Last Updated on February 6, 2016 by

Vaping With The Girls – The Christmas Edition

Edited by Dave Foster – Please do not bother to read this column if you’re looking for a vaping column. This isn’t a great choice for that. If LBGT issues bother you, avoid this one. Thank you – Dave

Ever wonder what Julia and Keira do everyday? Is it a glamorous life? Is it boring? Or is it somewhere in-between? Is she really that different from the rest of us? I asked Julia to write one last column for the year, a look inside the typical day of this talented and loving person, and her soul mate Keira. No rules, no agenda, just something real. Here is the edited-for-space column she turned in. Originally more than 6000 words, and a bit too explicit for public consumption, this edited “Day in the Life” piece is still a revealing look into a life less ordinary. – John Manzione – Publisher

Boston, December 12th, 2013

Morning 6:00AM

It is a bitter cold morning in Boston today, I don’t think it will get any warmer than the mid-20’s. I spot sweet little Keira, looking as though she had been up for hours despite having woken up barely 10 minutes before me, standing in the kitchen staring at the calendar on the wall, waiting for the coffee to finish its daily grind of dripping into the over-sized glass pot, a reservoir for the 12 cups of hot, black magical caffeinated elixir we look forward to at crack of dawn each day, as I stumble in all bleary-eyed and barely conscious.  My hair all scrunched up, as usual, and no makeup… just an old tee shirt on, I am instantly aware of just how beautiful this creature who shares my life truly is.

Keira doesn’t see me enter the room, so I slowly move directly behind her, staring at the newly visible spot on the back of her neck. Thoughts are shooting through my mind, flotsam and jetsam of images and words surrounding Keira’s decision to cut her long, lovely hair. It took her days to make up her mind about it, and I suspect she knows by now that she has given me a few more square inches of her body to explore. She does look stunning with short hair, more pixie-like than ever.  It’s been short for less than two days but it’s already become her natural look.

Sometimes it terrifies me that any day she will realize that in a city this big she could do so much better than me, but right now I am zeroing in on that spot on her neck, with every intention landing a simple, gentle kiss. Instead, this sudden rush of adrenaline is released and I reach out and find her shoulders, spin her around so she’s facing towards me and I kiss her as gently as I know how on her soft, soft lips. This, right here, right now, this moment should be locked away for an eternity… I would remain forever happy and content here.

“Someone got up in a good mood,” she says. “I couldn’t help it, you look too beautiful standing there.” I tell her. She smiles, then returns her gaze to the Kitten Calendar we have taped to the refrigerator door. “It’s already the twelfth, we have to finish our Christmas shopping today!” she says. I promise her we will as I reluctantly move away and towards the coffee pot, my hand unable to let go of the elastic band on her pajamas, so I’m pulling her along with me, and she happily plays along.

Keira has worn those oversized flannel pajamas nearly every morning since she got them. A gift from her worrisome mom sent to her way back in October, on the supposition that “just in case you get cold there at night.”

Sometimes I think that maybe her mom believes we sleep in separate rooms, or at least in separate beds, or maybe she wants to believe it. Are these big flannel pajamas, which I find sexy as hell, really a passive-aggressive attempt to ward off any innuendo she might hear about who her daughter truly is? Sometimes pajamas are just pajamas, and sometimes they are the first defense for keeping unwanted intruders at bay, or at least her mom thinks so. But I am no intruder.

Mrs. Barnes attended our wedding, she saw both of us standing there in white gowns, exchanging the vows, kissing of brides, and attending of the reception, she should know by now, but I wouldn’t put it past her to believe that her daughter isn’t really ‘madly in love’, as Keira told her earlier in the year, with ‘another woman’. I did hear her mom, my mother-in-law, tell Keira it was probably “just a phase” she was going through. She does look precious, all 4 foot 10 inches of her, in those bunched up pj’s.

I’m wearing what I wear every night, a sleeveless t-shirt two sizes too big, only now they all have the Spinfuel logo on them. Having spent my life in the Boston area I’m quite used to the winter cold and mornings like today are perfectly comfortable, natural, even welcome, in nothing but this shirt.

With Keira in tow as I head for the coffee pot, the thought of someone seeing us together, if they happen to be looking in through the kitchen window at that very moment, would see a study in contrast. One all bundled up in flannel, petite, tiny, and one standing around in what looks like a ‘wifebeater’, standing five feet 7 inches tall. I grimace at the thought, and I move slightly out of the way of kitchen window.

Arriving at my destination I reach into the cabinet and pull out a couple of cups, while Keira reaches out with both arms and pulls me closer to her until there is no longer any space between us. We stand together like this, her head resting on my back, for a full minute until I ask her if she’s feeling okay.

“I told you, its December 12th, how did it get here so quickly?” she says, “Only two weeks till Christmas and so much left to do. I’m scared that we will run out of time.” Keira is the worrier in this relationship, the one always concerned about things I hardly think about. So I tell her again that we have plenty of time, that she worries too much, as always, and she grips me harder and pulls me even closer. Suddenly I no longer care about the coffee, my thoughts are turning to other, warmer things.

Keira decides to back away after a bit and move to the coffee pot, gently pushes me to the side, and pours two cups, handing me one. She is ready to move on, I suppose, so I grab the cup and like a cold shower I’m back in the moment. Keira reaches into the frig and removes the cream for the coffee.

Living Room And The Christmas Tree

With our coffee in hand we move to the living room down the hall. Our apartment is fully decked out for Christmas, with white and blue string lights hung throughout the downstairs, and our first Christmas tree in the living room, opposite the fireplace. Our tree is huge, 7 feet tall at least, and 5 feet around, it’s supposed to be a ‘Douglas fir’, does that sound right? This has been my home for years, yet at Christmas I’m always thankful for the high ceilings.

Hundreds of white bulbs and blue bulbs are hung around every inch of the tree, with my fleet of Star Trek Starships (Voyager’s Capt. Janeway leading the charge!) gathered near the top of the tree, and Keira’s collection of Disney-movie ornaments wrapped around the middle. The Lion King is at eye level, Keira’s favorite movie ‘in all the world’, it serves as a reminder (to me) of her gentle, loving personality against my more aggressive, military mindset. (I am an Army brat) Somehow it works, proving that it isn’t the similarities that make a relationship work, it’s the differences, even in Christmas tree decorating.

We sit on the sofa, Keira closer to the fire. I watch as my beautiful soul mate enjoys the hot coffee while vaping a spicy pumpkin juice from Rocket Fuel Vapes. For a moment I am lost again, reality fading away leaving only this marvelous creature in focus. I’m thinking of nothing and everything, as she sips from her cup and exhales vapor.  She sees me out of the corner of her eye and turns toward me, jolting me out of my alternate universe. “What are you looking at?” she says with a slight whine, as if she didn’t know. “Only you” I tell her, as corny as that sounds. “Well stop it and come closer!” So I do.

The Shower

We hang out in front of the Christmas tree for a while longer, we finish our coffee and head back upstairs to shower and get ready for the day. I’m first in the shower, so I grab my blue jeans and a fresh Spinfuel t-shirt and my Spinfuel hoodie (and fresh underwear of course), toss them on the bed and head to the shower.

I wait until the bathroom is thick with steam and step into the shower, letting the hot water pour over my body, instantly warming it way beyond my comfort level, so I back the hot water down just a little. As I begin to lather up my luffa with vanilla scented body soap, I hear the shower door slide open and Keira steps in. “I thought we’d save some time.” She tells me. Funny thing that, my 10-minute shower turns into 25, but at least we’re both clean and smelling of vanilla by the end of it. We step out, dry off, and go about our daily rituals in the front of the double sinks and mirror.

Uniform and the Catholic Girl

I like to wear the same thing day after day, so as long as I have a pair of clean but worn jeans, a t-shirt and my hoodie, and of course my high heel black leather boots, I’m always the first one ready to head out the door. But when you live with someone that takes at least an hour to find the right outfit it doesn’t matter how fast you can get ready, you’re going to have to wait, like it or not…but I don’t mind because when she strolls out of the dressing area she is always breathtaking.

So I leave the bathroom, jump into my jeans and t-shirt. I quickly make the bed, then jump on top of it. I grab my laptop and bring up Spinfuel. From there I head to MyVaporStore and pick out several stocking stuffers for Kiera that I had left in the shopping cart a few days ago, this being one of the few times where I know she won’t come barging in unannounced. Done. I hop over to Mountain Oak Vapors and place an order for Chai Tea Latte for “you know who”, and then over to Ginger’s eJuice for some Gingerbread Chai for me, and a few more surprises for Keira, and the guys at Spinfuel. Just as I am about to close the lid on the laptop Keira walks out of the bathroom/dressing room looking like a schoolgirl at some Catholic high school.

Keira is wearing a super short red plaid skirt, thick leggings, and a red plaid wool jacket over a white blouse. The look on my face must have been one of shock because she gets this surprised look on her face and says “What? What is it? You don’t like it?” I tell her, “No, quite the opposite. Are you sure you want to go around in public like that? You’re going to get hit on by a lot of guys dressed like that.” She tells me “Don’t be gross!” and she laughs.

I remember asking her if she wants me to dress more like her, or at least less like me. I can’t pull off half the outfits she can, but I suppose I could change it up more, maybe even wear a dress once and a while. She told me that if I did I wouldn’t be ‘me’. Revealing just how kind she can be Keira also told me she ‘didn’t need the competition’. LOL, sure, that’s what I would be, competition. Not likely.

Both dressed and ready now we head downstairs, hand in hand, like we don’t have a care in the world…We’re walking the streets of Boston today, to shop for Christmas gifts that are not “vape” related (there are a few you know), and the promise of a wonderful day is all around us.

Shopping And Lunch

We’ll do lunch at a cozy little joint, “coal fired pizza” Keira says, “you promised.” As we reach the door Keira pushes herself into me, prepared to use me as protection against the cold wind we’re about to do battle with. She glances behind and sees the calendar in the kitchen and tells me “No messing today. Christmas will be here before we know it!” “I know, I know” I tell her, and I put my arm around her shoulder as we head out the door, blocking as much of the frigid wind as I can. I wonder how long it will take her to get used to this weather. Later in the day I know my hoodie will come off and I’ll tie it around my waist and walk the street in my t-shirt. It’s going to be in the 30’s, hardly sweater weather for most of us natives.

We live a few blocks from the mall, within throwing distance to Berklee School of Music really, and we head there with determination. Keira’s head is pointing down, and she’s almost pushing me into the street complaining that she’ll die before we get there. Once we reach the indoors again we’ll not have to deal with the cold air for the rest of the day. I decide that we’ll take a taxi at lunch time to get pizza at Woodies, I’m sure the taxi driver will laugh since its only a 15 minute walk, but Keira won’t make it if we don’t, I can tell by now that this wasn’t the best day to test her ‘winterizing’.

After we make it inside the mall we slow down to warm up, do a little window-shopping until Keira’s lips turn pink again. It takes a solid 10 minutes before she’s ready to venture into the stores, and as soon as we do she’s off like a kid in the candy store. I find her several minutes later looking over lingerie, picking out panties and bras that I wouldn’t dare let strangers see me playing with. But she doesn’t seem to notice, or care, when other people are looking at her. A couple of men begin ogling her each time she picks up something new. “Good luck guys, but you don’t stand a chance, mom is wrong, it isn’t a phase” I think to myself. Then, for some reason, I stand just a little closer to her, trying to block their view. Jealousy? Protective? Both?

I won’t bore you with the rest our shopping, we did make it to Woodie’s, and we had a great late lunch. Keira insisted on walking home from there instead of calling another cab. “Brave girl” I tell her, “I’m proud of you!” We both laugh and muster up the strength to leave the restaurant and start our walk back to home, carrying several shopping bags of presents.

Home Again

Finally, back at the apartment, just before sunset, the Christmas lights are back on, and I can smell hot chocolate being made in the kitchen. Wait, why is someone making hot chocolate in the kitchen? I pull Keira behind me and I tell her to stay right there, not to move. Slowly I walk into the apartment, my heart pounding in my chest. I reach in my bag for my taser, but then recognize the two strange coats hanging in the foyer, and I hear laughing coming from the kitchen. It’s a couple of friends of ours; they let themselves in. We completely forgot that they were coming over tonight. I turn to Keira and tell her Nicole and Cynthia are here, and she pushing me aside to rush in and greet them.

Nicole and Cynthia used their key to come in and decided to wait for us. Nicole told me she watched the window and as we got closer to home she could tell that Keira was “wicked cold”, so she made hot chocolate to help warm her up.

The rest of the evening the four of us hung out, talked, and watched as Nicole showed us all how good she is now at wrapping coils for her Kayfun. I make a mental note to contact some stock agencies to gage the interest in electronic cigarette photos. If there is an interest, and there should be, perhaps this is something I can do in the 3rd bedroom, and Keira and I wouldn’t have to be apart at all. I’m getting excited about the prospect and my mood brightens.

After four or five demonstrations of coil wraps, and Cynthia and Keira attempting a few of their own, we start taking shots of tequila and fired up the Xbox. We find Dave online, playing some Assassin’s Creed multiplayer and decide to join in the fun. Keira and Nicole run upstairs to fetch the other Xbox and our bedroom TV. They bring it down to the living room and sets it up next to our other one.

I talk Dave and Angel into turning on FaceTime so we could all make faces at each other while we played, and they do. I notice that Dave and Angel look so happy together, and I begin to miss them terribly. Months ago we were all living in the same place they are now, so many people sharing a 3 bedroom ‘manufactured’ home that served as our office and living space too, we got to know each other in ways most people will never do after a lifetime together. I remember how embarrassed Dave used to get when he would walk into the living room and see Keira and I on the couch. Some time later, well, let’s just say that it was Keira and me that were often embarrassed after Angel moved in. Soon enough though, we all walked around the house with no restrictions, no embarrassment, and no rules. “Like a commune in the sixties” John would say when he would stop by. God it was fun!

I tease Angel about the time Keira and I walked in on her and Dave, and without skipping a beat Dave blurts out to everyone about a particular time he walked in on Keira and I, something I had totally forgotten about, and that quickly shut down the teasing…for a while anyway. Belong long however, Dave can’t resist telling everyone he couldn’t wait to see “Blue is the warmest color” to “see how accurate they are”. If he was here when he said that I think I would have punched in the throat, but there wasn’t any animosity in his comment, he just doesn’t have a throttle.

We continued drinking past 2AM, and by then we’re all more than a little drunk, Angel is still with us on FaceTime but Dave passed out hours ago. We invite the girls to stay the night, and they jump at the chance to leave the winter outside for a while longer. After pulling blankets and pillows from the downstairs closet, we leave Nicole and Cynthia to do whatever they do, said goodbye to Angel, and headed upstairs.


Another quick shower and into bed, we snuggle up closely, not saying very much, just praying the room doesn’t start to spin. Keira’s flannel pajamas are so smooth and warm, so I push my hand down through the elastic band to warm my fingers up. Keira jumps from shock of my cold hand, but then pushes my hand into her flesh. Then it gets quiet, and in a few minutes I feel Keira’s warm breath on my neck and collarbone, she’s out like a light, and there’s that smile again. I turn the TV on and look for something to watch. Before I could find something good I fall asleep with the remote in my hands. When I wake up Keira is already downstairs. I hear the three of them making breakfast, talking about the snowstorm that’s coming.


It’s closer to Christmas now, and for once we are ahead of the game. It’s Friday, another Friday the 13th. I’m not the superstitious type, but I think about the snow and ice that is supposed to slam into New England on Saturday. Instead of wondering about how it might mess up our plans to attend another Christmas party I smile, thinking about all that time that Keira and I will have to spend together, inside, alone, and completely guilt-free. That is if I can get Cynthia and Nicole out of the apartment before then.

That’s what I love about snowstorms up here. Once you’re blanketed in the stuff you’re not expected to do anything. You can lie about, eat, sleep, fool around, play video games… wrap coils, mix eJuice, straighten out your vape junk, read, or whatever else you want to do. Like when we were kids, a snow day is a snow day.

Looking for just the right way to end this column and get it off to Dave to butcher, I mean edit, all I can think of … Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

Merry Christmas everyone!

Julia Hartley-Barnes

Update: Boston got 4 inches of snow. They still found a way to turn it into a snow day.