My Venture with 30

I turned 31 last week. To celebrate and take the first break from everyday life that I have taken in a while, I decided to take a few days off following my ASBOG exam. There is nothing like camping and hiking to remind me why I love being alive, why I love the earth, and why I became a geologist in the first place…oh and that Alex is a better person than me!

A quick follow up on my exam: I won’t know my results until a minimum of 60 days out. I was very confident the morning of the exam, I showed up and hour early for check-in and there was already a long line, but that was not going to kill my vibe. What did kill my vibe? Reading the first question and realizing I shouldn’t have been so confident and then being the last person left in the exam room. I took my time and read every question more than once to make sure I was understanding what it was actually asking, but before you I knew it, there was 15 minutes left and I didn’t have a chance to go back and look at all the questions I was questioning. I have no idea how I did, I’m secretly hoping I passed, but if I didn’t, it was a learning experience and I paid $200+ for an awesome mechanical pencil that says ASBOG!

I went to waffle house after the exam to drown my sorrows in waffles and yummy smothered, covered, and peppered hash browns. Waffle House is always my happy place!

Back to turning 31. I remember watching a Friends episode, “The one where they all turned 30.” They are all so sad about turning 30 because they are getting old, but I can honestly say that I don’t relate, I want to be grown. Recently one of my younger friends shared something that said “I’m stuck somewhere between I’m still young and damn I’m almost 30” and my response was I’m thirty and I’m still young! I’ve asked many people that are older than me when you start feeling like an adult because I truly don’t feel it yet. I do adult things; I wake up and go to work, I drink coffee, I drink wine, and I pay bills, but I still stop and want to look around for the adults in certain situations.

I recall a few weeks ago my parent’s restroom plumbing had broken pipes, so they couldn’t shower and my dad had attempted to fix the issue himself, which resulted with them having their water turned off for a bit. My dad has always been a handyman, but almost a year ago he had a stroke that impaired him and as much as he wants to be the person he was, he simply cannot do the things he used to do. I’m at work and I get a text from my sister letting me know that my parents don’t have water and that she doesn’t know what to do. I remember thinking that I don’t know what to do either. My parents are the adults, why was she asking me?! The truth is that because of the stroke and other things, they are no longer as capable as they used to be and my sister turning to me made me realize, oh crap, I’m the adult now! I know one can think that the solution can be as simple as just call a plumber for them, but it really wasn’t that simple. I’ve mention I have humble beginnings and my parents live in a very modest home (to phrase it nicely). Their house is not up to any code and many items have been rigged to work, so no licensed plumber would touch it without having the whole house taken down and redone. Long story short, me and my sister figured it out, but in a turn of events, my dad decide he didn’t need help and somehow fixed it himself. I still stay up at night wondering how that plumbing is holding up, thinking about when I became the go-to adult, and thinking there is no way I’m ready to be the adult in the family, yet here I am. My name is Nancy Pasillas, I’m 31 and even though I look and act like an adult, sometimes I eat chips and pie for dinner, I neglect to do some things, I always have questions, and I feel young as hell! (If you are wondering…I also feel good as hell, thanks to some hyping up from Lizzo)

I think part of it is that I know I should never stop growing. I’m constantly working on being a better version of myself, being a better Nancy than I was yesterday. Some days are better than others, but overall the trajectory is to gain knowledge, gain skills, and be the best version of myself I can be. I don’t know if I’m ever going to feel like an adult because the bar of adult, of being mature, is always getting pushed higher.

My 30th year of life was awesome for many reasons, starting with my birthday: I got to fulfill a dream of seeing The Cure live in concert, followed by an amazing road trip with Alex, where we visited the Petrified Wood Forest, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, the Grand Canyon, and ended with an impromptu stop in El Paso, which always leads to good times in Juarez. I know Mexico sounds scary to many people, but every time I go to Juarez, I basically have to get dragged back to El Paso, I never want to leave. Great drinks, great food, great music, and always great company with my brother.

My 30th year of life brought so many changes in my life, it’s definitely a year for the books. As I have mentioned before, I finally started the career I’ve wanted, but always thought I would never have. I grew as person so much, especially because shortly after my birthday is when my dad had his stroke and being the adult (that I didn’t know I was), I took FMLA from work and temporarily stayed with my mom to take her to work and do things my dad would normally do, while spending my days in the hospital waiting for the next step in my dad’s recovery. If I was ever unsure about my love for Alex, this time in my life solidified it. He was everything during that time. He took care of things at home, he took care of personal things for me (like being my liaison to pay my first ever ticket), I got stopped by the police for the first time ever and consequently got my first speeding ticket ever. He traveled what I felt like was every weekend to go see me, which doesn’t seem like much, but he worked Saturdays, got out of work to make a 4 hour drive to see me for a few hours and drive back 4 hours to come back home and be at work on Monday. I mentioned earlier that he is a better person than me and I realized with those actions (that I wasn’t even referencing when I stated that), that he really is. Most people (including myself) wouldn’t take that inconvenient drive for just a few hours with a person that is so stressed out, she isn’t very much fun to be around to begin with, and to top it off, most of those short hours spent together where next to my dad in the hospital. He makes it hard to get mad at little things like not taking out the trash, ha!

He is a better person than me because he deals with my crazy ideas like packing up and driving to Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountain National Park to do some hikes that I’m not in the shape to do, but still do anyway. This post is getting lengthy, so I will tell you all about my 31st birthday adventures at Big Bend and Guadalupe in my next post!

A sneak preview to our adventures, we climbed to Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas.

I Can And I Will V

Did I ever mention why I started this post that is taking me forever to finish? On Friday I will be taking my Fundamentals of Geology exam, the first step to becoming a licensed professional geologist. I’m the worst procrastinator of life, no idea how I have made it this far, even now as I told myself I was turning on my computer to study, here I am getting thoughts out of my head to make room for all that studying I spent countless hours stressing about, but not actually doing.

What is it about knowing that it’s not tomorrow, that makes me put off something so important that they recommend studying 6 months in advance…I’ve been out of school for five years, I should have been more dedicated to this thing I’m passionate about.

The day I started my I Can and I Will post, was a day at work were one of my coworkers who is a staff geologist came into my office for a casual chat. All the geologists in the office had been talking about taking the ASBOG, which this guy convinced us all to sign up for, the problem is that we all signed up except for him (I guess that makes him a procrastinator too).  On this day he said something about needing to submit his application and I told him the deadline had just passed and that I thought he had already submitted. I said this because there was a day he walked into my office to drop off a copy of the application and I told him I had already submitted and been accepted to take the exam. After he made me pull it up on my computer and he realizes he missed the deadline, he says something about how they’re probably going to cancel it anyway because of the pandemic. I say something along the lines of I don’t think so because the exam is twice a year and they already canceled the one in March and canceling the exam is messing with peoples livelihood by hindering the ability to get a professional license.

He asks me if I’ve been studying  and I’m honest and tell him I’ve been thinking about studying a lot, but haven’t done much of what I felt like was productive studying (It’s really hard when geology is a huge subject and there is no official study guide for this exam, what do I focus on?!?! The answer is everything, but that is ridiculous and overwhelming). He then says that it’s all the same because I’m not going to pass anyway. I raise my eyebrow and I’m sure my eye is twitching accompanying my wtf face? I tell him that just because I haven’t been studying doesn’t mean I’m not going to do the work to make it happen. I didn’t sign up and pay over $200 to fail this test. He talks about how most people fail the first time they take it, which isn’t entirely accurate because the passing rate is about 50%, which means just as many people pass it.

I have this decorative wood sign on my desk that says “I CAN AND I WILL”, so being a bit dramatic, I walk over to the sign and point to it while telling him that I can and I will pass the test on my first try. He walks away with a whatever shrug and I was left fuming thinking about all the things I could have said; like just because you can’t pass it on your first try, doesn’t mean I can’t pass it…or at least I get too take it because I didn’t slack on submitting my application…I sat there thinking about everything I had done to get to the point I was, working for the type of company I always pictured myself at. I made it through over 6 years of school overcoming obstacles, taking the bus rain or shine, waking up early and staying up late getting things done. There is no way I was going to let him be right.

I told Alex about it when I got home and he’s like do it, I know you can. Since then, every time I told him I was going to study but was slacking instead, he would pretend that his phone was ringing and he would say hey, it’s so and so calling, he said you are not going to pass your test. It always made me simultaneously laugh and roll my eyes, but it reminded me that yes, I need to study. Here I am less than a week away and I’m like man, it’s going to be really embarrassing if I don’t pass.

Even if I don’ pass, I’m still going to make it happen. Just like I made getting my degree happen even though things kept coming up that delayed it a bit. Never give up, always get back up. Sometimes I think that I’m 30 years old and I haven’t done this or that.  I could have taken the test straight out of college when everything was fresh in my mind. I should have finished school 2 or 3 years earlier than I did. I should be a project manager by now, not just starting my career.

Then I think (with a little help from Alex) that just at the beginning of this year, I couldn’t see myself ever leaving banking and actually getting a job in my field. I think that not that many people have their master of science in geology (I’m the only one in my office), especially not many women and even less Latinas. I’m an achiever, I spend so much time thinking about the next step, how can I be better, what do I have to do to master this craft. I often forget to appreciate everything I have already done, but thanks to my coworker, that day I remembered that I can and I have done many things to be proud of and that I can and I will do many more.

Wish me luck!

This is me during field camp in Montana in 2013. You can see the road in the background, that is where they would drop us off in the morning to map and where they would pick us up. Long days walking up and down ridges and gullies trying to paint a picture of the area. I’ve never been in the best shape and hiking up was strenuous every day, but look at the view!

I Can and I Will IV

It’s no surprise that shortly after I started school, he lost his job at the appliance store, except this time his brother lost his job too and with neither of them working, we had to vacate the apartment. I was still working at Handy Andy, but those $8 an hour didn’t go very far towards a two bedroom apartment, a car payment, and living expenses. We moved in with his aunt and here is where it happened the first time, it might have happened in small ways before, but this is the first time I really felt betrayal and deceit.

He had done so many things prior to this moment, but I always justified it because he had a rough upbringing and I figured his anger issues were an outcome of this. Eventually I will start at the beginning and talk about all those things and the things that made me fall in love with him; I know it’s long winded, but I’m still just telling my higher education story.

At his aunt’s house we had a room with just a bed and a dresser, nothing special. I appreciate them taking us in and we did pay them some money for the room, but man was it uncomfortable living there, this part of the family always gave me a bad vibe, so I could never be comfortable there. One evening when I got out of the shower, I walked in the room to lay down and he was already laying down, seemingly asleep. I turn off the light and laid down trying to go to sleep, but even these days, it takes me a long time to actually fall asleep, but to anyone looking, it definitely appeared like I was sleeping. So as I’m laying there, I feel him sit up and normally I would question this and say something like “where are you going?”, but honestly that room is all we had, there was nowhere to go, so I stayed quiet to see what he was going to do. He sat at the edge of the bed and got on his phone, this isn’t like today where you can be on your phone surfing the web, checking Facebook, reading the news, this was an old flip phone over ten years ago, he could have been playing snake, but he wasn’t.

I waited for what felt like an eternity and then slowly got up and behind him to see what was keeping him so long on his phone. Donna. She was his lead singer’s sister. Have I mentioned he was in a band and had dreams of making it big and becoming a Rock star? Yeah, I know how to pick them…he had the long hair and he played guitar…I even thought he could possibly do it one day, but I outgrew that real quick, he did not.

He waited until he thought I was asleep so he could talk to Donna. He went out of his way to wait for that moment and do what he was probably thinking about and waiting to do all day. Was this the first time, or did he always wait until I fell asleep to talk to Donna? I didn’t always go to band practice with him, so I’m sure he was talking to her there, and was it just talking? Everyone knew we were married, she saw us together all the time and I hate to talk about women this way, but damn she was a whore and want to be ghetto model! Sorry, I don’t usually say things like that, but I still remember all their names and I still remember the feeling I felt at the exact moment I discovered what was going on with any of the women he has “talked” to. Every single one of the women he talked to knew he was married, it’s flabbergasting to think about, but I guess he always knew exactly what to say. Even after we separated, I actually got an apology message from a girl, I didn’t even know existed, apologizing and telling me that he made it sound like I was bad guy. Now I feel bad for calling Donna a whore, she wasn’t the one married to me, who made a commitment to our relationship, it was him.

This is the random message I received. I said my final I’m done to him in November 2017 and he officially moved out December 2017, he did still try and talk to me, but not much. This wasn’t even the woman that was the last straw for me, I still have no idea who this is, but she knew who I was.

I confronted him and got into an argument and it ended with him leaving. He left to stay at his parent’s house and I was left in this house with strangers (like I said, I never got good vibes there), juggling work and my first semester back in school, while having no support system. Thankfully, their house was close to a bus stop and close enough to my job that I could walk if I needed to, but this was not the best part of San Antonio and I was still very new to the area, so I was uncomfortable all around; so uncomfortable that it wasn’t long before forgiving him was the best option.

No surprise that he was in-between jobs, after the appliance place he worked for a company that was a book and magazine vendor for stores like Target and Walmart and then he joined this medical transportation company that wrote him a hot check the first time he got paid, so things weren’t looking well financially. Living at his aunts or parents was not an option, but we could not afford to live on our own, so we moved in with one of his good friends, his wife, and their brand new baby. We rented a room upstairs and had our own restroom, so that was an upgrade.

I finished my first full year of community college at Palo Alto, I had done it, only one more easy breezy year to go and I could transfer to UTSA and pursue my new found love of geology! Alas, nothing can ever be as simple as just one more year. At the beginning of that fall semester, we had been living with our roomies for almost a year, battling the same issues we had consistently had, and one day, I just took a leap.

August 2010 I left him for the first time and only other time besides my final time. School has always been a priority, even when I was only 20 years old, starting my second year of college in a city I still didn’t know, with all my family four hours away, and living with my coworker in a trailer park.

I Can and I Will III

We moved back in with his parents and I was able to transfer to a Family Dollar in Universal City, so at least I had a job this time. He had found a job at a place installing custom shutters, an employer he would promptly convince me to move to so we could afford to move into our own apartment. At 18 I had the worst job I’ve ever held, I worked in a warehouse sanding shutters with a handful of older Hispanic women making a few cents over minimum wage. This was brutal, these older women ran circles around me; I was not made to be sanding shutters. This was also the only job I was ever fired from, you would think it was because I wasn’t very good at it, which I’m sure was partially the reason, but here is how it happened:

My husband decided to quit the job installing shutters because he simply didn’t like it. The next day I still wanted to go to work because after all, I didn’t quit, only he quit. I woke up, packed my lunch, and argued with him to take me to work (we only had the one car and I still hadn’t really learned to drive), he was hesitant but eventually agreed to take me. Since I had to convince him to take me to work, I was late. I was exactly one minute late and when I ran into the warehouse, the manager simply smiled and waved bye-bye to me, it was humiliating, I can still vividly picture that moment.

I wanted to go back to school more than anything, but we were working on just trying to get by. I found a job at a grocery store only a block away from our apartments, which was perfect because I could just walk to Handy Andy. He got a job repairing fences, but he quit after a bit over a month. We couldn’t afford to keep the apartment and he eventually got a job with his brother at an appliance store, which was in the opposite side of town, so we moved in with his brother and I transferred to a Handy Andy that was closer. Leaving our own apartment and moving in with his brother allowed us to have some financial breathing space and I started working on saving to payback the funds I owed TCC so I could get back in school.

We moved in with his brother September of 2008, I was enrolled and ready to start my first fall semester at Palo Alto in August 2009. It was not easy, I had to jump through many hoops and had to show up to speak to a counselor and financial aid on more than one occasion. I also still didn’t know how to drive, so I had to learn to take the bus in San Antonio. The first time I tried doing a trial run to get to Palo Alto, I somehow ended up at Ingram Park Mall and waited 3 hours for my husband to pick me up because I didn’t want to get even more lost. Eventually I figured it out, it took 3 buses and 2 hours to get me to class, but I couldn’t have been happier, finally a step in the right direction!

My Palo Alto college ID, I have no idea what I’m looking at!

Those days I woke up early to take the 2 hour bus ride to school, got out of school and took the 2 hour bus ride to work, and had my husband pick me up from work at 11pm when we closed. When you really want something, you do what you have to do to make it work, little did I know the hard work was just starting…

I Can and I Will II

I graduated May 2007, moved to San Antonio that graduation weekend, and was married June 9, 2007. It’s really crazy to think about that time in my life without having a “what were you thinking?’ Edward James Olmos as Abraham Quintanilla in the Selena movie moment.

I moved to San Antonio with nothing with someone who also had nothing. We were living in his parents’ house, he didn’t have a job, and I’ve never had a job. We were driving an old car (for perspective, it actually broke down on our way to SA) that his parents had let him borrow. He was trying to find a job, but was not successful, and we survived from the bit of money we received as wedding presents. I cannot recall exactly what happened, but in July he got into an argument with his mom (probably because he hadn’t found a job yet and we were mooching, I do recall being told I used too much toilet paper amongst other things), so we packed our things and headed back to Fort Worth to live with my dad.

I did not know how to drive, but I knew how to take the bus, and having grown up in FTW, I was very familiar with the area and was able to get my first job at the Family Dollar on Lancaster. This is definitely not the place you want to be, so I promptly enrolled to start classes at Tarrant Community College (TCC). I qualified for the Pell Grant, which was more than sufficient to cover tuition and books.

I’m going to take a moment and get on my soap box to say that community college is so worth it! I know it is not the typical college experience, but it is a very good way to transition into a university, especially for kids that did not go to the best schools because universities can be really overwhelming. Many of the professors I had at community college were simultaneously teaching at a university, meaning the quality of lectures is the same, with the added bonus of smaller class sizes in a community college. I remember my first semester at UTSA I enrolled in General Chemistry II and the class was easily over 100 students, there is no way the professor knew who I was and he was not approachable. If I needed help or had questions, I had to go to the teaching assistant office hours. After that experience, I decided to take all my remaining non-geology science classes at a community college because the expertise is the same, sometimes even better, and the ability to have a conversation in class with the professors was priceless. Not to mention that taking that one chemistry class at UTSA cost as much as taking a full semester (4 classes) at community college! I had zero student debt going into UTSA, but post UTSA I’m feeling like I’m never going to get rid of the student debt I accumulated, ask me how many times I went to a football game?! That’s right, none, but I sure did have to pay fees for having a team…I can go on forever about higher education, but I won’t today, the point I’m making is that there is no shame in  community college, in my opinion, its actually the smarter way to start.

I forgot to mention that when we came back to Fort Worth, we no longer had the car his parents had let him borrow. His brother had given us a ride to Fort Worth and here we used and eventually purchased my dad’s archaic 1980- something dodge ram. He found a job working at a halfway house, which he seemed to enjoy for the whole 6 months he worked there.

I remember the day he quit, it was the day they held the first Mardi Gras parade in Dallas in 2008. We had gone to dinner at Razzoo’s in downtown Fort Worth with my brother and sister-in-law; he was supposed to go to work that evening, but instead decided to do a no call no show so that we could take the TRE to Dallas and go to the parade. I was not and will never be okay with this, I am very loyal to any job I hold and it’s like pulling teeth trying to get me to call in, it doesn’t happen, I almost never call in. This was the beginning of a never ending cycle of finding a job and quitting a job at a moment’s notice, with no prospects ahead.

This was in February, which means I was in my second semester at TCC. We had used the left over money from the Pell Grant of my spring semester to put a down payment on a PT Cruiser from CarMax. He got a job at Best Maid Pickles, a job he actually also had while we were dating before he left to San Antonio, but he didn’t last a month.

One day when I got home from school/work he told me he was ready to go back to San Antonio, I didn’t understand why until my dad knocked on our door and apologized. I guess while I wasn’t home, he and my dad had been in argument, I didn’t get an explanation as to what happened, but he no longer wanted to be at my parent’s house. Obviously, I didn’t want to leave, I was in the middle of a semester, not even the middle, I was almost done with the semester and I did have a job. Despite not wanting to, I found myself at TCC crying while withdrawing from my classes and walking to the bookstore to try and sell my books back, but they did not buyback books in the middle of the semester. We could have waited so I could finish the semester, what difference would one more month make, but he wasn’t having it, and he was my husband.

I hated him, here I was again, doing what I didn’t want to do for him. I was humiliated, how could he be okay seeing me sob while walking across TCC giving up on my dreams. I know giving up on my dreams sounds dramatic, but I truly felt that way. The reason I really started sobbing was because when I went to withdraw, they informed me that because I didn’t finish the semester and it was paid by the grant, that I would owe money back to the school. Not only was I quitting school, but I was adding the obstacle of a debt I would have to pay before I could enroll back in any school.

This is the TCC transfer section of my transcript. My first semester I got two A’s and two B’s; the second semester was the first and only time I ever withdrew from classes, those Ws always pushed me to try my hardest even in the most impossible classes, I was determined to never quit again.

I know I must sound super crazy being with this guy (and this is only the beginning), but he was charismatic and loving and knew exactly what to do to always get me to come back to him. Looking back I can say he was manipulative, but that Nancy didn’t see it that way.

My Venture with Scout II

I cried my whole way home from work today…

I cried because I felt mentally drained in that moment. I’ve been busy with work and things that come up in life, all the while keeping in the back of my mind that I needed to write a blog post because I told myself I would post every week and if I can’t keep a promise to myself, then who can? I feel like I have been falling behind, but I’m working on catching up and none of it really has to do with a blog post at all.

I know there are so many things going on in the world and I almost feel silly for feeling like this. Coming home is usually a sanctuary, but it’s been havoc these days. Every day I’ve gotten home this week it’s been progressively worse, it’s always something and today I didn’t even have to get home, Alex messaged me as I was getting ready to leave work.

Left: My conversation with Alex this morning were we agreed to talk about a game plan for Scout tonight; Right: The text I got as I was leaving work; Note: We have a kennel, but we wanted to get a bigger one so she has more space.

We had a pending conversation about Scout because she seems to be regressing in her training and treatment of our home. She started by nipping at our shoes and nibbling at our couch and pillows. We adjusted by starting to always pick up our shoes and we tried to communicate as best we could that the furniture isn’t for chewing. We got her more toys, even a subscription to bullymake (pricey, but worth it for the quality and fun designs). Tried longer walks and Alex has even recently tried more intensive walks by walking her while he rides his bike so they can go at a faster pace than they can while walking.

All of this has been to no avail, she has destroyed everything!

Okay, she hasn’t really destroyed everything, but she has definitely done major damage. One good thing is that because of the pandemic no one is really coming over these days, so they can’t see my patchwork. We kept giving her chances because we didn’t want to hinder her, she has a large personality and no one puts baby in a corner! It’s hard to ignore her loving personality and it hurts my heart knowing she will be locked up in a kennel all day while we are at work. It really is like any other relationship that we have to work on; I want to tell Scout that I love her, but I don’t like her very much right now, not that I don’t like, but that I don’t appreciate that she has destroyed things that we work hard for and that we go to work to build our home and provide for her and her three cat siblings. I cried on my way home because I can’t communicate that with Scout and when we put her in the Kennel she is going to tilt her head and give us that cute confused face that is going to melt my heart…but we have to go back to square one. I don’t want her to be unhappy and to hate us.

Apparently today is also national dog day and I feel horrible for not having the urge to immediately post a cute picture of Scout. I never thought a relationship with my dog was going to have this depth. All of this and I still wouldn’t give up on her, but I’m definitely open to any ideas and suggestions from veteran dog parents, we need all the help we can get!

The damage Scout did to our hallway wall today.
The mess I walked into yesterday.
This is what our furniture looks like these days.
The most recent victim pair of shoes.


Get you a man that looks at you the way Alex looks at Scout.
The one time me and Scout enjoyed peace and quiet and Alex happened to capture it.

My Quick Venture With Appliance Repair

Sometimes I don’t think I make enough money for everything I do at work, but you know who really didn’t make enough money for all the work he did? My dad.

I spent part of my day today, in my dad’s shoes. Let me explain.

Today is Sunday so I spent part of my day getting ready for the work week, including doing laundry. I usually do my laundry between other tasks, today it was while I was studying for my ASBOG fundamentals of geology exam that is coming up in less than two months. I took a short break to go check on the clothes in the dryer and I never got back to studying.

I went to go check the clothes and they were dry and ready to move so I could get the next load in the dryer. I have plenty of laundry baskets, but for some reason I just love playing the game of carrying all my clothes from the dryer in the garage to my bedroom in my hands while trying not to drop an article of clothing. Because I value my time and I don’t want to make more than one trip to the garage, this is how I usually do laundry:

  1. I remove the dry clothes from the dryer and place them on top of the dryer to wait for me to carry them away to my room.
  2. I open the washer to remove the washed clothes and stick them in the dryer.
  3. I always check the lint trap to remove any lint before turning on the dryer, once the lint is removed, I turned on the dryer.
  4. I start running the washer and put in the next load.
  5. I scoop up all my dry clean clothes from the top of the dryer and swiftly and carefully walk them from the garage to the bedroom.

Today in the middle of step 3, after I pushed the clean clothes to the side to check the lint, while I was about to put the lint screen back in the slot, I accidentally nudged the clothes just enough to have one of my no show liner socks roll off my clothes pile and into the lint trap opening.


The last thing I need is to start a fire and burn down my house; of course that’s immediately were my mind went.

I stuck my hand in to try and reach for the sock. Nothing!

I remember that we have a handheld drain snake with a claw that we use to remove clogged hair in the bathtub and I run to get it and proceed to shove it down the opening and blindly open and close the claw praying to grab a sock. Nothing!

This is the drain snake, highly recommended for removing hair from the bath drain, not recommended for removing socks from a dryer lint trap.

I try my hand again, because why not?! I would like to say this was the last time I tried my hand, but I was very desperate and delusional, so it was not.

Alex was taking an afternoon nap because I had sent him away so he wouldn’t be a distraction while I was studying. I wake him from his slumber irrationally talking about my sock in the dryer lint opening, the house possibly burning down, and a cry for help.

He joins me in the garage, we unplug the dryer and move it up enough so he can squeeze behind it. He disconnects the dryer vent and shakes it out; we find 4 different lost earrings and a surprising amount of pen components, but no sock! I tell him it makes sense that the sock isn’t in the vent because I did not run the dryer after the sock fell, so it must still be in the dryer. He sticks his hand in the vent opening on the back of the dryer, nothing!

I’m asked to bring the vacuum with all hose attachments to him. I do. He tries to vacuum out the vent, but nothing! He did however take the opportunity to clean the vent opening that leads outside the house, I’ve been secretly worrying about needing to clean this for a while now, so this is all it took to make it happen.

I don’t believe that he can’t reach anything with his hand or with the vacuum inside the dryer vent opening so I trade places with him so that I could stick my hand in the opening and try the vacuum, but nothing!

Gambling on the possibility of my sock causing a fire is not an option, so google to the rescue! We are going to have to open the dryer. Since I was already behind the dryer and because I’m pretty sure I can do anything, I decide to be the one to give it a go. Alex brings me the tools and I start removing screws from the back panel. I do try to prematurely bend the panel to see if I can get in there without removing all the screws, but that’s a no go, all the screws and the complete panel have to be removed to gain access to the lint trap.  With the panel removed, I still have to remove the screws from the lint trap. Once the back screws from the lint trap are removed, I find that I still can’t move the lint trap because there is screws in the lint trap opening on the top side of the dryer that must be removed. Removing those screws allows me to wiggle the lint trap, but I still can’t completely remove it without removing other components.

At this point, I don’t know how long I have been working on this, I’m dripping sweat from everywhere, I’ve giving up on squatting while working on the dryer because my body can’t handle it, so I’m sitting on the dirty lint filled garage floor. So much sweat! All of this for one sock, how much longer?! I’m pretty ready to give up, but I need to finish my laundry, so I try the drain snake again, nothing! I get my light and peak through a corner of the bottom back lint trap opening and I see the sock!

Cue the angels singing ahhhhhh.

I manage to maneuver the sock retrieval, I vacuum up all the lint I can see, and I put and screw all the pieces back to their original state. I was so gross and sweaty from doing this one, seemingly simple task, that I immediately went to take a shower and cool off. I do a lot of thinking in the shower, today my though was man, I can’t believe how much of a pain that was and then my thought was on my dad because for most of my life he has been an appliance repair man, so he removed socks from lint traps for a living.

Of course my dad did more than just remove socks from lint traps, he did just about everything appliance related; all self-taught from reading books and trial and error. He did have a store front at one point, but usually he just rented storages that he kept parts, appliances, tools, and performed repairs in. He was always working and would always come home very sweaty and smelly. I remember being grossed out sometimes when he would come in the door and give me a loving side hug. It’s making my eyes water just thinking that I would ever feel that way of my dad working hard in the heat in a storage unit trying to provide for his family. Especially knowing that he always probably felt like he wasn’t doing enough because like I said in previous post, we were poor.

I don’t have a favorite parent, I love both of them very much, but my dad will always have a special place in my heart. My dad hasn’t always known how to be the best dad, he has battled with depression all his life and because of that he has periodically battled with alcoholism. Even though I had seen him be an alcoholic on and off for most of my early life, I’m happy to say that he is what I’m calculating to be, 16 years sober, even though those 16 years of life have brought about many trials, he has persevered.

There have been so many defining moments with my dad, but the one that comes to mind because I’ve already talked about my decision to get married at 17, was the talk I had with him about that. I was asking him if he would come with us to the courthouse to sign the documents that would allow me to get married at 17 because I needed a signature and my mom had been making a big fuss about everything (rightfully so, but don’t tell 17 year old me that). My dad told me that he knew I was going to marry my ex-husband as soon as I mentioned and started dating him. In short, my dad said he was going to let me live my life and make my decisions because he never wanted to hold me back, but just to know that he would always be there if I needed him; if I decided this was not what I really wanted and needed to come back, he wouldn’t hold anything against me, he would just be there to pick me up. That was everything to me. My dad loves with all his heart and everything he has, I think that’s where I get it from, even if we don’t have much to give, we give what we have with everything we’ve got.

I’m afraid I’ve deviated from my original thought, which was that anytime I feel sorry for myself thinking I don’t make enough working in my cushy air-conditioned office, to think that I make more than my dad sweating his butt off hauling refrigerators, stoves, washers, and dryers in and out of his storage unit to just barely get by.

Me and Alex did high-five each other when we were done and he told me I would make my dad proud and we should have gotten a picture to send him and show off I could handle the family business. I know I make my dad proud every day and there is nothing I could ever do to change how proud he is of me and I know there is no way I could ever deny or question how proud I am of him.

Me and my dad the day I walked the stage for my master’s in science in geology.

I know part 2 of my previous post is still pending, but my dad was in my thoughts today, so that will have to continue next time, I promise!

I Can and I Will

This week marks five years of being done with school; August 5th was the anniversary of passing my defense and August 10th is the anniversary of submitting my thesis and being completely done. Those days seem like a faint memory, I remembered because Facebook thinks it is important to remind us of the things we post; most of the time it’s pictures of donuts I’ve eaten, but this time I’m glad it’s a worthwhile memory.

It’s so crazy to think that a bit over five years ago I was only getting 2 to 3 hours of sleep because I was managing a full time job and then spending all my extra time at school working on finishing my degree. Fast forward to now and I can’t believe I did that; that was me hustling and getting no sleep! I couldn’t imagine that now, I’m so grumpy when I don’t get my sleep. Even though I don’t think about it much these days, I do vividly remember feeling like I couldn’t do it, feeling like I was never going to reach the end of the tunnel, but here I am five years later!

Nancy Pasillas is feeling satisfied x 2

Little did I know that feeling of satisfaction from finishing my degree was not going to last. I ended up with more school debt than I wanted and I had no experience to get a job that allowed me to utilize my degree. It took me five years to get a job in my field, five! This March I left my job of over 9 years at a financial institution to work at an environmental services company. During this pandemic I’ve been feeling pretty guilty for feeling so happy, fulfilled, and satisfied because of my job. I had given up even imagining being able to work in my field and here I am learning everything! Guys, I’m a nerd, learning is my jam, being challenged and succeeding is also my jam, so I’m feeling great. I wasn’t hired as a geologist, but in the position I hold, I get to learn and do everything, not just geology. I also finally got to blow the dust off my degree because I finally have a job where it makes sense to hang my degree; it sits in the wall behind my desk in my office! Even though my title is not “geologist” I did get to be the official on site geologist at one of our projects last month and yes, it was everything I ever dreamed of!

Top Left: Me taking a a selfie with my degree in the background of my office. Bottom Left: The job site where I got to log soil borings at a phase II, using air rotary and split-spoon. Right: Me taking a break inside the truck while the rig moved locations because it was 106 degrees outside!

What is the point that I am trying to make?

I almost never got here.

I don’t know how far back I want to go with the “I almost never got here” because so many things could have prevented me from getting here.

I am a first generation Mexican American, my dad has a third grade education and my mom has a middle school education. I always felt so horrible when in college applications it asks for your parents’ education and the lowest option was some high school and I couldn’t even select that.

I was never a high achiever, I really just got by with minimal work and effort because I had no accountability. My parents were too busy and had their own problems that didn’t allow them to worry about how I was doing in school, they knew I wasn’t failing miserably and that was enough. Don’t get me wrong, I was an honors student and I always planned on continuing my education and doing all the things, I just didn’t take it as seriously as I could have. I look back and think of all the wasted potential, all the things I could have done to make it easier. Things like not going crazy and deciding to get married at 17, so many things always come back to that decision.

Did I mention I didn’t even want to marry him?

He was moving to San Antonio, I was graduating from high school, and he wanted to take me with him, but he couldn’t just take me with him and live in SIN, because god forbid his Christian parents had us living together while not being married. He was sinful in many ways, but he had to marry me to continue our relationship.

I was finishing high school and even if I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do, I knew I wasn’t stopping there. I had plans of being grown and having a great job that made a difference. I wanted to rise above my situation and be better than I was. I wanted to be the chubby Mexican version of Elle Woods getting into Harvard law and owning it.

I didn’t want to marry him, but I still said yes…well, not entirely. I did try to break up with him, I had it all figured out: we could break up, he could go ahead and move to San Antonio and instead of going to UTSA I could stay in Fort Worth and go to UTA. I had already applied and been accepted to UTSA, but still met the deadline for UTA and got accepted. That didn’t go over well and I ended up in San Antonio and married.

When people ask how I ended up in San Antonio, I always tell them I moved here to come to school, but that’s not true. I would feel so dumb saying that I moved here to follow my boyfriend at the time. I moved to San Antonio for the first time in 2007 and I actually didn’t start at UTSA until 2011.

There was four years of life adventures between 2007 and 2011, and yes I did say the first time I left San Antonio, and yes that “on this day” from 10 years ago that is under my Done post from five years ago was also a hurdle I had to jump over to get me here. I hate to leave this post to be continued, but I also have to go to bed because I already know I’m going to be grumpy in the morning. Stay tuned for the continuation of this blog post. I told myself I was going to do at least one post a week, I didn’t say it was going to be complete; it’s been a busy week, but I’m promising myself that I will make time, plus we all know I end up getting the degree.

My First Adventure: Marriage at 17

I got married when I was seventeen. Looking back and thinking about seventeen year olds today, I know this age is way too young to get married. Honestly, I think twenty something is way too young to get married now, but don’t tell a young naïve Nancy that, don’t tell her that thirty year old Nancy still feels too young,  that this Nancy is still waiting for the moment that makes her feel like a full-fledged adult.

I told my parents that even if they didn’t sign the documents to allow me to get married, that I was still going to leave Fort Worth and follow him to San Antonio after I graduated from high school. I still can’t believe I said those words and how I got there is another blog post on its own. This post is inspired by a question I received on my previous post. I promise I will get to the travel part of this blog, but seeing how we can’t travel as much lately, I decided to continue working on my introduction.

I really wanted my marriage to work because we were so young when we got married and everyone expected us to fail. We were convinced that we were going to be the exception and that we were going to grow old together and think back and laugh at everyone who said we weren’t going to make it. I think that’s why it was so hard to let go, because I didn’t want to be a quitter. I didn’t want everyone who said we weren’t going to make it and that I was dumb for doing this to be right. Anyone who knows me, knows I love to be right and hate to be wrong, but that’s the wrong reason to stay in a relationship and I’m not convinced that is the reason I stayed for ten years when there was so many reasons not to stay.

I had so many I’m done moments, but I always stayed because I had that growing old picture in my mind. He isn’t a bad guy, I think that was part of the problem, I knew he wasn’t a bad guy and he did so many things that made him a great guy, someone anyone would want to be with. The worst thing he did was talk to other females, this was justified by him saying he never physically did anything and that he always came home to me and I got everything from him. We were stuck in a cycle of he does something bad, I get upset, he apologizes and we move on until the next time. It’s such a long story, this isn’t all there was to it and I plan on doing a blog series on this because looking back, I always ask myself, why did I stay for so long, when everything was telling me to run, even before we got married. I was so heartbroken for such a long time, I still cried over him even last year, but I had a life changing moment with my family at the end of last year and through all of that, I was finally able to let go of him and really solidify my relationship with Alex.

I always felt like an inconvenience to him; I do inconvenience Alex sometimes, but Alex doesn’t make me feel like he is going out of his way, even though he goes out of his way a lot. He made me feel bad about being myself, he would tell me that I’m different, that I’m not like I used to be. When we got together I was 17, of course I’m not like I used to be, I’ve grown up, I have evolved, I have experienced life, and I have learned things about our world; I was not a sheltered clueless kid anymore and he should have encourage my personal growth, but instead he hindered it. I was going to school and I had friends and he was always so self-conscious about everything, he didn’t like not fitting in because he wasn’t a person who went to school and things like that, he always needed to prove himself. I would be invited to things and I would say I couldn’t go without even talking to him about it because I was scared to have those conversations. If I spent too much time with one of my friends, he would accuse us of being lesbians. I also had a really good friend that is gay and he thought he was pretending to be gay to be close to me, who thinks like this?! Now that I think back on all the things, I wonder how I stayed with him for so long; I don’t have an answer for that yet, I think the idea and picture of what we were as opposed to what we actually were always kept me there.

I couldn’t just go for a hike, which is my favorite thing to do, because he didn’t get it, doing things I wanted to do was a bother, he couldn’t fathom how someone could do these things. I remember the first time I went to a concert with Alex, I kept apologizing the whole time for how crowded the concert was, I know it’s a concert and it’s meant to be crowded, but I still felt so bad for putting him in that situation. Alex laughed at me and said a concert is supposed to be crowded and we need to roll with it and have fun…had I been with my ex-husband, we would have left because it would have been too uncomfortable to stay because he would have been making comments and faces the whole time, so rather than deal with that, I would have left to avoid the situation. Imagine missing out on a shirtless Adam Levine because your husband was making faces the whole time…I just stopped trying to do things I wanted to do with my husband because I knew how they would turn out; the experienced would be ruined and I would feel bad about wanting to do them in the first place.

What was the “I’m done” moment?

We were both on our couch in our living room and I got a text from a coworker asking for his work schedule, this was a common occurrence from all my coworkers because apparently no one had figured out how to send external emails from work, but I always emailed myself the schedule and everyone knew I was good for it. I sent him his schedule and he sent a meme or something to say thanks for the schedule, I smiled. I was not trying to hide anything, I was right next to my husband, it was nothing, but to my ex-husband it looked like something. We got into an argument and we didn’t talk for a day or two. I had previously scheduled time off to go see my parents in Fort Worth with him, but with not talking to each other I decided to go by myself and give him time to cool off. I woke up and told him in the morning I was leaving and he just ignored me and continued about his day. I left to Fort Worth. I cried the whole 4.5 hour drive and waited the whole day for him to check on me to make sure I got there safely, this was the first time I had ever driven myself that far, but he didn’t. The next day I woke up and still hadn’t heard from him, so I thought maybe he just isn’t talking to anyone and keeping to himself. I logged into our AT&T application to see our phone activity (years of being with him had made me an expert at snooping) and saw that he was up all night talking to someone. I couldn’t believe that we had gotten to a point that he didn’t even care to see that I was alive, that might sound dramatic, but it was heartbreaking. I had never traveled anywhere without him, he was everything I knew for my whole adult life and even though it broke my heart, I decided that one of us had to care about me, and if it wasn’t him, it had to be me. When I got back to SA I told him we were done and I meant it, even though it was scary because I have no family in SA and I had never been alone, I was done. I don’t think he believed me because I had always gone back to him before, but before I was choosing us, and this time I was finally choosing me because for such a long time, I was the only one choosing us.

I went into my box of things to try and find a picture of me at 17 to add to this post and the first thing that fell out of my album was this note from my ex-husband. I have so many of these I’m sorry, please forgive me notes, but for now, here is this one with a picture of me on my wedding day at 17 (it was a backyard wedding, as you can imagine, one does not have a fancy wedding at 17).

My venture with my boyfriend/partner/fiancé/husband?!?

Alex is the venture that keeps on venturing…get it like the gift that keeps on giving?! I’m pretty sure he has told me more than once that if I have to explain my jokes, then they are not funny, but I’m still laughing at how clever I think I am. Additionally, I usually still get a smile from him because he is laughing at me instead of with me, but I get to see his smile, which still makes me feel like I’m winning and makes it worth it. 😀

Boyfriend, partner, fiancé, husband, what do I call him? None of those words encompass our relationship, I know it’s just a word/title and we know what we are and that there is nothing to prove, but he deserves to get some recognition for all the work he has put in and continuously puts in everyday; that guy shows up, even when I don’t want to show up somedays.

Some background:

I need a whole blog series (which I plan to do) to truly paint a picture, but in short, Alex and I have been together over 3 years. We met at work, in a banking job where you are not supposed to date people you work with because of risks involved with people being in “cahoots.” Our relationship has been a secret from most of the world (or so I liked to think, but apparently we are not great at keeping secrets) and until recently (I finally left this job in March) I didn’t acknowledge it out loud to anyone except my family and very close friends. Most people wrote him off as a rebound because our relationship started shortly after the end of my ten year marriage, even I tried to think of him as a rebound, but we were all wrong. Alex decided he was here to stay and when he decides something, he figures out how to make it happen. For me, he made it happen with his cooking skills, just kidding, but they certainly don’t hurt! Having the right companion (this makes him sound like a pet) truly makes a difference, he has pushed me to continuously work on improving all aspects of my life, since being with him I have reached so many milestones I only dreamed or didn’t dream of achieving previously. Don’t get me wrong, anyone who knows me, knows I’m not and “all about my guy” type of gal, I’m usually quite the opposite, but I’m giving credit where credit’s due. I know I’m a total badass and at the end of the day it’s my hard work and dedication that has helped me accomplish all the things, but Alex’s advice, support, and encouragement has made all the difference. Could I have done it without him? Sure, but I’m glad I didn’t have to.


This is how I most frequently refer to Alex, but I cringe every time I say it because I feel like this word is definitely not good enough for an adult relationship. Alex is definitely my friend, best friend actually, but he is definitely not a boy. This reminds me of the Sex and the City movie when Big asks “Aren’t I a little old to be introduced as your boyfriend? Carrie then calls him her “man-friend.” Big says “that sounds like a dog” and he isn’t wrong. Our relationship is too developed to simply say boyfriend/girlfriend; we live together, we have 3 cats and 1 dog, we have a car in both our names, we talk and plan for our future, it just seems incorrect to use the same word that describes young relationships.


Alex is very much my partner in life; since he came into my life he has been by my side along every adventure cheering me on while plotting our next venture. Alex has done all of this while always being in the background and having little to no acknowledgement because of the circumstances surrounding our relationship. Even though Alex is my partner, saying partner always feels wrong because I feel like it’s reserved by the LBGTQ community to describe couples who had been together and committed to each other for a long time, but until recently, were not able to get married. Using the word partner feels like I’m taking something from that community and for that reason I refrain from using it.


This is definitely not the word to describe him because we are not engaged to be married; not because we don’t value our relationship, but because I have been married before and the idea of being engaged sounds a bit silly to me. We either want to be married or we don’t. We are committed to each other and when and if we decide to get married, we will just do it, no need for an engagement. What about being engaged to have time to plan a wedding? I don’t want it; I can find other adventures we can both enjoy for fractions of the cost. I’m okay with sounding a bit cynical when it comes to this, like I said in my previous post, I’m selfish. I’m selfish because I spent 10 years of my life not being selfish, giving every part of myself I could give, just to be told it wasn’t enough. I’m going to do me and Alex embraces that, and I love him so much more for it.


When I first met Alex I flat out told him I never wanted to be married again and if he wanted to be with me, then he had to acknowledge and be okay with that. I absolutely meant it, I still don’t really want to get married, but Alex is basically my husband. My mom calls him my husband, I even occasionally call him my husband to strangers, but legally he is not my husband. If he was in critical condition in a hospital, I would have no say in what happens to him, for this reason, I have considered it, but because I still know it’s only a piece of paper and we are more of a “married couple” than some real married couples are, I haven’t gotten to the point where I’m just like, lets do this thing. I know that sucks for him, but I told him from the beginning, so for now, I don’t feel right calling him my husband.

My boyfriend, who is my partner, definitely not my fiancé, but kind of like my husband:

In the 3+ years we have been an item, I’ve never posted a picture of us together, but he’s always been there, so here are a few: