Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

I've been feeling a bit off lately.  It's difficult to describe but for those of you out there in the Internet world who take medication for depression or bi-polar, you might understand what I'm talking about.

I've screwed up with my medications.  They've been altered slightly by my psychiatrist and some are waiting to be filled and some I just haven't taken.  To be quite honest with you, I'm not quite sure sure what's up or down.  To add to the confusion, this 44 year old woman has had a pregnancy scare to frighten all middle aged women into celibacy for the rest of their middle age years.  Laugh.  Go ahead.  It was/is serious enough for me to walk into Walgreen's and spend money I didn't have on an early pregnancy detection kit.  It's still a little too early to know, but if the symptoms I've been experiencing the last three days don't fade away soon...well, let's just say friggin' inconceivable.

So today, everything and everyone has made me grumpy...especially Austynn.

"Are you wearing your belt?"

"I don't need a belt."

"Austynn, go put a belt on."

"Mom, what is it with you and belts?"

"I don't want to see your butt crack and I know your teacher doesn't want to either." (Have I mentioned how brutally honest I can be at times?)

"MOM!" 

"It's true, now go.  GO!"  He sulked off to find his belt.

While I was pulling my hair up into a loose pony tail, he came back into my bathroom to finish combing his hair.  "At least I don't have a hairy butt like William."

"Austynn, are you wearing your belt?"  I know full well how this can go.  Sometimes he wanders off, chooses to deliberately disobey me, and comes back in to continue the same conversation where we left off.   He showed me his belt.  Good.  Dodged that battle.  "Thank you."

"Do I, mom?"

"Do you, what?"

"Have a hairy butt like.." 

Oh, good grief!  "Austynn, can we drop this?  Your butt will be just as hairy as William's soon enough so the sooner you get over it, the better."  Austy's face dropped.  "Get used to wearing a belt now so you won't forget like William does." 

It occurred to me that perhaps Austynn doesn't want to be as hairy as his brother.  Uh oh.  News Flash -- he's going to be 3x as furry.  Poor kid.  Open mouth, insert foot. 

"Tell you what, Austynn - when you grow up, you can be a Mountain Man with a long beard."  He seemed to like where this was going.  He loves stories about himself.  "You can be a big, ferocious, furry dude in the Rockies and make friends with all the bears and critters up there."

"And I can take care of them.."

"Yes.  You'll be their caretaker.."

"And..."

This story continued until I dropped him off at the curb of his school building and will most likely continue until bedtime tonight.  Now he'll actually be grateful about eventually having a hairier butt than William.  An amazing save, don't you think?
  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

If I were a celebrity...

I was thinking about being a high paid celebrity the other day and instead found myself being truly grateful that my life is normal.  This is going to be an odd blog but it's on my mind so here I go... 

Yes, it would be lovely to walk into a spa, one of my favorite destinations in all the world, and not worry about the amount of money that I'm spending on my treatments.  To wander in, know that my appointments have been made, money is not an option, and not have to squirm about the awkward, she gave me a fantastic massage but I only have enough money for the 15% not 20% gratuity situation.  This would be a dream come true.   

Also, I would be the last paranoid passenger to board a plane and the first to disembark.  I would always sit in first class in those big, cushy, overstuffed leather seats and never, ever sit beside someone better looking than myself (refer to my prior blog about my fear of flying).  Why deal with this concern if I can pay to have it avoided?  As an extra added bonus, I would be that much closer to a bathroom and no one would judge me when I pulled out my handy dandy little prescription bottle of Valium or asked the stewardess for a shot of whiskey to swallow it down it with.

I would have an amazing  wardrobe; tailored, beautiful clothes that fit me comfortably.  No more sifting through my shirts picking through the ones with small holes chewed into the fabric by the House Troll or scrutinizing carefully for grease stains I didn't pre-treat on laundry day.  When my imported fabric purse develops a hole inside, I won't cling to it and make futile attempts to sew it myself.  I'd simply ask my assistant to purchase a new one.  Oh bliss.  And for the first time in my life I would have matching undergarments.  Perhaps black lace bra and panties...?

Ok, someone slap me please!  I started day dreaming and got a little carried away.  First of all, the spa.  It would be just my luck as a big name celebrity that I would make an ass out of myself in there and the story would make it to TMZ or something.  I could see the headline now: BRI POTTS SLIPS IN STEAM ROOM, SPA HORRIFIED.  I'd end up with a black eye, missing tooth, and on the cover of the next day's gossip magazines.  Yes, that would be a very likely scenario.

Being a celebrity wouldn't make flying any easier either.  In some ways, it would make things that much more difficult.  For instance, my panic attacks.  At least now when I start hyperventilating I can do it in somewhat obscurity.  People don't know me.  They just think I'm the crazy lady in the back row screaming because the plane is bumping around a bit.  If I were someone like Julia Roberts everyone would stop what they were doing and bring out their video cameras.  I'd be on live television comparable to the day OJ Simpson was being chased on LA freeways in his white Ford Bronco.  No.  In this case too, I'm glad I am a non-celebrity.

And finally, my wardrobe.  Yes, just once I would love to find a shirt in my closet without some sort of issue be it stain, hole, or too much cleavage exposure; however, I live in Colorado and there are more cool days than warm.  Thank goodness for sweatshirts.  And seriously, I'm not a dress-up kind o' gal anyway.  Jeans and boots.  That's my comfort level.  Oh, and the black lace bra and panties...??  I'll let you continue to wonder if that's my style or not.   After all, there are just some things a girl should keep a mystery...
     

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The season of the magical wand.

I love the holidays.   The reasons I love them are different than most people would expect.  But first, I must get a negative rant in...

I hate the shopping and the gifts.  No hate, is a weak work.  Abhor.  Yes, that's better.  When the television ads start blaring "Black Friday" specials and classic holiday songs become distorted to sell high end automobiles, I want to scream.  This race to save money on gifts has become so prolific that people will forgo a warm Thanksgiving meal with friends or family to camp overnight in front of stores.  Aren't these presents for the very people they just missed having dinner with?  How sad.  The greater gift would have been their presence at the holiday meal giving thanks for their companionship and love not stampeding for merchandise at the neighborhood Walmart. 

By the way, when did my children become so entitled?   The moment the jingles begin I start hearing, "Mom, I want this...", or  "Dad, for Christmas can I have...".  How did this happen?  They've been spoiled.  We've done it.  Now, suddenly when the money is tight, the family room won't be filled with gifts like it used to be.  They both know about Santa (though Austynn still fights it), and last year was our first of many slim years to come; however they still have this sense of entitlement.  I want this, I want that, when Nana sends me my Christmas money, I'm going to buy this.  Hearing them talk like this makes me grind my teeth.  Perhaps this year, I'll ask my Mom to donate their money to charity.  I'm ashamed that I've taught them this sense of privilege.  It's going to be difficult to undo what we've done.

Food.  Everyone wants to eat.  Eat to excess; cooking parties, dinners, desserts.  Everything is rich and delicious and cozy and there's so much of it that we partake until we're sick or it goes to waste.  So many people go hungry in this world and this is how we celebrate the season of giving?  Deep sigh.

So in all of this negativity you're wondering how I can possibly say, I love the holidays?  Okay.  I'll play.  Because even though the season brings out the worst in people, like everything else it has an opposite effect as well.  It also brings out the very, very best. 

When I drove up my street on Thanksgiving, I saw families (those who were not sitting in front of stores), gathering on their porches for pictures, hugging one another in kitchens, or playing ball together in their yards.  Groups of people -- friends and loved ones drawn together to share a common meal and give thanks for their blessings.  The very thought of this makes my giddy with happiness.  We should do this everyday. Every Sunday?  Well, beggars can't be choosy.  So for now, I'm grateful that there is at least one day a year which brings people together in this way.

This time of year also opens the eyes and hearts of people whom sometimes wander through the rest of the 365 days oblivious to the needs of those around us.  It's as if suddenly a magical, golden wand showers the night sky with kindness and mankind wakes from its' slumber with thoughts of goodwill towards one another.  Groups of people donate their time and energy to ensure that others less fortunate have warm meals and shelter on cold, winter nights.  Children, who would otherwise not have holiday gifts, are treated with donations from strangers.  And finally, random acts of kindness abound; passers-by helping broken down motorists, young people offering up their bus seats to seniors or pregnant women, or busy holiday shoppers taking a moment to say hello to a fellow shoppers as they go about their business.

Yes, there are some things I hate, oops - abhor, about the season but I believe there are more positives than negatives - more good than bad.  I know in my heart that the magical wand wouldn't allow for it to be otherwise, not when I look up at the brilliant night sky and see the multitude of stars shining down upon us.  After all, there is an ancient story about one star which inspired three men to do a great deed around this same time thousands of years ago.  Kindness, goodwill towards men...a little magic dust travels a long way and continues over the millenniums. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

For all of this, for all of you...I give thanks.

Every day is a gift.  Every breath, every smile, every movement of my big, beautiful, curvaceous body is a miracle.  So today, on this great day of giving thanks, I will give it gladly to my Creator.  I'll attempt not to overindulge in my fantastic homemade stuffing and make my curves any more attractive to Eric, my husband, than they already are.  I barely get enough sleep as it is.

I will also look towards the Western sky this afternoon, across the Rocky Mountains, and know that somewhere an hour earlier, our families - both the Potts' and Bryants' - are preparing to gather for their meals.  They'll sit at their tables, experience family politics, argue with the kids, share funny stories of past holiday meals, and think of us.  We'll simultaneously toast each other and remember the good times.

"Hmm, Umm" (clear my throat, crack my typing fingers) "I would personally like to take this blog opportunity to toast my oldest sister, Ellen.  When I was13 years old, she placed my rather large bra on my toddler brother, filled it with oranges, and had him walk into the dining room where my aunts, uncles, and cousins were having Thanksgiving dinner with us. (I stop and raise my glass)  I just recovered from this experience last week in therapy.  A toast to my wonderful sister, whom I miss tremendously and love with all my heart."

Austynn will spend the greater part of the afternoon at the kitchen table, humming to himself and meticulously cutting out intricate feathers from construction paper for a turkey centerpiece.  I will look at him and be grateful that he is a healthy, strong boy.  That for all of the horrifying abuse he and his brother, William suffered in their early childhood, they are somehow managing to survive.  I won't lie and say I wish they were thriving.  Every day, when a new issue pops up or another crisis erupts, I can't help but wonder how they're going to manage on their own when they're adults.  Yes, they're strong but only in a physical sense. One misunderstood cue, and it happens all the time with Aspergian kids, can send them into an escalated rage.  But today - today I will be grateful that the frightening shadows of Austynn's past are quietly at rest.

The music will be blaring today.  Hands clapping, feet slapping, and sporadic goofiness will erupt as my best friend and soul mate will wander through the house doing miscellaneous 'handy man' projects.  This holiday, in my estimation, is Eric's favorite; a day which costs very little, takes barely any effort (on his part), and culminates in one of his all time favorite side dishes..homemade stuffing and gravy.  How could it possibly not be his best day of the year?  The moment I start slicing onions and celery, he'll begin hovering.  He'll watch in giddy anticipation as I add the seasonings and liquid to the dry bread; however, the gravy is his biggest concern.  This ties the entire meal together. 

When we were first married, making gravy from scratch and not from a powdery substance from a packet was a complete mystery to me.  Unfortunately, my mother-in-law is an amazing cook so I've learned from trial and error over the years and had to deal with Eric's disappointment along the way.  Of course, past mistakes always weigh heavy on my mind and certainly won't help when Eric starts roaming the kitchen with a look of heightened anxiety on his face.  For the general happiness of the Potts' family meal this evening, I will be extremely grateful if he stays several feet away from me while I'm at the stovetop preparing the sauce.

And finally, when all the dishes are washed, the kids are in bed, and I'm lying next to my husband tonight, I will rewind the day, the week, the month, and the past year and quietly give thanks for all of the wonderfully diverse and beautiful people in my life...friends whom I've known since childhood, my family, church members, strangers who've knocked on life's door, said hello, and left gifts never to be forgotten.  Neighbors who have stepped in and become my second family.  My 8 year-old students who throw their arms around me after religious class on Tuesday nights.  And then, I will remember and give thanks to those who have gone before me.  They're the reason I'm here; their strength, courage, and independence.  I came from these amazing people and I musn't let them down.  For all of this, for all of you...I give thanks.



  

Drop a penny on a map and you'll find cosmic answers to the universe.

I have a huge affinity towards older folks.  I always have. I'm drawn to them like a bear to honey.  Even the grouchy, don't talk to me, bah humbug ones.  These are my favorites.  I consider them my personal challenges.  Actually, the more ornery, the better.  It makes me want to fight harder for them.  It tells me they have spunk or heck - they might even be just plain mean.  Either way, it's ok.  I love them all. 

By the time people are 80 or 90 years old, I don't care that they're mean.  It doesn't matter what they've done in their lives - not to me anyway.  I figure they're already in purgatory so why be offended if they're hot under the collar.  Their bones are brittle, they hurt, they've lost most of the people they love to death or sadness.  Basically, they're angry for a reason so let them be grouchy.  They've earned it.  And personally, I don't believe they truly want to be mad anymore.  I've learned this from working with them over the years.  They've been bitter for so long, they just figure it's too late to be nice at this stage of the game.  That's when I love to jump in and make a difference.

When I was married to my ex-husband and lived in Colorado Springs, I was looking for a job, any job, that would take me away from office work for awhile.  My life was in a fractured state.  I had just walked out of several jobs (literally), no college education, no career opportunities, my marriage was on the rocks, and I needed something to hold me steady.  I wanted a job to ground me and an opportunity to find a reason - some mystical reason - why fate had brought me to this place hundreds of miles away from my friends and family.  Ok, this sounds "hokey", I know.  I'm totally in agreement with you on this one; however, you, my friends and blog readers, must understand that my moving out of state with Jeff was based truly on the drop of a penny.  On the first day of our two week vacation, we dropped an Abe Lincoln on a US map and decided we would drive to and most likely take up residence wherever it landed...Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Yes, I'm a rather spontaneous individual.  Reckless?  I'm grinning.

The reason for this mystical fated journey is clear now that I look back.  Everything happens for a greater purpose.  Even during my great sadness, I was taught enormous lessons in patience, understanding, and humility which I would never have learned had I not chosen that road in life.  I was given an opportunity to train as a nursing assistant (CNA) in a senior living facility.  I came home every evening smelling of urine, waste, and vomit and yet I didn't mind at all.  I helped these people with their most intimate moments.  I'd stay late, listen to their life stories, and laugh or cry with them.  When they yelled at me to leave them alone, I'd go out of my way to growl right back and make them laugh.  When they grew frustrated about their arthritic bodies, I learned where and how to comfortably move them.  I stopped worrying about me.  It was all about their pain and what I could do for them.  For the first time in my life, fate - God - had finally made me see beyond my own problems.  I finally understood that the penny didn't simply drop on the map, God had placed it there.

During the last few months of my marriage and my stay in that city, I had the great honour of being at the bedside of two of my patients during their passing.  The first, was a complete surprise to everyone but not so much to myself.  She was in the final, horrific stages of Parkinson's Disease.  Her face was frozen and her body was locked in a painful, contracted state.  The only way she could communicate was through her eyes and her eyes said it all.  She was miserable, frightened, and heartbroken.  At the end of my shift one evening, I sat next to her and told her she was amazing.  She had lived an incredible life.  I pulled out pictures of her family.  I spoke to her about her son from out of state - about how much he showed his concern by calling every Sunday (we put the phone to her ear so she could hear him talk. Sadly, she couldn't respond back).  I said that I didn't think there was anything to be afraid of and that if she were ready to say, "good-bye", she should.  Perhaps some people would disagree with my talking so openly to someone like this.  I don't believe so.  When I recall this conversation, she was clearly nodding her head with a slight smile as if to say she understood and seemed at peace.  When I came back after my 2-day break, I learned she had passed away the night I spoke with her. 

My second and final gift was a lady named, Mary.  For as long as I'd worked at the facility, no one really knew anything about her.  No visitors.  No pictures on her wall, or at least none that I can remember.  She was in a waking comatose state.  I don't know if that's a medical term but that's what I call it.  Her eyes were open, she would accept mashed up food to swallow but she never spoke or moved other than to eat.  She had become ill during the flu season and had faded quickly.  The nurses on staff asked that I stay with her and had the other CNA's take over the rest of my hall duties.  I would have done so had they not asked.  No one should ever die alone.  It didn't take her long.  Three breaths, maybe two, a deeper one...

"Mary, I'm here.  It's Bri.  Thank you for letting me share this with you.  I'll stay here until you leave...I love you."  I stood up and gently smoothed her gray, thinning hair off her face.  It seemed to comfort her.  Another breath..longer this time.  Gone.  I kissed her on the forehead.

"Good-bye, Mary.  Have a lovely journey."

It's been a very long time since I've worked as a nursing assistant.  People have asked why I didn't continue in this particular field.  At that point in my life, I was heading towards divorce, somersaulting back to California, my parent's house, and financial ruin.  CNA work, and wrongfully so, pays minimum wage.  At 28 years old, I owed $1000s of dollars and couldn't begin crawling out of the hole I had dug myself into.  Then, of course, life starts anew.  Eric re-entered my life, we were married, I started working in an office again, we adopted the kids, bought a house...but I still look back.  I haven't let go.  My affinity towards honey is still as strong as ever.

Every so often, as I type my daily ramblings, keep an eye out for topics on Hospice work or this sentimental girl adopting another grandparent into her life.  These lovely seniors keep me in check and above all things, continue to dose out large spoonfuls of reality that life is not always about what I want or need.  Well, perhaps it is... maybe this is God's mystical, cosmic way of giving me intermittent doses of patience, understanding, and humility.

 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's time to find a new road.

The end of an era is crumbling away into the ocean in Southern California today.  An era?  Who's era?  My own.

Memories of my wild youth driving down a dark, ocean bluff road to park with boyfriends or sit quietly by myself and watch the moon hang low over the Pacific Ocean.  There were so many nights, more evenings than I can recall, when I drove my old white Chevy Monte Carlo up that bumpy road listening to my worn out Eagles or Fleetwood Mac tapes to just hang out on my own.  I would dream about my future or cry over injustices I believed I would never recover from.  Funny how those wrongs seem so insignificant today. 

Nothing ever stays the same.  Things change.  I know that; however, I've been reading these articles on the news for the last couple of days now with some melancholy.  To me, seeing these pictures is like watching a childhood fort being torn away or a treehouse crumble.  This was my fort, my treehouse, my road.  It held adventure, promise, excitement. 

I made love on this road.  I planned my life on this road and I once thought about dying on this road.  Perhaps this was my road of life as a young adult.  I guess it's time to find a new one...

http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/11/21/8933907-coastal-california-road-slides-toward-sea-after-rainfall

Ahh...I remember this song ;)   Good times.  Thank you, my dear.  You know who you are.  This one is for you and our bluff.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ivana Trump: Today's Blog Hero

I'm riled.  I read two articles this morning which have me completely fired me up. 

The first was political.  Reading these types of news clips are dangerous for me because I tend to slide into the comments section and do battle with unintelligent, uninformed, or inbred people attacking the very fundamentals of what I know to be right or wrong with this country.  I know what's going on!  These fools have no clue!  Shameless idiots!  This country is going down the crapper and it's because of ...uh... umm...hmm...better stop.

The second story was a series about why people are removed from airplanes.  A particular one which distracted me to no end was the story about a woman with a 2-year-old son who was kicked off a plane when she couldn't stop him from yelling the same two lines repeatedly.  ("Go! PLANE! GO!" and "I WANT MY DADDY"). 

Now in my opinion, the airline had every right to do this because after say, five, ten, fifteen minutes of incessant screaming she was lucky that the guy behind her didn't do it.  I mean, really?  If I had to fly across country for five hours, a screaming child would not be a good thing.   I'm normally pissy on a good flight, throw a little turbulence in there and an out of control toddler in front of me and the Air Marshall would have a serious situation on his hands.

Yes, I feel empathy for the mother.  After all, I stood in my autistic 13-year-old's bathroom last night and listened to him scream - no, really - SCREAM, about having constipation so I understand her agony.  I've been in grocery stores where he's thrown himself down on the floor and refused to accommodate my need to go shopping.  Eric and I have been in restaurants where both my boys' voices have risen to where suddenly everyone in the room knows exactly what inappropriate table topic they've chosen to discuss.  And finally, I've also have been in a small metal fuselage - my own personal terror - with my boys as they've yelled over who gets to sit next to the window or why one touched the other's knee.  HOWEVER, I have some damage control techniques under my belt.  There is a point where I can stop them within moments of the outburst. 

I make no excuses for them.  Yes, they are on the autistic spectrum.  Yes, they have issues yet I have certain expectations which I insist they meet. 

Last night in the bathroom, it was his bathroom.  He was in pain.  Scream away little guy.  I waited it out.  No worries there.

In the grocery store.  When he threw himself down in the bread aisle and started kicking the shelves, I sat on the floor and very calmly said, "Really?  This isn't going to get us home any faster.  I'm almost done.  If you make a mess in this aisle, who do you think has to clean it up?  We do."

"I'm tired!  I just wanna go home!"

"I get it, I do too.  So let's get it done, dude.  Kicking this stuff just makes you look goofy."

"I hate William!"

"Ok, I get that too.  So can we finish now?"

"Alright."

"Thanks, buddy.  Let's not do this anymore, alright.  It's getting boring."

"Ok, sorry Mom."

Ivana Trump:  Today's Blog Hero
I brought my boys into this blog for a two-fold purpose.  One, I know that being a parent is tough.  It's hard to control your kids sometimes.  I totally understand BUT - and here's the second point - you have no right as a parent to inconvenience others because you don't have control or choose not to discipline (another huge issue) your children.  If, once on that airplane, my boys escalated, could not be contained, and we were asked to leave, I would graciously accept the airline's decision, apologise on behalf of my children to the passengers and crew members, and disembark.  This woman did no so such thing.  She demanded and received an apology from the airlines, compensation for her overnight stay, and a $300 travel voucher.  What a horrible, selfish, and arrogant human being. 

Ivana Trump was also part of this article describing how she was once kicked off an airplane.  Her issue was that she had cursed at passengers.  Hmm?  Who?  Children?  Really..??  They were running up and down the aisles unsupervised and making nuisances of themselves.  She apparently called them (pardon her Czechoslovakian), "Little fuckers" and told them told them to "Shut the fuck" up.  I laughed out loud.  How many of us have thought this but never had the nerve to say it?  Well, now we know what would happen if we did.  So let this be a lesson to us in the future, don't cuss at ill-behaved children on planes.  Just stretch out and trip them by accident.  I betcha' $5 that the first passenger who catches your eye afterwards will wink, smile, and say, "Thank you."  I know I would.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Nothing like a little 3:00am melodrama...

Don't try to be melodramatic, Bri. Just write.  Find my words, find my voice.  What is it that I'm trying to say?  What is it that's haunting my night keeping me awake these endless hours?  Normally by now I would be sound asleep. Not tonight.  It's 3:00am and even with several sleeping pills in my system, I'm distracted by these thoughts of sadness and desperation...

I went out with a friend tonight.  Strike that, I didn't go out...the possibility of who I could be went out.  A somewhat feisty, independent, still vital and desperately seeking something more out of life side of me went out.  We'll call her, Maria.  She and I are the same after all.  My birth sake, Maria, went out with a friend and when they drove away from her lovely, Denver suburban home she suddenly felt alive.  For two hours she felt more air in her lungs than she's felt in the last three months.  Only two hours?  Just a little bit longer?  Dancing?  Karaoke?  Sit on a hilltop and talk?  Just don't take her back there please...she can't, I can't....breathe.

I stood in front of the mirror tonight brushing my hair.  It's losing the thick lustre it had years ago.  The grey that I joke about coming in disturbs me more than I let on.  I'm starting to fade.  It makes me desperate, there's that word again - desperate - to scream before - God forbid, I can't manage to find the breath to scream any longer.  My life is dissolving into oblivion.

I have this small window.  It's just tiny enough to stick my head through sideways and inhale.  If I don't take this opportunity to swallow up some passion, some lust for life, to abandon futility in the hope of rediscovery, I feel as though I'm going to be smothered out like a candle under glass.  I've waited my entire life for this moment, it's time to blaze hot, fiery hot.  To leave an indelible scorch mark upon this Earth. 

Where do I begin?  I put the brush down, stick my head out the tiny window, and breathe.



Friday, November 18, 2011

Sometimes I think we could all use a 'Do-Over Genie'...

Oh the goofy things we do! 
Thank you, my friend for this morning's blog inspiration...you know who you are!

We all have those awful moments that when we're in a rush, or angry, or - ladies come on, let's be honest here - when Banshee has arrived for her monthly visit, when we wish we could have a complete do-over. Yes, my dear friend...if you had that chance, we both know you would have backed out just a wee bit slower from your garage today and not taken out your driver's side mirror.  And, truth be told, if I could be your 'Do-Over Genie' I would have saved you that agonizing, forehead slamming, 'what was I thinking?' moment.

Once, during a long distance, laughter-riddled phone call, my older sister related one of her extreme moments to me.  Of course when it happened it wasn't funny at all.  In fact, knowing my sister Ellen and her fits of temper as well as I do, I'm quite shocked that no one called the police on her that frightful afternoon.  We Bryant women, when in wild states of anxiety, have been known to make grown men cry.

On this particular occasion, she was having one of those days.  Everything was going wrong; she was late for an appointment, her kids were being brats, she was sweating, probably having her monthly visit from Banshee - you know... just an overall shitty day.  She pulled into a gas station completely on empty and tried to open her fuel tank door but it was jammed.  Lovely.  She tried everything but couldn't open it.  Beyond frustrated and ready to cry, she approached the gas station attendant inside the kiosk and asked if she could borrow a screw driver or something to pry it open.  Can you believe the Jack Ass said, NO?!  As if she were asking him to give her a $100 bill that she'd never repay?!

Ellen absolutely lost it.  She started screaming.  Cursing.  Kicking.  She took her car key and started mutilating her car.  It took her 20 minutes of insanity but she did it.  She put $20 of gas into her Hyundai and inflicted $100's of dollars worth of damage to her side panel but she eventually got it open.  All I can say for the Jack Ass (non)attendant is that it was a good thing he was behind safety glass and next time...loan the crazy lady a screw driver!

My mom also had an experience once at a gas station but the poor dear wasn't aware that she had one.  Her family realized it first when she pulled up to the house with the fuel pump still hanging out of her gas tank.

I remember sitting at a Marriage Encounter weekend once were a woman stood up and proudly defined the depth of her husband's love for her.  She had entered a parking lot apparently the wrong way and had rolled her front tires over spike strips flattening both of them.  Instead of just backing up, yep - you guessed it - she decided to go forward.  When her husband arrived, he wasn't cross with her.  He didn't say an unkind word.  He simply shook his head, smiled, and unloaded four new tires and got to work replacing them.  The entire room burst into laughter giving him a round of applause.

Now that I've been typing for a few minutes, I've picked up on a common theme; women, cars, and gas stations.  This blog was supposed to be about the goofy things we do and it has suddenly metamorphosed into a strange ramble.  Hmmm...this reminds of the time I almost murdered a little dude at a gas station for giving me attitude about a pack of cigarettes AND I DIDN'T EVEN SMOKE!  Now, he was a lucky bastard behind safety glass!



Thursday, November 17, 2011

The more imperfect the day, the more perfect the marriage.

As I've mentioned in some of my prior blogs, I often find inspiration for my writing in what I read from the morning online news.  Other times no inspiration is needed as chaos is happening around me or I'm still in recovery from it the night before.  Then there are days where my memories serve quite nicely.  I have so many embarrassing and yet, thoroughly entertaining thoughts to pull from.  Fear not...I will never be at a loss for daily ramblings!

For some reason this morning, I was thinking back to my wedding day with Eric.  We were married on a small hotel yacht which held about 40 people comfortably (well, on that particular day, not so much).

You see, Eric and I had initially wanted a somewhat larger wedding.  This was my second marriage and his first.  I wanted him to have a nice ceremony with all of his friends and family in attendance; however, it was entirely up to us to pay for the whole kit and caboodle.  My first wedding was a big one.  As customary, the bride's parents - my Mom and Dad - paid for everything.  Obviously, that one didn't take.  This time around, Eric and I would have to figure out if we could even afford a Betty Crocker box cake.  

At the time of our engagement, we knew that investing in a home would make more sense than a big wedding.  We took the grown-up route (I'm still in shock and awe.  Eric obviously had a great influence on me early in our relationship).  We put money down on a townhouse in Orange County, California and decided to have a much smaller wedding.

Oh...the wedding.  My theory is this:  the more imperfect the day, the more perfect the marriage.  Do you, my dear friends and blog readers, sense where this is going?  I submitted this same story once to the Orange County Register for their wedding story disasters article and the editors posted it front page.  EXTRA, the television entertainment show, found me and contacted me years later and asked if Eric and I would be interested in sharing our story.  I declined.  The idea of being on TV was nerve wracking.  I digress.

Eric and I decided to get married in Laughlin, Nevada on the Colorado River.  Why Laughlin?  I don't know.  And again, why Laughlin in August?  I couldn't tell you.  This city is just outside one of the hottest areas - literally, Death Valley - on the planet, and Eric and I chose to get married there on August 19th.  Yeeeesss.  We obviously placed a lot of thought into the date. 

The wedding day: 119 degrees, overcast, humid, threatening thunderstorms, on a river (hmmm...I'm thinking a wee bit dangerous?), at 5:00 in the afternoon.  The yacht was docked at the hotel pier where, at the same time, the hotel was hosting a river party for a bunch of drunk gamblin' folks (Laughlin is also known as a casino resort).  As I was walking up to the boat, which my in-laws had festooned with neon yellow signs implying Eric was to live the rest of his life with a ball and chain around his ankle, two drunk party goers came up to either side of me and did a very good job of trying to talk me out of the event.  Remember, I had been down this road not too long beforehand - in fact my divorce from Jeff had just been finalized in Colorado two weeks prior  - and I was raw.  This is my best friend!  I'm going to ruin his life!  I can't do this to him!  He still has a chance...turn and run now, Bri before it's too late!  D'oh, too late!

At this point one of our oldest and dearest friends had come up the dock and shooed the two drunk dudes away.  She had some news for me...

"Bri, don't panic. (too late)  The boat's generator has broken down because of the heat."

"Ooookaaay.."

"As long as we're attached to the dock, we'll have air conditioning.  This means that the ceremony will have to be downstairs in the cabin while we're docked.  After the ceremony, we'll take off up the river into the wind."

"Ok.  Oh well.  There's nothing we can do about it now."  I laughed, so did she.  "How's Eric?"

She laughed hard and snorted like she always did.  God bless my dear friend.  "Oh you know Eric, he's pissed but he'll have to get over it."

I grinned.  She was right.  I felt bad for him.  He wanted everything to be perfect.  If there was anything that my last marriage did for me, it prepared me for Eric.  I was much more relaxed than I used to be.

The rest of the wedding was hysterical. Imagine 40 people (most of them overweight) crammed into a very small space watching us exchange vows.  The air conditioning was a non-issue.  We were are sweating like hogs under a blanket. 

My dearest Eric.  He was constantly between frowning and grinning during the ceremony.  He was happy that we were getting married but he couldn't get past the La Bamba music playing in the background from the party next door.

Once the boat took off, the skies became darker.  No one could see anything.  One of my bachelorette friends fell down the stairs and sprained her ankle.  It could have been worse.  The purser applying the ice to her ankle could have been married, or female, or gay, or bad looking.  As it turns out he was none of those things.  Also, when she fell, she dropped a tray of food overboard.  It could have been worse.  It could have been the tray of mini assorted sandwiches instead of the cheese platter.  It wasn't.  When it came time to cut the cake, I had the light of a single covered candle my friend brought for the wedding ceremony.  I owe all ten fingers to my dear friend's amazing foresight and that single, lovely candle.

Oh my.  I'm still grinning.  It seems like yesterday.  All I did was laugh. 

My first wedding was spectacular.  Red Tulips and white Roses.  Holly and Christmas trees.  It was a holiday wedding and it was breathtaking.  Nothing went wrong except that the two souls exchanging vows were never meant to be. 

My second wedding was pure comedy.  Everything went wrong except the two souls exchanging vows.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How much is a quick booty shake worth?

Eric and I were debating some get rich quick schemes last night.  This is always a sign that we're financially desperate especially when we're doing this over the Value Menu and a cheap cup of coffee at Denny's.

My husband is determined that if I just shake my booty on the corner of Colorado and 136th, I'd make enough money to cover the house payment for the next few months.  As always, this particular suggestion is soundly rejected.  If I were to do this, I would certainly not put my earnings into the house payment.  I'm too unrealistic for such a sensible suggestion.  Instead, I'd go to Vegas, shake my booty with the professionals, and try to triple my earnings.

After my third coffee refill, my dear one reveals some interesting information. For my 45th birthday in February, he has connived with some 15, 20, 30 various friends and family members to go to a studio taping of The Price is Right show in Hollywood, California.  Eric is convinced that with my extremely funny personality (which only surfaces after my eighth caffeine refill or sixth shot of Tequila), and personal good luck (which is why Eric and I are scheming to make money at Denny's in Thornton, Colorado), that I would be picked as one of the studio audience to participate and win something extraordinary.  A new mustang perhaps?  A million dollars?  Sure, I can do that...RIGHT!

This is what would happen if by some bizarre chance I were to be selected;  I would trip on the way down to the podium.  Then, IF I were to go on to the next level, I would also trip going up the stairs because after all, that's what I do...I stumble.  In addition, I wouldn't understand the game.  It would take the host several attempts to explain it to me and then I still wouldn't get it.  My brain doesn't work well under pressure.  I need time, silence, and calm to consider my options.  I would not win a car.  I would win a bottle of dishwashing soap.  Eric would be devastated and I would be on YouTube for the rest of eternity as the dumbest person EVER on the Price is Right.

Our next option, which I just mentioned, is YouTube.  We attempted this once before with my blog. I think some of you may remember it.  I certainly do. Eric and a friend of mine are convinced that I'm funny, I; however, am not.  I'm thinking there is a slight difference of opinion here.

The idea behind YouTube is that I receive commercial sponsorship for my video blogs.  I did have this for my writing blog once but someone hit my ads a few too many times and the "powers that be" pulled my advertising.  So Eric - aka, my business manager, husband, and pimp - has decided to have me make a go of it again.  He's seen a video blog of a dude on YouTube who is supposedly very successful.  This is how our conversation went last night...

Eric:     Bri, I think you should try it again.  This guy is doing really well.

Bri:       What's his angle?

Eric:      What do you mean, what's his angle?

Bri:        I mean, is he good looking?  Is he geeky?  Are his kids goofy?  What is he doing to get so many people to watch him?

Eric:       Nothing.

Bri:        What do you mean, nothing?  He's got to be doing something.  Is he a weirdo?  Does he drool?  Am I funnier than he is?

Eric:       I think so. 

Bri:         Good grief.  This is depressing.  Why don't we follow Tank humping Tulip around the house for 15 minutes?  We need an angle. 

Eric:        Why don't we open the video with you shaking your booty on the corner of Colorado and 136th.

Bri:         Are we really back to this again?  (Waitress comes by with the coffee pot.)  Yes, please.  This is going to be a very long night.

 

 
 


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Maybe I'm supposed to laugh today..??

When I first login in the morning, I jump right to the news page.  I snuggle up into my crappy, ratty, flannel over-sized sweater jacket thing, place my warm bowl of candy bar in a cup (otherwise known as Bri's coffee) next to my face, and squint at the monitor (because invariably I leave my reading glasses on my bedside table upstairs).

Today was no different other than the fact that my bowl of coffee was ice cold because of some ridiculous nonsense I had to put up with from my sixteen year old trying to stay home from school.  (No can do! William left the house angry and is most likely attempting to hawk up something horrifying in front of his high school counselor as we speak.)

The first article which captured my eye was a goofy video about a Boston Terrier being tickled and I thought, aren't there more important world events that I should be contemplating rather than a silly dog making grunting sounds on video?  At that moment, I could find nothing more polarizing, nothing more interesting, or entertaining.  I watched it several times.  I laughed.  I giggled.  I snorted.  Each time it became sillier.  With each rewind I considered in depth whether or not the owner was making the noises or if it was actually the terrier.  Then I would become annoyed that I was destroying its entertainment value.  I Facebook'd it.  I was out of control.  Finally I stopped.  I forced myself but it needed to be done.

Next item of interest, "Most Women Fail Fertility Math".  I didn't even read the article.  Since I easily fail fifth grade math, I burst into laughter.  Now, I understand that this is a very serious topic.  Infertility is a heartbreaking issue and one in which many women, including myself, have had to cope with.  I suppose it was the title that tickled my Boston Terrier funny bone.  I just couldn't read it.  I was too busy wiping off the giggle tears.

Ok, wheew. I needed some serious reading. On to the next eye catching article...the bullet, "Human Milk Bank Facing Crisis". Opening sentence, "Got Milk?". Stop the madness!

Final chance for news redemption, bullet: "Pamela Anderson and Virgin Mary".  I had sincerely hoped this had something to do with Ms. Anderson finding some sort of redemption in the Catholic Church.  Not at all.  This will be one holiday special my boys will not be watching.

Perhaps today I wasn't meant to wake up and read the sad stuff (although Ms. Anderson's adaptation of the Blessed Mother can go either way).  I believe there's been plenty of that business shuffling about in my thoughts these past couple of days.  Maybe this is God's way of taking some of the burden off my shoulders; however, I don't believe he planned on the throwing in the Pamela Anderson article.  I think this was a total and complete fluke.




Monday, November 14, 2011

Sucker punches. I can't breathe.

I hate getting the air knocked out of me.  It's happened a number of times in my life.  Each time it's happened, I recall the moment quite vividly.  I think everyone's experienced this phenomenon.  It can either be a physical thing, emotional, or a combination of both. 

The first time it happened to me, it was physical.  I was in the first grade and this little girl, her name was Marie, decided to punch me in the stomach.  I don't know why she did it.  At the time we were best friends.  Perhaps I said something cruel?  Maybe I took her crayon?  I may have told her she smelled.  Who truly understands the thoughts of a six year old?  Either way, I had the wind powerfully forced out of my lungs and it scared me to death.  I cried for about a minute then I whacked her back.

At nine I had grown into the quintessential tomboy.  No one could ride my brother's orange, Hang Ten skate board in the shape of a foot better than me.  Even a few years later, with my entire lower leg in a green, algae covered cast, I was the "girl dude" on the board.  In the mid to late seventies, safety gear was not even a consideration.  Kids roamed the streets on bikes, skates, and the new "thing", skate boards, without helmets or knee pads. Enter Bri.  Riding around the neighborhood like a demon from Hell on that ridiculous orange foot.  One of the wheels hit a pebble on the sidewalk, the board stopped but I didn't.  I flew into the street and landed hard.  My head cracked on the cement, my elbow slammed, and the wind whooshed out of my lungs.  A neighbor saw me go down and ran immediately to my side.  I didn't lose consciousness but I couldn't breathe for a few seconds.  It was frightening.  Afterwards, I walked my board home with a nasty goose egg on my forehead, bloody skin, and severely wounded pride.

Now we get to the really painful stuff.  The sucker punches in life.  The ones that not only knock the wind out of you but bruise your heart and keep it from healing long after the fact. 

An eighth grade slumber party.  My very best friend through my entire elementary school years was coerced by another girl not to invite me.  I found out quite by chance the night of the party.  Betrayal, especially during adolescence, is excruciatingly painful.

The next one is a combination.  I was being emotionally and sexually abused by my first boyfriend in high school (another blog, another day).  I had finally decided to stand up for myself and refuse a ride home after a school performance I was in.  The air was knocked out of me when he landed the first of many painfully sharp slaps across my face and various blows to my body.  Abuse is always hard to catch one's breath after.

Just a year later, in my ridiculous innocence, I placed myself in a situation where I was sexually assaulted by a man old enough to be my grandfather.  This in itself wasn't why I had the wind knocked out of me.  It was afterwards when I told someone whom I loved and trusted what happened...she didn't believe me.  I couldn't catch my breath for the rest of the drive home.

The day my ex-husband, then current husband, walked into the bedroom and said, "I don't love you anymore, Bri.  To be honest, I don't think I've ever really loved you."  Wow.  Yes, I can still quote those words.  They continue to ring painful as I type them.  They were honest; however, sometimes honesty like this is brutal.  No one should ever be told so bluntly that seven years of their life was a lie.  I need a break.  I need to catch my breath.

December 22, 2002.  It was after 10:00am.  The Price is Right was on in the waiting room when my Uncle came in, looked at my Mom, and said, "Mary, he's gone."  Sucker Punch.  Dad had died.

Last night I returned a phone call my mom left while I was at church.  She sounded tired.  Bad news.  Someone I love - someone whom I'm very, very close to has just been diagnosed with Cervical Cancer.  It runs in the family.  I can't breathe.  I'm talking, but I can't breathe.  I'm thinking, but I can't breath.  I'm typing, but I can't...




 



 

Friday, November 11, 2011

By the way, the cookies were an afterthought.

Why do I do it?  There is not enough time in a day to get everything done that I write down on my stupid, uptight, obsessive-compulsive, Wonder Woman Syndrome (WWS) list and yet I attempt the impossible. Tom Cruise has nothing on me. PLUS, might I add, Mr. Cruise does not believe that children have any such condition as ADHD.  Refer to the ridiculous, arrogant, and self-inflated interview with Today's host Matt Lauer which I've attached for your viewing enjoyment below.  (Don't even get me started on Mr. Cruise and his Scientology beliefs.  I made the heinous error of walking into a museum on Santa Monica Blvd. in Los Angeles which was secretly funded by the Scientologists down the street.  That was not a good day for the museum curator.  I pulled out my bottle of Adderall and let him have it.)  My theory is to lock pretty boy in a room with my unmedicated kids for a day and see how much Valium he'll need afterwards.

Aaanyway, so yesterday.  It started out well enough.  My first new idea was to take the pooches out for a walk after their breakfast.  Nice.  It was a beautiful morning.  They're small dogs.  45 minutes isn't too long of a process and it would be good for me too.  Wonderful!  I felt invigorated afterwards. 

I NEEDED TO SHOWER.  Not yet.  I started another load of laundry.

Laundry started.  Oohh.  I wanted to make those cookies which have been on my menu for weeks.  Yuck, dishes from breakfast.  I'll work around them.  In my excitement, I'd forgotten how many ingredients these cookies required.  Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Oranges, I reached for the oranges I'd been hiding in the refrigerator.  The recipe required orange zest and 1/2 cup fresh orange juice.  DARN IT!!  Some one had found the oranges!  Isn't this always the way?  In my nasty clothes, hair in a half bun, and my disgusting slippers (not to mention that I smelled as bad as I looked), I considered leaving the orange juice out.  No, if the recipe called for a teaspoon or so that would be different, but this was a 1/2 cup.  Plus everything was already in the mixer.  DRAT!  Oh well, I needed gas in the car before the kids appointments so I would kill two birds with one stone. 

Gas Station first.  Off I went in my nasty clothes, hair in a half bun, and my disgusting slippers (not to mention that I smelled as bad as I looked).  Grocery store next.  Eyes down (no one stopped me or I would have murdered them and denied all involvement).  Thank goodness.  In and out.  The cookies were made and placed in the oven.

I NEEDED TO SHOWER. Not yet. I had to wait for the cookies to bake.

I started to prepare the frosting for the cookies.  At this point, I started clock watching.  Austynn needed to be picked up from school at 1:40.  He had an Occupational Therapy (OT) appointment.  I placed the soft butter and cream cheese in the mixer as well as the orange zest, 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed orange juice, and the two cups of powdered sugar.  Just as I was going to turn it on low, my lovely dog Tank barked at my sweet dog, Tulip.  I was startled.  My hand jerked and instead of low, I hit medium speed.  Powdered sugar catastrophe.  It was everywhere - on my face, between the counter, on the floor.  A complete and utter disaster.  This is usually the point where I walk away from the kitchen and say, "SCREW IT!", but unfortunately Eric wasn't home to rescue me from my nightmare.  I did the best I could.  Cookies were eventually frosted but the kitchen was left a disaster.

I NEEDED TO SHOWER. No can do.  I changed my clothes, washed my face, and picked up Austy.  Arrgh!

Austynn had a good day, thank goodness.  I drove him to therapy across town but now his therapist wanted to discuss adding another day to his weekly routine.  Do I have another opening on my calendar?  Wednesday?  No can do.  He has respite right after school and then the home therapist shows up immediately following that.  Mondays?  Nope.  William has therapy every other week.  Fridays don't work.  You see him on Thursdays...  I suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to throw up.  We sort of worked it out.  Austynn walked back with her.  I drove back across town to pick up William from school and once again drove back across town to pick up Austynn before he got out of OT.  Just in time, wheew!

Now I had too face the daunting task of driving south, past downtown Denver, to get William to his hearing doctor for a post surgery follow-up appointment within 45 minutes. The news said there was a major accident.  I'd have to drive around the city on side streets.  Neither of the boys brought anything to keep them busy.  They argued the entire, traffic laden drive.  We barely made it.  The doctor walked in, took a look at William's head, said it looked good, asked if we had any questions, and told us to make an appointment for next month.  Deep sigh.  We were on the road again in less than five minutes.

We made it home less than an hour before Eric did.  When my dear husband walked in the door looking refreshed and handsome, I had a look of complete discombobulation on my face.  I was leaning against the  kitchen sink still stacked with breakfast dishes and was chomping down my third cookie.  My hair was sticking out of it's wild pony tail, my eyes were blood shot, I smelled horrific, and there was still powdered sugar all over the counters.

There were four things crossed off my stupid, uptight, obsessive-compulsive, Wonder Woman Syndrome (WWS) list:  Washing another load of laundry, taking the dogs for a walk, and the boys two appointments.  There were 12 things left undone.  By the way, the cookies were an afterthought.

  








Thursday, November 10, 2011

When does a great coach stop being great?

I love football.  Most of my friends know this.  I'm not a huge college football fan because I have issues with how the bowl system is determined at the end of the season.  Please don't get me started on this.  It's a ramble that I can't stop and one in which once I get started, it becomes a never ending jumble of complicated thoughts and redundant sentences (sort of like this one); however, I do appreciate good college players and especially good coaches.  I'm guessing some of you know where I'm heading with this; Coach Joe Paterno, Penn State. 

Yesterday, he was fired from his position as head football coach of over 40 years due to the sex abuse scandal which erupted on campus surrounding his former assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky.

This is an ugly, ugly issue.  I've read the reports on Sandusky's alleged crimes.  If true and convicted in a court of law, this man deserves the maximum sentence.

I've attached the sex abuse timeline below.  Concerning Paterno's involvment, a grad student witnessed a crime being committed, who in turn reported it immediately to Coach Paterno, who in turn reported it immediately to his supervisors, who in turn did nothing with the information.  Should Paterno have gone directly to the board of directors or to the police once he realized no action was being taken?  In my opinion, yes.  What a slippery slope.

When do we rock the boat?  Joe Paterno was a great coach and believe it or not, when I began this blog less than ten minutes ago, I was going to defend him and say, he should never have been terminated.  He did his job.  He went right to his superiors; however, I've just realized that a great coach is more than someone who leads his team to victory, it's someone who molds the character of the team he leads.

By not going directly to the police, Paterno, in essence, showed young men everywhere that he would rather protect his institution and the game itself than to defend a group of helpless individuals.  Based on when the grad student came to him and when he realized that the university would not act upon the information, he could have saved at least one more victim from sexual abuse.

In March 2002, Mr. Paterno stood at a cross road.  He should have retired when he was at the top of his game, when he was a great coach
   
http://msn.foxsports.com/collegefootball/story/Penn-State-sex-abuse-case-timeline-of-key-dates-Jerry-Sandusky-110711

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My small dogs ate my new jeep.

Not too long ago both my boys wore braces.  My oldest wore his for three years.  My youngest for two. 

It's not an easy thing to have two kids, boys in particular, on the autistic spectrum wearing braces.  First of all, just getting them to take care of their personal hygiene is a challenge.  Most boys, regardless of whether they have autism or not, smell and don't like to brush their teeth, add the additional challenge of sensory challenged kids and well, oh my. 


Herman Munster

My big guy is socially isolated.  He has no clue at sixteen how to comb his hair or groom himself.  For a very long time we had a morning routine of sitting him down in my bathroom, getting his hair a little damp, working some product into it, and making him look "Rico Suave" (my term for "good looking").  This lasted until he became a surly fifteen year old and then he determined that he didn't need to be "Rico" any longer.  His idea of a good combing is the Herman Munster routine - straight down on his forehead or he won't comb it all.  As far as brushing his teeth, one swipe across, no floss, no mouthwash, and he's done.  His breath is still so bad afterwards, I can barely stand next to him when he speaks.

For three years, Eric and I spent close to a monthly car payment on his teeth.  He had a huge gap and an overbite.  Every month, come rain, snow, or sleet I would drive his grumpy butt to the orthodontist's office and listen as they scolded both William and myself that he needed to brush his teeth and floss regularly (really, do ya think?).  I would stand in a crowded waiting room, put up with my son's complaining, pay a couple of hundred dollars, schedule another appointment, and have him beg me for an ice cream on the way home.

Then there was Austy's teeth.  Same deal.  He needed braces a year later.  Wonderful.  The boys' insurance didn't cover orthodontia.  It was all out of pocket.  So we added Austy to the madness;  the long drives, the arguing, and more car payments going into his teeth.  My old, red 2000 Ford Taurus would just have to get us by for a few more years. 

Standing with the kids during their appointments was classic.  I do believe that the technicians actually looked forward to my boys every month because they added some serious comedy to their dreary daily routines.

The chairs in this particular office were all lined up in a long row so I could see and hear William being worked on down at the end while standing next to Austy trying to keep him quiet with his mouth open and the technician aligning wires and inserting new bands.  All the other patients were quiet - but of course, not my boys, no.  They always had something to say.

I could usually hear William commenting about Dad's particularly gassy evening from my baked beans the night before or Austynn telling his technician that she had a booger up her nose.  You see, this is the joy of Aspergian children.  They have absolutely no clue what is appropriate to say and when.  AND, the moment they hear laughter, they think they're comedians so then it's open season.  There would be absolutely nothing left private about the Potts' household and, might I add, they'd share everything very, very loudly.  It would be all I can do to contain the boys over the shrieks of laughter especially when all I was thinking about doing was getting them out of the office and murdering them.  I'm certain the technician with the booger wasn't too happy about the situation either.

So thousands of dollars later, when the braces were removed and the boys' lovely corrected smiles relied solely on the necessity to wear their retainers while they slept, I would pick through Austynn's unmade bed every morning and find it inside the sheets, hidden inside the pillow case, or under the mattress.  And William's...I found my new 4-Wheel Drive Jeep lying on the floor being chewed up and destroyed by our two little dogs named, Tank and Tulip. 




    

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The freedom of shopping without our parents...priceless! (don't forget the sales tax!!)

It's interesting how I start a blog with one thought in mind and it metamorphosis into a completely different thought process as I type it.

For instance, yesterday's blog wasn't going to be about my kids at all. It was going to be about these sweet little kiddos shopping at the Dollar Store last Friday.  I don't know how and why I transferred my thoughts into my own boys.  They must have been on my my mind.  You see, I set no boundaries when I begin my blogs.  I just type whatever comes to mind.  My ideas are truly just a ramble of utter chaos which lurks inside my frontal lobe or perhaps some place else.  Anyway, I digress.

So, yes.  I was thinking about this little family of brothers and sisters.  There were four of them ranging in ages of eight - this would be the eldest brother with his superior Tootsie Roll savings jar and knowledge of all things financial - to his ittiest baby sister who could not have been older than three waving her dollar bill proudly around the store and surprisingly not dropping it in her excitement.  

As I mulled through the aisles determining what I wanted, I watched them in their apparent fascination and shopping freedom.  A whole dollar in a dollar store.  How incredible that must have felt for them.  Everything was a mystery and a miracle.  Everything was picked up and examined, discussed and contradicted.  When would they be back again?  When would they have an opportunity to have this sort of purchasing power in the future?   They must make good decisions.  Ok, they were ready.

In front of me, at the only check-out counter available, they all lined up with their dollar bills awaiting to pay for their merchandise.

"Are these all together?"

"No, we're paying separate."  The brave eight year old brother said in barely a whisper.

Why is it that grown-ups waiting in line have to be so nasty?  The moment he said this I could hear an audible exhale of air behind me.  Get a life, people!  These could be your kids.  Patience.  Kindness.  No wonder these children were so rattled.  Thank goodness the cashier was sweet.

 Itty sister first.  A light up, plastic flower toy.  Suddenly her shyness became overwhelming.  With what seemed like an eternity of nudging from her older sister and brother, and what I thought were a couple of tears in her eyes, she reluctantly handed over her dollar bill.

"That will be a $1.09 sweetie."

Uh oh, these kiddos, like millions of kiddos before them, never considered the tax factor.  Big brother to the rescue.  He shook his Tootsie Roll savings can with the strength of a Samurai warrior and managed to find a dime.  One penny change.  The itty one looked at him like he was her personal warrior who had rescued her from a fate worse than death. 

His turn.  He surprisingly, or not - maybe that's why Itty picked it out - bought the same light up plastic flower.  This time, he had another dime at the ready.  His other younger sister did too.  The last sister bought hard candy.  I believe she thought her situation would be different.  I gave her a warning ahead of time to have a dime out and ready.  She didn't have one so I passed her ten cents while her sister was purchasing her flower.

Oh the excitement on their faces as they were leaving!  "Look at mine!", "No! Look at mine!!", as if the flowers could possibly look any different.  I was grinning from ear to ear when they walked out the door and so was the cashier.  The people behind me?  Their faces were solid stone.  How could they not find this sweet?  When did their lives become so passe that four beautiful children couldn't light up their afternoon with a grin along their battery operated fluorescent flowers?

It made me think of all the times I was dropped off at Woolworth's with my two older sisters and brother to go Christmas shopping for my parents.  I bought my mom 2 hamsters one year.  In my excitement to finally have pets in my home which my mother couldn't possibly refuse, I hadn't noticed that one was blind and partially deaf (an ear was missing) and the other looked rabid.  My older siblings where a little more conservative; nail files, polish remover, nose hair clippers, under arm deodorant, shower caps, etc., and of course, we topped off our shopping adventure with triple decker ice cream cones.

Now that I recall, I think I had the same Tootsie Roll savings can.  I wonder how many faces we lit up on our shopping afternoons - 4 little golden haired, blue eyed monsters or did we annoy our share of people too?  Oh well, whatever the case may be, I'm sure we were never prepared for taxes either.   

  

Monday, November 7, 2011

Who wants to swap kids for a little while?

I love kids.  They're interesting.  Of course, this only applies to everyone else's, right?  No, I love my kids too.  Friends and neighbors also love my boys to pieces.  "I can just eat him UP!"  (and you know who you are).

Yes, my boys are sweet - in particular - Austynn.  He hasn't reached that surly teenager stage yet where everything out of his mouth is a growl and every look is a snarl.  Even though when he's angry he still hasn't quite figured out that screaming four-letter expletives from the top of stairs is quite the way to handle his anger.  We're working on this.  He's a 140 pound thirteen year old talk-your-ear-off, know-it-all, autistic love bug who is emotionally and behaviorally 8 years old and he drives me absolutely bonkers.

Yes, my kids are a handful.  I love them but I am open to a weekend trade if anyone would consider this option in the near future.  Waiting..waiting..?  No.  I didn't think so.  You've heard too many tales of eye doctor appointments gone bad or drive homes which have exploded into family nightmares.  No, these two are my babies.  I wouldn't impose them on anyone save the bravest of souls.

My sister, Ellen in California has taken on Austynn and quite frankly she is the only one I feel comfortable leaving him with.  One must have a great sense of humor and a tremendous amount of patience to watch this kiddo.  And by the way, Eric and I would never have anyone watch both boys at the same time.  This would be tantamount to suicide.  They would kill each other or make life miserable for the caretaker.  No, we've learned long ago that they need their time away from one another too.

Ellen has been bitten, suffered incredible temper tantrums, and even had to clean Austy's poo out of her bed (all very long and silly stories), and yet - with a great sense of humor and sincerity - has always invited Austynn to come back for another visit.  Who else but my eldest sister could put up with this nonsense and still open her arms lovingly to him?  She is his champion away from home. 

William does very well at his Paternal Grandparents.  He worships Grandma and Grandpa Potts and fortunately they will not take any of his nonsense.  They tell him like it is, corrects him when he says something out of line, and he answers to them when he makes a mistake.  As long as he is respectful, he gets treated with respect.  Grandpa is tough though.  I love it when we send him there.  He comes back a changed kid even if it lasts only a few weeks or so. 

So, I need another break.  I realize it's only been a few weeks since I've been back from California but now I think it's time for the boys to be off.   If family is reading this, let's get the word out shall we?  Let's ship the Potts' boys to California.  We're ready.  How about Thanksgiving break?  This will give Eric and I something to be truly thankful for.  A very quiet holiday.