Tag: debbie

Not Saying A Word About Debbie’s Birthday…


I told Debbie that I wouldn’t say anything about today being her 11th birthday., so I won’t.

Debbie is my youngest daughter and middle child. And I’m not ashamed to admit that she’s several orders of magnitude brighter than I am. I also love her to pieces!

But I won’t say anything silly out here in public…you know…things like “Happy Birthday Debbie” or stuff like that.

Keep Loving!



Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2013/08/13/not-saying-a-word-about-debbies-birthday/

Happy Birthday, Debbie

I’m not sure if I’m being remiss or just cautious, but…

I post quite often about my husband Jack (@JackDouglas61 on Twitter). I do a lot of posting about our oldest daughter, Amanda (@AmandaJDouglas on Twitter), and I also post more than a small amount about our youngest, son JJ (Jack, Jr.)

But it seems that I rarely post much about our middle child, Debbie. Sorry, she’s not on Twitter or FaceBook or anything else…more on that in a minute.

It would be easy to chalk this omission up to the middle child syndrome. You know…the oldest gets attention by virtue of being the oldest and the youngest gets attention for being the baby while the kid in the middle more or less is forgotten. Sorry, but that is simply not the case.


Debbie is—by any fair standard—a genius.

Jack did time in the Navy as a SEAL. He was also a US Marshall and Secret Service agent. He did some side work for the FBI. In a nutshell, Jack is no dummy.

I’m pretty damned smart, too. I have more advanced degrees than I can remember, and pretty much any subject comes fairly easy for me. Well, except that whole time zone thing. Anyway, I’m not a dummy, either.

Amanda is at least as smart as I am. She may be brighter than me, but even she and her dad admit it’s a close thing. But the point is that she’s not stupid.

JJ is just a little boy of just more than 4 now. He speaks, reads, and writes in five languages plus he’s as good at sign as I am. Clearly JJ is in the high end of the bell curve.

And then there is Debbie…

Today (August 13) is Debbie’s tenth birthday. She’s not like other ten-year-old girls I have seen, known, or even read about. Debbie wants to be a medical doctor, maybe a neurologist or neurosurgeon. She has wanted this for the last three years, and her position is unwavering. She always has a medical book in her hands when she’s not in her “lab” dissecting something or another. She talks about medical matters that have words I can barely pronounce and have no chance of spelling. And she understands biological systems better than our various family doctors.

In other words, Debbie makes me, her dad, her sister, and her brother look like low-grade morons.

And she thinks that all of this “nonsense” about Twitter, FaceBook, ad infinitum is just exactly that…nonsense.

Debbie also has no room in her life for “wasting time” in front of a video game or even TV unless it’s a show about medical matters or related sciences. She does kind of like Myth Busters, but she rips them apart for using (and I quote) “…an unacceptable human analog like Buster. He in no way is representative of how the human body would react in such situations…”

Yeah…she really does talk like that.

I made the mistake of going to her “lab” once. One time was enough. She had some kind of monkey on the slab. Its skin was in a jar next to it, some of the muscles were missing…I think…and its brain was on the table next to the rest of the poor creature. Debbie was poking and prodding at the brain, taking samples and mounting them on slides and studying them under the microscope.

And she’s had other things in there, too. Oh, of course she progressed through the mandatory frogs, pigs, cats, dogs, and all of that. Some of the stuff I have no clue what they were in life. As far as I know, she’s cut up a chupacabra or two in there. Maybe even a yeti for all of me.

And that brings us to one reason why I don’t write about Debbie too much…

I figure it’s only a matter of time before she needs a human subject, and I’m pretty handy if nothing else. I doubt she needs much of an excuse.

But in all seriousness, Debbie is a wonderful girl. Very much the antithesis of her sister, Debbie is on the shy and quiet side, preferring to sit back and listen to others, only getting into the conversation when addressed. She does like to go shopping with Amanda and me, but her tastes in fashion are far more conservative than ours.

She likes to play bridge and chess, too. At bridge, she is a formidable opponent and a cherished partner. In chess, she can beat her dad in typically 14 moves, and she can usually take me out in less than 20. Amanda rarely lasts more than 10. I gave Debbie an old 3×3 Rubik’s Cube once after I jumbled it pretty good. She stared at it for maybe 20 seconds, started twisting, and set it on the table solved in about 50 seconds total. My personal best is just under 2 minutes. She had never seen one before. She does the NY Times crossword puzzle in ink…in about 15 minutes.

What I’m trying to get at here is that Debbie is smart…REALLY smart. She’s much smarter than me, her dad, and her siblings put together. Truth be told, she could easily be considered frighteningly smart.

And she has almost no sense of humor.

Some of you may have seen Amanda and me on Twitter poking fun at each other. We tease back and forth, we call each other names, and all the rest. Jack says that we often act more like sisters than mother and daughter. Amanda and I do this because we know we won’t hurt each others feelings or make the other mad.

As I said, Debbie is much more of an introvert. She would be offended or hurt by teasing like that. And then there is the simple fact that Debbie is a private person, and I respect that.

I love Debbie with all of my heart, and I would never do anything to disrespect her.

So, Debbie will continue to be in the background of my public life, and that’s OK with me…

In private, she will always be my Baby Girl.

Happy Birthday, Baby. I love you!


Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/08/13/happy-birthday-debbie/

And So It Goes…

It’s been a crazy few weeks. There has been a lot going on and not all of the stuff makes a lot of sense. Maybe most of it makes no sense at all. Let me explain…

First, the rest of our stuff got here from San Diego…a grand total of fourteen shipping containers. I know that seems like a lot, but remember that between our “everyday” cars and Jack’s “project” cars and other assorted motorized toys, there were seven cars, two trucks, five ATVs, a big travel trailer, and four motorcycles. Those take up a lot of room. All of that makes sense…I get it. The crazy part is how Jack, Amanda, and Maria in particular reacted to the stuff arriving…

They all went nuts. It was like everything had to be unpacked and put away within hours of its arrival. They were all in panic mode. The stuff spent the better part of two months in those big containers…why the rush to get it out now?

The only one that behavior made sense for was Maria…she is a GREAT cook, and like any skill, there are certain tools a great cook needs. Some of Maria’s tools were in the shipping containers, and she needed them to cook the things she wanted to cook. I can understand her needing to find a particular tool…at least sort of.

Jack, on the other hand, had it in his head that the cars all needed to be unloaded and in the garages (he has one for his project cars and there is another for the everyday cars) as soon as possible. Why? He didn’t plan to work on his projects right then, nor did we need the family cars because we have one vehicle here that we’ve been using while waiting for the stuff to arrive. I don’t get it. I do, however, get that he wanted to get inside the boxes and make sure that none of his “babies” were damaged in shipment. I really do understand that he sweats blood over those cars and puts a lot of work in on the restoration. I also gather that a couple of them are extremely rare and so are valuable. Yes, I get that he wants to check on them.

And then we have Amanda…she enlisted her sister and brother to help her carry her stuff from the containers into her house where it was piled up into several rooms. She then spent several days just looking at the piles…not actually sorting or putting it away…just looking at it and smiling. Most of it is still in the piles.

I blame Amanda’s behavior on her hormones playing ping-pong with her brain. See more below. As for Jack, I have no idea.

We have been considering buying some horses. Jack likes horses, as do the kids. Me, not so much. If the truth were told, I’m about halfway afraid of horses. Maybe I’m a little more than halfway afraid of them. An opportunity came up to buy five horses, and we took it. I guess that makes me a rancher now. Oh, joy. Amanda has apparently decided that she is now a cowgirl and has been wearing a cowboy hat pretty much all the time. I guess that’s OK, but there is one problem…

Her dad really doesn’t care for the cowboy hat and bikini combo that Amanda has become fond of. Maybe Jack is OK with her being fond of the look, but the fact that some of Amanda’s male friends are also very fond of the look really irritates him.

I think she looks pretty good in that outfit, and that’s also part of the problem. That makes it all my fault. At least Jack can’t blame me for the way the boy’s eyes rattle back and forth in their heads like marbles in a tin can when Amanda walks past them. He tries, though.

Between helping her sister and sorting through her own stuff, Debbie has something new that she is dissecting. I honestly have no idea what it is, but none of the workers are missing. As far as I know, it might be a chupacabra. I just hope it wasn’t sentient at some point in time.

Not to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty smart. I think Amanda is about as bright as I am. JJ is sharp as a tack, too. But Debbie makes us all look like low-grade morons. Honestly, the girl scares me sometimes. She’s not quite nine, and she talks like she’s in graduate school. Oh, and about 90% of the time, she has no sense of humor at all. Amanda and I will get the giggles over something, and Debbie just stands there and patiently waits for us to regain control while staring at us like an overworked, underpaid kindergarten teacher. When we stop laughing, she will usually ask something like, “And just why did you find that inanity so amusing?” That just sets us off again. She needs to get out more.

JJ has been having the time of his life. With all of the workers for the various contractors around, he has learned a lot of Portuguese and some of the local dialects. He can even translate to sign for me. JJ and Tripper have taken to patrolling the area and checking on things…I guess they think the security staff will miss something. One thing is becoming very clear about JJ…he’s going to be at least as big as his dad. JJ turned four just a while back, but he’s bigger than most of the seven-year-olds around here. The funny part (at least to me) is that he is challenging his dad at nearly every turn.

Every time his dad asks JJ to do something, there is an argument brewing. JJ will get defiant and Jack gets frustrated. Yeah, the testosterone gets pretty thick. Interestingly enough, if one of his sisters or I ask JJ to do the exact same thing, he smiles and does it right away with no drama. I guess it’s a male thing.

Lastly, I want to say just a few words about the passing of Ray Bradbury. Ray was an amazing man, both professionally and personally. I can count on one hand the number of people I have known who were as smart, compassionate, and as likeable as Ray and will have several fingers left over. I last saw him in late 2010, but I have exchanged E-Mails with Ray as late as April of this year. He could always make me laugh and think. I miss him already.

Rest in peace, Ray, and thanks for everything. Love you.

Keep Loving!

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/06/10/and-so-it-goes/

Life With Melodee — Part 6

People often ask me the same question:

What is it like to live with Melodee?

That’s a pretty big and deep subject, and there isn’t an easy answer. Like the old saying goes, it’s complicated.

But I’m going to try to tell you a little about what Life With Melodee is like in a series of postings here on Melodee’s blog.

Part Six
The Girls

I’ve spent a good deal of time in this series talking about Melodee and my daughters, Amanda and Debbie. This time, I’m going to talk almost exclusively about the three in general and specifically about how they interact in ways that have changed my life.

Mostly for the better.

I’ve already said that Melodee, Debbie, and Amanda all sort of took to each other from the very start. This is especially true for Melodee and Amanda. It’s sometimes hard to believe that they aren’t actually from the same gene pool, and they are so much alike that it scares me sometimes. This is especially true when you understand that Amanda is not quite 12 right now, and she’s already acting enough like Melodee to make me nervous. At any rate…

I really don’t know exactly when it happened, but at some point, I started to call the three women in my life “The Girls”. I have to admit that I stole the term from some of Melodee’s books. Those of you familiar with her Immortal Love Universe will know that the Emperor (Jim) refers to his four wives (Marilyn, Janelle, Tanya, and Paige) as The Girls. And yeah, The Girls is always capitalized.

The Girls all love to shop. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that they live to shop. I knew before Melodee and I became a couple that she was a shop-o-holic, and Debbie and Amanda soon followed suit. It still fascinates me, though, that many of the shopping trips The Girls take don’t actually involve buying anything. They all seem happy to just look, try on new outfits, and go through every pair of shoes and every purse in the stores. Except for the jewelry stores.

When Melodee and I got together, Amanda had her ears pierced. That was it. Now, Debbie has 3 piercings in her ears and Amanda has 5. That’s nothing compared to Melodee’s 7 in her ears and a few, well, extras. Amanda has even asked about getting her tongue pierced. The answer was no. I would guess that between my two daughters, they had maybe a total of a dozen rings, necklaces, bracelets, and other jewelry items. Now they probably have 100 or more pieces. Each. But even at Tiffany’s, they all tend to look at a lot more stuff than they buy. Thank God for small favors.

And then there is the food and drink thing. There was a time that the only thing Amanda and Debbie would drink was Coke or Pepsi. I at least weaned them over to diet. On the other hand, Melodee rarely drinks anything other than tea (both iced and hot). Amanda and Debbie absolutely hated tea in any form. Now, The Girls go through more tea than the entire English Navy and Army combined. Amanda and Debbie turn their noses up at soda. The good news is that The Girls have all transitioned over to decaffeinated tea.

As for food, Melodee has, as far as I know, always hated fish and seafood of any kind. It’s funny, but she will eat tuna salad now and then. Amanda and Debbie like fish and seafood. We often go, as a family, to a little diner down the road a couple of miles, and they have nightly specials. On Friday, as is tradition, they have a “Seafood Trio” that consists of shrimp scampi, a hunk of grilled salmon, and a couple of cod fillets. They also have the “Fish Fry” that is three of the cod fillets with slaw and French fries. Melodee has taken to ordering the Fish Fry and she actually likes it. Sometimes, she will steal a few bites of the salmon from Debbie or Amanda. She hasn’t worked up to the shrimp yet.

Someplace down the line, the dress code also changed. Melodee used to have exactly three modes of dress: (1) Jeans and Tee Shirt, (2) Formal Wear, and (3) Super Sexy. Since becoming a mom to a pair of prepubescent girls, Melodee has only changed her style of dress a little. In most ways, she has simply combined #1 and #3 above. She has also added a fourth group that I like to call “Casual Mom”. This style usually consists of The Girls all dressing alike. And that worries me sometimes.

Melodee has a closet full of what she calls her Little Black Dresses, or simply LBD. Now, Amanda and Debbie also have several versions of LBDs. The three also have several other matching outfits. While Debbie is still very much a little girl (she’s only 9 now), Amanda is becoming a young woman. Yeah, I hate that. And while Amanda will not likely be as tall as Melodee, it’s getting easier every day to get them confused.

A lot of the above are things that I admit to having some mixed emotions about. I sometimes wonder if our daughters are growing up too fast, but that is probably just me wanting them to be little girls forever. After all, that whole boy and dating thing really bugs me. But there is one area that is absolutely positive, and that is the fact that both Amanda and Debbie have good ideas of what they want to do with their lives now.

Debbie has always been interested in life science and biology. She loves all that stuff, even if I don’t understand any of it. She’s still undecided on exactly what specific area she wants to go into, but she’s floating someplace between medicine for people and medicine for animals. In other words, she can’t pick just now between being an MD or a DVM. Either would be great as far as I’m concerned.

Amanda on the other hand is also floating between two careers, but maybe not as desirable in the eyes of some parents. She loves the guitar and music in general. Some days, I think she’s decided on becoming a rocker. But, like Melodee, Amanda loves to write and tell stories. I have this feeling that when all is said and done, Amanda will do both and be a songwriter. Maybe a little like Jim Croche or Tom T. Hall telling stories with her songs. As for me, I’m good with that. I think either or both would be good for her. Again I admit that I really don’t care to watch Amanda doing some of the same moves as Nancy Wilson while she plays the guitar.

And that brings me to the real bottom line of all of this.

Melodee has been a great and positive influence on my daughters. No, let me correct that…Amanda and Debbie are OUR daughters. Melodee is teaching them the things that a young woman needs to know. I mean things like respecting and loving themselves, how to pick a good man while avoiding the bad ones, and how to care about other people. Most importantly, Melodee is teaching them that there is nothing they can’t do if they want it and are willing to work hard to get it.

And all three of The Girls are learning how to love from each other.



Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/02/03/life-with-melodee-part-6/

Life With Melodee – Part 2

People often ask me the same question:

What is it like to live with Melodee?

That’s a pretty big and deep subject, and there isn’t an easy answer. Like the old saying goes, it’s complicated.

But I’m going to try to tell you a little about what Life With Melodee is like in a series of postings here on Melodee’s blog.

Part Two
The Early Years

Back in the early days of my life with Melodee, it was very much an employer/employee relationship.

I admit that I was attracted to her from the moment I met her, but as I have said before, I was married and had a young daughter, Amanda. Even though my wife and I had problems, I take a great deal of pride in the fact that I never cheated on her. Not once. I guess one could say that, as Jimmy Carter put it, I did “lust in my mind” a few times, but I never acted on those thoughts.

Melodee and Diana gave me a free hand to set up things as I saw fit on the security side of the coin. I got rid of the contracts with the security companies and hired our own people. Most were old friends and others from the military. Some were special ops people, others were military police types, and a few were new to the idea of security but they had potential. I had teams in place at Melodee’s house and to go along on trips. It was all working very well. Things went smoothly and Melodee was past her fear of going out in public again.

I know it was only because I felt attracted to Melodee, but the fact that she dated other people bothered me. I tried to rationalize that irritation as her being alone with someone was a security risk. That was, and I knew it then, total bullshit. I was envious of her dates at best. I was just plain jealous at worse. There was even a time that I tried to talk her out of going out with a particular woman because I was worried about her being exposed to risks. I even offered to go along to “protect” her. Melodee just laughed and went anyway. Alone.

I don’t think I mentioned that Melodee was bisexual. She had just as many dates with women and she did men. Yeah, that bothered me, too.

I remember one turning point in our relationship, though.

One of the guards at the house had a baby, and he needed a few days off to be with his wife and new son, so I covered for him. Melodee’s property has a fairly large lake, and she was down on the boat dock laying in the sun working on her tan. I used the excuse of keeping an eye on her to tag along. Actually, I rationalize a lot. I couldn’t resist watching her in her bikini. I really was keeping an eye on her.

I had stood up from my chair to get some iced tea, and Melodee decided to stand up for some reason. Being ever the officer and a gentleman, I went to help her up. I had her hands in mine, and as she tried to stand, her bare foot on the towel she’d been lying on, the towel slipped on the wooden dock and she started to fall. Without thinking, I grabbed her under the arms and more or less picked her up and we ended up in what could easily have been seen as an embrace.

So there we stood on the dock, my arms around Melodee’s waist and hers had moved up to circle my neck. Our faces were maybe 6 inches apart as she stared up at me. I imagine that my face was at least as slack-jawed as hers looked to me. We held that position for what seemed like minutes, but it couldn’t have been more than a few seconds. I knew I should say something, but I couldn’t think of anything, let alone something neutral.

Melodee recovered first. A smile that was like dawn breaking spread over her face and she said, “Thanks. I could have broken my neck.”

All I could say in reply was something like, “You’re welcome.”

We let go of each other and went about the rest of the day like nothing happened.

A couple of years after I went to work for Melodee, my marriage fell apart completely and for the last time. By then, Amanda was pushing 3-years-old and I had another daughter, Debbie, who was nearing 1-year-old. I didn’t fight for the girls in the divorce, instead settling for a pretty much standard shared custody deal where the girls stayed with their mother. I would often bring the girls up to Melodee’s place for the weekend so they could be outside and enjoy the fresh air out of the city. The girls both fell in love with Melodee and she with them. They called her “Aunt Melodee”. There was no secret that Melodee liked to party. She had some drug issues that she worked hard to keep in remission, not always with great success, but she tried. But she was great with the girls, and I couldn’t help but think that Melodee would make a great mom one day.

One evening, I was again covering security at the house, and we had just finished dinner. Melodee and I sat at the table in the dining room and sipped at some wine. Melodee is nothing if not blunt, and she asked me, “So, Jack, when are you going to take the girls away from your ex?” I told her that a single man who traveled as much as I did to work with her would have pretty much zero chance of getting full custody. Melodee just shrugged. “Maybe. You and I both know that Paula [my ex] is a tweaker.”

I could only nod. I’d known that Paula was using meth, but I’d rationalized that she didn’t abuse the girls. Looking back now, I understand that neglect is just a subset of abuse. I was wrong and I put my girls at risk because of my mistakes. I’ll never be able to make that up to them.

Melodee only smiled at me. “It takes a junkie to know a junkie. You need to get the girls away from her.”

I can’t remember what it was now, but something interrupted us and we wouldn’t return to the conversation for some time.

As time went on, Melodee and I became friends. We shared a lot of laughs and some sad times, too. How could we not? We were together a great deal of the time, and we were deeply involved in each other’s lives.

I thought a lot about asking Melodee to go out with me, but it seems like every time I worked my nerve up to actually asking her, she would find some new flame and I would back off.

When Amanda was 4 and Debbie 2, I finally decided, with Melodee’s support, to get custody of the girls. It was surprisingly easy, too. All my ex cared about was the child-support money. I just agreed to keep sending her the money, and she signed the papers giving me custody and her visitation rights.

But that created a new problem: I had a single bedroom apartment in Alpine, about 10 miles from Melodee’s house, and I needed to find a new place to live.

In her typical offhand manner, Melodee said, “Hell, that house is way too big for me. You and the girls can move into my place. We’ll probably never see each other.”

And so, Amanda, Debbie, and I all moved into Aunt Melodee’s place.

Next time I’ll talk about how Melodee and I fell in love, or at least how we came to know that we’d been in love for a long time already.


Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/01/23/life-with-melodee-part-2/