Crunchy Pickles — Vol 28
A prequel to Black History Month, refill the toilet paper roll, and old South Carolina Money.
Fall officially hit us in two days. After 15 months of living in Columbia, I have finally found a nail salon that is up to my standards, and Sis went and got fall nails already; I couldn’t wait. Have you started getting your fall decor and wardrobe together?
So what’s been going on since we last chatted? What have you been up to? Did you get your Pumpkin Spice Latte basic-bitch style yet? My homegirl sure did.
As you are reading this, I am probably riding up the coast of California with the top down and wind hitting my curls, living my best got damn life with my husband. Tomorrow marks two years since we said I do. Celebrating our first anniversary was rather tricky since we were in a pandemic with no vaccines, so we wanted to do something big this year.
We are on a 10-day coastal drive from San Diego to San Jose. Making stops in Laguna Beach (did you ever watch that show), Los Angeles, Calabasas (gotta say hi to my friends), and Santa Barbara along the way. We rented a convertible to enjoy the beautiful fall weather with zero humidity; oh, I missed this life.
While I’ve traveled to Northern California to visit my brother-in-law over the past few years, I haven’t set foot in Southern California in years. And this is Julian’s first time in LA. So we have lots to see and a lot to celebrate, but I’ll wait for the topics to share more.
Let’s get into it:
February 13, 2022
February 13, 2022
Black History Month. The day before Valentine’s Day. And the day our family is set to expand to three.
We are expecting!
It’s been a crazy interesting, and emotional journey to get to this point, but we finally made it. I remember when I first talked about having kids. It sounds simple when you are talking about it versus actually trying to make a baby.
It is not like how they show it on TV; this was hard work and effort. But every couple's journey is different, and whatever it is, it makes you appreciate the little person even more when they get here.
Now for the questions everyone typically asks when you are telling them you are pregnant.
Are you having a boy or girl?
We don’t know and will not know until we deliver. I’ve always wanted to wait for the big surprise at the end. We don’t get many surprises as an adult. Once someone proposes to you, what else besides monetary items are surprises? Nothing wrong with gifts. We all love gifts, but isn’t that a part of life, gifts? Well, maybe not for everyone. And if you are the proposer, what kind of surprises do you get?
Is it hard to wait? Not really. I don’t think about what we are having much at all. Ever since I found out my parents waited to know what I was, the idea has been in my head, long before my person walked into my life.
I’m not a gendered-color person. I don't have many hopes and wishes for pink princess parties or shades of blue everywhere.
So I ask, how do you prep differently for a boy or girl?
When I ask that question to parents or the few folks I know who are expecting now, they always stumble over the response, and it usually reverts to they have to know, or they would have gone mad waiting until the very end.
The only thing we need to worry about ahead of time are names, and we will have one of each when that day comes. What I can tell you is, everyone living at The W will have a J name.
How have you been feeling so far in your pregnancy?
The first trimester was terrible. Like folks don’t really prepare you for what to expect when you are building an ENTIRE PERSON in your uterus.
Let me shoot it straight to you. Several times I was saying to myself, “who TF signs up to do this willingly.” From me crying in the middle of the kitchen because Ju made chicken for dinner to taking two naps a day to barely get by. Sore AF breast and nipples, the never-ending feeling like you can eat everything in the entire fridge or the bread aisle at the grocery store. The feeling of throwing up, but never throwing up. It is crazy the emotions a woman’s body goes through to make a human.
And then, like that, the symptoms faded away, but it took me hitting the 16-week mark even to get a sense of relief. Some women don’t get any relief until the baby gets here. So I am thankful that I turned a corner, but I hear the corner turns back as the end gets nearer.
I’ve got so much to share during this pregnancy journey, and I can’t wait to update you at lunch along the way. And guess what, I told you first, here at lunch before I told social media.
How do you like those pickles??
September 21 is such a monumental day for my life. My friends and OG Monday Luncher’s know why. I got married in 2019 on that day, and my father passed on this same day, now 20 years ago. Wow. 20 years.
It’s crazy to think I’ve lived this much life without my Dad. Because sometimes it feels just like yesterday he was dropping me off at the nail salon, waiting in the parking lot while I got a full set, blue, with white airbrush designs. Or riding on the back of his motorcycle through the streets of Baltimore on a warm summer night.
Recently, I’ve had four really good friends lose their fathers, and it hurts me every time like I am losing my Dad all other again. Because I know that feeling, I know it too well. I can still recall my feelings from that day, at the age of 15. I can only imagine how my friends who are in their 30s are feeling.
I share the same father void as my husband, but he was much younger than me when he passed, 7. So making Julian a father is the best highlight of my entire life thus far. Because now, two people who lost amazing men, Black men, way too early in life, both to brain cancer…
*vulnerability moment* I just cried while writing and reading this. But it's the tears of beautiful memories and a lot of what if’s.
Ok, I am back.
Two people who lost amazing men, Black men, way too early in life get to experience what fatherhood would have been like as a child, teenager, and adult through Baby J. It’s going to be beautiful.
To all my friends and readers who have lost their father, I see you, I hear you, and I am right with you. Life has to move on, but you will always and forever have beautiful memories with him.
Two years of marriage down, forever to go. Here are some highlights and (my) learning moments from the second year of our marriage, in no particular order.
Life will go on without you, and everything has to be intentional.
No phone evenings and dates should be standard.
Julian still doesn’t know where the bowls go in the kitchen.
Even when you want to live in the pits, your partner should always be there to pick you up and not want to wallow with you.
Sometimes in the moment is not the right moment.
Never forget to ask each other, “how was your day?” Respond in detail, not just “it was good” or OKAY.
Financial planning family meetings are a must, at least twice a year.
Never let the toilet paper roll go empty.
Julian can pick good TV shows for us to watch.
There is your way of doing something, and there is their way of doing it. Both can be right.
Vacations away from your home, with just the two of you, are a must, even if it's a weekend getaway.
It’s OK to splurge every so often.
Julian sheds hair just as much, if not more than I do.
I married my best friend, and it shows up every single day. There have been hard times, but they do not compare to all the laughs, love, and joy we bring to each other’s life, every single day.
Single folks, if you aspire to get married one day, friendship is the ultimate key to it all. If you can’t be friends, best friends, then...
I know, we just took a turn here.
But one thing we love is a good true crime story. Some say when we become parents, the love of true crime is ruined, but I hope not.
Most of America is talking about the disappearance and now the murder of Gabby Petito, but check out this story.
There has been this wild case that hit the South Carolina streets back in the summer. I’ve been sucked in from the moment it hit the local paper, but now it's national news, so folks are following along. I’m not going to spoil the story for you, but I need you intrigued enough to want to follow.
Here’s the rundown.
The Murdaugh family is old money from South Carolina, the father a prominent lawyer, from a generational family of lawyers. Bottom line, they got money money.
It’s a family of 4 — father, mother, and two sons.
In 2019 the youngest son, a University of SC student, goes out on his family boat with friends, gets drunk, revs up the engine, which hurls a 19-year-old white girl off the boat, and decides to drive off. She clearly was dead.
June of 2021, both younger son and mother were found shot dead on their property.
Sept 2021, The Dad calls 911 saying he was shot changing a tire or some dumb shit. Come to find out, he botched his suicide, hoping to kill himself off by paying some dude to come and shoot him so his only living son could get the $10 million life insurance policy payout.
Why is he trying to kill himself? Perhaps there is more to the story? It sure is.
Before Paul (youngest son) went on his drunken boat joy ride that took the life of a young girl, he was accused of killing a gay Black man he was apparently “secretly” involved with. This case was never solved. Paul was cleared of all allegations and charges. But now it's back open.
Also, the Murdaugh family had a maid, who also turned up dead. The family was supposed to pay $500,000 in damages to the family but never did. Why are they paying the dead maid's family money if they had no involvement?
Listen, every day this story gets wilder and wilder. If you want to join in on the craziness of this case, you can catch up on the entire story via @MandyMatney’s Murdaugh Murders podcast. She uncovers details from this investigation that haven’t even hit the airwaves yet. Episodes are short and easy to consume. Check it out.
Once you get a taste of this story, you are not going to want to stop.
No gems this lunch. I spent my last two weeks wrapping up Manifest and watching Clickbait. Most folks have already watched it, but if you haven't, start NOW!
Next time we break bread, I will share some California 💎s for those who might visit or live here. We've found some great places so far, and we are only on day 3 of our trip.
Before we say our "see you next time," I have to say one more time, Black men, please take care of yourselves. We lost about a prominent yet severely underrated person in our community yesterday at the young age of 55, Anthony Johnson.
House Party, Players Club, Friday, B.A.P.S., I Got the Hook-Up, How to Be a Player, and a few more wouldn't have been the same without him.
See you at our next lunch, October 4!