VTMAS No. 61: Swimming With Manatees

Image Courtesy of Pixabay.com by PublicDomainImages: https://pixabay.com/en/manatee-mammal-underwater-marine-387195/ Florida is a melting pot of weirdos if you want my honest opinions. It’s a place where natives like myself, who were bizarre on our own, mingles with the retirees and tourists from all flocks of life. Which leads me into this next story, or life event. As you have discovered, a famous local pass time here is fishing. We have the best of all worlds in this hobby

VTMAS No.54: Put It Here Tattoo

This is a section of my life I don’t think I have introduced just yet in my “Val Tell Me A Story” Series. For a good year or so I apprenticed at a Tattoo Shop. It was a good night-time gig and on occasion I got paid for roughing out custom artwork or tattoo designs. Plus, I had been offered the apprenticeship and didn’t have to pay to be there like I’ve heard so many others having to do. On this particular night I was shadowing the artist Keith who was giving me the rundown o

VTMAS No.51: Savannah Gas Station

Sometimes I forget to warn the new relatives of my immaculate ability to have weird things happen to me. This was a tiny road trip that myself, Husband, and his cousin Jennifer took to secure some Pralines from the Riverside Shoppe in Savannah. That place has some mad delicious candied pecans too! As we headed out, Justin informed us he really had to pee, and thus we pulled into a gas station. Jennifer and I looked to one another as he exited the car and immediately locked th

VTMAS No.50: Rocko the Rottweiler

As you’ve read before, my first job was a kennel worker at a veterinary office. I would leave school, head to work, clock in and immediately start doing my thing. Hardworking, I had a routine, a process to make sure I never missed anything. Coming in the door there was a white board we all used to list kennel medications, warn one another of a volatile animal or list who the technicians still needed urine and/or stool samples from. On this particular day the white board indic

VTMAS No.48: Vaccinate the Tiger, Val

I have to admit, my first job was amazing. For three years, I got up close and personal with a wide range of animals that most only dream to at least see in person or at the zoo. Dr. Stephens was a talented veterinarian for both local foundations and residents. When I first came to work there, I started off at the “Kennel Worker” and it didn’t take long that my work experience with livestock made me a valuable asset throughout the office. By the time I left, I had aided in su

VTMAS No.45: Drive Around Midnight

If you knew me in high school, you knew I did  everything I could to NOT go home. This even meant driving around at random, as pathetic as it may sound. Regardless, it made for some fun adventures in the long run. On this particular night I had my hot Asian friend John along for the ride. I believe it may have been October at the time, we were either in 11th or 12th grade, but he wanted me to take him to some scary places. At first I think he wanted to visit a cemetery but I

VTMAS No.44: The Brown Starfish

We had gone fishing and we both were geeking out that in the bait bucket there was a little brown starfish. At the time we had a saltwater tank at home and were ecstatic to get a freebie to add into the aquarium. We got home and the husband nearly ran to the computer. Uh oh… I thought as I giggled. He’s going to attempt to google “brown starfish” with no filter on the search… It was barely a few minutes when he came out pale and sickly. “What’s wrong, honey?” I tried to hide

VTMAS No.42: The Scooter Gang

We’ve all been on family vacations, but occasionally one comes along that leaves a lasting impression. Being in Florida, going to the Beach was at least a must once a year. I was still in high school and my mother’s boyfriend, coined “Papa Jon”, had his son Cody down as well. It was instantly decided we would be taking a “family vacation” to Daytona Beach. It was a gorgeous clear day, the sand hot under your feet, the waves rolling in weren’t too wild or choppy, and we were h

VTMAS No.41: Sissy & The Turtle

I think life’s most wonderful entertainers, besides kids, would have to be our pets. In fact, like children, we enjoy watching them make poor choices in the most simplest task. We keep telling ourselves it’s a good lesson for them, but we both know we allow it to happen for that one epic or hilarious moment. We had stayed with my Husband’s cousins with our brand new Basset Hound puppy, Sissy, in tow. She was horribly adorable and the ears were beyond ridiculously long. Good m

VTMAS No.39: Car Ride to Miami

My husband and I had been dating for a while at this point. In fact, we had moved in together and things were going good for us both. His parents asked if we wanted to go with them to Miami to see the NASCAR race in Homestead. So we are talking about November 2005 when this happened. We piled into the baby blue Mercury Villager and Justin was shoving me in the very back, third row section swimming in pillows. “I can’t even see out the windows.” I huffed. “I don’t understand w

My Struggle, My Victory, My Message on Mental Health

When I was asked to write something for Mental Wellness for #HoldOnToTheLight , I was thrilled. Why? It is the reason why I create and write, to do just that, Hold On To The Light. A spectrum of mental health issues, both my own, family, and friends surrounded me growing up. At first, my writing did not reflect these deep dark pools of human struggle until I reached my high school years when I better understood them. I realized that it was part of living in a tangible world.

VTMAS No.36: The Day The Grass Parted

My uncle Ymmit and I were asked to investigate what happened to the cats at my Great Grandmother’s home. She had been a safehouse for captured ferals who the humane society spayed or neutered and brought to her property to live. We had gotten a call asking where the cats had gone, and well, none of us had really stopped to consider what to do with them after she was submitted into the Nursing Home with dementia. It wasn’t like they weren’t being fed. The no-kill arrangement w

VTMAS No.19: Rat Attack

I don’t know about you guys, but I have lived in some dives. This is a story about a very special dump that I lived in for a while. This house was broken, decaying without a doubt. The only level floor was the closed in front porch that I had claimed as my room. But for $200 a month, I couldn’t afford to go anywhere else at the time. The one bedroom had a crack that went from the center of the floor, up the outer wall, around the window and all the way across the ceiling. No

VTMAS No.18: Book Store Stalker

Borders and the cattle yard were my two favorite places to go. I stayed away from home where so much conflict was common. Like I was expressing before, it wasn’t uncommon to find me sitting at Borders and it was awesome martin and April were known to show. Occasionally, I would find myself alone… I had pulled up in my famous 1992 Blue Yukon, and had entered the Border’s cafe area and began drawing. Sadly, no one I knew was there, even after perusing through the aisleways hopi

VTMAS No.15: The Potty Dilemma

Men all know the envious and jealous stares they get for the ease in which they can pee anywhere. Here is my comical story of trying to find some place to relieve myself. We were on the long drive to Gainesville, Florida, about three hours before we would get to my Dad’s house. The Okahumpka (Yes, this is a town in Florida) rest stop had came and went and we had hit the desolate part of Florida’s Turnpike. If you’ve driven on this expressway, you know it has many desolate spa

VTMAS No.14: Carnie Confusion

I must admit, that my experience at one particular fair gave me several stories to milk. Granted my friends and peers who were also there are starting to wonder why on earth I would remember any of this. Forgive me, but I know you are all enjoying this as much as I am! So there we are, at the same little fair in the middle of the woods that “Val, Tell me a story…” No. 3 took place at, so that should tell more about the sort of Carnies we were mingling and working beside. “Val

VTMAS No.8: McDonald’s Creeper

This actually happened the other week. Many of my friends who have had the pleasure of hanging out with me in person can confirm one thing: Val is a magnet for weirdos. I was sitting at the McDonald’s with a good friend of mine. She had asked for some advice on gathering research for a story she wanted to write. We reviewed what she had already gathered and pointed out that she needed at least a file or notebook to put down her thoughts, wants, and needs for the story as she

VTMAS No. 7: Do You Still Have Your Fingers?

This is a more recent event, and it really shows how numb you can become towards your spouse’s quirks: I was having a good day. For a change, the urge to procrastinate had lifted and as I hit a new peak of super Mom and Editing diva, I was feeling great. The kids had went down for their nap, at the same time and my phone started to buzz across my desk as I worked on my latest edits. It was my husband text messaging me: Husband: Sorry babe, I put a hole in my new underwear. S

VTMAS No. 1: Good Morning SWAT Team

NOTE: I had only been living there for 2 months… if that: I had stayed up far too late, so I was half asleep as I rolled out of bed at 5:45 am. All I could echo in my head was, “Val, don’t forget to grab your purse out of Sean’s truck and put it in the car.”.  Apparently I was moving in slow motion or something because as I sat there copying files to my Portable Drive I realized it was close to 6:30 pm. I opened the passenger side of the car, readying myself to grab my purse