Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Story - Part Two

We'll confess something. About eight days into this Experiment, when Kate was buried in work and Lydia was buried in pre-Christmas events and her work and Guru was wondering just what in the name of Maude she had gotten herself into, we hit a wall. The wall comprised of "I've spent twelve hours today hooking [heh heh heh] and somehow there are MORE names in the inbox than when I started..." and "I've ignored my kids and my husband and I'm not going to get anything done in time for Christmas..." and "This isn't even my blog, bitches..." [Editor's Note: Nah, she didn't say that...right, Guru? -Kate] And -- as you all know -- our ratio started to change, and we weren't sure if we could help everyone and that is just an icky feeling to be all, "LET US HELP!" and then be like, "ooooohhhh yeah...right...so, we're stupid..."
But, as fate would have it, right as that wall was giving us lovely flat faces, the letters from you guys started popping in our inbox. Letters that we didn't expect...and they said the most amazing things about each other, and the magical gifts that you were sending across the country. And we told you how we might not have enough hookers and you guys COWBOYED UP -- "Send me more!" and "I'll take TEN!" and "Hook me up again, hookers!" And, just like that, the wall vanished. And we read stories about moms who had next to nothing, but still wanted to send ten dollars to another mom. [Editor's Note: Kelly, I'm totally looking at you, girl. -Kate] and showed us this incredible display of generosity and hooker-attitude. And, it. was. awesome.
Every letter we've read had one thing in common. They all said thank you in some way to Lydia and Guru and me. But, really, we need to thank you. We had a goofy idea. An idea that was only going to be as good as you all made it. And, after some *very careful* math, over our three-week long experiment, you guys sent out nearly a hundred thousand freakin' dollars in gift cards. Are you kidding us? That's ah-may-zing.
We're waaaaay beyond the Julia Roberts hooking...we're like in the Heidi Fleiss, Elliott Spitzer hooking levels. And that's just crazy. And gross. BUT AWESOME!
So, thankyouthankyouthankyou...every single one of you hookers made this project a roaring success. We couldn't be more proud if we were riding around in a purple lowrider and wearing a felt fedora.
xoxo, Kate, Lydia and Louise
Now, on to your stories...


As I sit here, I try to think of the words to express my appreciation for all that has been done in the past week or so for me and my family, not by friends or extended family but by complete strangers. People who didn't know me or my kids. People who had no idea if they were sending these cards out to a person who was truly in need or someone who was deceiving them and taking advantage of their kindness. As I sit here thinking over the past month the tears are flowing down my face, a month ago these would be tears of sadness, that I couldn't provide for my children any Christmas, but today they are tears of pure happiness because a bunch of moms got together and made a difference in a lot of other moms lives.

I have always believed in miracles as I have three gorgeous miracles of my own. But to be completely honest with you my faith in humanity has long been strained to say the least. After what I have experianced this past week I see that humanity is still alive and well. Onto My Story:
I emailed the Helping Hookers campaign thinking that maybe just maybe there would be someone who would actually send a $20 gift card and I would be able to get my kids one gift each, all the while thinking this is never going to work. Then last Friday Dec. 16th we got hit hard, I was driving my hubs to work with two of my darling children in the van when all of the sudden it starts dying. I was about to lose my Schmidt. I got a jump and got it home but it was clear my alternator needed to be replaced. So now what little bit I had scraped up to try to get Christmas for my kids was going to have to buy an alternator. I went to my mailbox the next morning and found a red envelope...from someone in Alexandria, VA....
Me: Hun, you know anyone in Alexandria, VA
Hubs: No...but its addressed to you even though they spelled your name wrong....you should open it.
So I did....inside I found a card with a note, "Hope this makes the Holiday brighter! xoxo Your Hooker! Heather......"
OH MY SCHMIDT!!!!! Is this really happening?!?!?!
Heather, yes it made my Holidays much much Brighter!
And had this story ended there it would have been still so great but it didn't...
Over the next few days, I continued to check my mailbox, mostly because I was making sure none of my pictures I had sent out to my family had been sent back. They didn't but what I found in my mailbox in the next few days was so shocking and amazing it has had me in tears for a week.
I received three more cards in the mail over the next few days, Natalie Mason and Her Boss Goose (at least I think that's what it says), Kristi Walker in Tacoma, WA, Jennifer Prout in Broken Arrow, OK....All of you are very very Helpful Hookers.
At this point I thought wow this is amazing, and I went Christmas Shopping....
But when I got home after ugly crying all the way through Target and Walmart and getting the gifts hid in the closet, I hear a knock on my door.
It's the UPS man....WHUCK!!!I have a delivery from Target he says.
I'm not expecting any deliveries I say.
You are Tiffiny Stewart aren't you?
Yes...I am.
Then its you I am looking for...Sign here.
I go back inside and open this envelope...Ellen Bolotin in Brooklyn, NY had sent me a gift card as well.
I came into this not believing thinking if it worked that maybe one person would send something to me, I am coming out of this with a whole new look on humanity, gifts for my children, and eight new people in my life to love because they really deserve it. Kate, Lydia, Heather, Natalie, Goose, Kristi, Jennifer and Ellen you all made a huge difference in my life and I will never forget this. All the other Hookers and hooked up know that many lives were touched by what was done here. With that said, Yes there is a Santa, sometimes its a mom, sometimes its a dad, sometimes its complete strangers, but yes there is a Santa.
The Stewart Family
P.S. A kind man fixed my van for half of what I thought it was going to cost us, He's a helping Hooker and didn't even know it *giggle fit*
Be Brave,
Be Strong,
Be There,
Wherever it may take you!!!!

Heya Hookers!

I'm sure you've heard this once or twice over the past few weeks, but you ladies rock. First you go and make me laugh on a regular basis (even on days when I think I'm too tired to even smile) and then you go and come up with the most amazing human experiment ever.

I signed up to be a Helping Hooker because I believed in what you were doing. I also had been feeling a bit underwhelmed about the holidays this year. There's just so much to do and it all felt like an obligation, rather than something fun and happy and wonderful. So when I read your post I saw it as a reminder of what this season is all about. I emailed you immediately and got a zing of giddiness when I received my match. I felt like I could make a difference in someone's Christmas, even just a tiny bit.

The moment I dropped that card in the mail was the best moment. I felt like I was sending Good out into the universe. Unfettered, Helping Hooker Good. There's no better holiday joy than that!

I really thought that mailing a gift card was as good as it would get (and, that was pretty darn good). I never expected to hear anything more about the card I mailed and I was okay with that. But, when I got home from work tonight there was a hand-addressed letter in the mail pile from an address I didn't recognize. I was totally curious. Juggling my toddler and our bags, I bent over to pick up the letter. It was from my Hooker match! And the envelope was thick. Before I even opened it I had chills. Slowly, I unfolded the pages and from the top of the first page an adorable young face looked up at me. The letter began, "See that adorable smiling face above? He is going to have a great Christmas now because of you." Cue the tears.

(Actually, I'm still a bit weepy typing this. Thankfully I don't have to see anyone other than family because the weepy look is not my best.)

My match and I have a lot in common: we both have toddlers, we both graduated college, we both work full-time in similar industries. I could be her if things were slightly different; if Hurricane Irene had hit a few miles east, if my husband or I lost our job, if our daughter needed major medical care. I've always been a big believer in offering help when you can, because you never know when you'll be the one needing help. This experiment has hammered that truth home.

Thank you for giving me the chance to make a difference. And thank you for reminding me that there are a lot of good people in the world.

A Helping Hooker in MA


The Grand Hooker Experiment was published on December 2nd. I wrote to you (Kate and Lydia) on December 6th. It is nearly three weeks later and my life has changed so much since then… My faith in humanity has been restored. And it was lacking in a major way.
But let’s back up for just a second…
RFML is my rock. I read you every day, finding something new to make me smile. Or cry, but in a good way ;) You inspired me to write my own blog, which as of today only has 2 entries… the first post I wrote was published on December 1st, the next day I read The Grand Hooker Experiment.... (what a fabulous title!) …It all seemed rather serendipitous!! Here it is:
“I need a miracle...
I remember the first time I said those words. I was 19 and it was at a Grateful Dead concert somewhere in Ohio or Michigan. I was standing barefoot in the parking lot - dirty, sweaty, surely on drugs, and hoping beyond all hope that someone had a ticket to the show for me. That's what a miracle used to be. I suppose my miracles morphed into the things that people who don't have a God pray for. Things like a new job, a car, a house. To not get pulled over by that cop you just sped by.
So does that mean that I am one of those non-spiritual people? Because I'm finding myself praying for things. Not patience. Not tolerance. Not kindness. I'm praying for a false miracle. So far the only miracles that have happened in my life are my two children and me getting sober. And staying sober.
I suppose I need to refresh myself on my situation. I am a sucker for the 'bad boy'. I have spent my life in one tumultuous relationship after another. One of those relationships granted me those first two miracles. My boys (I'll call my nearly 8 year-old 'Pie' and and my nearly 6 year-old 'Booby') have brought me more pain and pleasure than I thought humanly possible. I would die without them. But, man, did they change everything. I am no longer the 'free spirit' that I used to be. I am a mother. Motherhood = Responsibility. I have no regrets. I like the responsible me much better than the free-spirit me. Regardless, I'm different now. My priorities are my boys. Period. Full-stop. I have learned how to not need so many things for myself. I have learned how to wear hats on bad hair days. I have learned that shaving my legs once a month is OK. I have learned that peeing in private is a thing of the past - at least for the next 12 years. I have learned that the pure love I have for these children has turned me into a creature of protection. I want to shield them from everything uncomfortable, painful, bad and ugly.
Which very indirectly leads me to my needed miracle......
My life has taken so many twists and turns and I have tried to remain the strongest woman I can be through sheer will-power. Over the past 4 years I have also learned, not through my children, that will-power will get me nowhere. Fast. I can't will my rent to get paid. Nor can I will for a better a life. So, by that third miracle, I have found my higher power. I call it/he/she God. It makes it easy, although I suppose if I were to name my God, it's/his/her name might be something like "Ahhhhhhhhhh?". So I'll go with God. And in order to get the things that my boys and I need, not want, I actually have to work for them. That means no miracles. Just work. Work work work work work.
Being a single-mom in a foreign country, my opportunities are somewhat limited. My first, and biggest limitation, is language. I speak English. And only English. I can't have a 'normal' job like everyone else (people who live in their Mother tongue country). Even if I spoke the language of this country, it would not allow me to help my 2nd grader with his home-work. Or have a relationship with a speaker of that language.
Which very indirectly leads me to my needed miracle......”
When I wrote to you, I had no idea what to expect. And you said that giving information about me was not necessary. But I felt compelled. I’m not a somethin’ for nothin’ kinda gal. I’m also a Leo which means two things: 1 – I had to try to prove myself and 2 – I don’t have much humility. That has made all of this extremely difficult, painful, eye-opening and rewarding all at the same time… Here are a few excerpts from my letter… “I realize that I am probably not an ideal candidate for your Grand Hooker Experiment - I live in Prague, Czech Republic... But I am a desperate single mom. I have lived here for 11 years and have been raising my two boys alone since 2007... …my Slovak ex-husband is all wrapped up in his new life with his new, young, childless girlfriend… and only pays $225 a month for the boys and I have lost every appeal to increase my support. I can no longer afford to live here on my own... it's all just too much.
Most people think that I must live such an exotic, glamorous life because I live in Europe.... If y'all only knew ;) It's pretty much the same, just different :) I don't have a car, we use public transport… …On a typical day, I'm up at 6:00, get the boys and myself ready for the day - dressed, fed, pack lunches, teeth brushed, shoes, coats, backpacks, door – it’s our normal routine between 6-7:30. Get Pie to 2nd grade, get Booby to the kindergarten one block over, and head to work. Work all day, go directly to pick up the boys at their latch-key clubs before they close at 5:00, stop at the small market on the corner to pick up something for dinner, head home, get the boys fed, homework done, baths, books and bed. And that is my day most days. I can't complain, we are healthy, but I'm tired.
This holiday season has me panicking. I have never been so broke in all my life. In addition to Christmas coming, Pie turns 8 on December 20th and Booby turns 6 on January 31st. I have a pit in my stomach that keeps me from smiles and sleep.”
Then along came my Helping Hookers. You know who you are. You became my Angels. I received the Christmas miracle that I had been praying for. I couldn’t even believe it. I had Christmas for my boys. Santa (Hookers) came and left gifts under the tree. Even a box of goodies from my Italian Hooker (thank you again!!).
I can’t wait until next year, or the year after, or the year after that, when I get to be a Helping Hooker. I want to wear one of those booby grabbing tees :) I want to be the Angel, like the ones that helped me give the Christmas I had prayed for, that gives a Needy Hooker some help. Because if giving felt anything as good as receiving, sign me up for the Lifetime Hooker Program. [Editor's Note: *Snort.* Lifetime Hooker Program. Awesome. - Kate]
Thank you to my Helping Hookers. Thank you Kate and Lydia, for being there for me. Everyday. 24/7. Y'all have helped me more than you could ever know....
Much love,
Your Needy Hooker that got Helped.
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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