A Very Carbon Monoxide Christmas

December 24th, 2008, 5:14AM. 

I was sleeping peacefully, like any eleven-year-old would have been that early in the morning. It was my first Christmas break as a middle schooler. However, my sleep was rudely interrupted by a loud, shrill BEEP BEEP BEEP.

Since my bedroom is closest to the stairs, I woke up on the first beep. I lay in bed, confused, as I listened to the sound repeat itself again. And again. And again.

As I heard my mother get up and go downstairs, I remembered something: A few weeks earlier, I had been having dinner with my brother and my father at my father’s house. I had noticed a small, white box plugged into the wall in my dad’s dining room.

“What’s that?” I asked my dad, pointing to the box.

“That’s a carbon monoxide alarm.” My dad answered.  

What does it do?”

Press the button.”

And so I did. The response from the box was a loud BEEP BEEP BEEP, the exact same sound I was hearing now.


I lay in bed, paralyzed by fear, as I heard my mother on the phone with my father downstairs. Even though my parents had been divorced for almost two years at that point, my mom would still call my dad to ask him questions about the house they once shared. Suddenly, my mother stopped talking. There was silence for a moment, then, she began to run up the stairs.

I was out of bed before she reached the top step. She flipped on the light in the hallway and yelled, “GET UP!” I ran into my brother’s room and screamed for him to get up. I probably also threw a “WE’RE GONNA DIE” in there, but hey, I was eleven.

It’s strange: Everyone always says what they’d grab if they had to leave their house in the middle of the night. Some say pictures, some say prized possessions…but when you’re really IN the situation where you have to pick and choose what to take, you don’t even think about it. You grab what’s near you.

In my case, that was my beloved Blankie, my tattered baby blanket (yes, it’s still on my bed to this day. Leave me alone.) My brother grabbed the portable cage for our Leopard Gecko and put her inside. My mother, being the wonderful person she is, grabbed her phone…and a bra. Classic. 

As I ran downstairs, I caught a glimpse of the clock in the living room. It was 5:14AM, December 24th, 2008.

The fire department determined the cause of the Carbon Monoxide was a vent in our chimney that had iced over in the winter. When our heat turned on at 5:00 in the morning, the heat that went up our chimney had nowhere to go, thus backfiring into our house as Carbon Monoxide. I know, it’s weird, but my house is 87 years old. Cut it some slack.

The fire department also told us that, half an hour longer inside the house, and we wouldn’t have made it. In just fourteen minutes, the level of Carbon Monoxide in our house jumped from zero to 365. In fourteen minutes.

My parents had purchased the Carbon Monoxide alarm ten years earlier, expecting they would never have a reason for it, but “just in case.” Today, the Carbon Monoxide alarm that saved our lives that Christmas Eve morning is still in my home, resting comfortably in an outlet in my basement. It’s recommended to replace the alarms every five years; we now have two more in the house, one for every floor.

I hope whoever is reading this makes sure they have a Carbon Monoxide alarm in their home, as well. Even if you think you’ll never need it, buy one. Just in case.

Merry Christmas, squadlings.


Greetings, squadlings, and apologies for the lack of posts the past few days.

I’ve been wrapping up my first round of college finals, and might I say, they were terrible. That being said, I SURVIVED MY FIRST SEMESTER OF COLLEGE! PUZZAH!

College is hard. It’s a lot harder than high school. No, I’m not in class for seven hours a day like I was in high school, but I sure as hell didn’t spend as much time on homework in high school, either.

I admit it: I slacked off in high school. A LOT. (Why do you think I go to community college?) (That was a joke.) (Partially.) I RARELY did homework, I never studied for tests, and if I got a bad grade, I’d just laugh it off with my friends. Oh, how times have changed.

Since having started college, I cried over a BC. I CRIED OVER A BC. In high school, my parents would have probably cried tears of joy if I ever came home with anything remotely close to a B. I say “probably” because it never happened, so I don’t know what their reaction would have been. College is different.

I was shooting for a 3.0 Grade Point Average. I know, I know, 3.0 isn’t anything compared to my brother’s Dean’s List 4.0 his first semester of college at the same school, but my brother is a super genius and I’m, well, average at best. Having a BC in a class meant the highest GPA I could pull off for the semester, unless I got A’s in my other classes (ha, yeah right) was a 2.83. Anything under a 3.0 in college pretty much means you’re screwed, in my mind.

I was talking to my dad about finals in the car ride over to his house and started crying when I talked about Sociology, the class I’d picked up a BC in. Sociology had been my best class all semester, I’d kept my grade at an AB-B all semester, until the last unit test, on which I got a 50%. Yes, I know. Why do you think I cried? That last test, mixed with ONLY ONE missing homework assignment, dropped me to a BC.

Desperate, I emailed my Sociology professor, basically begging her for a second chance. She was kind enough to offer to give me half credit on the assignment I had missed earlier in the semester. Since I was on the border of a BC and a B, even half credit on the assignment would bump me to a B. So, naturally, I raced over to my dad’s house to finish the assignment, scan it (my mom doesn’t have a printer), and send it to the professor. Within 10 minutes of her receiving the email, my grade on our online system bumped from a 83% to an 87%. A B. 


Bless my Sociology professor. She saved my first semester GPA.

The grades for my other classes aren’t in the system yet, considering it’s only Sunday and finals ended on Friday, so, fingers crossed they’re B’s or higher so I can pull off a 3.0, squadlings.

Thank you for putting up with my crap. I’m on break now, so I’ll try to post more often. Deuces. 1st2bsemester2bof2bcollege

Define “Home”

Last night, a good friend of mine named Rylee and I were talking about the place we call home. For two people who have only met in person a handful of times and don’t even live in the same city (yes, I met her on the Internet…), the word “home” meant the exact same thing to us. We felt at home in the same place.

1265 Lombardi Avenue, Green Bay, Wisconsin: Otherwise known as Lambeau Field.

Yes, a football stadium. It seems strange, but Lambeau Field is an interesting place to be. You’re not at a football stadium, you’re…well, home.

I first went to Lambeau Field in the summer of 2013. Obviously, since it wasn’t football season, we hit the Packers Pro Shop, and that was about it. Yeehaw. The second time I went to Lambeau, I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

For years, I’d been begging both of my parents to take me to a Packer fan. My mom, who isn’t too big into going to football games, concerts, etc., always said “Ask Dad.” So I did. My dad works at a news station, and the station has season tickets for the sports reporters to head up to Lambeau to get some coverage for the shows. Because of this, my dad promised me that he would take me to a game in the 2014 season. However, whenever I asked, he kept saying “I’ll keep trying.” That soon turned into “I couldn’t get the tickets. Next year.”

He lied.

Long story short, that Christmas, my dad gave me tickets to see the Green Bay Packers versus the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. (Yes, I peed myself). 

December 28th, 2014: The day I went home. My dad and I got to Lambeau around noon, and the game started at 3:25. I was officially tailgating in the Lambeau Field parking lot, something I had dreamed of doing for years. Finally, I was there, and I was doing it. My dad and I grilled up some steak sandwiches, ripped open a bag of chips, cracked open a beer and a Mountain Dew (guess who had which), and kicked back in the parking lot, all while a playlist called “Tailgate” played from the Bluetooth speaker in the trunk of our car. It was heaven.

When it came time to go into Lambeau, I think I was more excited than I’ve ever been in my life. There’s something about standing in the Atrium, but walking into the stadium itself…It’s unbelievable. It’s indescribable. Seeing so many people who are just as passionate about the Green Bay Packers as you are, seeing the players run onto the field, it’s a feeling I can’t even put into words.

Looking around Lambeau Field as light snow fell around me in 11 degree weather on December 28th, 2014, I realized something: “This is it. This is home.

To me and Rylee, Lambeau Field is so much more than a football stadium. It’s so much more than we can even put into words. It’s the place were we feel most at home. Cheeseheads aren’t just a fanbase, they’re a family. As cheesy –pun very much intended– as that sounds, it’s the truth. There’s just nothing like Lambeau Field.

Rylee promised we’ll go to tour Lambeau together this spring, and I can’t wait. We have friends who work there (yes, I met them on the Internet, too), I can’t wait to experience my favorite place on the planet with them. My goal is to walk on the field. Even if it’s just one step, I need to stand on Lambeau Field.

Like I said before, there’s just nothin’ like it.

Oh, and by the way, that game I went to: The Packers beat the Lions 30-20 and claimed the NFC North championship. Boom.lamb13954

Why Boys When Food?

I’m gonna come out and say this: I’m eighteen years old, and I’ve never had a boyfriend. Ever. 

I’m not ashamed to say that; in fact, I couldn’t care less. I don’t want a boyfriend. If you have a boyfriend, you need to talk to him. I don’t like talking to people.

Today, my mom and brother started talking to me about “You’ve never had a boyfriend,” “You need to start dating,” etc. My brother has had a string of girlfriends throughout the years, only two of whom I haven’t hated. I’m not about to take relationship advice from him. My mom has been with her boyfriend for eight years. I don’t care enough to take relationship advice from her.

So, yeah, I don’t have a boyfriend. I’m not embarrassed to admit it, I’m not ashamed to admit it, I don’t awkwardly mumble a response when the classic extended family “Do you have a boyfriend?” question comes out. I just kick back and say “Nope.” When people ask why not, I just say “Why boys when food?

I’m serious about that. I could not care less about being in a relationship. I’m in college, I don’t need a boyfriend. I have friends. I don’t like people, I like food. I like dogs more than people. Boys are PEOPLE. Do you get my point?

And if you’re wondering: Yes, people do think I’m a lesbian. I’m not.

People in high school thought a close female friend of mine and I were dating. We weren’t. I didn’t spend my time in high school drooling over boys, and I don’t plan on spending my time in college drooling over boys.

That’s not to say I don’t like boys, I do. Step into my bedroom, and you’ll see posters of Chris Pratt, One Direction, and 5 Seconds of Summer (yes, I know, judge me all you want). I have pictures of Bruno Mars on my bulletin boards. My sister is 100% convinced that I’m going to marry Clay Matthews, a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers. I mean, I don’t want to get married, but if Clay asked…

I don’t go out and party all the time. I stay home and watch Netflix on the weekends. The only boys who are ever excited to see me are my two dogs and my little brother. I’m fine with that. My best friend has a boyfriend, and he’s a great guy. Am I jealous? Absolutely not. She has to speak to him. How much would that suck? (I’m totally kidding, her boyfriend is great.)

I like food. I like food, and dogs, and football, and my bed. If I had a boyfriend, it would take time away from those things. I like those things. Plus, my relationship with Harry Styles is just fine. (I hate myself so much for that.)

Bottom line here is: I don’t have a boyfriend, I never have had a boyfriend, and lord knows if I ever will have a boyfriend. Who cares? All I’m concerned about for my future is making enough money so I can have at least two dogs. (If you can’t tell, I don’t want kids, either.)


College is Kicking My Ass

Apologies for the lack of posting these past few days, finals start at my college on Tuesday and I’m about to rip my hair out.

Which brings me to this post.

For someone who is only taking a total of nine credits, college is beating the crap out of me. I should have expected this, but truly, I guess I wasn’t really thinking about it.

My grades are ok; an AB, an A (I think, my teacher rarely posts on Blackboard), and a BC (oops). The problem isn’t the homework, in fact, the homework isn’t even that hard. It’s the AMOUNT of homework.

I have a paper to do every other week, a worksheet for this class, a quiz or test in this class, etc. The workload is ripping me to shreds. I’m exhausted literally all the time. I feel like I haven’t had a moment of free time since the Cold War.

I know what you’re thinking: “Suck it up, it’s only going to get worse once you get into the work force.” I know. I understand that. It still sucks ass now, though.

Aside from the study abroad application for London, which you can read about in a previous post of mine, I have a 200 point Psychology paper AND my English final to finish this weekend, hence why this post is short and completely sucks.

Wish me luck. Until we meet again, squadlings.

Community College vs. University

There are a lot of reasons why I chose community college over a four-year university. People always say to me, “well, you’re not getting the full college experience.” You’re right, I’m not. But for me, community college was the best decision I could have made for my plans after high school.

Loads of my friends were applying to University of Wisconsin System schools, some were applying out-of-state, and I wasn’t phased by college apps season at all. In fact, I didn’t apply to college until two weeks after I graduated high school. I got an email saying I had been accepted a week later. I didn’t scream, I didn’t freak out, I didn’t call all my relatives to tell them I was going to college. In fact, the only people I told were my parents and my brother, who was going to the same community college a grade ahead of me. Do I regret choosing community college over a university? Absolutely not. 

People will always say “you’re not getting the full college experience.” No, I’m not. But guess what? I couldn’t care less. My first semester of college, which I’m wrapping up within the next two weeks, cost $1,335. A SEMESTER OF COLLEGE COST ME $1,335. In this day and age, that’s damn near impossible.

I live at home in the same house I grew up in. I don’t pay Room and Board, and my meal plan is called “Mom.” I take the bus to and from school every day, and my college supplied a semester bus card for me. If I went to the four-year University less than a mile from my community college campus, I’d be paying $28,000 a year. Community college is making my life so much easier.

My classes don’t look like a classic college lecture hall from the movies, where there are 200 people sprawled around a room with a teacher in the front. My classes have anywhere from six to 32 people in them. I like this because, if you need help in a class, it’s a lot easier to talk to your professor after class when you’re not racing 200 other students to do the same.

I don’t have 10,000 new friends. I admit, it’s hard to make friends at a school that has five campuses spread across town. My best friend from college is a girl I met three weeks before my high school graduation on a field trip for our high school science department. That’s not to say I haven’t made friends in college with people I didn’t know in high school, I have. With a smaller school, though, it’s easier to gravitate towards people you’ve known for a while.

I don’t live in a dorm, and that’s fine with me. I can’t bring my dogs into a dorm. I wouldn’t be seeing my two brothers daily if I lived in a dorm. I wouldn’t see my parents if I lived in a dorm. In all honesty, I wasn’t in a place where I was ready to move out right after high school. Community college let me have the option of staying home. Sure, it’s not the “full college experience”, but hey, it worked for me, and that’s all I cared about.

People for some reason seem to think that community college classes are easier than classes you would take at a four-year university. Not true. In fact, the classes I’m taking now are the exact same classes you could take at a four-year university, the only difference is that my classes are about $2,000 cheaper.

Would I recommend community college to my friends who are considering other options after high school? Absolutely. 

Community college is cheaper, more intimate, and frankly, in my opinion, more enjoyable than a massive lecture hall and gigantic campus would be. Let it be known I will be transferring out of my community college after two years, the basic requirement for Liberal Arts Transfer students, but for now, community college is perfect for me.


Study abroad?

Studying abroad seems like a rite of passage in college. Almost everyone studies abroad at some point in college. However, for students with mental illness, that’s not too easy.

I have anxiety, and I would consider it to be pretty severe. Let me put it in perspective: I’m 18 years old and I’ve had probably four sleepovers in my life. When I was little, I COULD NOT leave home for a night. Even when my parents got divorced, I never wanted to stay at my dad’s new house because, well, it wasn’t home. Hell, I go to community college and live at home. As I’ve gotten older, I can handle a night away at my cousin’s house 20 minutes away now. But 20 minutes is a lot different than 3,956 miles.

I found out about studying abroad through a poster in the Student Life Center at my college. There seemed like an endless list of places you could go; Germany, Ireland, Thailand, China, Belize…But one in particular stuck out to me: London.

My school is offering a thirteen-day trip to London, England over the summer, where those participating go to plays, musicals, comedy performances, and so on and so forth in London. I was a theater kid in high school, I did everything from helping build sets to directing a full-blown One Act play for Fine Arts Week. I loved being a theater kid. That’s why this London trip should be a dream come true, right?

Wrong. It’s not my high school theater crew anymore. It’s college kids, all of whom I’ve never even met. Sure, they go to my school, but it’s kind of hard to make a ton of friends at a college that has five campuses. I’ve never even met these people, and I’d be spending thirteen days in a hostel in Central London with them.

That, and I’ve never been away from home for more than three days. To go from spending a night in a town 20 minutes over with my cousins to thirteen days halfway across the world is a bit of a jump, no? For someone with anxiety, you can imagine how horrible that sounds.

However, there’s another part of me that’s like, hey, it’s only thirteen days. I plan on going to a university three hours from home when I transfer out of my current community college, so thirteen days is nothing.

I also feel like I need to prove to myself and my family that I can do it. I can tell my mom seems a bit worried about the whole thing, and my dad, who rarely brings up my anxiety, even asked me today, “Are you sure you can handle it?” To be honest with you, Father, no, I’m not sure.

want to be able to handle it. The trip sounds amazing, and sounds like it would be a lot of fun. Sure, I don’t know anyone now, but I would meet my traveling crew before we left for London, and hey, we’d be roommates, so I’d meet them anyway. The problem is staying away from home for two weeks.

I don’t know if I’d be able to pull it off. Thinking of it now, it sounds terrifying. But when I got there, would my mind change? Would I love the city so much that I’d forget about life here in Wisconsin for thirteen days? Or would I be sitting in the hostel while the other kids in my group ran around London, crying and FaceTiming my mom so I can get a quick glimpse of life back home before dinner?

I have until late January to decide what to do, and as of now, I’m leaning towards pushing myself to do this. I’m 18, I’ll be 19 by the time the trip leaves, and I need to learn to get away from home before I end up 40 years old and living in my mom’s basement.london22


What I’d be leaving behind