As a teen, I could talk until I was blue in the face about my favorite book series, Fearless. Gaia was born without the ability to feel fear, so her CIA agent father trained her to kick ass since she wouldn’t have the common sense to not confront the super villains of the streets of NYC.
I was so much worse about Roswell, watching the same episode every morning before school all week. Max, the brooding teenage alien saves the life of small town girl, Liz, and all hell breaks loose in the form of FBI car chases and alien teen pregnancies.
At 20, there was no better way to escape that toxic marriage (shhhh… don’t say divorce) than by immersing myself in a world of sparkly vampire teens who hadn’t made the biggest mistake of their lives by marrying sociopaths before they were legally able to buy alcohol. For realz, I read those books like eight times.
These titles sound so much worse when described, but I didn’t write them. No, my fiction always got me one-on-ones with the creative writing teacher. It’s not like I actually made a preacher kill his daughter with a shot-gun for engaging in premarital sex. Jeez. Calm down.
If you think I’ve forgotten talking your ear off about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gail, you’re wrong. Five foot nothing Sarah Michelle Gellar saves the world from power hungry high school geeks and giant snakes, flanked by her outcast sidekicks and badass Librarian mentor. That’s right. Librarians: We get shit done. No, I didn’t forget. It’s just still awesome.
So, you’re seeing a trend here, right? I’m an obsessive person. I never grew out of that phase, because it wasn’t a phase. I’d like to say I control it better, but I’d be lying. Honestly, I credit this personality trait with having my master’s degree at 25 and losing 100 pounds in a year. I get something in my head and I won’t quit, be it a graduate degree or deciding to make all of my Christmas presents by hand. A couple of months ago, I decided I’d make custom photo albums for all of the pictures I’ve been taking since my life really started after my divorce in 2010. I am very much of the Mellenial generation, y’all. I sleep with my phone next to me. I carry my Kindle in my purse at all times. I bought my Gramma a Nook and taught her to download library books from home. Translation: I take a shit ton of pictures. Some are frame-worthy, some were taken to embarrass Gaily the day you could totally see her two granny bras under her spaghetti strap dress, some are screen caps of Facebook posts that I send to Gail so we can be catty. There’s a lot to sift through, but I finished two whole years worth of albums in one week.
This is me on a project:
Additionally, when I get on these tangents, failure is not an option. I’m pretty sure I can blame my daddy for that one, after he sternly asked the ten-year-old
“Now, why is that A so low? You need to get that 93 up, before it drops down to a B.”
On the one hand, thanks for the 4.0, Dad. On the other, Gaily would like to punch you in the head for the time I called her crying because I got a 98.5% on that project…. less than a year ago.
For this reason, when I set a new goal, instead of sharing my enthusiasm, Gail’s response usually goes something like this…
Me: “So, now that I’m a Librarian, after I get full time and do that whole boy thing, I’d like to publish a book one day.”
Gail: “Motherfucking damn it! You’re gonna call me at 28 crying hysterically” ::begins hyperbolic impression of me freaking out:: “‘… and I’m not even published! My life is over, because I’m too stupid to get published and now I have to join the Air Force!!!!'”
Me: “Okay. One: I can’t join the Air Force after my 27th birthday and I was only talking about it if I failed my graduate portfolio, because I couldn’t do anything else…”
Gail: “You have a bachelor’s degree in education! You could teach!”
Me: “AHEM! Two: This is a long-term goal. It’s after I get full time and maybe even get married again. I don’t even have an age attached to this. It’s just one day in the possibly distant future.”
Gail: “Uh huh. I’m sure.”
Gaily’s impression of 28-year-old Belle:
Soooooo, it is with this… determination… that I took on a new project this week: genealogy.
As a Librarian, my job is research. People call and ask questions like “Did James Dean have one wife or two? Who was the mother of his children? What was his highest grossing film?” or “My neighbor is selling his condo, but the price he’s given me is really high. Can you tell me how much it’s worth?” I’m not kidding. Obscure research is my gig, yo. Soooo, between customers, we’re encouraged to surf the Internet, as long is we stay off Facebook. Since the library has free access to Ancestry.com and two of my coworkers are really into genealogy, I figured “why not?” When I told my dad about some things I found, he was really excited… like oddly so for a conversation that didn’t include the words “ammo” or “holster.”
So, I decided to look further into things that night at work. I figured, if I could get enough information on Grandma Kay’s family, then I might be able to form a Christmas present out of it. My daddy may be a blue collar guy, but he’s a hard working one and when it comes to gifts, if he wants it, he can pretty much buy it himself. If he can’t, I sure as hell can’t. It was beyond sweet the day he wore his college dad shirt, just for me, when it had clearly not be been worn in the year since I’d given it to him. Even better, he pretended he didn’t even realize he was wearing it. Still, I’m always trying to find something I can give him that he’d actually like.
Me: “Well, I can show you how to look this stuff up.”
Dad: “Now, why would I wanna do that, when you can do it for me?”
So, with nothing to go on but my great grandpa’s name, I spent my shift tracing my ancestry, with the help of another Librarian. I found a lot, too. Despite wanting my Christmas present to be a surprise, I decided I’d call my Grandma Kay and ask for some names to assist me. She’s a night owl, so I knew she’d be up. That was when she told me that my great great grandfather’s name was indeed Clayton, as I’d thought, but his middle name was Harold… not Preston. I’d traced the wrong family back to the 1700’s and had nothing on my own. I’d also already told my grandma that I found a lot for her and felt terrible about the prospect of disappointing her after she’d been so excited, not to mention, idiotic for making the mistake in the first place. Even the small piece of information that my dad had been so thrilled about was false. So, after I hung up with my grandma, at around 11:00, I signed up for the ancestry.com free international trial. I figured I could match at least what I thought I had found.
Though the names my grandma had given me were misspelled and she wasn’t even sure of the relations, I found a wealth of information, this time verifiable with U.S. Census documents. I was even able to trace one branch back to the year 1660 in France. It was probably about 1:00 in the morning by this point, but I decided to keep going with another branch, so I could say I’d actually found more.
That was when the last name Barron showed up and the leads kept coming, all verifiable with Census documents. You see, the way family trees work is that you trace back until the information runs out, because the common folk had no reason to record their families. Apparently, however, the last name Barron was used, because my great X 8 grandfather was an Irish baron, or the lowest class of British royalty, so they did keep records. At this point, it was just names and dates, but I kept recording them until about 4:30 a.m. I was in the 10th century when I finally went to bed, still not finished, exclaiming to the dog “Whatev. They’ll still be dead in the morning.” I woke the next morning and sent my dad the following text.
Clayton is the descendant of a baron, or the lowest class of British royalty and the names and dates go back to the year 10,000. Do you have any idea what a pain in the ass that was to research and record?!?!?!
Having had about 5 hours of sleep, I got up and continued to research while drinking coffee… and was not paying attention to the amount.
It was about the time I started roaring at the dog and praising God that my downstairs neighbor moved and could not hear my stomping, that I realized I probably could’ve done without the second pot of coffee.
It was also at this point when I sent Gail the following text…
Me: I’m a descendant of low British royalty. It’s just like that episode of My Little Pony!
Gail: …? I didn’t watch My Little Pony, your highness.
Me: Capitalize that, peasant.
This also led to a text argument with Jane over whether or not it was fair to claim she and Gaily had no childhood for not having seen My Little Pony, including the following:
Jane: I never had any interest in ponies. I wanted a whole horse.
Me: Ponies are not HALF a horse. Geez, I’m glad you aren’t a vet.
Jane: Ponies aren’t horses. They’re ponies. They have a different name for a reason. I wanted a horse. They kinda are half of a horse. They’re bitchy too.
Me: No. They’re colorful and they have special powers. You’d know this if you weren’t raised in a Nazi boot camp.
So, not only has my tunnel vision focused my genealogy efforts for one thousand years, it’s also stimulated intellectual conversation and quality pet time.