Breaking The Rules
Sunday, March 28, 2010

I've always been a rule follower . . . kind of. 

It's not that I'm a big fan of rules. I'm not like a goody-goody or anything. It's just that I don't want to ever make anyone mad. I want everyone to like me. I'm a complete insecure goob when it comes to that. I hate getting a cavity, mainly because I don't want my dentist to be disappointed in me. 

Here's a True Story to explain myself better: In my wild days of youth I had this BFF named "Jake", (names are changed to protect the guilty). Jake and I tooled around together always in the search for some fun. Sometimes, we might have broken a few rules, but not like armed robberies or beating up the homeless, just stupid things kids do. 

One beautiful day, we drove out to this keg party someone was throwing on the beach. 

And yes I did say keg party. On the beach. 

See, it was a simpler time back then with our covered wagons and buffalo hides. The po-po must have had better criminals in those days or perhaps they just didn't care about young people hauling kegs to the beach to get their drink on. All I know is we knew enough to keep our kegs in the thicket of trees overlooking the beach. Actually, now that I think about it, that might have been more about keeping the beer cold than for discretionary purposes. 

Anyway, we had a great day of fun, sun and beer. Afterwards, as we were headed home, I'm not sure which one of us thought it a good idea to pool-jump. 

Now for those of you not native Floridian, let me explain. 

The worst thing about the beach besides tourists who feed seagulls, is the ride home. Sand sticks like superglue in the most uncomfortable of places. And on top of that, most Florida folk do not venture onto public beaches. Public beaches are for tourists and gangs. Any Floridian worth their salt has a few sweet spots of unclaimed beach territory under their hat brim. Unfortunately, with private beaches comes no shower. Not that a public shower is a handy place to get that sticky sand out of certain unmentionables, and so a more efficient way of rinsing off is a quick dip in the closest pool. This usually involves a large hotel or condo. The bigger the building, the better off, upping your odds of anonymity. 

On this day, we picked a towering condo, its sparkling pool beckoning us with its aqua blue waters. We strolled up and jumped in and suddenly it was as if lepers with festering sores had splashed their way into the pool party. Everyone in the pool clambered out and gathered around us, shouting at the two of us to GET OUT! 

In my panic of getting instantly busted, I froze and looked up at all the screaming faces. I realized they all had one thing in common: They were all leathered-skinned old folks with clearly nothing better to do than broil in the sun and stay on the lookout for pool interlopers. 

We'd pool-jumped a Jewish old people's home. 

Of course, the police were there in seconds. There were demands for our arrest from the lizard-skinned folks. I stood there shivering in my bikini, oblivious to the fact that one day I would pay a fortune for a bathing suit to keep that same stomach covered. I cried as the policeman interrogated us, so panicked that I was getting in trouble, but more importantly that I had made these broiled old people mad. What I didn't realize at the time, was that these people clearly spent their day looking for pool-jumpers and other reasons to fuel their misery. 

Photo courtesy of

Luckily, the po-po were lenient and let us go with a warning. I'm pretty sure they'd just about had it with the crabsters, themselves. 

But, to this day, I cannot pool-jump—the memory, a deep and painful scar in my conscience. 

My hubby pool-jumps constantly. A walk on the beach turns into a cafeteria of pools to dive into. But I won't, not for a second. I never want to relive that sort of searing anger directed at me. 

Ironically, Jake who is still my dear friend, became the po-po, which I love because every time I call him, as soon as he answers, I say, "Are you in a gun fight right now? Are you on a drug bust?"

And he's always, "Would I be talking to you on the phone if I were in a gun fight or a drug bust?"

And I don't know the answer to that, because he does seem to interrupt po-po protocol sometimes when it involves me. Once I was driving around the mall looking for a parking spot when I noticed some police activity with several cruisers and lights flashing, so of COURSE, I had to drive by the action. And there was my Jake handcuffing some skeeze and patting him down. And of COURSE, I rolled down my window and waved, yelling, "Jake! Jake! What's up?"

And wouldn't you know Jake brought that perpetrator right over to my car, handcuffed and all, like the criminal was nothing but an accessory, a purse if you will. And Jake said, "Hey, what's up!" as he gave me my requisite kiss on the cheek, thankfully holding the criminal out to the side. 

And I nervously eyed the criminal and said, "So . . . anything new? Can you have lunch in the food court with me?"

And Jake kind of shook the criminal and said, "Naw. I gotta book this guy." Then he shoved the criminal in front of me and said, "This is what a shoplifter looks like" and then jerked him back. I was trying to play it cool, but I was secretly relieved it wasn't a murderer or rapist or something. 

And then he said, "So, how's the hubby and the girls?"

Just like that. Like he didn't have a handcuffed shoplifter there, chafing at the tight cuffs, wedged between us as we caught up on family news. 

Jake has gotten kind of boring since his promotion, though. He just sits behind a desk and there's no more drug busts or eavesdropping shoplifters to liven up the conversation. 

And the whole point of that ramble was to get to this:

I'm about to break the rules and I really, really hope no one gets mad at me. 

See, I'm still learning about this big blog world and I'm trying my best to follow the rules and use proper etiquette, but the thing is, as much joy as I have found here, (blogger friends; praise for my writing which makes me fall to my knees and weep— truly— truly; the ability to write to my heart's content; did I mention blogger friends?), I have still found a downside to all of this blog fun. My time. I'm finding I am spending more time cultivating relationships, reading other blogs which I am ADDICTED to, answering comments and just keeping up with all of the other good neighborly blog etiquette. 

Things are falling behind around these parts because of it. Laundry, of course. Kids are starting to look neglected. Those mentally challenged dogs of mine need more hands-on training since they're not GETTING IT. And most of all, it's really time to get serious about this book. I need to work on sending it off. Whew. 

And that is a tall order my friends. 

Soooo . . .  I might not be dropping by your blogs as much, although I'll still come by, a lot, just not incessantly. And I'll still be writing here just as much as usual. And the comment thing? Forgive me beautiful, beautiful commenters if I do not communicate as well as I should. Some of you bloggers amaze me. You write lovely posts every day and on top of that, you reply back to me every dang time I write a comment on your blog. It humbles me. I haven't yet been able to manage that effectively. But, please know, even if I don't respond with a reply, I am thrilled beyond words at every single comment that comes my way. Knowing you took the time to read and then to comment sends me soaring through the stratosphere. I am serious. Serious. 

And there's more rule breaking, as she winces. 

Lately, there have been some folks who have been so very, very kind to me. They have honored me with awards and for that, I am thrilled and beyond grateful. Along with these awards come rules. 

Yep. Here comes the breaking. 

I am supposed to reveal a list of things about myself in order to accept these awards. 

Now, here's the thing. My posts are long enough as it is, man! I hear your collective groan as you click onto my site and the reason they are so long is because I'm telling you every intimate detail of my life. So, why don't we do this part of it like this: If there's something you want to know about me, email me, (right at the top) or ask me in the comments and I will answer. 

And the other rule is, I am supposed to pass this on to my favorite bloggers. Now, how am I supposed to do that? That's like picking out of my kids as my favorites. I just can't do it. Everyone here is my favorite and I love every single blog I read and follow. So, once again, I'm breaking from the playbook and bestowing these awards on all of you. Please. Take Them. You deserve it. I'll be offended if you don't. 

Now onto the awards:

My first award, The Picasso Award comes from the uber-talented Courtney Reese. 

Courtney is a blogger and an aspiring author. She is an amazing writer and very disciplined. I always get inspired when I visit her blog. Thank you very much, Courtney. 

My next award, The Sunshine Award, was bestowed on me from Ana of I'm A Hodge Podge.  Not only does Ana have a great blog, she makes these amazing artistic craft creations. She has an Etsy shop here.  And her tassels have got to be some of the sweetest things on this planet. Thank You, Ana.

I received another Sunshine Award from Danon of Insatiable Host.  Danon's blog is funny and irreverent and ironically, she is going through some of the same blogger angst as me right now. Thank you, Danon.  Good luck on everything and I hope it all works out in spades for you. 

My next award comes from my new favorite, Chicken of The Chicken's Consigliere.  Isn't that just the greatest name? (And by the way, Chicken, my Google has been messing with me big time and when I went to link you up, I realized you had disappeared from my reader. I'll be over as soon as I write this. I've got some catching up to do.)

Here's the line from Chicken's blog that made me fall in love with her: (Chicken explaining why she never finished the quilt she was making for her baby) "But, as it turned out nine months was not quite long enough and after he was born, I could drink wine again. So, I never finished it." Oh, we are of the same soul, Chicken and I. 

So, thank you, thank you, thank you. Award givers, blogger friends and most of all readers. I wouldn't know what to do without you. Sniff.

Today's Definite Download: Beyonce's "If I Were A Boy" dedicated to my friend Chicken because your number 7 on this post, Chicken made me snort my coffee out my nose and because we are both girls who love us some bad boys of rock n roll. 

If I were a boy even just for a day
I'd roll out of bed in the morning
And throw on what I wanted
And go drink beer with the guys

And chase after girls
I'd kick it with who I wanted
And I'd never get confronted for it
'Cause they stick up for me

If I were a boy
I think I could understand
How it feels to love a girl
I swear I'd be a better man

We're all here in this blog universe together. I hope you all understand what I'm trying to say. And if you don't, it just comes down to one thing. Love, it's only love. This is all of mine to all of you. XXXXOOOOOO


Dee said...

Awww, girl! Jokin, I know how much time blogging can take up. Hope you still drop in and post some! Oh, and when you get that book done, I need one.

Joann Mannix said...

Oh, I'm still posting, like nobody's business. I just won't be the first one to comment all the time.

Lula Lola said...

I'm so excited that you're writing a book! Great news!
I've grown up on the coast in SC. We spend our summers there and pool hopping used to be something I did all the time. I never got chased away by leathery old people though. But, now a days, I'm quite the rule follower. Never thought I'd see the day.

Bossy Betty said...

Ignore your other life and live in Blogland!!!
Thanks for the awards too! Oh, and I understand the not breaking the rules thing. I am a complete nut about it.

I am off to pool jump now!

Anonymous said...

Hey Joann-we live on the coast. We've done some pool jumping, as well as some sauna hijacking. I would have felt the EXACT same way as you if I had been caught! No worries with the comments, etc. While I'm thrilled to have found something I'm so passionate about and enjoy so much, I am also remembering an article I read about how some Asian countries now have video game addiction clinics because it is so widespread. I will only agree to go to blogger addiction camp in order to meet all my buddy bloggers:-). No worries. I'm having similar issues. I so enjoyed this post! Thank you for the song shout out and the compliments. I feel the same. So...I will see you when I see you. What is your book about or can you say? I will be on your link ordering it from Amazon as soon as you say "Go". I feel the same way about Chelsea Handler, incidentally.

Sandra said...

Totally understandable. I love that your posts are long, I enjoy reading them and hate short little posts. You have such a gift and it is so much fun to read your thoughts. Good luck with the puppies!

pieters said...

wait. what? i just found you. you just found me. i was thinking you might be bf material and all...and now you're gonna break all the rules and not comment? what am i going to do?

yeah, well, i'll get over it. cuz i know deep down in there you still like me.

and i totally get the 'trying to make everyone happy thing.'

and, and, again, hanging out with you guys would be so much fun. i would totally pool hop with your man while you stood wringing your hands on the side line.

cheers to you my new friend.


Noelle said...

All I'm going to return for me not tattling on your rule for a heads up when there is a book by you that I can read.

I'm sure I would LOVE it!

Good luck!

Dawn in D.C. said...

I am so not a rule breaker, either. My husband particularly hates that about me when he wants to me jay walk. That is, walk across the street just because there are no cars, even when the sign is clearly blinking Don't Walk. I just can't do it.

Loved your Jake story and the shoplifter! I have friends like him, and like you, too, who will come over, no matter what's going on and say, "Hey Dawn, whaz up?"

Drop in when you can. Good luck on the book. Is it a crime drama? Spy thriller? Technology sabatoge take over the world? cuz that's what I read.

Rae said...

I feel your pain....I find I'm spending too much time on the computer and not enough time doing dishes and laundry. We both know which is more fun...but,'s life. The house has got to be in order! I just recently gave myself permission to take a break from blogging, commenting and facebooking. I do feel better.Enjoy your time.

Rita Templeton said...

I know we've only been "blog friends" for a short time, but I love your comments ... it means a lot when it's obvious that somebody READS and hasn't just, like, posted a couple generic words in an "I was here" kinda way. :) And I was even more blown away when I've visited some of my favorite blogs and realized you've commented just as thoughtfully on theirs. I've been wondering how you manage it!

Don't you worry about leaving fewer comments. After all, you've got to be out living your "real" life or there wouldn't be anything to blog about, right? :)

PS - I'm the same way about people-pleasing. And I HAAAAATE it.

McVal said...

cOOL! First time here and I get an award!
LOVE your story! And how did you get the old fogys to pose for you?

Anonymous said...

I will miss you.

But you said we were BFF's (sniff) HAHA! I am kidding. TOTALLY kidding!

I often wonder what I did before blogging and thanks to my memory loss, I can't remember.

I hate awards. They are super sweet and all, but it takes up SO much time to do them and my time is at a minimum.

Here is a blogging social gaffe that I did 2 weeks ago and I still feel bad:

Someone gave me an award. Said they loved me and I had NO idea who they were. Never heard from them EVER.

I commented back and looked to see if I was following them already and the little google thingy said I was not, so in the comment section I said that I was going to follow them. Well, the google thingy must have been broken because when I ckicked to follow, it said I already was... oops!

Mary said...

I love to break rules. That's my new job.

MrsBlogAlot said...

It's sad that there isn't enough time to get to all that we want to do. Every minute has to be weighed these days. We don't have enough time I say!!! Divide as you will and go forth and write!! I'll be on line for the book signing don't worry and you know that I will love to see and hear from you whenever you can Joann.

And I was never one for rules. They're all so...ruley.

xoxooxMelyssa (-:

Kristen said...

I'm your 100th follower. I think I should win a prize!

Found you thanks to Chicken. I, too, waste a good portion of my life on blogging (though, I don't like to call it wasting - rather, I'll say "enriching". My job might not agree, though...), and I will now be adding your blog to my list of must-reads. :)

Gianetta said...

It's okay to break the rules.

Mrs. Ohtobe said...

I'm okay if you ditch everyone else - just don't ditch me! My readers will be down to 1.3 if you do....jk

Always loved your comments and your posts and will continue to do so not matter how sporadic they become.

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