“The shop always had big stacks of tires in them…”

If it's a smell specifically, new tire smell. Love the smell of like that rubber plasticy smell. Oh love it. You know you're going to Walmart and you walk through the the automotive tire section. Oh frick, I love that smell. I don't know why, I think it smells like the shop, like growing up my um, you know, my abuelo had a shop on the property because he was a harvesting and hauling company for oranges. So you had - we had to fix you know the rigs. We call them goats, but they're actually loaders. They just go slow, that's what we call them goats. They'll you know, they'll load - they're like tubs and you fill the tubs full of oranges from the fields. So that's what you do from the groves. Other machinery tractors etc. They didn't always do oranges, but that was a big thing. And the shop always had big stacks of tires in them and that's what it smelt like. So maybe that's why I like that smell.

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“…we would just have to like grit our teeth and bear the smell.”

Have I, or anyone I know ever bought a lemon? When my siblings and I started driving we all got really old used cars, but they were in pretty good shape, I would say overall. Our dad is a mechanic, and so he you know looked them over made sure the basics were working. And you know for the most part all of the cars that we had ran as long as we needed them to, I'll put it that way. But I remember my oldest brother had some Honda, little Honda thing, that was blue and I think I had a name as a lot of high school cars probably do. And shortly after he graduated it died. So my little brother was looking around for a car and he ended up finding one almost exactly like the original blue car. It was a red Honda. And he saw it driving to school, it was sitting in someone's corn field. And had probably been sitting there for a little while. So he had my dad come take a look at it, everything, you know looked good enough and he ended up buying it. So he drove that car, you know all summer or all spring and he would drive me to school most days, as well. So we were driving to school one day and it was getting colder out. So we had started the car and turned on the heat, and it just it smelled horrible, horrible and we realized you know, pretty immediately that it was coming from the vents. So we turned the heat off and just shivered, you know, the entire drive to school. It was kind of far. It was like 20 minutes probably. And same thing happened, you know, we didn't know what was going on. So the same thing happened at night or after school. We were driving home and we turned the heat on and it smelled horrible. And so we came home and we're like, "Dad, like what is going on?" And he checked it over and I think at the time I want to say he didn't see anything and so this cycle repeated and sometimes we would just have to like grit our teeth and bear the smell because it was so cold out. And I don't know how we eventually figured out what was going on. But…

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“I broke up with him, and that was a relief…”

Have I ever been that happy something ended? Sure, so many things. The one season I played softball in middle school, man I was glad when that was over. I was glad when - when Trump left office, but of course, that's not really over, over. There was a guy I dated,  and his name was [redacted]. And this guy randomly asked me out. I was working at the library. I never had anyone just like a stranger asked me out before - well I mean, I guess I had but not like in any sort of non-crazy creepy way that I would actually say yes to, anyway. I mostly was just feeling sad - sorry for myself. And I knew that this guy was not my type, but he was very attractive. So I was like, "What the heck? Sure!" And ended up dating him for a couple months. And like the whole time I was like this is not the guy for me and he was clearly looking for like a wife. And yeah, it was just, finally I was like I felt bad because it was, I was kind of just using him to feel better about myself because this attractive guy wanted to date me. And so I - plus we were just very different politically and all kinds of ways and so I broke up with him, and that was a relief, that felt good. I was glad that that was over. Except that I mean this is probably a bad but I mean this is before like I don't even think I had a cell phone. So like I couldn't just text him or like anything like that. Anyway, I called him and I couldn't get a hold of him. So I finally left a message that said, "You know, I don't think this is working out. But if you want to talk about it, you can call me back." And like I would never have called back. I didn't think he would I was just trying to be nice, you know, but then he did call back and I just had a landline. No, like I didn't know it was him. So I picked up and there he was and so then we had to talk it out and he was trying to convince me not to break up with him and it's…

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“I got a new hamster…”

Yeah, I got a new hamster by the way. I had one, he died recently. What happened was, he was a friend of mine - or so my sister's roommate now, and who is her best friend in high school had a hamster. That she didn't want anymore, which also made me very sad, but we'll talk about that later. She didn't want him anymore and I was like, "I'll take him." I don't - he's like he was already two years old at this point. He - there, they don't live that long, but I was like, "I'll take him and I'll let his live live the rest of his cute little life out with me." Like, it'll be fine. What I didn't anticipate was getting attached to him. So he died last week and I was very upset but at that point it was like well now I want another little guy. So, I went and got another hamster. Same hamster, the Roborovski dwarf hamster. They're very cute, and I love them. But mine now, I got used to having like one that was already used to people and now mine's like gonna - not bite me but, like does not like me that much right now because I plucked her out of her little house at the pet store, but I'm working on it. So that's why we're talking around her right now. So she gets used to my voice.

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“I’d wanna be a bird.”

Would you rather shapeshift into a bird or be free to go where you want, or shapeshift into a pet and be adopted by a nice family? I'd wanna be a bird. Bird would be nice. If you're like a dog you'd probably be stuck inside, which actually would be nice. But I feel like with the bird you're just much more free, you have like your own free will, when you're a dog like your family chooses where you're gonna go every day. If you're a bird you can choose where you want.

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“Have you ever known someone who could be really critical about small details?”

Have you ever known someone who could be really critical about small details? One of our team members has a grandpa who really likes western movies but will get upset if things are inaccurate, like if someone walks through a saloon door wrong. Interesting. Um, that's really specific. Wow. Critical about small details, my mother? I guess my mother. Yeah, it's funny, she's a history teacher, right, she teaches like American history, high schoolers, and also AP human geography and some electives, you know, she'll do Holocaust like this and other things like that. But she is very critical of her students' grammar and like punctuation things like that. It's really interesting, and she doesn't hold it against them, as far as their grade maybe like I think 5% of their total grade if they write a paper is about grammar and punctuation. But she'll mark it up as if she's an English teacher. So that's really interesting to me. And I think it's beneficial for the students to know, even though it's not an English class, "Hey, you should you really do this like this, this needs to be a different way." So that's interesting. She's also hypercritical about a lot of things. Just — she's very intuitive, too. I remember when my husband wanted to propose he was gonna talk to her about it, and they went to go get Chinese food together. She knew right away. She knew, she was like, "You want to propose to my daughter, don't you?" I don't understand it, some kind of, I have no idea, ESP, I don't know.

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“…it all kind of just feels like, I’m laying down and people are just steadily stacking rocks on top of me.”

It's another little insight. I'm getting here as to why so many teachers, at least partially why, so many teachers are are burning out and leaving the field, because you're kind of thrust into this position where you have to make a decision - are you going to spend not only your 45 minutes planning period during the day, but also likely hours at the conclusion of your school day every day, just jamming your preparation just like just trying to get everything set up and good to go, and then still probably not feeling totally prepared, day in and day out for an entire school year. And I think you can come up with, you know interesting concepts and reasons from the outside, which I understand you could say things like, "Well, teachers only teach 180 days a year, so you may as well just go ahead and and go hard for those 180 days, and then you'll get your little summer off." And there's some validity to that, to some degree. But 180 days is a long time. All together it's probably counting, you know, just the school year what we get two or three months off in the summer. So it's probably nine months of just a really impressive grind, and I frankly don't think is sustainable, and just from chatting with a few of my co-workers I can already feel that weight on my shoulders and their own, where many of them are just stuck in this like perpetual space of "What can I do to get by?" Basically meaning here's my curriculum, here's how you employ it correctly. However, there's no way I have the time to actually employ this curriculum correctly. So then you have to kind of get super creative and spend even more brain power figuring out how to parcel down your curriculum so that you're still hitting the state mandated standards, but maybe without fulfilling the exact needs and expectations of the program itself, if that makes sense. And it's crazy. It's wild. I'm currently -- a lot of you any of you who've already been working for years in education or otherwise, you're probably like "Uh-huh, yeah, welcome to the Real World." But like my email inbox is just drowning in in things all the time, you know last year, I took pride in keeping my inbox like nice and…

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“I woke up to having, again, three women standing over me…”

Have you ever had a chance encounter with the stranger that has stuck with you? What happened? I was 20 and I was pregnant. And single. And my parents kicked me out of my house, well, their house. And I was going to my brother's house in another state and I lost my bus ticket. So I started walking. And I remember being- I hadn't eaten in two days and I was starving, big ole pregnant. And I saw this grass that just looked so comfortable and I laid down on it. And I fell asleep, and I woke up to having, again, three women standing over me asking me if I was all right, what was wrong with me and I kind of started to cry and told them my story. And they took me home with them. They gave me a bath, another bath, but this time it was a shower. Gave me, washed my clothes while I was in the shower. Gave me a robe to wear while they dried. And then they fed me a hot meal. I ate like I hadn't eaten in a week. And they bought me a bus ticket and put me on a bus to my brother's house. They were angels. God sent them. I know he did.

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“… She did not get that like living or going to Florida for the winter was like a clue…”

The first one that struck me was actually the snowbird one because it makes me immediately think of a story which is probably my only snowbird story. When I was like 24-25, I was living with two other women and one of them I did not get along with and the other one who I did get along with, mostly, she grew up in Austria so there were definitely like kind of cultural things and customs that aren't you know, second nature to her, that she didn't necessarily get. And so she had started dating someone. And I was asking her about him, like they had probably been dating for a couple weeks and she was a singer like a choral singer and so they had met in this like choir, a city choir. And you know, she's telling me this, that, and the other and he sounded really great and she said, "But he spends the winter in Florida." And I think it was about approaching winter time and I just like had this moment of pause. Because I'm like, okay. Old people spend the winters in Florida because we were in Michigan, living in, Michigan. And so I was like like ,"How old is he?" And again, we were like 24 or 25 and it was the funny part is that she did not get that like living or going to Florida for the winter was like a clue that he was much older. So she said, "He's 51." and I had another pause and I was like, "How old is your dad?" And she says "52." And I was like "Well, at least he's younger than your dad." You know? And it was just like, oh man, they I mean they dated for- what I mean, at least six months I think maybe longer. But it's just like- she definitely- there were some father issues there and I think he seemed like a great guy and she was a great person but it's just like yeah, I don't think that's probably a healthy relationship. But anyway, he was a snowbird. And that's what I think of when I think of people who winter down south.

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