Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Goodnight Moon. That is a story that I have read to my children many times. And yet those two words have impacted my life more than anyone will ever know.  The past ten months of my life have been an incredible journey! A journey that has taught me many lessons and has allowed me to meet some great people. If you would've told me a year ago that I'd meet my best friend on twitter and travel to New York to meet someone I had never met before, I would have told you that you were crazy! But that is exactly what the past ten months of my life have been like thanks to New Kids on the Block and Andrea Jette. I am blessed beyond belief to have met Andrea and for her to have been a part of my life, even if it was for just a short time. I would love to share this incredible journey with you as it has made me a better person.

This journey began last July 2011. My wonderful husband bought me tickets to see NKOTBSB in Greensboro, NC for my birthday! This is probably the best gift he's ever gotten me, although I am certain there are days he's regretted the hell out of getting them!  I, like a lot of you, loved NKOTB growing up. I had posters, shirts, buttons, you name it. But we grew up and so did they and continued on with life. I went to college, got married, had two children and started working full time as a registered nurse. I was so focused on being a wife and mom that I had lost track of me. Something inside me was triggered at this concert! My inner twelve year old self woke up!!! I was hooked all over again and realized there was a definite reason Donnie Wahlberg was my favorite growing up! The concert left me wanting more and more. So then came Twitter!!! WOW is all I can say about Twitter! I was a little hesitant at first but I was quickly pulled right into it. A whole new world opened up and I met some great people, including Andrea.

Andrea and I started following each other on August 12, 2011. Our friendship was instant, almost like we were sisters separated at birth. She was such a great person who had a zest for life like no other. Her smile, her laugh, they were contagious. You could not help but to smile and laugh in her presence! Andrea lived in Canada and was so proud of her country.  I am from North Carolina and have lived here my whole life. You can only imagine the humor she found in my southern dialect the first time we Skyped! We talked nearly everyday and she quickly became a part of my family. My husband and kids adored her.
Love her! BTW...I called her Cooter & she called me Stink

Our first adventure together was last November. We had been talking about visiting New York and finally decided to just go ahead and do it! New York was Andrea's favorite city and she often talked about wanting to move there. Not to mention, Donnie Wahlberg just so happened to be there! We met at LGA airport in the food court last November. I will never forget it! She hugged me so tight I could hardly breathe. We sat in the food court and talked as we waited for our friend Leslie to arrive. The three of us met on twitter but were meeting each other in person for the first time in New York. I can't even begin to tell you the grief I got from friends back home about me making this trip. They all thought I had lost my mind and that these girls were going to kill me and throw me in a ditch somewhere. Andrea just laughed and said, "Not really any ditches in NY, I'll just throw you in an alley!"
Stingy in NYC

We set out to explore the city and had the best time ever. We had lunch at Carmine's, took a bus tour of the city, went to Time Square, you name it we crammed it in the day! One of the funniest moments ever was our bus tour of the city! We had a Japanese woman, who let's just say didn't speak English very well! We cracked up laughing at this woman who called Macy's, Mashie's! LMAO

 Day two of NYC was our Donnie Wahlberg day! We got up bright and early and went to visit him on the set of Blue Bloods! It was cold that morning, but so worth it! While we were at the set, we met two of the nicest people ever, Sara and Michele! They have since become great friends of ours! We met Donnie in what he called the "Doorway of Love!" We all called it the doorway of pile in here and keep your butt warm! Great, great day!!!  Andrea  met Johnny, who she absolutely adored! She said she was going to marry him some day, he just didn't know it yet!
Doorway of Love
Andrea with her man (World of Johnny)
As if our day couldn't get any better, as soon as we left the set, Donnie tweets the following:
There's a painting on a wall in a Mexican restaurant in Manhattan. A matador who looks exactly like whoever finds it...gets dinner with me! Well you know we had to accept that challenge right! So Sara, Michele, Andrea, Leslie and I tore that damn city apart trying to find that Jon Knight Matador. It was amazing how many owners of Mexican restaurants did not know what a matador was! Really!!!!  We spent the whole afternoon, driving through NYC like maniacs trying to find this painting!
Our first attempt
Around 6ish...Donnie started tweeting clues and we were on to him! We dropped Andrea and Sara off to run a few blocks to the restaurant while we parked. They ran inside and there was Donnie Wahlberg...but we were a few seconds shy of winning.  We came in second! But we had the best time ever trying!

The real Matador Jon

We finished the day up at JTV in NYC! Donnie was there, which made it even more special. We had the best time ever!


Life was great! I was so happy and finally starting to put me first sometimes, as much as a mom and wife can. Andrea and I continued to talk almost everyday and our friendship grew that much stronger. Most Friday nights we spent on Skype watching Blue Bloods together and  talking about how hot Donnie was or the sarcastic comments Jackie made. We were making great plans for future travels together. New York was planned for every fall and we wanted to visit each others home, not to mention the cruise in June. It's funny how things work out sometimes. Before I met Andrea, I was very much a homebody. I didn't travel and didn't step outside my box very much at all. Allowing her into my life was very much a risk for me, but a risk I am so glad I took!

We decided that June was simply too far away and that we needed to visit each other before then. When Jordan Knight announced his tour dates and cities, Toronto just so happened to be on the list. This was the perfect opportunity for me to visit Canada for the first time!  I flew into Detroit, MI on February 16, 2012. Again, I will never forget the smile on her face when she saw me in the airport. She ran up to me and hugged me so tight. We had joked about wanting to feel important and have someone waiting for us at the airport with a sign, so she made me one! She stood proudly holding it with the biggest smile ever! I'm certain she had many glares but she didn't care!
My airport sign! She called me Stink.

The next morning we got up early and drove to Toronto. Andrea lived in London, so we had an hour and a half drive.  Ella, another great friend, made the trip with us. The car ride was great. We blared The Block and Jordan Knight's Unfinished CD the whole way! After we checked into our hotel, we set out to explore the city. I would say we shopped, but daydreamed was more like it, at Holt Renfrew. Andrea loved shoes, so you can only imagine how happy she was. We had lunch at Holt Renfrew's Cafe and had a great view of the city.  After lunch, we made our way to the MAC store. MAC Cosmetics was another great love of Andrea's. We all three had our makeup touched up and fake eyelashes applied. Fake eyelashes was a definite first for me, but one I must say I liked!!! We hurried back to the hotel to get ready for Jordan Knight! The hair, makeup, and clothes had to be just right. And if they were not, Andrea had no problem letting you know. She definitely kept things real.
In our hotel before Jordan's Concert
The concert was GREAT!!! We had the best time singing, laughing and dancing. We decided to be the back row party crew to avoid the pushing and shoving near the stage. Keith Silva, Jordan's choreographer, stood with us for most of the show.  How cool was that to watch the show with the man who choreographed  it. Andrea was super excited about meeting him. She was a dancer herself and enjoyed talking with him.

Jordan Knight Concert

The rest of that weekend was priceless. After the concert we had late night dinner at Earl's...chicken taco's of course! Brunch with Jordan the next morning, feeling slightly hungover, was great!  We shopped, watched movies, laughed and even argued some like sisters. Every one of these memories are so special to me. On Monday, February 20, 2012 my visit had come to an end and it was time to go home. We had the best car ride back to what Andrea called, "The States."  We talked about when we would see each other again, which was suppose to be in June on the cruise. "Just a little over three months," she said. "We can do that easy!"

 Little did I know that when we said goodbye that day in the airport, this would be the last time I saw Andrea. Every letter, picture, video, tweet, text, they are all precious memories to me now. What I would give to talk to her one more time.

My life was turned upside down on Monday, March 12, 2012.  The day started off great! I spent most of the day booking my flight to Miami for the cruise. I was so excited to talk to Andrea that night and tell her all about it. Around 4:00 that afternoon, I received a DM on twitter from a friend, who lived in London with Andrea. I will never forget that moment. The message read: I found this article. I'm sorry if I'm the one to have to tell you this.  When I clicked on the link, a news report from London opened with a picture of a car accident. The drivers name was not released, but it stated that she had died. I thought this must be a horrible cruel joke, but then realizing that it was Andrea and she was gone.

The cause of Andrea's accident per the police report was labeled Distracted Driver. There were two possible distractions in her car that the police and her family feel may have caused her accident. One being her cell phone and the other being that she was eating breakfast. After talking with her sister, the family seems to believe that her cell phone was the cause. I wanted to share this story with you because we are all guilty of texting, tweeting, making phones calls while driving, including myself. But please put your phone down. The possible outcome is not worth it. I love Andrea and miss her every day. She will forever be in my heart. She was one of the greatest people I've ever met, and she was taken from us way too soon. She had recently changed her twitter description to say the following, "Life is short, live it like you love it!" So very true Andrea and thank you for instilling that in me!  RIP sweet friend and I'll see you again someday. Goodnight Moon.

Good friends are like stars. You don't always see them, but you know they're always there!