Getting Scared

I had a discussion with my man tonight about something that has been on my mind since yesterday. Yesterday my man mentioned that he does not want me around the station at all tomorrow when the Captain is given his notice for administrative leave. This Captain is mentally unstable, he hasn’t been paying his bills, is about to lose his house, and has no one to turn to. Losing his job will be the final straw. Yes, it is his own fault, you can read this post to get some understanding, but he won’t blame himself, naturally it’ll be everyone else’s fault. He will either start crying or want to kill someone, I’m thinking he’ll start going after people and so does my man. There is some serious concern here for both our lives.

My man has a horrible habit of leaving things unlocked, small town, and now I’m trying to get him to lock his doors because this guy is that unstable. We don’t know if he has access to anything and thanks to stupid politicians that swear gun owners are the problem, neither of us can protect ourselves when at his house. For the anti-gun people out there…guns aren’t the problem, neither are LEGAL gun owners…it’s the people that have them ILLEGALLY that cause problems! Those are the ones you should be concerned about and taking away my gun just means they are more likely to start problems because they know I can’t protect myself. Can’t take a knife to a gun show!

Anyway…there is a concern for both our safety right now and tomorrow there is going to be some discussion about what to do with that. Fortunately they have till tomorrow afternoon before he comes to work, so all morning plans will be made on how to handle this, what to do, how to get him out of town and ensure he doesn’t come back around. I guess tomorrow you will get an update on how everything goes.

Now onto a slightly lighter topic…I out shot my man again today with his own weapon!  : ) First I out shot him with his own shotgun that he’s owned and hunted with for over 20 years…apparently I’m way better at hitting clay targets than he is. Tonight I out shot him again, this time with a handgun. I’m a damn good shot! If only he could shoot a bow…I’m sure I’d be able to out shoot him with that too. lol I’m quit good with my bow as well. I don’t spend as much time shooting as I used to, but I still have the hang of it.

If you haven’t noticed already, I’m a bit of a tomboy and my man says he loves it. I love camping, fishing, hunting, and anything outdoors. I have a handgun, shotguns, rifle, bow, dirtbike, wakeboard, and play all kinds of sports. I can skateboard, rollerblade, play hockey, soccer, football, soft/baseball, basketball, tennis…you name it, I do it. I can plan any instrument you hand to me. I started on the flute, went to piccolo, clarinet, bass clarinet, saxophone, tenor sax, trombone, trumpet, french horn, baritone, piano, then percussion. I played in concert band, jazz band, pep band, and winter drumline. Don’t laugh, band was more respected in my school than football was. I can work on cars and all small engines, I do all the work on mine and my brothers dirtbike. I have an xBox and enjoy that. But I also love relaxing and reading.

I’m pretty good at just about anything I do and a lot of things come very easy to me. My grandma tells me all the time how gifted I am, both in schooling and on the streets. My man tells me I have the book smarts, street smarts, and common sense…he said it’s very rare to find all that in a person, especially someone my age. : ) What can I say, I’m a talented little shit!

What Happened?!

This is one amazing little boy! It makes me grateful for where I live, being safe and secure. I hope this little boy can grow to be a strong man and overcome what has happened to him.

11-year-old played dead to survive Syria massacre

BEIRUT (AP) — When the gunmen began to slaughter his family, 11-year-old Ali el-Sayed says he fell to the floor of his home, soaking his clothes with his brother’s blood to fool the killers into thinking he was already dead.

The Syrian boy tried to stop himself from trembling, even as the gunmen, with long beards and shaved heads, killed his parents and all four of his siblings, one by one.

The youngest to die was Ali’s brother, 6-year-old Nader. His small body bore two bullet holes — one in his head, another in his back.

“I put my brother’s blood all over me and acted like I was dead,” Ali told The Associated Press over Skype on Wednesday, his raspy voice steady and matter-of-fact, five days after the killing spree that left him both an orphan and an only child.

Ali is one of the few survivors of a weekend massacre in Houla, a collection of poor farming villages and olive groves in Syria’s central Homs province. More than 100 people were killed, many of them women and children who were shot or stabbed in their houses.

The killings brought immediate, worldwide condemnation of President Bashar Assad, who has unleashed a violent crackdown on an uprising that began in March 2011. Activists say as many as 13,000 people have been killed since the revolt began.

U.N. investigators and witnesses blame at least some of the Houla killings on shadowy gunmen known as shabiha who operate on behalf of Assad’s government.

Recruited from the ranks of Assad’s Alawite religious community, the militiamen enable the government to distance itself from direct responsibility for the execution-style killings, torture and revenge attacks that have become hallmarks of the shabiha.

In many ways, the shabiha are more terrifying than the army and security forces, whose tactics include shelling residential neighborhoods and firing on protesters. The swaggering gunmen are deployed specifically to brutalize and intimidate Assad’s opponents.

Activists who helped collect the dead in the aftermath of the Houla massacre described dismembered bodies in the streets, and row upon row of corpses shrouded in blankets.

“When we arrived on the scene we started seeing the scale of the massacre,” said Ahmad al-Qassem, a 35-year-old activist. “I saw a kid with his brains spilling out, another child who was no more than 1 year old who was stabbed in the head. The smell of death was overpowering.”

The regime denies any responsibility for the Houla killings, blaming them on terrorists. And even if the shabiha are responsible for the killings, there is no clear evidence that the regime directly ordered the massacre in a country spiraling toward civil war.

As witness accounts begin to leak out, it remains to be seen what, exactly, prompted the massacre. Although the Syrian uprising has been among the deadliest of the Arab Spring, the killings in Houla stand out for their sheer brutality and ruthlessness.

According to the U.N., which is investigating the attack, most of the victims were shot at close range, as were Ali’s parents and siblings. The attackers appeared to be targeting the most vulnerable people, such as children and the elderly, to terrorize the population.

This type of massacre — even more than the shelling and mortar attacks that have become daily occurrences in the uprising — is a sign of a new level of violence. By most accounts, the gunmen descended on Houla from an arc of nearby villages, making the deaths all the more horrifying because the victims could have known their attackers.

According to activists in the area, the massacre came after the army pounded the villages with artillery and clashed with local rebels following anti-regime protests. Several demonstrators were killed, and the rebels were forced to withdraw. The pro-regime gunmen later stormed in, doing the bulk of the killing.

Syrian activist Maysara Hilaoui said he was at home when the massacre in Houla began. He said there were two waves of violence, one starting at 5 p.m. Friday and a second at 4 a.m. Saturday.

“The shabiha took advantage of the withdrawal of rebel fighters,” he said. “They started entering homes and killing the young as well as the old.”

Ali, the 11-year-old, said his mother began weeping the moment about 11 gunmen entered the family home in the middle of the night after arriving in a military armored vehicle and a bus. The men led Ali’s father and oldest brother outside.

“My mother started screaming ‘Why did you take them? Why did you take them?'” Ali said.

Soon afterward, he said, the gunmen killed Ali’s entire family.

As Ali huddled with his youngest siblings, a man in civilian clothes took Ali’s mother to the bedroom and shot her five times in the head and neck.

“Then he left the bedroom. He used his flashlight to see in front of him,” Ali said. “When he saw my sister Rasha, he shot her in the head while she was in the hallway.”

Ali had been hiding near his brothers Nader, 6, and Aden, 8. The gunmen shot both of them, killing them instantly. He then fired at Ali but missed.

“I was terrified,” Ali said, speaking from Houla, where relatives have taken him in. “My whole body was trembling.”

Ali is among the few survivors of the massacre, although it was impossible to independently corroborate his story. The AP contacted him through anti-regime activists in Houla who arranged for an interview with the child over Skype.

The violence had haunting sectarian overtones, according to witness accounts. The victims lived in the Houla area’s Sunni Muslim villages, but the shabiha forces came from a nearby area populated by Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

Most shabiha belong to the Alawite sect — like the Assad family and the ruling elite. This ensures the loyalty of the gunmen to the regime, because they fear they would be persecuted if the Sunni majority gains the upper hand.

Sunnis make up most of Syria’s 22 million people, as well as the backbone of the opposition. The opposition insists the movement is entirely secular.

It was not possible to reach residents of the Alawite villages on Wednesday. Communications with much of the area have been cut off, and many residents have fled.

Al-Qassem, the activist who helped gather corpses in Houla, said the uprising has unleashed deep tensions between Sunnis and Alawites.

“Of course the regime worked hard to create an atmosphere of fear among Alawites,” said al-Qassem, who is from the Houla area, although not one of the villages that came under attack over the weekend. “There is a deep-seated hatred. The regime has given Alawites the illusion that the end of the regime will spell the end of their villages and lives.”

He said the army has been pouring weapons into the Alawite areas.

“Every house in each of those Alawite villages has automatic rifles. The army has armed these villages, each home according to the number of people who live there,” he said, “whereas in Houla, which has a population of 120,000, you can only find 500 0r 600 armed people. There is an imbalance.”

Days after the attack, many victims remain missing.

Ali can describe the attack on his family. But al-Qassem said the full story of the massacre may never emerge.

“There are no eyewitnesses of the massacre,” he said. “The eyewitnesses are all dead.”

___

Associated Press writer Zeina Karam contributed to this report.

Gone, But Not Far Away

I’ve mentioned in a few posts here about a Captain at one of my jobs that I’ve had problems with, more specifically the problems I wrote about in this post. If you don’t feel like reading that, long story short…as I walked past my Captain he pulled me down on his lap, leaned me forward, slapped my ass, and told me what a bad girl I am. I think about it a lot and it’s really hurt me emotionally. It was embarrassing because there were people around that watched this and the guy is just nasty, I hate that he ever laid his hands on me! I hate it more than I can explain. I just hate so much that it happened to me.

My biggest regret with all of it was not getting him into more trouble. I begged my chief to just talk to him, let him know it’s not to happen again, but not to take it to anyone else. I was embarrassed and I didn’t want other employees around work saying stuff about me and calling me names for “tattling” on him, even though I technically didn’t, but they don’t care about that. I wish now that I had ignored all of my feelings and done the right thing by turning him in. It was after this happened that I found out I wasn’t the first he did things like that too and he got off with that as well. It was the worse decision I’ve ever made. He’s made me suffer since that day.

That will all end very soon, finally! My Captain, as you can probably tell, isn’t the brightest bulb in the box. He decided to operate for 5 months without the required certifications but kept telling everyone he had the certification, just kept forgetting to bring it in. He couldn’t afford the class, so without permission had a PO sent to have a class paid for, after looking at it, he registered for an initial class, not the renewal…meaning he was well expired. During this time he ran several calls, all of which we can not bill for. We also have to pay a fine for every single call he was on, this is currently amounting to 5 figure numbers, but will probably be more. Our service is a division of the Police Department, we have our own EMS Chief but the Chief of Police is higher than him and the ultimate power. The Police Chief delayed his vacation to write up paperwork after meeting with city officials.

The Captain has been on what we refer to as his “4 day” and will return tomorrow, which I also happen to be working. As soon as he returns to work he is being called to the Assistant Police Chief’s office, at which time he will be handed a letter telling him he is on administrative leave…every single person that has been put on administrative leave so far has never returned! I can’t even begin to explain to tell you how relieved I felt when I found all this out! But I also had some panic…this guy if mentally unstable (long story for another day) and is going to know he’s about to be fired. He never pays his bills and blows his money, he’s already about to lose his house…this is going to be bad. My Chief expects it to be so bad that he is asking he get escorted to our station to pick up his belongings and escorted by police out of town. He is going to blame me, blame the Chief, blame anyone he can, but in reality it’s not one’s fault but his own. Had he notified someone that he was expired then we could have worked around it, but he chose to keep it hidden.

There have been numerous people fired from other departments, not just ours, for having expired licenses or certifications. If you are a licensed EMT then you are REQUIRED by law and insurances to have a CPR card, if you let it go and operate as an EMT, not only can your company not bill the insurance or patient, they can also be fined up to $600 for every single call you were on. If you have a Paramedic license, then you are also required to have a CPR card but you must also maintain ACLS certification, and now in some states you’re required a PALS card as well, if you let any of these go then same deal…you can’t bill and you can be fined. We are losing a lot of money right now and we’re already struggling in this economy like everyone else. He really messed up.

It can be tough working in our field. I have to maintain my NREMT Paramedic license, two state Paramedic licenses, CPR card, CPR/First Aid instructor card, ACLS, PALS, PHTLS, ITLS (different states require specific classes), Car Seat Tech, and many more cards, plus anything required for the fire department as well. Not an easy task if you fall behind. 4 years of schooling plus school for the rest of my life and not making enough money with one job to support myself…sign me up! I love my job!

Fifty Wonderful Shades

Back when the Fifty Shades trilogy came out I started to read it but schooling and study requirements ended that as quickly as I started. Once the books hit the New York Times list I figured I better read them like the rest of America. Let’s just say you will NOT be disappointed. I hated putting it down the first time I read it, it was very difficult, so when I picked up the books again I was hooked right away. They were so good and addicting that I was basically obsessing over them. I couldn’t put them down, it was like reading the Harry Potter books all over again. I would stay up way later than I should have at night to read. I had it on my phone and my iPad and every second I got to read a few words I did it. If you have not read the books yet then now is the time to stop reading this post…

I was attached to Christian Grey from the beginning and felt every struggle he was going through because I myself deal with the internal demons. I knew from the beginning that Christian and Ana would stay together, she had the ability to change him. I was glad she walked out on him the first time because it really changed their relationship. He gave her “more” just like she wanted. Her birthday present from him brought a smile to my face, he was so caring and thoughtful with it, both the bracelet and the car. This is one of those “love stories” that make you wish some rich guy would come along and you could sweep him off his feet. It was a well written trilogy, just great in every way.

I loved the first book, then fell in love with the second too. The third I loved but I felt like the author was losing focus. The days between their e-mails got longer and the events happening in between were written shorter and with less detail. It was almost like they author lost focus for a bit then came back. I love that Grey’s side of the story was told about the interview at the very end but I didn’t want that to end. I almost want there to be a whole series with Grey’s view and what he was thinking. His mind seemed to work much like mine, though I’m not sure I have Fifty Shades of fucked up to me, I do have the mood changes he does and being trapped inside my head. They just work so well together and I’m glad he offered Ana what she wanted.

I did not want these books to end, they were just addicting! Have you read the books? What do you think about them?

Life After You

Ten miles from town and I just broke down
Spittin’ out smoke on the side of the road
I’m out here alone just tryin’ to get home
To tell you I was wrong but you already know

Believe me I won’t stop at nothin’
To see you so I’ve started runnin’

All that I’m after is a life full of laughter
As long as I’m laughin’ with you
I’m thinkin’ that all that still matters is love ever after
After the life we’ve been through
‘Cause I know there’s no life after you

Last time we talked, the night that I walked
Burns like an iron in the back of my mind
I must’ve been high to say you and I
Weren’t meant to be and just wastin’ my time

Oh, why did I ever doubt you?
You know I would die here without you

All that I’m after is a life full of laughter
As long as I’m laughin’ with you
I’m thinkin’ that all that still matters is love ever after
After the life we’ve been through
‘Cause I know there’s no life after you

You and I, right or wrong, there’s no other one
After this time I spent alone
It’s hard to believe that a man with sight could be so blind
Thinkin’ ’bout the better times, must’ve been outta my mind
So I’m runnin’ back to tell you

All that I’m after is a life full of laughter
Without you God knows what I’d do, yeah

All that I’m after is a life full of laughter
As long as I’m laughin’ with you
I’m thinkin’ ’bout all that still matters is love ever after
After the life we’ve been through, yeah
Know there’s no life after you

Know there’s no life after you
Know there’s no life after you
Know there’s no life after you
Know there’s no life after you
Know there’s no life after you
Know there’s no life after you
Know there’s no life after you, yeah

Sunshine Blogger Award!

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I’d like to thank the lovely confessionsofyourhusbandsmistress for nominating me! : ) I honestly didn’t think many people read this, but apparently one person does, so thank you! Thank you to anyone that reads the random crap I write.

The rules of the award are as follows:

1. Include the award logo in a post or somewhere on your blog.
2. Answer 10 questions about yourself.
3. Nominate 10 to 12 other fabulous bloggers.
4. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blog, letting them know about the award.
5. Share the love and link the person who nominated you.

Looks like I have 1 and 5 done…now for the rest, starting with 10 questions about myself…this could be hard…

1. I can’t read. Sound stupid and I’m sure you laughing and shaking your head me, but honestly…I can’t read. I memorize words, I have to see and hear it before I can say it. I am unable to sound words out, mostly because I’m dyslexic, but between the moves and change of schools when I was younger I missed major parts of learning and never learned how to read. I learned to adapt and overcome it, but have been seeking out classes to help me.

2. I love my job, more than anyone can understand, it’s so rewarding!! However, I wish I made more money, enough to where I didn’t have to work 5 jobs. Yes…5, you read that correct. Sometimes I wish I was very rich, however, I’m glad I work for every penny I have. I just wish I had more money so I could be off work and volunteer my time more. I like helping people.

3. I love reading! And hate more than anything when a good book ends! Despite my inability to “read” I love reading. I love getting lost in books, however I need a dictionary right next to me for any book over the “young adult” level. I love eBooks on my iPad because I can click a word and see the definition right away, that helps.

4. I love teaching! That’s what 2 of my 5 jobs are and I love every single minute of it. I love teaching new people coming into this career and try to make them the best I can. I want them to do well, I want them to be able to help their patient in more than just physical ways, I like teaching them to help them emotionally as well. It’s more about being able to work with people and help them emotionally than it is to be able to preform the skills. Knowing your skills is great, but it’s better to be able to treat the person more than treating your illness. Like Patch Adams said, “You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a patient, I guarantee you, you’ll win no matter what the outcome.”

5. I wish I could work less and relax more. This probably goes with number 2, but I really wish I had more time off. I’m getting tired of working so much. I should become a senator…make all kinds of money by doing nothing productive…lol I’m sure that will raise some political debates…sorry folks, please refrain, it was just a joke.

6. I used to wish I could erase my past but thanks to a friend that has changed. I hate the wounds of my past, but I am grateful for it because it made me the person I am today. I wouldn’t change that person for anything. I think I’m doing quit well for myself. I’m very mature in areas except for emotionally, I’m an adolescent when it comes to dealing with emotions, but I’m working on that.

7. I hate being sick to my stomach more than dealing with a migraine. I’d rather have a migraine any day! In fact, I deal with them on a daily basis. When I’m sick to my stomach I cry like a baby! I hate that feeling! And with all the medicine I’m on and the anxiety from my past life, I spend most of my time sick to my stomach, but I’m working on that.

8. I want to go back to Hawaii more than anything! I could see myself living there. I LOVE being in the county, but that is one city I could live in. I love water, I’m like a fish! Born to be in the water. And I’m quit good at surfing…and miss that bad! I can’t wait to do it again. I need money…lol

9. I want to be a writer, in my spare time (ha!). I want to write books, share my story, and organize everything in my head and put it on paper, I guess my blog is the first step to that. Organizing what’s in my head is the hard part, but I want to channel that all one day…I hope.

10. I wanted to be an actress my whole childhood, but I never even joined drama in high school or took any of the steps to do so, though many people think I should have. I don’t think I’m pretty enough for that. Probably why I never joined theater or anything in school, I don’t think I have the looks for it.

If you want to know anything else, just ask and I will answer. Leave it in the comments, I will answer anything that does not compromise my privacy.

Now, for the 10 to 12 people I want to nominate…I’m very sorry if you have already been nominated, I will do my best not to nominate you again! I promise!

Being Her, (The Other Woman)…

culdesacconfessions

My Life As Teenager

cribbings

It’s Richie Again!

Technicolor Day Dreams

Jottings and Writtings of Tena Carr

Notes from the Invisible Child

Surviving on the Other Side

The Other Side of Infidelity

Thank you for writing wonderful blogs! I love reading your stories!

Restless

It’s nights like tonight that make me miss him most and wish we had a “normal” relationship. I love nights when I get to stay with him. He holds me close all night long and rubs my back until I fall asleep. He usually rubs my back to wake me up in the morning too, it sure beats my alarm clock! Nights with him don’t feel so empty, they make me happy, remind we how normal life for us can be.

I wish we had more quality time together, recently that has been lacking and I’m seriously missing time spent in his arms. That’s my safe place, it’s where I know I can’t be hurt. His arms are my happy place, if I’m having a bad day they will fix that. I can feel both his strength and caring from within. I know when I’m there that he will never let anything happen to me, ever. Tonight I could use those arms as thoughts of my past wonder into my mind.

My past…over time it will be visited but it’s far too much for one post. I am working with an amazing friend, who also happens to be a counselor, to move on and fix my life. Oddly enough, he is the same age as my man, but I swear I’m not one of those people that just seeks out older men. I’ve very mature for my age, in all aspects but emotions…I’m still a “child” in that department, but working hard to fix that. Anyway, I have friends that are older, several that are younger…we all mix wonderfully! And several of my friends love hanging out with me and my older man! They think he is great, and especially great for me! I just wish everyone saw that, instead of focusing on our age difference…

I’ve made a decision, and my man is supporting me fully, that if my family wants to treat me back because of who I choose to be with, then they can deal without me in their life. I will only come around when they can accept me and us as we are. I will no long let them control my life and my emotions!

Migraine from Hell!

For as long as I can remember I have suffered from “headaches” but it wasn’t till after my bad car accident that they were officially diagnosed as “migraines.” Looking back, they were always migraines but my parents never believed me or took me to the doctor. I suffered daily with some sort of head pain, but learned to deal with it and function. I have what I call “functioning migraines” where I can continue my daily routine, but have to limit my physical abilities to keep it from getting worse. I have different medicines and routines based on how the migraine feels and what I think is causing it. I get so many migraines a month that I am disqualified for any migraine study and most medicines used to treat them. On average I get 3-4 migraines a WEEK! Some worse than others, but most where I can still function.

Lately the migraines have been getting worse. I’m still having problems from this horrible wisdom teeth surgery. They are so bad that I don’t sleep at night, usually waking up 5-6 times a night, or just can’t fall asleep to begin with. Anyone with migraines knows plenty of sleep each night helps keep them away…needless to say my migraines have become much more frequent and worse. Usually I have warning signs that I’m getting on and can avoid it getting worse by taking medicine quickly…last night I had zero warning signs and within 5-10 minutes was down.

This was a non-functioning migraine within minutes! I was in tears! I did everything, heat on my head and neck, pressure, medicine, food, cool dark environment…nothing was easing the pain! Finally, several hours later I drifted into an uneasy sleep. Around 10pm I woke up again in serious pain, took more of my migraine medicine and added more heat. I laid in bed till 1am unable to get back to sleep and in tears again because the pain was do bad.

Finally it hit me, I still have heavy medicine left over from the recent surgery. I’m allergic to Vicodin, but can take it if I take Benadryl too. After the Percocet ran out, they could only write me a Rx for the Vicodin, which I still have most of the bottle left. I got up, popped a Benadryl and Vicodin and I was good to go! I passed out in no time and woke up feeling much better today!! Still have what I call the “migraine hangover” but I am in far less pain.

My man hates to see me suffer with these, he says it brakes his heart. He felt horrible last night, he was stuck at work and couldn’t come care for me. When I’m sick or even just a “functioning migraine” he will do everything for me! Takes such good care of me! Unfortunately last night I was on my own and it was horrible! But I got through. I’m so thankful that he’s understanding and has the patience to deal with me when I have these migraines. He’s my totally awesome man! And I love him fully for everything he does for me!

Not So Silent Sunday!

I’m back! Did you miss me? 4 days without any cell phone service, no contact with the outside world, living the simple life like I used to, just camping and not caring about a thing…it was wonderful! My man took such good care of me! And two of my friend came along, they had an awesome time too. He really knows how to do the camping get away and make it enjoyable for everyone. He took really good care of us all. I got plenty of good food, backrubs, feet rubbed and just had an awesome time! When someone talks bad about our relationship, I just think about times like this weekend. Even the “bad” days are better than him not being in my life! He just makes my world a better place!

We spent 2 days of our vacation floating down the river, checking out all the springs and caves, it was amazing. Then the other two days were spent just relaxing and swimming around camp. I did rescue someone off the water. Some idiots decided to take their friend, who can’t swim, floating down a swift moving, deep river in a tube WITHOUT a life jacket…stupid! We heard her screaming, she was stuck in some trees with the water pulling her under and her friend was having a hard time getting her out. We paddled up to shore, I grabbed the rescue rope we just bought, made a text book throw and we got her safely to shore. My awesome man got her taken care of and went on our way. I think I spend more time helping people off duty than I do on duty. It’s an amazing feeling being able to help people in need! : ) And to make the day more successful, we found the only geocache along the river.

Below are a few pictures from our adventure.

 

Anyone looking for a good tarp used for camping shelter, I highly suggest the Kelty Noah’s Tarp! It comes in several sizes, we got the 12’x12′ and it seems perfect for us, but depending on your use, you may need the bigger one. Be advised though, this is designed to go between two trees, we know that there are not always two trees the perfect distance apart…therefore we got the optional poles to go with it too…the poles were $40 a piece!! Ouch! The stakes that come with it are the standard tent stakes like this, but we bought these heavy duty stakes just in case and I’m sure glad we did! They held excellent in the sandy campsite condition. Be advised though, they may not want to come around of the ground, we actually had one bend from trying to remove it, we had to dig it out! We also bought this rope with the easy ties to tie it down, also a wise investment. The rope that comes with it had the nice hooks so you don’t have to tie knots, but it’s black and we all know at night black is not easy to see! The reflective rope saved us several times! We got extra of the reflective rope, but this time did not need to use it, depending on how tall you make the tarp you may need some extra rope, always better to have too much! As you can see from the picture, we set it up like the directions, however there are many different ways to set it up and tie it down. There are black loops all over to make it more secure if needed too. This is one quality built item and well worth the money. Packs light and small, even the poles, we plan on using it for some kayak float/camping trips down river. I know a few people that pack it for backpacking too. You can get cheaper, much lighter poles, but I really recommend these because they don’t feel as cheap, very good quality but still light enough.

Had an amazing weekend, now back to the real world of work at 5am…time to finish unpacking and getting ready. Hope everyone had an awesome weekend too! : )