I hung out with the cool kids and partied. I was pregnant at sixteen. I broke my parents’ hearts but I rose to the occasion. There was no choice. I was going to keep my baby. I loved my son more than anything. I wanted to be the best mom possible. Knowing my schooling would play a role in this; I continued my education. I graduated on time and with my class in 1995. Six months later I was given another choice, and wanting to do what I felt was right at the time, I married my high school boyfriend. He’s not the biological father of my son but raised as his own. I was eighteen. He was twenty.
Being a wife and a mother, forced me into growing up even more so. We were young. We weren’t ready to be married. Early on I was unhappy. He was unhappy. We weren’t a good match. And as a result, our four children suffered. We tried our best and stuck it out until December of last year, 2012. I made the decision of parting ways and divorcing. I wanted to show my kids that I could be a happy, content, and a fulfilled parent. My hopes were that someday they would be able to see a healthy and loving example of how adults could exist together. The very thought gave drove me through difficult times. Parting ways meant I was giving up the security of being married to a successful and wealthy man. I remember even asking myself, 'what are you thinking? You have no job. No job skills. You’re just a stay at home mom for crying out loud! You’re stuck, baby.'

 It was at my lowest point that I reminded myself that I have the ability to make another choice. As difficult as it was. It helped to remind myself of my value and of my talents. I have a good heart. An intelligent mind. A fit and healthy body. I am a good mom. A good writer. I have always been writer. I have written kids books. I could write a novel, a damn good one at that. Daily I pumped myself up, telling myself that I am a great writer and a great mom and that I could do this. It’s going to happen. And I am pleased to say that it did. But it wasn’t easy! And at the time I was beyond scared to consider going out on my own without a dime to my name. But I wanted more and somehow I just knew that things would work out.

                                           The times they are a changing.

When I signed those final papers a proverbial weight lifted from my petite frame and I was free. It was a very magical time. I went to movies, concerts, I even signed up for 5k running event where I ran 
 through a field of lavender.

went to Disneyland with my parents and kids. I went to the beach and I was healed and very happy for the first time in a very long time. Every day was like my birthday. I was reborn. Each day I began my day by writing in my gratitude journal. I wrote ten things that I was grateful for and why. It feels amazing to do this. And I highly recommend it! Do it when you’re feeling down to remind yourself of all the great things that are going on and take your focus off the pain.  Or even better, just do it when you’re feeling happy to reinforce more feel good.
                                          Just do it. 

Hopefully, I am not getting too over the top here. And I’ll be the first to tell you that not every day was ideal, after all, this is life. We all have ups and downs. To quote Johnny Depp, “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”

In the beginning days when my kids were with their dad I missed them like missing a limb. My hear hurt. I had such anxiety that I literally shook. OK so maybe part of it was because of my coffee addiction. Nothing beats a cup of coffee, a good book, and a closet full of shoes and clothes. Nonetheless I powered through the tough times. Whenever the kids were at their dads, I did things for me. I wrote a lot. I gave myself facials and pedicures. I worked out like crazy. I was in the best shape of my life. Wanting to continue my new positive lifestyle, I quickly abandoned the novel I had been working on, and I began a new novel, This Morning I Woke Up Dead

If you haven't already, check out my facebook page This Morning I Woke Up Dead and  Pinterest Mindy Larson and

In July of 2012, I met the love of my life, Troy Gilbert. We cook together. We clean together. We workout together. We’ve travel. We’ve been to California, Utah, Las Vegas, Arizona, and Wyoming and even have plans to go all over the world. We laugh every day. We are a wonderful team in this crazy thing called life. He makes me feel cherished and special. He has single handedly renewed my faith in love. And by feeling these wonderful magical things I was able to create Hadley and Dominic’s love story in, This Morning I Woke Up Dead.
                 I am happy. I am a writer. I am a good Mom. I am in love. I am me.