Monday, October 31, 2011

And she's down for the count!

As many of you know, I was married once before and if my ex-husband or family members happen to read this particular blog, tighten your seat belts, it may get a little rough.  My ex and I fought and the fighting was ugly.  At times, we hit hard and below the belt.  It wasn't because Jeff or I are bad or malicious people, it's because we didn't know how to communicate with one another.  We had very little in common and could not comprehend the other's views.  We had no business being married.  Yes, I loved the man and still do.  He is a sweet and gentle soul; however, our souls were not mated.  We continue to communicate but at a safe distance.  Safe enough that he is not within glass throwing range.  I never knew I contained such anger but then again, I've never felt such betrayal.

I hated the way I felt after our fights; so helpless, so empty.  It never felt like we resolved anything.  The anger seemed to simmer for days and my stomach was always in knots waiting for the pot to come to a boil.  Of course it would, I knew it had to be resolved eventually and when it did it was ugly.  The fights usually centered around several things, my jealousy (Jeff was a flirt), money (we were broke to the point of selling our plasma), our share of household responsibilities, and my loneliness (he had his friends over quite a bit and I couldn't find a way to make my own).  It was a dark time for me and most likely for him as well.

Once we went our separate ways, I was done with that type of relationship.  The fighting and the making up.  Yes, making up is nice but the horrible feeling I had while the fighting was going on was devastating.  It wasn't worth it.  I must admit, I'm a passionate, fly off the handle kind of gal so I couldn't imagine ever finding a man who could put up with my temper tantrums in the future.

Along came Eric Potts.

He just laughs at my temper tantrums.  Do you know how interesting this is?  As I'm in the middle of one (this happens quite frequently), and I realize that I'm being a wee bit irrational, Eric will just look at me and say, "Oh well".  This tends to makes me laugh out loud.  Is this all I needed in my life?  How odd!

When I'm annoyed at him - and this also happens a lot - he'll have no clue as to why and he'll give me this strange little look.  I can't stay mad at him and this also makes me laugh.  This in itself should be enough to get me angry all over again.  But no, it doesn't. 

So in total, I've been married to Eric for over sixteen years and the closest thing to a fight we've had was when I threw a comb at him in the car (yes, dammit - I'm always throwing things) because he was being stubborn and wouldn't get his blood drawn (he's hates getting his blood drawn).  Amazing. 

I've listened to afternoon talk shows and read magazine articles which say good marriages have fights and come out stronger afterwards.  Really?  Then I must be the exception in marriages because I got things really turned around.  I hate fighting,  I don't want to fight, I'd rather look into my guy's beautiful blue eyes at the end of the day and laugh about all the stupid things other people do.  Make-up sex, really?  I have a secret for you.  Sex is better before a fight.  I've been on both sides of the ring, I should definitely know.   


Saturday, October 29, 2011

I'm a total geek, a square peg, a goof ball to the tenth degree.

Halloween.  The one time a year when I can let my guard down and dress up or down to my heart's content.  Where I can expose my innermost naughtiest or silliest ideas.

One would think when going to an adult party, I could dress sexy.  Perhaps show a little more cleavage, expose a leg, etc.  I could be a German barmaid or a Renaissance wench.  Oh no, not me.  This modest goof ball must be a clown and when I type this, I'm not implying that I'm an actual clown, no.  To me, clowns in their own right are frightening, terrifying creatures which should be completely outlawed. (I apologize to my paternal aunt who is a volunteer white face hospital clown in Southern California.)  What I'm saying is that I usually wear goofy costumes which elicit laughter (or groans) from the other party guests.

I won't tell you what my costume is this year because the party is tonight but I can say what I've been in past years.  As I've mentioned in a previous blog about being mugged by my neighbor's dog, last year Eric and I were the neighborhood jackasses.  The year before, Eric and I arrived as swingers (good grief!).  Beyond that, the Tequila has blurred my memories but you, my friends and readers, get the general idea.

I never wear anything too revealing.  This year, my husband was striving for shocking.  What else is new.  So when he approached me to expose some cleavage, I was shocked.  (This is the blog word of the day, the "S" word.)  At first I teased him with what I was going to wear. I would be a prostitute (I had no intention to do this. Me, Miss Modesty?  Come on!  The, I can't leave the house showing a bit of skin, lady?  Give me a break!)  I wanted him to squirm at the idea.  Besides, no way was he going to let me wear this outfit.  Basically, it was nothing but a corset, panties, silk robe, high heeled pumps, and a feathered boa.  Then, after some thought (10 minutes), HE CHANGED HIS MIND!  My plan totally backfired on me.  I was not going to wear a nipple exposing corset to a Halloween Party with my friends and neighbors!  I wouldn't have any friends and neighbors left, thank you very much.  SHOCKING!  Good grief, who was this man wanting to show off his wife in such a way?  I want a divorce!  Awful, nasty, creepy guy!  Eeeew!!  "S" Word!!  Besides after the stripper debacle a couple of years ago (refer to prior blog), I would not expose my neighborhood to another uncomfortable evening.

So, this year I have gone the other way.  I will be modest, silly, and goofy.  I'm a Square Peg.  I will be covered basically from head to toe.  I will be the party clown and if this party will be memorable at all from the Potts' side of things it will have to be based on my husband's costumes.  Yes, that's right.  He has two.  The first of which is funny and has a slightly naughty undertone.  The second of which...oh my gosh, I just hope I have enough Tequila in me not to see the faces of my neighbors when he walks out from the bedroom wearing it.  Maybe everyone will finally understand that it's my husband, not I, who should be wearing the big scarlet "S" on the front of his shirt.  I'm a good girl I am!


Friday, October 28, 2011

40 Somethings.  We are a powerful force.  We are beyond caring what kids on street corners have to say when we walk past them.  In fact, I defy these kids to open their mouths because we're at an age when we'll turn around, give them an ear full, make them cry, and call the cops just for good measure. 

We're confident in our own skin.  We're exhausted from all the ridiculous diet gimmicks and promises because we've tried them all, spent the money, and watched our bodies lose and regain pounds over the years.  We've finally come to the realization that we are who we are and if we're fortunate to have loving and supportive friends and family beside us, we've also learned that we're beautiful just the way we are.  We know if we nourish our souls, our radiance will shine through and allow us to be breathtaking individuals.

We have something to contribute.  Too often I see the younger generations focused solely on themselves.  I was there once.  I was centered on my life and where I was going.  My tunnel was narrow and there was no vision past what was ahead of me.  Now, I see so many who need my assistance. Since I've looked up, there are others - others my age and older who are standing beside me.  Where did they come from, these amazing people who volunteer their time, effort, and energy?  They are an inspiration.

We're not afraid to be fools, to laugh outloud, to fall on our asses and get back up again and say, "Oops, my bad.  Wasn't that silly?"  We can go up to a perfect stranger and tell her she has broccoli on her teeth or a booger in her nose.  Why couldn't we do this when we were younger?  I would have so appreciated it if someone discreetly told me I had toilet paper hanging out of my skirt.  Just the other day I pushed a young lady's tag into her dress and she thanked me.  I wasn't construed as a pervert.  I was a nice 40 something lady helping a teenager out.

My mom told me once, probably while she was in her 40's, that the 40's would be the best years of my life.  Huzzah to my mother!!  I'm having the time of my life.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Notoriously Inappropriate Halloween Party of '09

Another day, another ramble...before I begin with anything of real substance, I am going absolutely nuts with my laptop.  I don't know what the heck is wrong with it but it's acting very peculiar lately.  Is it a virus?  It could be.  It's moving particularly slow and it's beyond frustrating.  Anything which moves slower than my typing is extremely serious in my opinion.  I must ask Eric if he's been checking out boobie sites.  Our sixteen year old did attempt it years ago but he now has his own computer to demolish so, well - I have nothing more to say about that. 

Moving on...

Since Halloween is just a few days away I promised you, my dear friends and readers, that I would share a story which happened a few years ago in an attempt to be humorous at a neighbor's Halloween party. 

Eric and I have somewhat strange and twisted senses of humor.  I'm not proud of this and often times it has gotten us into a lot of trouble.  My humor is more slap stick.  You know, the pie in the face, whoopee cushion, bodily function kind of stuff which at 44 years of age I really should have grown out of by now.  Sadly, I have not.  Eric, on the other hand, grew up in a house where bawdy, sexual humor was funny which of course shocked this modest girl to her core.  Remember, I was raised in a house where I couldn't discuss my menstrual cycle much less find out how babies were conceived.  This made things extremely confusing when I was 12 years old and my mother gave birth to my younger brother.  Imagine my shock and dismay when my friends showed me with a Ken and Barbie doll what my parents did to create such a screaming, pooping monster.  Ken's bump never did make a lot of sense though.  I digress.

Eric had this grand idea to go the party as "swingers".  Hmmm, you does a couple do this?  Oh, simple.  Hire out two exotic dancers, male and female, as our dates.  Our "dates" were then  instructed to be very hands on (so to speak).  They were to hang on us and appreciate us.  On my behalf, I didn't mind at all because my dude was actually extremely good looking.  Usually these guys aren't straight; however, mine was and very, very nice. Eric's date looked more like a hooker so I kind of enjoyed watching him be a wee bit uncomfortable since this was his idea after all.

I had a very sneaky suspicion that this would not go over well in my somewhat conservative neighborhood and I was worried.  No, petrified.  So, I did what Breezy does so well to gain a foothold on my nerves, I drank. Charlie (my date), Eric's date, and I took a shot of Tequila before we left; however, I must clarify that my shot was more like a triple.  A very big triple.  Charlie watched me with a bemused look on his face and I'm sure wondered what he had gotten himself into.

We were ready.  Off we went.  A mere walk around the block, five or six houses around the corner and my date with his gorgeous, bulging muscles, ended up carrying his half-slushed, fluffy date who could not remember his name to save her life.

"Charles, may I call you that?"


"Thanks, Chuck."

"You're a nice guy, Chuckie.  Why do you dance nucked other than the fact that you have a beautiful body?" And so on and so forth until we reached the door with him holding me up by my shoulders.

Oh, Eric.  Why did my husband feel that this was a good idea?  I still blush at the memory.  The shocked looks we received when we entered the room.  Plus he had me order ridiculous buttons that said, "I'm a swinger!" to hand out to our friends.  Oh the shame!!

Charlie played his part beautifully.  He flirted with me, nuzzled my ear, fondled my butt, tried to hold me up, and when the nasty music started, his dancing and undressing was directed towards me and my gal pals who were totally up for it - only two by the way. The rest of my friends and neighbors were standing aghast against the kitchen sink as Charlie shook his thing-a-ma-bob in my face and started a very impressive lap dance between my breasts. 

Eric's date wasn't nearly as interesting.  In fact, I was in such a drunken state that I hardly noticed Eric was jealous.  What a hoot.  Charlie was doing as he was instructed and Eric was jealous!  I loved it.  Unfortunately, Eric wasn't the only man upset in the room.  Within moments, the music was stopped by one of the party hosts (the other host, my gal pal, was thoroughly enjoying Charlie), and our "dates" were asked to leave.

And there it is.  The notoriously inappropriate Halloween party.  This Saturday is another big party at the same house.  I tend to be a little more conservative with my costumes yet Eric and I are still known to go a wee bit overboard.  This year, my husband is trying to convince me to be a little more risque than this modest chica would normally be.  What?  Does he really want to get jealous again?  Eric, on the other hand...I can only shake my head and say - he is a nasty, nasty man.   

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Home is where the heart is.


1. residence: the place where a person, family, or household lives
2. family group: a family or any other group that lives together
3. birthplace: the place where somebody was born or raised or feels that he or she belongs
I challenge these definitions.  Yes, these are the standard and stereotypical ones but there is a beautiful phrase which I feel best defies these trite and cold explanations,  "Home is where the heart is".
When I moved to Colorado Springs years ago, I never truly considered it my home.  Don't get me wrong, I loved the city and leaving Colorado behind only to return to the smoggy sprawl of Southern California after my divorce devastated me. 
No matter how hard I tried to make a go of it in the lovely city at the base of Pike's Peak, I could never call it my own.  It rang hollow and empty.  Perhaps that's why when I left it behind and drove over the San Bernardino mountains into Southern California, I was both sad and hopeful.  Where was my home?  Yes, I was born in one of the palm tree laden cities below, my family was interspersed throughout the area, and the house I grew up in was just a traffic jam away, but could I find a place that would make me truly happy?  A place where I could be myself and not hold anything back?  Where I could share my soul and not be judged or dismissed? Where I could whip off my bra, kick up my heels, and say the first thing that popped into my head, and this is the kicker - have someone actually interested in whatever that gibberish might be?  This was a tall order wish list.  
My proposed definition is still a noun but it's not a place; instead it's a person or a group of people whom you find comfort in.  My home is my family and friends.  It's whom I've learned to hang my heart with.  My home are my sisters and nieces whom I played a vicious game of dominoes with last Sunday night, it's my mother sitting across a kitchen table from me sharing a cup of coffee, my friends and sister screaming at a scary movie with me, one of my oldest high school friends knowing that the lives we've shared will soon come to end, a sweet guy texting me throughout the day and making me laugh when I need it the most, a group of ladies who share the same commonality of our behaviorally challenged children and whom I've have come to depend on for strength and encouragement, and finally and most definitely my husband - when I walk into his arms after a long absence, he personally delivers me my tall order wish list and smiles.  I've finally come home.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I always go pee before boarding a plane...

I arrived.  Just barely.  I failed to mention this the other day when I said I was taking a sabbatical to California that I hate flying.  No, I don't just hate it, I'm terrified of it.  I may have alluded to this before in one of my previous blogs, but in my excitement to get away from the adolescents in my home, I forgot this fear until I watched the following news clip the night before my trip.  This, like other horrifying new stories, should come with some sort of prior disclaimer.  I was beside myself in abject terror.  Let this be a warning to those of you who do not like to fly; turn away from your monitor and make sure your sound is off.  This will haunt you for weeks...

As I sat alone in the Denver International Airport, I relived every horrifying memory or every horrifying airplane crash in every movie which has ever had one hoping that I had said the proper good-byes to all my loved ones back in my neighborhood.  And I waited.  And I stressed.  And I considered if it would be bad Karma to start my Rosary only to stop mid decade if boarding began before I were to finish.  Should I go to the bathroom?  I had already gone three times but perhaps I should go again?  If the plane were to malfunction, I would hate to wet myself on the way down.  That would just add insult to injury.  I went again.  Just a trickle but I felt better.

My plane was tiny.  It was a shuttle plane.  Lovely.  Just the world "shuttle" implies open fin-like propellers. These propellers are known to catch lost brothers and sisters of the wild, stupid Canadian geese which fly across the Colorado front range when they've lost their flocks along the way.  Breathe.  Nope.  Hyperventilation had begun.  My relaxation techniques of a finding a crystal clear pool of blue water had morphed into an ugly, mosquito infested, murky basin of nastiness.  There was no hope for me other than to find my little orange bottle with the white prescription label of Valium.

My dose is not a high one.  Just enough to settle my nerves and keep my from shaking like a leaf in times of extreme anxiety.  Lord knows, no one wants to see me in this state.  

I boarded the plane and as usual, as I entered the aircraft, my eyes wandered to the bolts outside the door.  Where they worn?  How much rust had accumulated over time?  In my mind, I entertained news reports of a plane crash over the Rockies due an old, exterior door crumbling away and unsuspecting passengers being sucked out of the fuselage like lifeless rag dolls (again, I was glad I pee'd before I boarded the plan). 

The seats are so tiny.  Why is this?  Can't we be comfortable before we die? AND, oh my gosh!  Really, seat me next to the gorgeous young dude?  I don't want to sit next to him.  I get so sloppy when I weep. 

"Hi, how are you?"

"I'm ok.  Not a good flyer, I'm afraid.  It's time for another med."


"Yep.  This plane's a lot smaller than I thought it would be."

"This is your second one?"  He grinned.  (Geez, what a nice grin.  Isn't he a movie star or something?)

"Yep.  Not one of my prouder moments.  Don't tell on me, ok?"

"Your secret's safe." (Good grief, there's the grin again.  Maybe I should take a third one in case the plane does goes down and I end up pee'ing my pants.  This way at least I won't be aware that I'm doing it...)

As it turned out, the third pill was never necessary.  Judging by the amount of drool I wiped off my face and neck when I eventually woke-up, I assume I was out at least ten minutes after take-off.  Thank goodness I passed out against the window.  It would have been horrifying had I passed out on him.  The grilled ham and onion sandwich I ate right before boarding left my breath in a horrifying state.  It was if that sandwich decided to make return performance on my tongue.  In fact, had it not been for the fact that my breath was so awful, I might have continued to sleep and made the connecting flight to San Fransisco.

In a couple of days I need to make my return flight to Denver.  I've been dreading this adventure since the moment I touched down in LA with smeared eye liner, bad breath, Valium induced airplane hair, and a nervous bladder.  The weather forecast is calling for snow and wind coming into Colorado on my way home.  My little orange bottle with the white prescription label of Valium is ready and waiting. 

Is there anything I'll do differently to prepare for the flight home?  Yes.  I'll probably start my Rosary before the boarding process begins and pop my meds down with a shot of Whiskey. This time I don't want enough time to consider how good looking the dude is next to me.  If I need some one's shoulder to drool on, I can't worry if it's Brad Pitt's or George Clooney's.  He's just going to have to deal with my grilled ham and onion breath because I've got enough to worry trying to hold my water on the way down. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sticks and Stones...

Tomorrow afternoon I'm getting on an airplane and taking a five day sabbatical.  Alone.  No children, no husband, no responsibilities other than making sure I get on the right plane at the appropriate gate. 

I will miss only three things.  The cool, crisp Autumn weather I'm leaving behind.  The silly conversations I have with Eric right before I fall asleep and my dogs.  Where, in this equation, are my children?  Am I an awful mother?  I'll let you, my readers and friends, consider this.  I am beyond worrying about it today.  I have some last minute laundry to do, medications to organize, and a multitude of lists and emergency instructions to prepare as I'm determined not to receive desperate phone calls during my time away.

My sisters and mother, after having resolved that I'm teetering dangerously close to a maternal meltdown, have purchased me a ticket to sunny Southern California where they live.  I suspect I won't have much "down" time.  My family is always on the go, planning and arranging some get-together or activity.  I'm fine with this.  As long as the chaos is not my own, I can settle into it with a comfortable ease. 

I just need a break from the constant adolescent turmoil which has erupted in the Potts' household over the last several months.  I'm desperate for time away from my kiddos accusing me of being heartless or cruel.  I can only be called a "Bitch" so many times before my hard shell starts cracking (literally).  I'm tough - but not that tough.  Growing up in my family, if I called my mom this (of course I thought it more than I care to admit), I would suffer a punishment greater than death.  Here, in my household, it's just one of the many adjectives which seem to adhere to my title.  

So, this Bitch is done.  She's off tomorrow.  No mas (no more).  "Hey, mom!" will leave the building.  Here are a couple of suggestions for my kiddos just in case...
  • If the TV remote control is lost, look for it where you last left it.  My suggestion is under the sofa cushions.
  • Dad made cold sandwiches and chips again for dinner?  Thank him (because I know he'd rather not have made anything at all) and maybe next week when I get back, you'll appreciate that I cook a hot meal every night of the week. 
  • Dessert after dinner?  Have an apple.
  • If it rains, get your umbrella out, William.  Dad won't be driving you to school.  
  • No special laundry requests this week.  Wash it yourself if you must wear it so desperately.
  • If there's a movie you want to see this weekend, you'll have to wait.  Dad doesn't like going to the movies.  Oh - wait, I don't have any money.  I don't work.  I don't make a living.  I'm just a housewife.  I can't take you to the movie anyway.  Never mind.
My goodness - I'm already feeling better!  Bring on my sister's houseful of teens.  At least her chaos isn't mine and the monsters in it won't call me nasty names.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Same S#$%, Different Day

Here I am again.  Another day, another huge bowl of "Candy Bar in a Cup" (also known as "Bri's Coffee").  My life seems like an eternal rerun of the movie, Ground Hog Day, with Bill Murray.  Every day is the same, with a bit of a tweak, in my ever elusive quest to get it right.

Today is already a little off.  I'd have to re-roll the film and it's only 5:56am.  Tank, my 24 pound Lhasa Apso, as sweet as he is, has determined that he must sit on my lap this morning.  This is unfortunate because he's always been jealous of my relationship with the computer.  It's very slow going when I have sharp claws pawing for my attention - or perhaps he has to go poo?  I can never be sure anymore.

In a few minutes I'll wake my son William up.  He'll ask for Oatmeal or a Pop-Tart for breakfast, he'll barely brush his teeth, beg me for a ride to school a few blocks away, and then sullenly head out the door for his morning walk.  Then, I'll have 30 minutes of sweet silence before Austynn tumbles out of bed and asks for a Pop-Tart too.  Part-Tarts are only given on those desperately late mornings, otherwise I make them something a little more nutritious.  The kiddos know this but they ask me every day for one.  I can practically time their requests down to the second. The Cartoon Network will be turned on for a half hour.  Austy will make his bed and sort of brush his teeth.  Mom helps with his hair, skin medicine, and out the door for the drive to school.  Silence.  Wheew.  Deep bliss.

Has anything changed yet from yesterday?  Only the welts raising up on my arm from Tank.


Time to feed the dogs.  Tulip, our princess and the weirdest of all Shih Tzus, can not be convinced that eating out of a dog bowl will not kill her.  I must feed her the gruesome, wet food in small amounts on the kitchen tile.  Not to worry clean freaks.  This particular tile area is probably the cleanest spot on my floor as I too am a clean freak and sanitize it thoroughly afterwards.  Nastiness! 

Bath time.  My one indulgence of the day.  This is usually interrupted by a number of things. 
  • One of the dogs didn't go poop poop outside when they were supposed to
  • I receive a phone call from Adams 12 School District asking me to take home one of my suspended children
  • A sudden and unexpected thunderstorm hits and every window in the house is wide open (after all, this is Colorado)
  • The smoke detectors go off because Austynn distracted me earlier and I left something in the oven
Once I finish dealing with any unforeseen incidents, I either run errands or take care of household chores.  Today for instance, Tuesday, I would be sorting, washing, and folding tons and tons and tons of family laundry.  How do three guys accumulate so much in just one week?  Good grief!

You know, I'm bored with this.  I don't want to do it anymore.  It doesn't change.  Even the laundry stays the same.  Same shirts, same ugly jeans.  Yuck!  I'm calling Bill Murray.  Maybe he can change it up for me.  Show me a new and exciting way to fold T-shirts or wipe toothpaste off the boys bathroom sink.  Because I've gotta tell you, folks - it really does feel like the same shit but a different day - except for Tank's scratches.  Dammit Tank, stop scratching me!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Good guys find "Happily Ever After".

I find myself talking a lot lately about my past - about the people in it and the affect they've had on my life.  Why is that?  Why am I visiting these years now that I'm in my forties?  Am I afraid that I'll lose them or the memories?  Do other people do this at my age?  Are we suddenly drawn to our youth at this juncture and do we question the decisions that we made and the roads that we've taken to get where we are today?  So thought indigestible.

I suppose we could all feel some remorse over the things we've done when we were younger.  I know I for one barrelled through a lot of people and hurt them along the way.  And, of course, some hurt me along the journey too.  I was young and foolish and thoroughly immature.  How naive I was to think that moving out of of my parent's house with the first fellow who said, "yes" meant that I should marry him four years later.  Wrong.  Then, as if that wasn't bad enough, I tried to conform him into what I thought my husband should be - like my father.  Wrong again.  I believe the worst part of this situation was that he didn't love me.  How could anyone not love me?  How was this possible?  Ego slap.  Painful slap right across my over-inflated self image.  Damn that's embarrassing!  Move along, lesson learned.

Loving someone - a friend - pouring almost a lifetime's worth of memories into this relationship and getting burned over and over again.  I kept coming back for more because I didn't see it.  Love can be that way.  One day, that was it.  She was done with me for good.  There was no reason given.  No discussion.  She was done with me.  Heartbreak.  Maybe some day she'll tell me what I did and I'll be ok with it.  Until then, it eats away at me.  Perhaps that's what she wants.  If so, it's extremely cruel.

I led a very nice and decent man on.  I let him believe that I loved him when I didn't.  This was awful.  It made me feel powerful and sexy.  It gave me a sense of control over someone.  The night when he proposed to me with a ring, I realized the crime I committed.  On one knee, by a Las Vegas pool, under the moonlight he laid out his plans for us and our future.  He was devastated when I said no.  I played with his life and his emotions.  I knew this and so did he.  I've never forgiven myself for this.  It makes me sick to remember the look on his face.  This is a moment in my life I wish I could take back.  I'm sorry, my dear friend.  I'm so sorry.

An amazing night on a dance floor in Scotland which quickly moved to an elevator and then to a fire escape.  Wow.  I would not trade this memory in for a life time. 

A sweet man with a southern accent.  A huge part of my life then and a continuing part of my life now.  How is it that the people I least expect to connect with, I do?  He was obnoxious, he smoked, and looked as goofy as they came but he touched my heart with his honesty.  This is how I quantify my friends and lovers.  They must be sincere.  This man is as sincere as they come.  He will always be my friend.  I am blessed to have him just a phone call away.  And yes, he is still extremely goofy.  Perhaps this is why I love him so. 

And finally there's my best friend.  There is nothing I would change over the years with him.  Maybe I would have tried kissing him a little sooner.  No.  I think sometimes life works out the way it does for it's own purpose.  I needed all my life experiences to get me ready for Eric, to open the door for him so to speak.  He was there for all my ups and downs.  He was jealous when I was dating my boyfriends (though he never told me so).  He was aware of my sadness during my first marriage.  We hung out at parties and he stood by during my crazy days.  He waited for me to grow up and settle down and knew one day, perhaps his time would come.  Soul mates usually meet up in the end.  "Happily Ever After" always happens to the good guys, doesn't it?

Maybe this is why I'm looking back at my life now that I'm in my forties...I'm just so lucky God considered me a good guy in my own story.  No, now that I think of it - it was just Eric He was probably looking out for. 


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Don't do as I do. Do as I say. Why isn't your father having this conversation?

Don't do it, Bri!  Don't tell your 16 year old all your deep dark secrets!!  Too late, I did.  D'oh!

The moment finally arrived - and I knew it would - when my young, teenage son asked me questions about what I have and haven't done in my life.  Why wasn't it Eric sitting across from him?  Eric has always been a good guy.  He has never done naughty things.  Maybe that's why I was cornered.  Yes, William knew it.  He sensed it like a cat.  No.  He's not that clever.  Not that I'm being a cruel parent by saying this, it's just that I'm usually the one home during the day when these odd conversations come up after temper tantrums.  Will is a smart kiddo but he doesn't know his parents as well as he thinks he does.

It all started with a nasty fight between William and Austy and of course it happened while I had company over.  Our meal was finished for some time so my friends weren't shocked because they also have children who are behaviorally challenged.  In fact, our boys were in the same social skills group for Aspergers and Autistic Spectrum kids.  I was just annoyed that our afternoon had to end with cursing and screaming from upstairs.  No one wants to end a lovely day listening to that garbage. 

Bye friends!  I love you... 

Good luck, Bri!  (Deep sigh...)

"Go to your room, Austynn until you can talk respectfully to me."

"YOU'RE A BITCH!  I HATE YOU! (He gives me the middle finger) I'M NOT GOING TO MY ROOM!!"

"When the clock says 3:30 and you've been in there quietly without anymore temper tantrums, you may come out and tell me what happened but not until then.  If not, you'll have to wait longer.  Do you understand?"



Screaming, crying..."YES!!!!" 

"Thank you.  Please go in your room and do not kick your walls.  That's part of the deal to being quiet.  I will be in my room waiting for you at 3:30.  Thank you, Austynn."

There is no door on Austynn's room because of the notorious battery issues and safety concerns we have with him so he knows that quiet means quiet.  So far, he was doing a very good job. 

"William, you may come into my room now if you can talk calmly and rationally with me.  Please close the door behind you."

So for the next 45 minutes William and I have our talk.  It started with his entire life is being ruined by Austynn.  Of course.  It's always about Austynn.  William is 16.  He has to blame his hormones on someone.  I finally shifted him off of the topic.  Then the heart to heart talk began.

Eric and I used to lay in bed at night wondering how I would approach this conversation.  My theory has always been to be honest with my kiddos but at the time, I didn't know our kiddos were going to be William and Austynn.  Eric and I never did come to a resolution.  Now suddenly I had a young teenage son in front of me waiting for answers...uh oh.

"Mom, did you ever smoke?"

(I shifted in my seat uncomfortably wondering how far he was going to go with this line of questioning.)  "Yes.  I tried some cigarettes when I thirteen and then when I was eighteen I picked it up for a couple of years.  I also smoked cloves.  It was nasty though.  I hated the way I smelled, my mouth always felt gross, it was disgusting.  Thank God it didn't become a habit.  I thought I looked cool and sexy.  I actually looked like an immature idiot."

"Cloves?  Where do you get those?"

"At a liquor or a tobacco store.  They're actually a lot more dangerous than cigarettes and they taste nasty too.  I don't know why I smoked them.  Maybe I thought they were exotic or something."

"Have you ever smoked pot?"

(Oh shit, here we go...)  "Yes."


"I have, William.  I'm not going to lie to you."  (Should I start now?  Is it 3:30 yet?  Where's Austynn?)

"When was the last time you smoked it?"

Because I have such caring and loving friends out in the Internet world who may be concerned on my behalf, I will not continue the conversation I had with William other than to say that I explained that pot is illegal and as long as it's still illegal in Colorado, it is not something to be condoned.  Yes, I have done illegal things in my life that I'm not necessarily proud of.  Will they get me arrested no.  They're small misdemeanors for instance running stop signs, criminal mischief like toilet papering houses, or smoking pot with friends but even this I do very, very rarely.  I explained to him that I'm an adult and I make adult decisions concerning myself.

This was my love letter via conversation with my sixteen year old son yesterday...

Dear William:

I am not always the best example for you and that this makes me sad.  I try to be.  No parent is perfect.  Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and my sailor mouth kicks into gear.  I love God with my whole heart, my whole soul, and my whole mind, so I try my best never to use the Lord's name in vain.  The rest of the words are just words but I still need to tone them down.  I try help others and if that means giving the only ten dollars we have to someone who obviously needs it more, than so be it.  I've given rides to strangers in the rain, stopped to pick up strays in the middle of the street, and given bottles of water to folks who's cars have broken down on the side of the road.  I hope that by doing these things I've taught you compassion and empathy.

Ok, so I've smoked a little weed, said some rotten things, and hurt your feelings a few times.  I own it.  No matter what I do or say, I'm your Mother.  You looked at me ten years ago with all my goofy tye-dye crazy dancin' in the family room jumping in pool completely dressed kind of ways and said, "I want you to be my mama".  And I looked at you with all your serious angry pullin' your hair out by the roots beating your head against the walls afraid to laugh kind of ways and said, "I want you to be my little boy".  We were special.  We were given a chance to choose each other. 

I want you to choose your father as an example to follow, not me.  He's kind, gentle, and loving.  He doesn't smoke or drink to excess.  He treats me, his wife, with respect and admiration.  I can't tell you how many women strive to have a husband to honor them as much as he does me.  No matter what I do, he stands beside me.  He loves you and your brother beyond words.  He has shown you how a Father should treat his children.  I hope that he has broken the cycle of abuse and neglect that you've come from.  He will always be there for you.  He has altered his life for you and he will continue to do so for as long as you live.  That was the promise he made when you walked into his life. 
"MOM!  It's 3:30.."

Shut UP, AUSTYNN and go AWAY!  Mom's telling me about when she smoked pot."

(Really?  That's all we got from this conversation?  Lovely.)   "Come on in, Austynn.  Obviously this is all we're going to talk about today."



Friday, October 14, 2011

I hate money, but if I had it...

I hate money.  I hate thinking about it.  I hate worrying about it.  I hate that when I wake up in the morning it's my first concern of the day. 

I suppose if I had money, I'd like it. I could go to the mattress store and buy that king size bed that Eric and I have been pining away for. The one that would give us and the dogs enough room to have our first good night sleep long have the dogs been with us?  2 1/2 years.  Lovely.  No.  No matter how big the mattress size, the puppies would still manage to find a way to cuddle in between our legs, against our backs, and on top of our heads.  Eric and I must face reality and assume we'll never have a good night's sleep again.

We could take the family vacation we've wanted to take.  Drive the boys down south and visit Texas.  There's the Alamo, San Antonio and much to see and do in the great Lone Star State.  Oh, wait a minute.  Texas.  That's right.  Eric has an odd aversion to Texas.  I believe I've blogged about it before.  It was a mystery at the time but just recently he discovered why he dislikes it so much.  Football.  It has everything to do with Football.  I know - odd, weird, strangely pathetic - but if you knew my man, you would kind of understand it.  He would prevent his family from a lovely, educational, and adventurous driving trip because of his intense dislike of the Dallas Cowboys and their 1970's era domination with Roger Staubach.  I married the man.  I must be patient.

If I had money I'd go to the mall and shop for fancy clothes, get all decked out, and dine at a 5-star restaurant with my love.  It's been so long since we've last had a quiet, romantic evening alone.  No.  Now that I think about it, who am I fooling?  I have always been a sweatshirt, blue jeans, and sneakers kind of a gal.  I hate fussy restaurants.  In fact, if I'm stuck in one, my tendency is to shoot spit balls across the table at Eric and completely misbehave.  I believe I have maybe 4-5 skirts in my closet and out of those, I just gave three of them away.  My idea of a date with my husband is walking along a beach but since we've moved to Colorado, I'll take making out at a drive-in movie any day. 

Money.  I just want just enough to pay the bills, buy some some milk, and help a friend in need.  I believe that the more you have, the more you want.  So, let the billionaires pay their fair share (and maybe a little more) in taxes and perhaps the rest of us should just appreciate what we have.  In the meantime, I'm going to tell the boys to stop guzzling down three glasses of milk with their dinner.  After all, there are a lot of kids out in the world who would be grateful for just one.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How do you dodge a 200 ton locomotive? You don't.

I've been doing a lot of whining and moaning lately about my sixteen year old (yes, it's official - his birthday is this weekend).  I suppose you're all tired of it by now or at least ready to hang yourselves for the fateful day day when your little ones hit the dreaded teen years.  I apologize for going on about him but he has been taking up a lot of my lunacy lately.

I used to think that the battles between teenagers and their parents fell mainly between the like sexes for instance, sons and their fathers, daughters and their mothers.  Not so.  It happens to land on the most volatile of personalities which makes complete sense actually.  I was foolish to think otherwise.  William and I are both extremely headstrong and stubborn.  Of course we're going to butt heads on everything.  Why would I expect anything else?

So yesterday was another fight, another ugly scene.  It wasn't as bad as Monday's.  I didn't use any expletives on him.  He was completely out of control and he knew it.  Thank God Eric was home again to diffuse the situation.  It's amazing how my cleaning OCD kicks into gear when I get stressed out.  My kitchen counters never sparkled brighter.  It was also the day our weekly home therapist comes and visits.  I suppose this was the best day for it so she could see the Potts' family's true colors.  Austynn was outside trying to kill every bug he could find,  Bri was manic in the kitchen, and Eric was trying to de-escalate William who was yelling at Mom from upstairs.  A Leave it to Beaver household to be sure.  Pure 1950's perfection.  I'm surprised I didn't have cookies burning in the oven.

First she visited with Austy outside where she discovered there was trouble in paradise.  What else is new.  Lots of fighting with William lately.  Then she sat upstairs with Eric and I in our sitting room.  Yes, William has been pushing my buttons.  What can I do to escape it?  Nothing.  Yes, I have a mental illness.  (No one has ever said this to my face before.)  How do I cope with it and two extremely difficult emotionally disabled children?  I do the best that I can.  (Wow. She's asking some very tough questions.

Eventually William came in.  I always hold on tight when this happens.  You see, it's suppose to be a family therapy session or in this case, a session with William (no Austy); however, it turns into a painful 20 minutes of William directing everything hateful towards me.  The therapist tries to contain it but to no avail.  I get to just sit there and take the beating.  Mom's a bitch.  Mom doesn't listen.  Mom interrupts.  Mom's not nice.  Mom doesn't do anything.  Until the end of session when William gets up says how much better he feels, walks away, and I'm still sitting quietly in my chair thinking, "Ok - thanks for protecting me from that 200 ton locomotive.  I feel so much better now too.  Not!"   

So after all was said and done this week, after all the fights and therapy, this morning William and I had another doozy.  I accused him of sneaking some sodas out of the refrigerator last night.  This was not a far fetched accusation because in the very recent past he has done this and there were several missing this morning.  Instead of giving a civil response, he became extremely nasty with me.  Yes, I should have asked and not accused but he should have also understood why I immediately assumed it was him based on the recent problems we've had.  His tone and attitude became ugly.  I had him leave the house extremely early for school with nothing more than a cold Pop-Tart for breakfast.

After ten minutes I felt bad and went after him.  With tears in my eyes, I found him walking alone in the dark, pre-dawn streets - that same little boy we adopted ten years ago, bundled up in a wrinkled blue jacket he must have had crammed in his book bag.  He was angry.  I could see it in his stride.  I pulled over and opened the door for him.


"It's cold out there, please get in."


"Because I love you."

William stepped into the warm car and leaned into my open arms.  I held him close against me and hugged him long and tight.  I gave his wavy, auburn hair kisses and told him I loved him.  I told him I was sorry.

"I'm sorry too, Mom.  I'm sorry I was so mean."

"I know."

"Will you take me the rest of the way to school?"

"Yes.  Do you have somewhere safe to sit inside?"

"Yeah, I can sit outside the library and read my book until they open."

"Ok, here you go."  I pulled up to the front of the high school where it was still dark and somewhat empty.  The street light shown into the car and William saw the tears on my cheek.

"Why are you crying?"

"I feel bad, buddy."

"I love you, Mom!"  And with that William gave me one long, final hug before he jumped out of the car.

"Have a good day, sweetheart."

I will, you too!" and then he was gone.

Before you take the rope out, just remember that there will be beautiful moments in all of your lunacy too.

Song:  With Arms Wide Open/ Creed
Played at William's Adoption Ceremony  


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My partner loves me, I guess that makes me human.

Depth of love equals the number of times a partner in life screws up royally and said co-partner merely pulls his or her tool chest out and takes care of the royal mess without so much as a grimace.                                                                                                 

I considered this the other day when I crashed Eric's truck into the garage not once but twice.  Once in the morning while taking Austynn to school and the second time when both boys were in the backseat and I was on the way to pick up Eric at the Park n' Ride.  Actually, "crashed" is a harsh word.  Skidded, sliced, smeared, oh Hell, I don't know.  I took some dry wall off the garage and re-painted the side view mirror with it. 

If you know our garage, it's tight.  If you know the size of the truck, it's huge.  Dammit, there were a heck of a lot of factors which played into that day.  Yes, I back out of the garage like a bat out of Hell.  My bad.  I need to relax and go slower.  But if you had two ADHD kids arguing non-stop about the differences between electro magnetic engines you would want to get them to wherever it is that you're going and get them there FAST too.

Of course it didn't help when my eldest tried to remind me that it isn't my truck, it's Dad's.  That Dad loves the truck more than he loves his family.  That Dad is going to be mad at me.  That Dad is never going to forgive me.  Monday was not a good day for me to begin with and William was not helping at all.  My Aspergian son does not pick up on visual cues so he was completely oblivious to my snarling, quivering upper lip and ticking eyebrow.  He had absolutely no idea that he needed to stop his continued rant about the bit of dry wall on the truck's mirror.  Oh no, that would have been too simple.

For those of you who don't know my son, William, he is obsessed with our Ford F-150 truck.  He feels a certain entitlement to it (as most teenagers of driving age would).  Sorry, son.  It's not yours!  NEWS FLASH:  Your grades suck!  Your Dad and I will not sign off and pay for a Driver's Education Class until you maintain a "C" average with your grades.

I know I sound harsh but if you were in that truck and had to listen to his ongoing lecture about a little drywall paint on the mirror, you would completely understand where I was coming from.  Teenagers are brutal.  I was over him and my emotions got the better of me.  I said the words which every parent dreads to say in a moment of complete and utter frustration.  Do I dare type it?  Will you still love me?  Ok, here I go...

"Fuck you, William!"

I shudder now when I think of it.  Yes, I said it.  The worst catch phrase a parent can say to their child.  Austynn was in the truck too.  I'm so ashamed but I'm human.  I own it.

After those words were uttered all Hell broke loose.  William started screaming every nasty thought he could and tried to hit each button on my panel.  It was too late for that.  He'd already successfully done that months ago.  I'm impervious now; however, I did tell him that the truck is not solely Dad's but that it belonged to both Dad and myself.  That when William "tells Dad on me" (because that was his intention), Dad is not going to care in the slightest.  That Dad does not love things over his family and that Dad will not be angry at me.

It was a long ten minutes to the bus stop; the longest in my life.  When Eric climbed into the truck, William confirmed my expectations and so did my husband.  Eric turned around and told William to be quiet and that they'd discuss it when we got home.  And yes, my dear love told our son that it was just a truck and he didn't care whether I crashed into the garage wall or not.  In fact, while I told Eric the story of how and why I did it, he had that sweet, dear giggle in his voice which told me in so many ways that no one could possibly love or understand me more than my gentle man sitting beside me.  I felt such retribution.  Shame on me.

When the four of us arrived home, Eric took his handy, dandy toolbox out and went to work on resolving the mess I had created.  He sat for an hour listening to William lament over the cruel and hurtful things his Mother had said to him (regardless of the fact that they were true).  He snuggled Austynn and comforted him.  He was the gentle Dad Austynn needed especially when family fights explode in the household.  And finally, Eric came to me and held me quietly on the bed and reminded me that I was a good Mother despite the fact that I used the all time worst curse phrase on my own son.  He laughed out loud when I told him what led up to the event and commiserated with me on how awful my day had been.

By the time my mess had been cleaned up it occurred to me that no one had bothered to ask Eric how his day had been, kissed him hello, or even offered to fix any of his problems.  The depth of his love for this family and particularly me is quite amazing considering this was not the first day I've crashed a car multiple times into our garage.  Perhaps had this been the second time I crashed the truck, it might have been a completely different story...   


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gobstoppers Hurt!

I have a problem.  Well, I have lots of problems and I seem to ramble on about them every day but one in particular is about my love for all things sweet.  I can go for awhile without candy and sugar but when the need arises it hits me like a ton of Willy Wonka Gobstoppers from the sky.


Walmart is a particularly threatening place for me especially when I'm suffering from this low sugar lull.  You see, this mega store maintains bins of $1.00 boxes of my favorite brands and usually these crates are located right in front of the check-out line when I'm in a desperate hurry to get-in, get-out, and get-by without being tempted to purchase anything else I don't need.  Darn those marketing people!  They see me coming and know they've netted another sucker.

Yum!  Mike and Ike, Sour Patch Kids, Bottle Caps, M&Ms -  they're all sitting there calling my name and they're not the small boxes either.  No.  They're the large, economy boxes which can last me at least a couple of hours if I'm conservative and don't pour the candy down my throat.  They're just a dollar!  What to do?  What to do?

"Mom!"  Drat!  I forgot the kids are with me..."Can we have a box too?"

"Yes, yes but you can't take it to school."

"I want Junior Mints." Good. I hate Junior Mints.  I won't snake any of his candy when he's not looking.

"I want Bottle Caps."  Uh Oh.

"Are you sure, William?  I thought you liked Junior Mints, too?"  Shoot.  I can't possibly buy the same candy and there are too many opportunities for him to break into my box when I'm not looking.  Am I really having these thoughts while standing over the Walmart candy bin?  How pathetic!

"Yeah, They don't put as much candy in the chocolate boxes."  Good point, my son is a genius.

"Ok, I'll switch to Sour Patch Kids."  Darn it, William!  Did you have to say that out loud in front of Austynn?  I love Sour Patch Kids.

Now I have to make a another decision.  Oooh, Spree!  The only box I see.  Yum!  They're mine.  Nobody touch them!  Hands off suckers!!

We head to the check out counter.  A cartridge of much needed red printer ink and 3 boxes of oversized candy one of which is already opened.  Guess who's?  Yep, mine. 

"Mom, can we open ours now too?'

"No.  You have to go to school in a half hour and besides it's only 9:30am in the morning."

"Then why do you get to eat yours now?'

"Because I'm your mother, I'm paying for it, and this is my breakfast."

"Well, technically you're not paying for it.  Dad is."

I pass Austynn a look which says, "If you continue this line of conversation, not only will I take your Sour Patch candy but I will eat it in front of you before you get to school."

By the time I drop the boys off and sign them in for being tardy from their dentist appointment (Yes, what a fine example I teach.  Whatever. They had no cavities.), I had completed my entire box of sour, crunchy candy.  Normally, I tend to save some and split it out over several days but Austynn's comment about my technically not buying the candy touched a nerve - probably the one on my front right molar. 

If any of you, my dear friends and readers, have an affinity towards sour candy - you probably understand where this paragraph is heading.  First of all, never, ever eat large amounts of sour candy in one sitting, especially not in less than one hour.  A mouth can only absorb so much citric acid before it starts swelling up like a balloon.  I could not swallow or talk for at least three hours after my candy inhalation.  There's nothing more embarrassing than to explain why I - a grown woman - was drooling all over herself.   Secondly, my mouth aches from where I bit the inside of my lip and cheeks from the numbness.  Not a pleasant experience.  And finally, I still can't taste anything.  Total bummer! 

So yesterday I was a dumb ass.  Those Gobstoppers whacked me on the head and did some serious brain damage.  No more hard or sour candy for me.  I believe it's time to move on.  Time to walk past the Walmart candy bins and act like a grown up.  Next time I'll buy chocolate instead.  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Something is missing again. Could it be Mrs. Potts., in the Study, with the..??

It's truly frightening when anything goes missing in my house.  There are just so many possibilities to what could have happened.

If it's a battery or something of electrical significance, of course we turn our thoughts immediately to our youngest son, Austynn.  However, these days it's not so simple anymore.  His older brother, William, loves to get him into trouble so it's usually a matter of intense investigation.  The schemes are getting more and more complicated.  Eric and I are very concerned that the house will burn down around us while we're in the midst of our next criminal inquiry.

Dad's tools.  Mom is never a suspect here.  I don't even know where they're located and could care less.  The toilet bowl could "runneth over" and my theory is, "turn off the water and close the door until Dad gets home".  (Yes, it's true.  I play the role of the hapless female and play it quite well).  There are always three suspects here:  William, Austynn, and DAD

Darren McGavin
From the Movie, A Christmas Story
Eric will approach his extremely organized and well stocked tool chest with an air of collected self-confidence until he sees a missing tool and then...WHOA NELLIE!  I can hear him screaming from my bedroom upstairs.  Cursing, slamming, sputtering - he rivals the Father figure in the holiday movie, A Christmas Story.  A moment later he'll rip open the door yelling for the boys to come down to the garage.  Usually, one of the kiddos are guilty and it will take a few moments to admit they have the contraband in their bedroom or someplace else in the garage.  If this is the case, a mandatory lecture is given and eventually they're off as if nothing has happened.  Every once in a while they'll point out to Dad where he placed it in error.  Oops!  The boys have learned never to laugh at Dad's expense or they'll still get a lecture.  Just walk away, boys.  Just walk away...

Misplaced keys and/or sunglasses.  This is another one of my awful inherited traits.  I watched my Mom for years suffer through this anxiety every morning before school or as she was running late to get someplace; however, I don't lose my things.  Again, they get misplaced.  There is no possible way I can lose my car keys.  They're a ridiculously huge set. I blame whatever this mishap is on my children.  If they would just stop talking I could remember what I was doing from one moment to the next.  I also blame this on my extraordinarily large purse.  Why, you ask, don't I just buy a smaller purse?  Because then who would carry the hand sanitizer, Austynn's Band-Aids, my Valium, ChapStick, and 30 assorted maxed out credit cards?

Food.  Now this could be anyone's deal.  We're all gluttons for snacks in the Potts' household; however, Eric and I don't tend to snack unless the boys have pushed us to the brink of insanity and then we don't hide it.  We just pull out the potato chips, bags of chocolate morsels, and cans of cake frosting and weep deeply into the empty containers.  High maintenance children will keep up eternally fluffy.  Austynn is usually not the culprit because he doesn't know how to be a "secret snacker".

"Austynn, were you eating Cheetos before dinner?"

"No, Mom"

"Really?  Then can you explain the Cheetos finger smear on your homework and on the pantry door?"

Not only does William sneak food, but he takes odd things that I wouldn't notice right away.  "Where's the pound of cheddar cheese I was going to use for enchiladas tonight?"  Dammit!

And finally, there are the small, obscure things which go missing like hair bands, jewelry, and earplugs.  Usually I can just chalk this stuff up to the House Troll and assume they'll turn up in their own good time.  Yes, very true - in their own good time.  Yesterday, Eric was picking up some dog poop and noticed that one of my purple ear plugs had been unfortunately taste tested.  I'm also missing one of my favorite earrings.  This too may turn up in its own good time; however, if it does, I don't believe I'll ever want it back.           

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Yesterday I met the Devil and his name was Bill.

Yesterday I wrote about corporate office Hell.  There are all sorts of fiery dominions out there.  Sometimes I believe there's not a fire and brimstone type of Hell waiting for us in the nether world when we die.  There are days when I think Hades is here on Earth in different forms and in different locations for example, Federal Government offices.

You see, the Federal Government does not believe it's necessary for people to find their offices to conduct general business for instance, updating or replacing Social Security information, filing for disability, etc., however, their top security locations are so obvious that they can be located from space.  Wow.  I'm thinkin' this is a bit ironic.

Now I must admit, taking an hour and a half to locate a Social Security office with all of today's technological gadgets is somewhat ridiculous.  I own that.  My cell phone was not charged properly and as I hopped off the freeway the fateful beep of a dead battery clearly indicated that my GPS navigation had evaporated along with it.  Seriously?  How hard could it be?  It was a Federal Government office for Pete's sake. 

Eureka!  I found the Federal Building.  I drove up to Gate 1 and asked the security guard, "Social Security Office?"

"Sorry Ma'am, not here."  Ok, perhaps next gate.

"Social Security Administration Office?"

"Ma'am?"  (If I hear 'Ma'am' again, I'm going to scream.)

"I need the Social Security Office?"

"Ma'am, (uh oh, I'm gonna...) you're at the Federal Building. (Yes, and you're point is...) The Social Security Office is down the street. (okaaay)  Make a u-turn, go down Kipling, turn right on Oak, turn left.. (Oh fuck, where's my coffee...whatever!)


I drove down Kipling as instructed.  I saw a brown sign which I assumed had something to do with the Federal Government.  It said turn right which I, of course, was in the left lane.  It didn't stop me. (Wheew, that was a close one.  Thank God I'm in Eric's truck.)  Another brown sign. Turn left.  (What?!  Didn't the address day Kipling?  Good grief?!  Where is this place?)  A back alley.  Turn around.  Turn again.  Another street.  Another brown sign.  (Now I know what my taxes are paying for.)  At last, I found the building.  A small, ugly 1950's location behind a grocery store.

It was 1:30pm, my phone was dead, and my surly teen would be leaving school soon and trying to get into a locked up house.  He doesn't carry house keys for a reason, another long story.  I had to borrow someone's cell phone.  Thank God for nice people.  One crisis averted.

The waiting room was packed with angry looking people.  Hmm, I wonder why?  After I entered, there was one more of them.  I was  #T192.  There was a series of different numbers for different issues but my series was on #T187.  I assumed it wouldn't take so long.

1:57pm:      T187
2:10pm:      T188
2:26pm:      T189

The scream was starting to well up in my throat again.  Not only did I have to pick up Austynn from school at 3:30pm but I had to drive through Friday Denver traffic on three freeway systems to get to him.  I was starting to hyperventilate.

Finally I was called.  Even though this was my third attempt in four years to get the boys' social security cards replaced with their adopted names, I knew this would go smoothly and quickly.  I had all of the adoption paperwork in front of me, the social security applications filled out properly, and even had a social worker call in advance to ensure everything was in order before I made this painful visit again.

The competent young man who's name was Bill, looked at all of my documentation and with one fateful swish of his ugly federal wand stated, "I'm sorry, ma'am" (oh, no, NO!), since their adoptions were completed so many years ago, it's necessary that you provide some sort of picture identification with their current names or some medical documentation before new social security cards can be issued.

I did it.  I finally did it.  It was the last "Ma'am" and the last straw.  I screamed.  It wasn't a shrill scream.  The security guard didn't come running but it was enough to startle even the most composed of chair sitters.  It was a pathetic, frightful thing which came gurgling out with a thud when my head hit the counter.

Yesterday, I visited Hell.  Bill and his federal wand was actually Diablo with his pitchfork in disguise.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cubicle Hell. Bri's Personal Nightmare.

I have to admit that I'm glad I'm a stay at home mom.  Now if I could just get paid for it...

Six degrees of separation.  Does anyone out there want to pay me for staying home?  Perhaps take some of these silly blogs, convert them into hard cover, and actually pay me for them?  Good grief.  No such luck.

Back in the day, I dreaded sitting in cubicles.  Those of you out there who sat across from me in these grey, cloth-covered boxes know this about me.  I was not cut out for it.  I hated office work.  I hated the fluorescent lights, the monotony of corporate meetings, and the silliness of office politics.  I was bad at it.  My opinion was, why couldn't we just get along and do what we needed to do?  Show up when we were supposed to, do what were hired for, and stop whining about other people.  It didn't seem so hard to me and yet the moment I became a supervisor everything went to Hell in a hay basket.  Yuck.  I wasn't accustomed to people complaining and certainly didn't like people in-fighting and not doing their jobs.  Everybody be happy!  Leave Breezy alone!  Let her drink her coffee in peace and harmony in her crappy, ratty, flannel over-sized sweater jacket thing in her dark, pre-dawn silent space.

Strangely enough people assume I'm an extrovert - a people lovin' kind of gal.  Oh no.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I'm fine one on one with people but place me in a room of folks that I don't know or in a situation that's too fussy and I'm absolutely miserable.  I believe I've mentioned this before.

This is why I hated office work.  It all seemed so phony to me.  People play too many games.  Unless I could find tried and true, none gossipy folks to hang out with I'd rather just keep to myself.  I had fallen into these groups before which made me miserable.  Things were said, spread, and turned ugly.  It always made me feel bad.  I just liked to laugh, be goofy, and know that I could trust people when I told them I went into my manager's office and passed gas when I was angry with her (I will neither confirm nor deny this).

So here I am at home and per my oldest son, "making absolutely no financial contribution whatsoever" to the well being of this household.  Damn, I hate the fact that he pushed a button months ago which hit and hit hard.  Question time, what do I do and do well?  I take excellent naps.  I pray pretty good.  I schedule lots and lots and lots of doctor, therapy, and psychiatrist appointments.  I wash laundry.  Pick up dog barf (I'm still trying to figure out who fed Tulip what and when).  I seem like I'm always driving someplace.  Why is that?  I do a lot of stuff.  How do I quantify this in pay?

Hmm...I'm just happy I don't have to work in a grey, cloth-covered cubicle.  Somehow, what I do today seems harder.  I'm busier and there's still too much in-fighting.  Everybody be happy!  Leave Breezy alone! Let her drink her coffee in peace and harmony in her crappy, ratty, flannel over-sized sweater jacket thing in her dark, pre-dawn silent space.  Ok, time for my nap.  I'm thoroughly exhausted but before I do, I think I'll go into William's room, sit on his pillow, and pass some gas.