Sunday, July 31, 2011

I'm not a saint.

It's time to get serious.  Yes, it's true.  I can be serious from time to time and today I feel it's time to shed some light on something that's been haunting me.

I am not a saint.

People say this to me all the time.  When I sit down at parties and I let out steam about my boys' latest antics, the first thing out of people's mouths is that I'm a saint or that the boys are lucky to have Eric and I as parents.  No.  Please don't say that.  Let me just vent.  I don't want to be congratulated for being their parent.  I don't want to hear kudos for adopting them.  I don't need to know that I'm a special person for taking them into my home.  That's not what I want to hear or what I'm asking for.  I just need a friend or friends to be there for me so I don't lose my mind.  

You don't hear me screaming profanities behind my bedroom door.  You don't hear me crying into my pillow.  You don't see the exasperation on my face after I repeat the same thing to Austynn five times in a row.  You don't notice me grinding my teeth when William talks back to me or becomes disrespectful over a simple request.  You don't see me violently throwing broken toys away or wishing my children gone for a few days or a week or a month or a year.    

I'm not a saint.  I'm just a person who often wonders if I had a choice to do this all over again, would I?  It's a hard question and there are many days, like Thursday morning when I found another smouldering battery - completely by chance - under Austynn's bed, when I wonder, would I?

I'm just an adoptive mom of two special needs kids doing the very best that I can.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Can I get any sillier? Just take me shopping.

Soup Nazi
Why are people so serious?  Have you ever gone grocery shopping and looked at the people around you?  Now, I understand that times are tough and we have a lot of stuff on our minds.  Trust me, I GET IT!  But really, lighten up people!  Smile!  Stop, look up, and take a load off.

Yesterday was a long day for me.  If you haven't guessed it by now, it was my "big" shopping day.  The day when I put together my 2-week menu, go through my pantry, and shop for all my household staples and cooking supplies.  I wish I could say that I shop at just one convenient location but with the economy such as it is, I go to several different stores with coupons in hand and ready to do battle with cash registers.  By the time I get to my local grocery store, I am giddy with exhaustion. 

Suffice it to say, the idea of taking my two Aspergian boys who can't agree on whether the sky is blue or gray makes me want to howl like a baby.  Summer break is awful in this regard.  My boys normally go everywhere with me so when it comes to my "big" shopping day, I must prepare myself with plenty of emotional rest the day before.  I must be alert and on my game.  If I'm not, I end up walking away without the steak for Saturday's steak dinner or talked into $50 worth of bungee cords that Dad doesn't need for some project that he never planned on starting. 

Normally, I'm ready to go.  My lists (I'm all about lists) are prepared several days in advance with coupons clipped and the appropriate pre-printed Excel grocery spreadsheet highlighting items needed by aisle (yes, I am slightly uptight - yet extremely organized).  My linen shopping bags (I'm all about being "green" these days) are sitting with the dry cleaning bag, my charged cell phone ("impossible!", my friend, Brenda thinks), and my keys are with my purse.  I am ready for battle.  I will get a good night's sleep so that my boys will not get the better of me on Friday morning.

WRONG!  Nothing was ready yesterday except that my phone was charged (my friend will be so proud).  My sleep was muddled by the itty screams of mosquitoes diving in for attacks (refer to my other blogs).  Apparently the dogs were having nightmares and kicking me over the same thing.  I woke up exhausted.  Definitely not on my game.  By the time I made my menus, checked the pantry and household supplies, and compiled my coupons, it was well past 1:00pm.  This was not acceptable.  I'm a woman who likes to get out early with my boys, avoid the crowds, the heat, and the bizarre stares when Austy makes references about my ugly toe nails.  I made a last minute decision...leave 'em at home.

Why not?  William was on medication from Tuesday's deviated septum surgery.  He would not be up to moving around and certainly wouldn't be arguing with Austynn.  If I let Austy play Wii downstairs, he'd be in his Heaven.  So that's what I did.  For the first time all summer I was free to peruse through the stores alone.  No arguing.  No distractions.  No 13 year old crawling on the floor under the jewelry cases at Walmart looking for misplaced "diamonds".  I was silly.  I was giddy.  I was downright stupid with happiness and my new found freedom. 

By the time I got to my local grocery store, my final stop, I was exhausted.  I don't know about you, but when I'm tired, really tired, I tend to act goofy.  As I stood in the soup aisle, I started talking outloud.  I became the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld"What iz ze difference between ze generic and ze store brand.  Zalt free o weez geez a leetle beet o zalt?"  I couldn't stop talking like that.  I was crackin' myself up.  I was laughing outloud.  I was having fun.  I found myself singing to the overhead music, Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond in the same accent.  I was waving my butt to it.  I think people were honestly worried about me.  Wait a minute, I know...I was a LUNATIC HOUSEWIFE!  Now isn't that ironic? 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Skunks Stink, Really!

Before I begin this morning's blog, I must ask the following rhetorical question:  Why is it that when sitting in a large house, a fly must single out my coffee cup to land on?  How fast do they leave eggs? Should I disinfect my cup?  Will I get fly larva in my intestines?  There are plenty of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, dammit!  Go there!!  NO.  That would be too convenient.  There are open doors and other human beings asleep with their mouths wide open.  Go visit them.  Good grief!  Leave me alone!!  Stop hovering over my keyboard for Pete's sake!  Deep Breath.  Find my Zen (deep, relaxing pool of crystal clear, sparkling, blue water).  Ok.  I'm better now.

Pepé Le Pew

Skunks stink (ok, yes - they literally do) but they are beautiful animals and for some reason they always seem to follow me about.  Make jokes as you will, but I love them and I tend to be fascinated by their beautiful deep black eyes and lovely striped tails.

I must admit, I'm not a big fan of Pepé Le Pew cartoons. Flower on Bambi?  Waaay too sticky sweet for my liking.  Skunks have really gotten a bad rap with these goofy characters over the years.

Flower on Bambi

My first up front and personal meeting was in my parents' garage when I was about 15 years old.  I was locking up the house one night and as I turned out the lights I saw the unmistakable striped tail scatter underneath my dad's car.  I wasn't frightened, which for me was pretty amazing.  Instead, I stood at the door, looked underneath the chassis, and saw the beautiful black eyes staring back at me.  I wanted to pet it but knew enough that this wasn't the best of ideas.  I told my parents about the visitor under Dad's car.  Alas, they didn't believe me.  Why would we have a skunk?  Our area wasn't known to have these critters.  I must have been seeing things.  Ooookaaaay.  Don't say you weren't warned.

When I came home from school the next day the entire house was wide open - windows, doors, etc.  It appeared that my older brother found this critter (not known to reside in the area) and brought it through the house by it's tail.  To this day, I still don't know if he did it on purpose or because he was being a complete idiot but at the time I figured it was better not to ask.  I desperately wanted to say, "I told you so" to my parents but again, I refrained figuring it was wiser just to bask in my know-it-allness.

My second run-in with skunks was when I lived in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  My ex-husband and I lived in an old house converted into apartments and ours was on the lower floor.  Every morning we'd wake up to the overwhelming scent of skunk.  One warm summer evening, right outside my open bedroom window, I heard the scampering of several little feet.  There was the Mama skunk and her babies coming home from a night of foraging for food.  It appeared that their nest was below our dining room floor.  We probably could have called someone to remove them.  It certainly would have made our apartment smell better, but I couldn't do it.  They were so sweet.  What could I do, I'm an animal lover?  They were hurting no one and they were there long before we were.

So here I am to today's skunk story.  My dogs, Tank and Tulip, have a "Toy-Toy" which they adore.  Guess what it is?  Yup.  A little skunk tail.  They chase it, play tug-o-war over it, and battle as to who is going to sleep with it under their ear.  On Monday morning I took them out to do their "business" and what did they see in our garden?  Yup.  A little skunk tail; however, a real one this time. 

It's going to be a very long, stinky season.  


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Non-Maternal Mother

I am not a "maternal" mother.  I have never pretended to be.  Yes, it's true that both my sons are adopted but I would have been the same had they come screaming out from between my own legs.  Gruesome.  

Don't get me wrong.  I think the whole childbirth thing is very cool, but not for me.  When I say, "gruesome" I mean I would have been the worst pregnant woman on this side of the planet.  I am a world class whiner.  I hate being uncomfortable and when I am everybody knows about it.  Besides, my boobs are so big now it would just not be feasible.  There would not be a bra big enough to contain them.  How would I sleep?  How would I move?  Breast feeding?  Oh, good LORD!

The idea of having a little seed grow into a full sized baby monster in a womb is quite honestly amazing.  When my older sister asked that I be present during the birth of my niece, Tiffany, I was honored.  To say that I was much help, this day, I'm still a wee bit embarrassed about that.  Instead of holding Kathy's legs and giving her encouragement, I watched in utter amazement and as the baby's head crowned I screamed, "IT'S SO COOL, IT LOOKS LIKE AN ALIEN!" 

Besides, it's not for a lack of trying to get pregnant.  I just don't think it was ever in the cards for me.  I was together with my ex-husband for close to seven years and in all that time we never used protection.  The moment we went our separate ways, he went out and started making babies in southern Colorado.  Eric was diagnosed and treated with radiation for a non-malignant brain tumor in his twenties.  The radiation and the location of the tumor all but killed our chances of having babies.

So here I am, a non-maternal mother of two adopted boys who desperately need a maternal mother.  I try to make up for it in my own way.  

William, my oldest son had surgery for a deviated septum yesterday.  His poor swollen face and bloody bandaged nose has been reclining on my bedroom sofa since he came home from the hospital.  He knows his mother doesn't coddle her boys too much.  But for the past 24 hours she's been changing his bandages, bringing him pain medication, and letting him suck on ice pops while playing non-stop games on her bedroom LED, LVD, LFG big screen, life is good whatever it is TV.  He knows that she'll check his forehead constantly to make sure he's not running a temperature and that when he's asleep, she'll kiss him softly on his cheek and whisper that she loves him.  And finally, he'll remember that when he reached out his hand in the hospital recovery room - hers was there to comfort him.

I guess there's a little of that maternal instinct in me after all.



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When did coffee machines get so complicated?

When did waiting room coffee machines become so friggin' complicated?

There was a day, and I remember this day, when it was a simple 2-pot coffee pot system.  One pot was black for regular coffee.  The other was orange for decaffeinated.  Then, if the waiting room were really snazzy, they would have a pot with hot water for the tea drinkers of the world.

Here I was today, standing in front of the most complicated coffee doohickey machine I have ever encountered in a waiting room.  I was so distraught by the sight of it, I attempted my first cup of joe without noticing the directions staring me straight in the face on the cabinet in front of me.  All I can say about this is thank goodness the only other person in the large waiting room besides my son, Austynn, was sitting against the non-coffee machine facing wall.  And Austynn, wheew!  He was too busy playing his Gameboy to notice the flustered look on his mother's face while nasty looking water dribbled into my cup during my first attempt.

Ok, I looked at the directions.  I looked again.  I searched for instructions for the directions.  No luck.  Concentrate, Bri!  I believe it's in English.  Clean your glasses!  Pick a coffee cube?  What the..?  It looked like a creamer.  Whatever!  Ok, which one?  Strong?  Strong is good.  Obviously my brain cannot translate English this morning.  Is there extra bold strong?

"Mom, are you ok?  You're mumbling to yourself?"

Great. How loud did he have to yell that?!  "I'm good Austynn, thanks."

Do you need help?

Oh geez, here we go..."No buddy, I've got it covered.  Just play your game, please."

"Really, Mom.  You look confused, I can..."


(quiet giggling coming from the front desk employees)

Stick the coffee cube where?  It looks like it goes here..ooooh, that's cool.  Well, how big of a cup is this?  8oz or 10oz?  If I say 10oz it might overflow.  What the Hell, I'll choose 10oz.  It wouldn't give me the option if it wasn't an option, right?  Stop, stop, STOP!  I KNEW IT!  "What a FRIGGIN' mess..."

"I told you, Mom."

"Be quiet, Austynn."


"Yes?"  At this point I am clearly annoyed and wiping up coffee and powdered coffee creamer from the counter and waiting room floor.

"Can I have a cup of coffee too?"


Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm already cranky, so why did they have to make it pink?

Can my arms get any more swollen or itchy?  Why won't the bug zapper just do its job and zap those damn mosquitoes?  Why does my backyard seem to entertain the entire Colorado population of these flying blood suckers?  Why didn't I replace the anti-itch cream in my medicine cabinet last year which expired in July of 2004 when I was asking these same questions?  Will this disgusting stuff still work?  And finally, why did the manufacturers make it pink?

There are too many questions to be answered in a single setting; however, I will just add the following:

This is not the first time I have blogged about mosquitoes this season.  They are vicious, nasty little bastards which are out to make me miserable.  Scratch that - they have succeeded, I am miserable.  Every night, I whine and moan and curse these summer insects until I fall asleep.  I find myself blaming Eric and his beautifully watered backyard, Autynn's pool, our next door neighbor's need to dump their water pots next to our fence, and the monsoonal weather in Thailand.  Everyone and everything is to blame.

So, I'm cranky.  I don't sleep well in the summer.  I toss and turn.  Scratch and rub.  I worry about the crusty, pink, expired lotion on my arms and feet and wonder if it will stain my 300 count bed linen.  I deal with the sticky smell of mosquito spray and taste it in my mouth because inevitably it gets on my hands or face when I spray it.  And I listen.  I listen for that high pitched awful whine of my nightly nemesis - that itty, bitty blood sucking bug which will impose a bite on me that will keep me up again tomorrow night, and the night after, and the night after that.  And so I lie awake in terror and consider one question in particular in my crusty crankiness...why did the manufacturers have to make it pink? 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

This Lunatic Has Nothing To Say

Hello my friends.  I'm sure you'll understand this but today I'm taking a temporary hiatus.  I've sat at my blog page now for over thirty minutes and nothing remotely interesting, funny, or compelling has crossed my mind to type.

I'm sad. 

I'll try to be back tomorrow.  I love you all.  Thanks for your kind words of support yesterday. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Call Me If You Love Me, PLEASE!

Social Services visits are never fun.  Whether you're going through a foster placement through the county, they're following up after a child's been placed in your home, or worse - a referral call has been made for a surprise investigation due to a private citizen's concern.

The latter is what happened to this family yesterday morning at about 10:00am. 

I was going through the early stages of one of my bi-polar mood swings.  I had just taken an extra anti-anxiety pill as my psychiatrist instructed me to do and went to lie down.  Sometimes this is all I can manage when my depression kicks in.  Wait for it to pass as gently as I can.  The doorbell rang and my older son, William woke me to tell me there were two people at the door who insisted on seeing me regardless of the fact that I was not well.  Lovely.

There they stood, in all their official county sternness, "Mrs. Potts? We need to speak to you, may we come in?".  Down they sat with my naughty dogs jumping all over them, "Do you know what this is about?" 

How the Devil should I know.  "Absolutely no clue."

"It's about your recent postings on 'YouTube'."  Now my heart sank to the pit of my stomach.  My mouth dropped open and I wanted to run to my medicine cabinet for another anti-anxiety med.  I asked William to leave the room.  I was in shock.  They explained that I should not drink Tequila and post comments about my kids on 'YouTube'.  I didn't understand.  My mind was a flurry.  What did I say that was so awful?  I replayed it a couple of times before it went live.  What was wrong?  They wanted to interview William by himself and afterwards meet with Eric and Austynn again, privately.  I explained that Eric was at work and Austy was at camp.  Ok, they'd talk to them later.  They'd like to walk through the house after they spoke with mind was spinning.  What the Hell did I say?  

Eric called the Social Worker later in the afternoon.  It seems that someone who thinks they know me is concerned about my drinking habits and is concerned that it may be due to my children.  That perhaps I'm drinking because I'm frightened of them.  That I only started drinking heavily once they came into my life.  This call wasn't about my parenting style at all.  It was about my drinking!

Obviously, this person doesn't know me at all. 

Whoever this person is, thank you for your concern but if you love me, next time call me first and discuss your worries with me - not Social Services, PLEASE.  Let me clear the air and explain a few things...

One:  I don't drink heavily nor on a daily basis.  When I drink, it's at a party and these parties are adult parties, never where children are present.  Yes, I've been known to get drunk at these parties; however, they're usually within my neighborhood and within walking distance to my house.  My kids are typically asleep when I walk through the front door.  By the way, these kind of parties only happen maybe 3-4 times a year at the most.

Two:  When I record my live blog, yes I occasionally take shots of Tequila but this is because I don't feel comfortable talking to a camera.  It's not an everyday thing with me. After this last fiasco, I'm seriously reconsidering my live blogs anyway.  My husband really wanted me to do them but again, this may have sealed the deal. 

Three:  I am not worried that my sons will "kill me".  That was a figure of speech.  My children know that if they ever lay a hand on me, I will not hesitate to call 911.  I find this point fairly ridiculous considering all the teens I personally know who hit or disrespect their biological parents and yet their parents do nothing about it.  Yes my boys have a tendency to play with fire and other silly things.  Unfortunately, Eric and I just have to be on our toes more than other parents because ours have autistic spectrum issues.

Four:  By calling Social Services instead of talking to me directly, you opened the door to trauma that my sons haven't faced in years.  Consider William suddenly being questioned by a couple of strangers about the amount of alcohol his mother drinks in a week, or if he worries about me drinking, or how I act when I come home from parties.  Really?  Not a pretty line of questioning.  Thank God Austynn wasn't home.  Last time he was questioned by Social Services he thought he was going to be removed from our house so instead he acted out so badly at school he was almost expelled.

If I sound angry, I am.  It's a sickening feeling to have your parenting style questioned, your children interrogated, and your privacy invaded.  We've gone through Hell raising these two boys.  I'd go through Hell ten times over again for them.  I love them.  I started writing this blog because I couldn't afford the private therapy needed to survive raising them.  

If you love me, call me next time and let's talk.  Thanks. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Believe It Or Not, I Hate Parties

Yes, it's true.  I'd rather sit in a corner at a big party of people I don't know then go out of my way to meet them.  Shocking, isn't it?  It takes every inch of courage I have and sometimes a few shots of liquid courage to stand up and introduce myself.

People automatically think because I'm loud and boisterous that I'm an extrovert.  Nope.  Not at all.  It's my cover.  My secret weapon.  As I've gotten older, it's easier not to care so much what people think of me but it's still frightening to walk into a room of strangers.  I'd much rather hang out in the back room and play with the kids, the family pets, or cut out early for a late night movie with my significant other than stand around and make small talk. 

I think that's what it all boils down to, really...small talk.  I can't stand it.  Couldn't we just cut to the chase?  None of the, "Oh, the weather has been extremely muggy lately, hasn't it?" crap.  I HATE that!  Who cares, really?  I don't unless my arms pits are sticking to my clothes and if that's the case, I would just prefer to come out and say it.  I love coming up to a perfect stranger and telling her she has a booger on her face.  That's when you can tell the true character of a person.  If she laughs and brushes it off, she's worth hanging out with for the rest of the evening.  If she gets squirmy and runs to the bathroom, she's not worth my time. 

There's just way too many fussy people walking around in the world.  Throw them in a room with me and suddenly I get indigestion.  All I want to do is kick off my shoes, relax, and maybe dance to a few good tunes on the stereo.  Is that too much to ask for?  Do I really have to worry about friggin' cocktail napkins with some sort of strange looking hors d'œuvre and chatting about the state of the economy with a dude who forgot to trim his nose hair?  NO!  I'd rather just tell him that I hate shrimp, I think the economy sucks because one of my best friends just lost his job, and he needs to trim the goatee hangin' out of his snout.  Then, I'm hoping he'd laugh and dance to some Black Eyed Peas with me.  Could this happen?  Anything is possible.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Good Friends Will Sing Spontaneous Songs With You

One of my oldest and dearest friends just celebrated her birthday this past week and I'm feeling a bit sad that we couldn't or didn't find ourselves sitting someplace chatting up a storm for a day and a half.  She's one of those friends who when we start talking about one topic we strangely segue into three separate stories.  Do we get confused?  Never.  We know exactly where the conversation is going at all times and are not concerned in the slightest because it will always find itself back to where it began.

She was the friend who when my husband kissed me on our first "official" date, I ran into the house in a panic (leaving him in his car to ponder what he had done wrong, "was it that awful?") to call her.

At 12:30am, "Gina, we crossed the line!"

"Oh my God, you already had sex?!"

"NO!  We kissed!"

Very long inpatient pause..."Fuck, of course you did. This has been coming for years.  Bri, it's 12:30 in the morning.  Next time, call me when you have sex."

"Ok, sorry."

Gina and I went through a period of time when we didn't talk.  An ugly wall came between us and we let it stay there for way too long.  I missed her terribly.  One night we met at a party and caught up.  It was as if nothing had happened.  From that night forward, I swore I wouldn't let that wall destroy us again. 

Flash forward a few years.  My friend decides to move in with her boyfriend (now husband) living in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  I offered to help move her.  What an adventure.  Two inexperienced 30 year old gals, a U-Haul truck towing a car, and a lot of miles between Los Angeles and Colorado Springs between them.  I'm surprised that we made it there alive.

On the first half day of our drive, Gina managed to wedge the U-Haul on a concrete block at the gas pump.  We had to sit for three hours until the AAA "wrecker" had to come out and shift her truck off the pump.  The moment she made the call to AAA and they said they would need to send a "wrecker", she was ready to throw in the towel.  She felt the trip was cursed. I told her it could have been worse.  The owner of the gas station could have been a jerk, instead he was very nice about it.  The bathrooms were clean.  We had a nice plot of shade to sit under.  It wasn't too hot (we were in the middle of the desert).  We could have blown up the gas station.  No, we should keep going.  No one wanted to unpack her U-Haul anyway.

On we went collecting little junk food dooli-bopper antenna toppers as we ate our way through California and Arizona.  When we passed through Winslow, Arizona we spontaneously began singing, Take it Easy by the Eagles bursting into uproarious laughter.

Our overnight motels were booked ahead of time and unfortunately they never mention in the travel books when there's a railroad directly behind them.  We found that out on our first night after getting settled in after an exhausting 12 hour drive.  Without any warning whatsoever, just as our eyes had begun to close, the room started shaking and train horns roared through our open windows (the air conditioner wasn't working very well).

"WHAT THE FUCK!", Gina bolted straight up out of bed as if she were hit by lightning.

I couldn't even hear Gina.  I was shaking from head to toe.  We're California girls.  My first instinct was to duck and cover.  Once I realized it wasn't an earthquake, I waited it out and wondered how much more we'd have to endure.

Back down to sleep.  Neither one of us could say a word, we were too annoyed.  An hour later...


Gina mumbled, "What the Hell was that?"

"Don't know."

A few seconds later...BEEP....again...BEEP

"REALLY?  I'm dying here!"

"I think it's the fire alarm."

Gina picked up the phone to the front desk, "Um, hello?  Yes, we need someone to come to our room and replace or take down the fire alarm.  It's going off."




Gina took a deep breath and tried to compose herself.  "If you are not here in ten minutes, I will take care of it myself.  Thank you."

Needless to say, the desk clerk was at our room in ten minutes and knocked the fire alarm down with a broom, we made it to Colorado Springs in one piece, and now I live in Denver just an hour away from her.

She doesn't quite drop the F-bomb like she used to and quite a few years have passed since her move out from LA.  But there is no one, absolutely no one who knows me better and can make me laugh or cry more than my oldest and dearest friend.

This blog is dedicated to you, Gina.  Happy Belated Birthday.  I love you.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What Did He Just Scream Out The Window?

Cussing is an art.  It is not something that comes naturally, though at times with the way that the expletives fly out of my mouth, one would think I was born with the vocabulary list on the tip of my tongue.

Eliza Doolittle, My Fair Lady
To quote one of my favorite literary heroines, Eliza Doolittle, "I'm a good girl, I am".  I don't intend to scream nasties out the window at jerks who cut me off in their jacked up Toyota Corollas (BASTARDS!).  They could have guns.  Besides, what kind of an example am I teaching my young and impressionable children sitting next to me?  I must remain calm, relaxed, and patient.  I must find my Zen.  I must take a deep breath and envision my relaxing pool of crystal clear, sparkling, blue water while continuing to keep my eyes on the road at all times.  Fuck the Toyota Corolla and the Ass Hole driving it.  Oops!!  Damn it, I just cussed, didn't I?

Imagine my shock and surprise when my sweet husband, Eric cussed in front of me for the first time.  It was something I had never expected and had never, EVER experienced or heard before in my life.  A list of expletives so long, so exaggerated and so out of place that if the person they were intended for heard them, he or she would have laughed their asses of.  I did.  I felt badly.  Really I did, for about two seconds.  At the time I thought he was joking but unfortunately he was seriously angry and meant every four-letter word of it. 

I was aghast.  How could anyone seriously cuss like that?  Where did he learn to throw out the F-Bomb with such lack of skill?  And then it hit me, yes - cussing is an art, and I was the master.  Going forward, I was determined to take on my husband as my apprentice.

It's been a rough road.  We've cut down his screaming 10-string expletives to just 5 or 6.  So now instead of ranting, "stupid m'fn son of a biotch piece of shite d*ck weed cr@ppin f&*@" (whew, that exhausts me just typing it), he breaks it down a bit and throws in a couple of hand gestures.  AND, we're working hard on not having the kids in the car.  My ultimate goal is just a 2-word combo with an emphasis on one of the words.  We'll get there eventually but it's going to be a long haul.

Cussing is an art, obviously for some people it just doesn't come naturally.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Was My Little Boy Really Watching A Boobie Cable Show?

What is it with boobie cable shows?  Well, ok...I get it.  I've never been a 13 and 14 year old boy with access to cable television when my parents were downstairs talking up a storm.  It was all I could do to not burst out into laughter when I saw what they were watching.  Good grief!  I didn't even know that stuff was on my cable.  Now I know where to turn on those nights when Eric and I get squirmy though I don't think I'll watch exactly the same thing.  This particular station was an old Latin 50's show and the lady was swinging them around like who knows what (which is why I almost pee'd my pants).  At least she was wearing star pasties though I had to squint real hard to see them.  It was a black and white show and for the most part, I was just comparing her huge boobs to my own and thinkin', "Damn, that would kill me if I attempted to swing mine around like that!"

I was alerted to what was happening by my 13 year old son, Austynn who hasn't quite figured out whether he likes the idea of sex yet.  His body has just begun to change but he's suffering from the "Peter Pan" syndrome.  He doesn't want to grow up.  If I call him my "big boy", which he really is at 140 something pounds, he gets annoyed and tells me he wants me to call me his "little boy".  You see, when he came to us at 6 years old, he had already been through 13 foster, group, and ESH (Emergency Shelter) homes within 3 years.  He had never had a permanent family to be a little boy with.  He's trying to catch up. 

So, last night, I hear Austynn hollering from upstairs that it wasn't his fault.  At this point he was charging down the hallway as I suspect he was very, to put it gently, aroused.  I came upstairs to my bedroom, which curiously had both doors closed, and continued listening to Austynn's non-stop explanation that it wasn't his fault, that his guest made him turn it to that station, and on and on and on.  Sure enough, there was my guests' son sitting calmly explaining that it was Austynn's fault for turning it there.  There they were - the big swinging boobies in all of their black and white glory - on my LTD, LED, LVD, something or other life is good TV. 

"How did you find this station, Austynn (trying to conceal my shock and amusement)?"

"He made me do it, Mom!  It's all his fault!"

"Just turn it off, Austy."

In his obvious arousal and confusion, Austynn could not find the remote control.  I had to turn it off manually.  Poor kiddo.  He probably tossed and turned for quite a while last night. 

This isn't the first time Austynn has shown me that he's moving on.

Every summer I choose a book to read aloud to the boys to fill an hour or so when the days are at their hottest.  This year I've chosen a book which seems appropriate for young teens and my boys are very much involved in it.  Not too long ago I reached a chapter which became extremely suggestive.  Yes, I do recall reading books like this in my adolescence so I should not have been too surprised when something like this came up. 

I got to a scene where a very pretty 20 something young girl practically forces herself on a 14 year old boy.  Now remember, I was reading this book to 15, 14 and 12 year old boys (William's best friend was over for the afternoon).  The chapter was so high in sexual tension one could cut it with a knife and all three of the boys where listening in rapt attention.  All I was thinking was, "Please Lord, let this end soon.  I'm rather embarrassed here." 

Finally it was over.  Thank goodness!


"Yes, Austynn."

"Would you mind rabbit earring this chapter for me so I can read it again tonight in bed?"


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Damn it, my eye is twitching again!

The time has come when our boys don't want to go anywhere with us any more.  I don't know whether to be sad, ecstatic, or scared to death.

The sadness belongs to the family vacations.  The sentimentality value.  When Eric, or for the most part myself, could plan a trip where the four of us could get away together and build memories for a lifetime.  Ok, so what if those memories might include broken toes, cheap souvenir stands, or arguing half way across the American continent about putting down their Gameboys and looking out the windows?  Screaming or laughing, we were experiencing the moment together - the four Potts'sss.

Chief Inspector Dreyfus
Ecstatic.  We have been adoptive parents for almost ten years now.  Eric and I used to dream about the day when we could take off alone together and spend some quiet time.  For those of you without Autistic or Autistic Spectrum children or - this is where I just say it like it is - for those of you who have never experienced our son, Austynn, silence for my husband and I is golden.  William talks a lot but he has quieted down somewhat into a typical surly "almost" sixteen year old.  His "talking a lot" consists of a constant debate over the fairness of a consequence he agreed to the day before.  He will insist on discussing his point of view for upwards to two hours if we let him.  Nope.  Point taken after ten minutes. Sorry.  "Our house is not a Democracy.  You agreed yesterday to your consequence, now leave us alone."  I wish this would stick but as any parent of a teenager knows, it can continue for as long as the kid is stubborn.  William is a pain in the ass.  These arguments can go on for days.  Austynn.  His talking consists of talking to hear himself talking.  He must counter every point made, even if it's his own argument.  If he sees a car parked on the side of the road, he must come up with five possible explanations as to why that car is parked on the side of the road.  When we tell him we don't want to hear any more, he'll tell us two additional theories.  When he's watching TV, I will do my best to avoid him so he won't be tempted to offer his opinion about the latest commercial on Silly String.  "No Austynn.  I don't care about how much aerosol the can contains."   Sadly, even after I've walked away, I can still hear him discussing its dangers to the ozone.  Smile or laugh; however, live with this talking machine for 24 hours and we'll see if your eye starts twitching like Chief Inspector Dreyfus' from the classic Pink Panther movies.

Scared to Death.  In some of my earlier blogs, I've written about Austynn's interest in electricity and curiosity about candles and wooden clocks.  William has also shown Eric and I a penchant to fool around with magnifying glasses and dry grass on windy days.  Just recently we discovered that William, as most older brothers do, has a serious lack of patience for his younger brother.  Understandably, anyone - including the Pope - could have a lack of patience with Austynn; however, it is not ok to beat up one's little brother when we're not at home.  William has more pent up rage than most kids his age.  He could have killed Austynn.  Totally not cool.  I never asked Will what set him off but I'm thinking it may have been Austy asking his brother for the fifteenth time to turn the TV channel.  I'd want to kill him too especially if I were watching Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe.

So here we are.  On one of Eric's last vacation days and I'm listening to the kids in the family room quietly conspiring that they don't want to go wherever it is that Mom and Dad plan on going today.  Little piss ants!!  A third of me feels sadness down to my core.  It's vacation week.  We should be celebrating this time together.

Another third of me, says good - I could use a little peace and quiet.  William has been setting us up to get his cell phone back earlier than what was agreed upon (yes, a consequence) and I've been listening to Austynn moaning and groaning over his PlayStation 2 for the last hour.  Before this, he was chatting up a storm about absolutely nothing with William in the family room.  I even closed my study door to drown out the constant background chatter.  Good grief! 

And finally, my heartburn has already begun to settle in.  It's too early in the morning for this.  I'm delaying our start to the day because the earlier Eric and I leave, the longer the boys may or may not be home on their own.  What a tangled web...

There are no easy decisions to be made here.  Perhaps a 4th third option?  But then again, I was never any good at math.  Darn, my eye is starting to twitch again!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wickedness Is Taught In Catholic Schools. God Bless Them!

I posted a rhetorical question earlier on my Facebook page today wondering what God was trying to tell me by way of last night's thunder storm.  I've considered it carefully and this is what I've come up with...

I am wicked.  Not in a nasty, XXX rated sort of way.  Yes, sometimes this can be fun and it's not for a lack of trying; however, I was raised by whom I consider the strictest, most devout Catholics of them all, the Sisters of Notre Dame.  Because of this, no matter how hard I try, that kind of wickedness is just not easy for me.  The standard, nonbehaving wickedness, that's what I'm all about. 
Sisters of Notre Dame

Memories of Sister Mary Therese Anne in the second grade guiding me through my First Holy Communion Services.  Young, sweet, and patient - she was loved by all of her students.  She was my inspiration to become a nun for about three weeks.  Then, I started watching Wonder Woman on TV.  If I couldn't be a flying Nun saving the world from utter calamity and come home to a handsome airforce pilot at night than I'd have to give up being a Sister of Notre Dame.  God would just have to understand. 

Sister Mary Jose.  A 110 year old curmudgeon (God forgive me) who insisted that we stand up and say, "pardon me teacher, pardon me class", every time we sneezed, coughed, or dropped a pencil.  I believe this is where my wickedness began. This frightening old women put the fear of the Lord into me and to this day I still can't spell thanks to this woman.  She was from the old school and believed in knowledge through humiliation; however, it certainly backfired on me.  Sister had a habit of holding up spelling tests and pointing out who did badly each week.  I refused to be the center of this attention because I came dangerously close too many times.  One week we were learning contractions, i.e., we are, we're, I am, I'm, etc., and I studied ferociously.  I even asked my mom to quiz me.  I was aiming for an A+.  I knew the words perfectly and was confident.  When it came time to hold up the miserable failures I sat relaxed.  This time Sister was the cruelest she'd ever been.  "There is only one student who got every single one wrong!  A complete F on the test!  How can anyone be so stupid?"  Then, without any mercy, she held up the test, pointed at me, and said my name.  It appeared that in my excitement to complete the test and hand write beautifully (she was also a stickler on this), I had forgotten to put the apostrophes between the contractions.  D'oh!
I was only in the fourth grade.  I was young.  "Hate" was a big word for me.  I learned it at that moment.  I started wishing for something bad to happen.  I felt like Damian from the movie, The Omen.  Maybe if I just stared at her long enough the world atlas globe would fall on her head and she would put my spelling test down.  That was the year I started placing Valentine party cupcakes in Geography books and pushing readers out the windows into the bushes outside.  When she wasn't looking, I'd snag her pencils, break the tips off, and place them back into her pencil holder.  Yes, it was wrong.  I am coming clean now some 35 years later.
Eventually something did happen.  She could have hurt herself, but she didn't.  Sister would carry her supplies in a large, clear bag.  During a spelling test - oh, sweet karma - as she reached over to grab it, her chair went out from under her and she landed on her fannie.  Most of the class was quiet or asked her respectfully if she were ok.  No, not me.  I and several other comrades laughed loud and heartily.  There was no mistaking the fact that we were wicked, wicked children and did not like Sister Mary Jose.  The three hours of picking weeds behind the convent (typical hard labor punishment) was well worth the crime.  In fact, I would have gladly done more time.
Then there was Sister Mary Agnel. She taught the fifth grade and was terrifying to behold. At the time, next to my great Uncle Art, I didn't know a face could have so many wrinkles. When she spoke it was as if a thousand eating utensils were being scraped across a wash board. She was strict and was not to be crossed. On Friday mornings, instead of going directly to school, we were required to meet at the church several blocks away for 8:00am mass and sit with our respective classes. My little gang of friends and I would sit towards the front or at least as far away from Sister as we could get. The word, "GIRLS!", would often come hissing from the utinsily voice from the end of the pew. One more time and that would be it. We would be pulled from our seats and have to sit next to her with one of the truly awful boys in the last row. Total misery and humiliation!  As it turns out, all these years later, I loved Sister Mary Agnel the most and I know she loved her "GIRLS!" very much.  I think about her almost every day.  I wish I could have had the opportunity to tell her but somehow, after last night's thunderstorm, I think she knows.

So, the thunderstorm last night.  It kept me awake and made me consider what God was trying to say to me.  Oh wicked, wicked girl...mend thy ways?!  I know that Sister Mary Agnel probably knew I was wicked in the fifth grade and secretly liked that about me.  I'm sure she smiled when I wasn't watching or maybe I was watching but couldn't see it through all her wrinkles.  Who knows?  Maybe the thunder was her shouting, "GIRLS!" from the end of the pew again.  If that's the case, I heard you loud and clear Sister.  No need to shout.  I'll try to behave a little more. 

By the way, if that was you Sister Mary Agnel, please let God know I got His message too.  And, just for good measure I'll say an extra Hail Mary for Sister Mary Jose.  It's about time I let go of the grudge.  Pardon, me teacher.  Pardon me class.

Monday, July 11, 2011

They Have Me Pegged! Now Where's The Ice Cream?

I'm ashamed to say that I'm an out of control shopper when I'm hungry.  They've got me.  The grocery stores and bulk stores have me completely pegged.

Just this evening, as my family and I stopped into the grocery store to pick up some mid-week supplies, I was attacked by a bout of hunger.  It came upon me suddenly and without warning.  I HATE THAT!  It has to be a serious situation when even the free cookies in the bakery look tempting.

Eric, Austynn, and I had been out on a field trip this afternoon at Denver's, The Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum while William chose to hang out at a friend's house.  I had not planned for dinner and had been driving and staring at military machinery all afternoon.  There is nothing more exhausting than listening to an almost thirteen year old aspergian child talk non-stop about everything he thinks he knows about artillery and thermo nuclear war for five hours.  How did this happen, I'm a pacifist??

Drumstick Ice Cream Cone
By the time I hit the frozen food section, I was completely out of control.  Normally it's the extremely unhealthy White Castle microwaveable cheeseburgers and restaurant brand appetizers which I pull off the shelves in lightening speed.  No, not tonight.  It was the ice cream.  I was captivated.  I don't even like ice cream and yet, I could not stop myself.  Every brand had promise.  The new bars that are dipped not once, but twice and with a layer of caramel in between...ooh...I must try those.  Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Bars?  When did they come out with those?  Must have some of those too!  Double dipped Drumsticks?  Impossible!  Eric would love those.  We'll have to get some plain vanilla ice cream as well because we have plenty of root beer for some floats and hot fudge and caramel toppings left over as well.  We'll have to make sundaes later this week.  Should I buy more whipped cream?  Good Grief! 

The wholesale stores?!  Don't even get me started.  Thank goodness we didn't stop by Costco tonight with all of the free sample stands they set up on the end of each aisle.  When I'm hungry, like I am tonight, they can sell me anything.  Once I bought a 5000 pack box of Otter Pops for Eric.  That was four years ago.  We still have 3/4 of that box down in our basement. 

I'm sure this is how the conversation probably would have gone tonight had I gone to Costco:

Costco Manager:  Hurry, here comes Bri Potts...set up the table and start cooking the instant apple oatmeal.  She'll be sure to buy the 1000 pack box if she's hungry.

Bri:  Hey, that tastes good.  Only a 1000 packs?  That's not too bad.  Where are they located?

D'oh..Damnit!  They have me pegged!  Now where's my ice cream?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Simply Perfect

I love making breakfast on Sunday mornings.  It's the only day of the week when I feel compelled to stay in my jammies (translation: pajamas) well past 10:00am, read the news on the Internet, and make something delicious for my family to enjoy.

If the weather is nice, we'll sit out on our back porch and have a light brunch.  During the colder months, I thrive on baking warm, sweet loaves of breads or muffins.  There is a certain magic to the smell of cinnamon on a cold, wintry day.  Everyone feels a little warmer and safer on these mornings no matter how hard the wind may be blowing outside.

Picture Taken By Eric in Our Backyard
 This morning; however, is hot and humid.  July is Colorado's wet month.  Our "monsoonal" month as the forecasters like to call it.  I love to watch the afternoon thunderstorms build and wait with anticipation for the first charge of electricity to crack across the Denver skyline.  Having not grown up in an area with four seasons or frequent thunderstorms, my new home is a treat and having an amazing northern view towards Wyoming simply adds to my joy.

So right now - at this very moment - I'm sitting in my study, wearing my goofy jammies which my husband and boys gave me for Mother's Day two years ago (pink horizontal stripes with the words, "Kiss Me" across the chest), drinking my bowl of hot happiness (coffee), and waiting for the Peanut Butter Banana Bread to finish baking (it's starting to smell very good, by the way).  In a few minutes, we'll go out to the back yard and let our Sunday afternoon begin.  If it's too hot, Eric and I will go upstairs and giggle for a few hours underneath our blessed central air (TMI?  Oh well, now you know we are firm believers in at least once a week.  I do believe we added this is in the fine print of our marriage contract).  Now if I could just convince the boys to turn down the awful TV in the family room, life - at this precise moment - would be simply perfect...   

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sometimes It's Better to Be Safe Than Sorry

I realize that I write about my embarrassing moments a lot but Eric has given me carte blanche to share with you some of his and trust me, he has some serious doozies.

I was thinking about this today as I was sitting with a friend in one of our local mountain casinos here in Denver this afternoon.  I wasn't playing but I was watching and thinking back to the days when Eric and I used to spend a lot of time and money in Las Vegas when we lived in Southern California

It wasn't too bad of a drive if we planned on taking an extended weekend trip.  Those get-aways occurred back in the days when we were both working and had not adopted our boys yet.  They were last minute excursions which usually lured in many of my family members since they loved going to Vegas as much as we did.  It wasn't uncommon for a call to come in on a Thursday pulling the Bryant clan together for a drive out the next afternoon, morning, or even the same evening.  The sooner we could pull it off, the better.

For this particular trip, Eric and I stayed at the Rio Hotel All Suites and Casino.  The night before was a long one.  Eric and I had taken in a show, had a hot streak at the crap tables, and didn't get to bed until well past four in the morning.   When we had met my sisters at the breakfast table, we were not quite coherent.  Eric had discovered he had left our money back in the room.  Away he went.  Eric should have only been gone fifteen to twenty minutes at the most yet he was gone for well over an hour.

When he finally returned, he was white as a ghost and shaking like a leaf.  He couldn't speak for ten minutes.  We sat there sick to death thinking that something horrible had happened to him.  I was getting ready to call security and have the hotel doctor paged.  Finally, upon this threat, he shared what had happened.

When Eric approached our hotel room he noticed that the door was slightly ajar.  That's odd he thought.  He was certain he had closed it securely upon leaving for breakfast.  So he opened the door and what did he see but our luggage sprawled across the floor willy nilly.  His black dress shoes and socks from the night before were lying in the middle of the way!  What the Hell?!  Then he looked up and there was a strange guy laying on our sofa totally passed out in his jockey shorts.  What the...?!  He walked into the master suite and saw a completely buck ass naked dude asleep on our bed.  Eric said he was going to, "fucking kill these guys"!  Then it occurred to him that maybe, just maybe...oh my God!  My man quietly, very quietly stepped out the door and looked at the room number again only to realize that he was on the wrong floor.

Yikes!  Thank God Eric didn't attempt to "fucking kill" these guys.  From what I understand, they where a lot bigger than he was.  SECURITY!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

3 Reasons To Be A Wee Bit Grumpy. Not Today!

I slipped in dog pee this morning on the bathroom tile.  Not a nice way to be startled awake at 2:00am.  Then, to add insult to injury, I had to clean it up. 

My husband smells.  This is not an easy thing for me to admit.  He's usually very good about taking his daily showers and washing his hair; however, his vacation started Saturday - 5 days ago!  Need I say more?  This morning I could not cuddle up next to the filthy beast.  I'm afraid we have permanent grease stains on the bedding (the shroud of Thornton).  Our bug zapper has not been able to successfully do it's job when he walks into the yard.  The flies start hovering.  I made the mistake once of telling him that I thought his stinky armpits smelled kind of sexy but I think he's taking this to a whole new and unpleasant level.  He must take a hot water triple shampoo today or I will NOT step out of the house with him.

William, our almost surly sixteen year old, told us last night that he's seriously ready for his "vacation" away from the family.  This is our teenager who lies in bed for most of his day doing absolutely nothing.  When he's not in bed, he watches TV or plays video games.  But of course, he's completely fed up with his life here at home, is ready to get away from us, and must see his Grandparents in California.  He's annoyed because we won't allow him unlimited electronics or TV time.  We actually have the audacity to make him compromise on what he watches on TV when his younger brother is in the room.  We are cruel in that we haven't automatically turned over his telephone or given back his TV which he lost with below average grades last year.  And...he's bored.  And...he has no money.  He chose not look for work this summer to make a few extra bucks and keep busy.  He's done with us.  And quite honestly, we're done with him.

We received a phone call yesterday that things in California aren't going well with the family.  William's trip may have to be postponed.  We'll know for certain tonight.  I'm thinking we'll just fly him out to some miscellaneous destination with a bag of potato chips.  He keeps telling us he can manage on his own.  Let's see how he does.  I'm just curious. 

So...I have just a few reasons to be a wee bit grumpy this morning.  Nope.  Not this gal.  Not today!  I have a full tank of gas, a few bucks on my credit card, and nowhere I need to be. 

Don't worry.  Be happy.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

No More Bricks. Stand Your Ground.

Where were you the day the OJ Simpson verdicts were handed down?

I followed the OJ Simpson trial and the verdict was a complete shock.  In my opinion, all the evidence was there but I wasn't on the jury.  I didn't have the final say as to guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The discussion the next morning at work threw me for a loop.  Co-workers were passionately divided along color lines.  Black employees were genuinely happy he was exonerated.  After the Rodney King trials they felt it was about time a black man got a break in Los Angeles.  I never saw it coming - or did I?

The 1992 Rodney King trials and riots.  I lived through these times in downtown Los Angeles.  I witnessed it and was a part of the madness.  This awful time was one of the reasons I moved from LA.  I'm a Southern California native.  My older sister and I used to drive down Florence past Normandie (the now infamous crossroads) to go to the Laker games in Inglewood.  We know the backstreets of the city better than the major freeway systems and we drove them without hesitation.  We loved our town.  My sister still does.  Not me, it's changed.  It's simply an old acquaintance now.

When the officers who beat Rodney King were acquitted of their crimes, the city felt like a quiet, ticking time bomb.  Everyone, black and white, Latino and Asian knew it was a nasty and wrong verdict.  Those cops should not have beaten Rodney and they got away with it.  There were calls from all over the black community to remain calm.  I remember their verdicts were announced in the middle of the day.  I drove home from work, turned on the evening news, and then it started - the live broadcast at Florence and Normandie.  No one knew what to expect when we saw that truck pull into the intersection...Oh my God. 

For those of you who aren't familiar with LA, it's one huge urban sprawl.  One city creeps into another without any notable change.  It all looks the same.  Grey, smoggy, graffiti riddled cities, interspersed with palm trees, car dealerships, overhead wires, and mini malls.  The riots had been mostly contained to the Florence and Normandie intersection but by the next afternoon, they started to spread throughout the greater metropolitan area.  I worked at my father's business in east central and by noon, there were a constant stream of firetrucks, ambulances, and police cars speeding past our offices on Atlantic Avenue.  We were sent home for the day and told to be very careful.  I chose the Freeway versus driving through Compton.  My normal 30 minute drive took me 3 1/2 hours that day.  I sat in bumper to bumper traffic on the 710 Freeway and watched angry kids throwing bricks and rocks down at the cars ahead of me from the overhead bridges.

By the time I got home to Long Beach, I was exhausted.  My ex-husband and I took our neighbor out to dinner and when we had finished the city had been placed on curfew.  Our little neighborhood where we'd always felt safe had suddenly become terrifying.  The auto parts store was being looted, the 7-Eleven around the corner had it's windows broken out, and the family owned Korean liquor store across the street was boarded up.  Our dear Mr. Lee was sitting on his roof protecting his business with a shotgun.  In a heartbeat, it had all changed.  To Hell with the curfew.  Jeff, my ex-husband, and I left that night for my parents' place.  We didn't stop at red lights.  There were no police on the roads.  Just cars full of angry kids looking to hurt someone or destroy something.

I live in Colorado now.  I realize that there is no way to escape racism.  There's a form of it everywhere, reverse or otherwise, but I thought I could run away from it.  I thought if I could go to the middle of the country, I might never have to see the face of angry young man, black or white, Latino or Asian throw a brick over a bridge ever again.  Wrong.  The other day I was hanging out with some friends and a huge brick was thrown.  The word "Nigger" was carelessly tossed over a bridge.  My stomach recoiled and I wanted to run.  I'm not going to run anymore.  It's time to get out the car and look that angry young man in the face.  

Warning:  Disturbing video from the 1992 riots