Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Where are my slippers?

When I was a kid, the moment I ran through the front door, I threw my book bag across the kitchen table, peeled off my gold, Catholic school knee high socks, and ditched my stretched-out penny loafers. Awww...FREEDOM!  To endure more than ten minutes in any sort of shoes in Southern California - at any time of the year - was absolute torture for me.  It was an act of treachery, particularly for this tomboy, to keep my toes from feeling the warm Los Angeles sunshine.

Ironically, now that I'm older, there's been a shift in the time space continuum.  I abhor walking in bare feet.  When did this happen?  When did I come to prefer cozy socks and my cushy slippers over naked toes?  Honestly, this is seriously warped.  I must take a few moments to consider this mind boggling question...

There's always been the summer factor, in other words, the 110 degree days in August when bare feet and street pavement are not an easy "walk across".  I'm sure many of you, my dear friends and blog readers, know exactly what I'm referring to; the afternoons which are so incendiary that when one looks across the street, the blacktop appears as if it's on fire.  Then there's the hesitation, the planning out, the final consideration; "Do I really want to do this?  It's gonna burn sooo bad!  Where's the closest emergency patch of grass?  I can do it if I run really, reeeaaallly fast.  Screw it, Breezy...RUN!"

Also, along with the heat of summer in Southern California, one must consider the hot sand of the beaches.   Yes, locals purchase flip flops but seriously, no one wears them at the shore except for the grown-ups.  It's a total hassle.  Personally, my feet were always wet.  Why?  Because I was in the water with my Boogie Board from the moment I arrived at the water's edge until it was time to go.  What was the point of flip flops if my feet were covered with thick, wet sand walking back to the car anyway?   By 2:00pm, around the time we usually went home, the long walk back through the sand towards the parking lot was blisteringly painful.  I always looked like a complete dork walking back anyway; dripping wet, dragging  my board and jumping up and down screaming, "OUCH! OOWIE!  HOT!"  Nice.  Apparently I wasn't concerned about attracting surfers at that age.

I grew up in the 1970's when bottle caps and pull tabs from aluminum cans were the curse of unsuspecting toes.  Also, at that time, there weren't too many restrictions about bringing glass bottles into public parks either. Playing without shoes and socks was tantamount to receiving sliced toes or splinters of glass in our feet.  We knew what would happen if we weren't careful - at least my siblings and I did.  Our dad would get his awful tweezers out, heat it up with a match (to kill the germs), and pull the damn offender out which hurt more than when it went in.  Oh yeah!  We'd be careful alright!

Eventually my Nike High Top sneakers were replaced with Cherokee high heels.  Suddenly, I realized that my feet started looking like the Grand Canyon.  What was that all about?  I didn't care for the way my rough callouses snagged my bedsheets.  I wanted soft, smooth, girlie feet.  I started taking better care of them. I liked pedicures and the way my toes looked with bright cherry red nail polish on them.  I loved, loved, LOVED getting my feet rubbed.  Oooohhh...NICE!

Then - one day it happened - I took my shoes off, stepped across the kitchen floor, and I walked over an unknown substance.  Whatever it was made my clean feet feel sticky and uncomfortable.  Eeeww GROSS!  Three more steps and into what appeared to be some one's cracker crumbs which hadn't been swept up from earlier.  I was beyond disgusted.  This was the moment I realized that I didn't like my bare feet touching the "unknown".  My mind ran wild as to what that initial sticky stuff could have been.  I headed to the bathroom to wash it off...OH NO!  Bathroom floors...GRUESOME!  I believe I've just answered today's not so mind boggling question.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Who has the audacity to challenge "the stare"?

The showdown.  The stare.  The moment when you, as the parent and commander in chief, faces off with the stubborn will and determination of one of your less than agreeable children.  It's never pretty.  In all honesty, it's comparable to visual mental warfare.  Who will snap first?  Who's rage will get the better of them?  Who has the greater win to loss ratio?  Basically, what it all boils down to is - who is the master strategist?

I have a firecracker temper.  As anyone who knows me personally or any of the other female personalities in the Bryant/Baxter family clan, do not cross us.  We're normally light-hearted, loving ladies but once we sense dissention of any sort or (God and Heaven help you) attitude, well then...RUN!  It's not that we like ranting and raving; no, not at all.  Our anger - like our naughtiness - is a trait which has been carried down generations.  My father suffered through four of us, my mother, myself, and two sisters.  My grandfather, the dear man, lived through my grandmother, and SIX daughters.  I can truly say with love and affection that papa's girls - my mother and aunts - are as nutty as pecans.

Back to the stare.  Obviously, I'm the queen bee of this art form in my home.  The boys, including my husband, Eric sometimes feel they have the upper hand with me but not so.  Not only have I mastered it but I've also single-handedly reinstated the old battle phrase, "shock and awe" into the mêlée.  With one ridiculous statement from one of the guys, all that's necessary is to slam my hands on the nearest surface area, sweep my head in a sharp, downward motion as if to say, "Seriously, that's the best you have?", and look up (because I happen to be the shortest member of my family) and give my already intensely blue eyes a glare which would drive a Grizzly Bear back into its cave.

If the offender has the audacity to challenge the stare he will suffer a wrath so horrifying, so compelling that he would be blindsided by its voracity.  The sting would be so severe that the challenger would feel it's consequences for weeks to come.  Now, I must admit - I haven't come out unscathed; however, I've never lost a fight yet either.  I have my strategies.  I know my opponent’s weak spots.  I have control over when they eat and the TV remote controls.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Breezy is squeezin' out some time.

It's Saturday and alas, I have not written a blog in a couple of days...I am remiss!  Considering this is supposed to be a "daily" post, I should get my act together but since I've never truly been a rule follower - especially when it comes to my own set of guidelines - this isn't surprising.  I enjoy stretching my fingers and typing the first silly thought which comes to mind; however, some days I'm not blessed with the luxury of an hour and a half worth of mindless rambling. 

For instance today, the moment I lifted my black, silken eye patch off the corner of my make-up smeared eyelid, I noticed that my Lhasa Apso's bootie - or butt end -was on my cherished pillow directly in front of me.  This was not the first thing I wanted to see at 8:00am on the first full day of Autumn.  The second and more disturbing visual which I focused on for more than I care to admit, was a hairball the size of a large mouse resting in the spot where my husband should have been.  What happened to Eric and when did this hairball replace him?  Was this truly a hairball because in my entire life I have never, ever seen one so disgusting and inconceivably huge.  I was both thoroughly repulsed and mesmerized.  Did one of my sweet, beautiful dogs actually create this monstrocity?  It must have weighed half their body mass for Pete's sake! 

See how I am?  I went on another detailed rant.  I apologize for the imagery.  Suffice it to say that no, thank God my husband was not gobbled up a mutant-flesh-eating-hairball and sadly, "yes" to all of the other horrifying questions.

My dear friends and blog readers, there are far too many days when distractions pull me away from my laptop longer than I wish.  An hour and a half of rambling should not be such a huge block of time for this lunatic housewife to carve out.  Unfortunately, sometimes it seems my days are over before they've had a chance to begin. 

I've been holding on to a goofy blog idea in my mind since Wednesday so perhaps if my darling allows me the luxury of my candy bar in a bowl and my dogs don't leave another interesting wake up gift for me to contemplate, I'll have something else just as odd to write about tomorrow.  Until then, enjoy the Autumn Equinox everyone. 


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Don't follow me, I'm lost.

In this day and age of GPS tracking systems and navigation devices, it's ridiculous that anyone should find themselves driving around for over an hour and a half completely discombobulated especially in an area where they've lived for over six years.  Yeah, right.  Tell that to this rambling lunatic housewife.  Perhaps someone could have calmed my nerves when I was half way across the grand state of Colorado instead of watching the evening news with my husband last night. 

To give you, my dear friends and blog readers, some background information as to how pathetic I am, never ever hand me an actual paper map.  I consider these only good for one thing: drink coasters.  In my opinion, men invented these ridiculous atrocities.  Even the fold is abhorrent.  I have never been able to refold one of these bastards properly - which - might I add, is a clear sign I was the last family member to look at one - or at least use it for my soda glass.

While I'm on the topic of paper maps, seriously - how does one decipher these boogers anyway?  The mileage charts?  What's that all about?  I used to hold my thumb and index finger against it and do the whole "vacation mileage calculation" thing.  I would work out the cost of the mileage and explain it to Eric only to have him laugh at me.

"What do you mean it will only cost $300 round trip to go from Denver to Galveston, Texas?  How did you come up with the dollar amount?"

"I figured it out using the little doohickey measuring line and my fingers on the map.  Why?"

Once, in a moment of complete desperation, Eric handed me a paper map and asked me to find our way out of the mountains.  I'll never forget his look of complete astonishment as he watched me turn the map upside down, then left, right, and upside down again while the entire time I called out turns.  He promptly pulled the car over and had me drive.  Needless to say, maps make no sense to me.

Back to last night.  After my religious education class, I went to pick up Austynn at his respite provider's house towards the airport.  I've been to her house a dozen times; however, last night it was late, I was hungry, and Banshee had arrived causing me serious discomfort.  I wanted to get home a little faster than usual.  I decided to take a shortcut.  WRONG!  I should never, ever take a different route - especially one that I'm unfamiliar with - when I have so much going against me.  PLUS, I had a tired, grumpy Austynn in the car.  What was I thinking? 

My single saving grace living in Colorado has always been the directional guide of the mountains.  Knowing that the mountains are west helps me find my way home in the most difficult of situations.  Also, knowing the patterns of the foothills for instance, the Boulder Flatirons, can tell me when I'm close to home.  Unfortunately, there was no moon out last night.  I couldn't see the mountains.  I was helpless.  I took a road with no street lights, signals, or signs.  I got turned around.  I went too far.  I went east on a freeway when I should have gone west.  Before I knew it, I was 50 miles north of the Colorado border with no immediate exit in site.  The highways in my state are such that when one gets to the rural communities, the miles between exits can stretch forever. 

The first exit I came to looked like another freeway on ramp.  I skipped that one.  Wrong move!  Dammit!  Just a Shell Gas Station!  I could have stopped there.  Maybe I could have bought a map? 

"Mom?"  Oh boy, Austynn just woke up.  Could my night get any better?  ""Are we lost?"

"Me lost?  You betcha."

"I'm going back ta sleep."

"Please do."

For my time and money saving efforts, last night's typical 20 minute drive home cost me an hour and a half and over $16 in back and forth fees on the toll roads.  Was I slightly annoyed when I walked in the house at 9:15pm?  You betcha.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tomorrow - I promise - I won't forget...

I have a few regrets this morning... 

Spice Finch
One, when I cleaned my finches nest yesterday I discovered that, Cricket, my female Spice Finch had two tiny eggs which I was totally unaware of.  As I've mentioned several times, I'm a nature lover.  The idea that I, Bri Potts, am responsible for destroying them devastated me.  Since she's a Spice Finch and my male bird is a Zebra Finch, I'm uncertain if the eggs were fertilized; however, to make myself feel better, I haven't researched this information yet - nor, most likely - will I.  Needless to say, all day yesterday I stared sadly at my female bird and apologized profusely.  I'm certain this is why she's torn the cotton out of her clean wicker basket; she's searching for her eggs.  I feel miserable.

Another regret, one which I can rectify but am procrastinating over, is combing my dogs.  Lhasa Apsos and Shih Tzus are long haired animals.  If I let them go too long between grooming, which I have, they can become a matted mess.  Tank, my Lhasa, is fairly easy going.  He'll sit still and endure quite a bit from me.  I'm rather OCD (Obsessive Compulsive) when it comes to eye boogers because both my dogs are white and his boogers are notorious monsters.  Tulip, my Shih Tzu on the other hand, runs when she sees me approaching with the comb.  Currently, her face is so matted that she can barely see.  My Tulip isn't called a bitch just because she's a female dog.  Try brushing out her face - OH MY GOD!  The way she snarls and snaps, one would think she's the Queen of Sheba.

My final regret - and this is a big one - I didn't kiss my husband before he left for work this morning.  This is going to haunt me all day.  I went over all the prerequisites...did I tell him to be safe?  Yep.  Did I tell him how sexy he looked?  Yes.  He looked great.  Black pants.  Blue knit shirt which matched his eyes.  Did I tell him that I loved him?  I did.  I even told him how strong his shoulders looked, but I didn't kiss him good-bye.

Eric, life gets too chaotic but tomorrow, if there is a tomorrow, I promise you - my love - that I'll never forget to kiss you good-bye before you walk out the front door and away from me ever again.          

Monday, September 17, 2012

How do you spell that?

I'm one of those awful word loving mothers.  I own it.  I'm a writer - well, of sorts anyway - so when one of my Aspergian "professor-like" boys throws out an impressive word, I verbally applaud them and then yes, ask that they spell it. (Oh my, I believe I just heard suppressed moans throughout the virtual world.)  I must admit, I'm not the best speller myself, so I often find myself consulting Mr. Webster for verification purposes.  In my opinion, how one speaks and carries oneself signifies their level of education, intelligence, and background.

There have been countless times when, in having a conversation with my kiddos, I'll hear a blatant misuse of the English language and I'll correct them.  I don't mind slang as long as it's used informally or in jest but when it's part of an intelligent discussion, it's absolutely unacceptable.  When my husband and I sit down to watch the evening news, we'll grimace listening to periodic street interviews.  Are these people for real?  Do they have any idea what they sound or look like?  Face piercings, tattoos, gold teeth, unwashed hair, clothes exposing their overweight bellies, and comments such as, "...he don't got none..."?  Good Grief!  Don't these people want to improve themselves?

My best friend and I have had countless conversations on this topic.  We know several acquaintances who, despite their lack of financial resources, could improve their situations if they truly wanted to.  The question is, will they?  There are libraries, community services, state aide; so much available to them to expand their knowledge.  They have unlimited access to the Internet.  There's a plethora of world events, culture, and political information waiting for them at their fingertips.  Instead, they teach their children, by example, the mindless art of collecting disability while exercising their backsides playing Wii and Nintendo games.

I've never been one who believes in first-class carriages; however, I do believe in first-class personalities.  A human being can have all the money in the world and still be an ignorant, boring individual without any taste or social impact.  The same could be said in reverse.  I knew a man living in poverty, without a formal education, who spoke no English, whom I invited into my home, and was honored to share meals with and call, "Padre" ("Father" in Spanish).

I hate to sum up a person too quickly; however, when the only topic of conversation manages to be about our children or the latest reality television show - I must admit, sometimes there's not much content to summarize.



Saturday, September 15, 2012

A little bit o' gross on a Saturday morning.

It's Saturday.  I can blog about nasty, vile stuff on Saturdays. These are my slower reading days.  I know this for a fact.  I've seen my statistics.  People are out visiting family, hanging out at local pubs, lounging about and capturing the final few days of summer sunshine.  Besides, I have a lot to contribute about the grosser things of life.  Life is dirty.  I must clear this awfulness from my mind.  It's not that you, my dear friends and blog readers, aren't aware of it.  We've all been through it.  Put down your coffee cups and morning Danish because here I go...

I hate garbage disposals.  They never do what they're supposed to do.  You turn them on and inevitably, they make those horrifying grinding noises as if to say, "I'm done."  Why?  Isn't their job, not to be done?  Aren't they supposed to chop, dice, and dispose of said chunky bits o' food?  Of course, this always happens at the most inconvenient of times for instance after a manicure or ten minutes prior to company arriving.  Then the following thoughts occur..."Do I really have to put my hand down there? and "What happens if someone turns on the power while my hand is searching about?" and "What the Hell did I just touch?"and "Who shoved that piece of celery in there?  Doesn't that idiot know disposals can't handle celery?" and "Why the Hell not?  You'd think that someone could make a disposal strong enough to gobble a stalk of fucking celery, dammit!"  Yes, we've all been through it.  Let's admit it, shall we?

While I'm on the topic of gross, yes - pets make a house a home; HOWEVER, a very stinky one at that.  I frequently note in my blogs that Eric and I are the proud owners of two adorable small dogs, a Shih Tzu and a Lhasa Apso.  The other night, at the unholy hour of 2:00am, I was woken by a stench so foul I almost vomited in my mouth.  Tank, our Lhasa, had a bout of diarrhea during the evening.  Because he is a sweet and loving pooch, he didn't want to disturb our slumber.  There was a minefield of poop on our bedroom floor.  Thank God I had the foresight to select brown carpet when purchasing the house.

Both Eric and I came from families with five children each.  When discussing adoption, we considered boys versus girls and remembered our lives growing up.  My sisters and I were vicious and Eric's sister (God bless her), was somewhat of a handful.  Because of these memories, we opted to adopt boys; however, we had failed to remember how disgusting boys could be.  Fast forward to our family today.  Boogers, spitting loogies in the shower, pee on the floor, toenails everywhere, oh my goodness..the horror show never ends.

Well, now that I've thouroughly grossed myself out, I have to make a cake for my friend's birthday tonight.  Have a great Saturday everyone.  Try to enjoy your Danish and coffee.

Friday, September 14, 2012

It's how you go that matters.

Yesterday I spent about four hours in a chemotherapy lab with one of my dearest friends.  She was being infused with her second of four maintenance injections for stage four Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

My friend *Sarah is a tough cookie.  To look at her one would never guess she has cancer.  She certainly doesn't act sick.  She has a zest for life which is absolutely contagious.  My friend reminds me of a gal from the mid-west.  A tough talking, no-nonsense, smoking, say-it-like-it-is, in-your-face, sort of gal.  She'll laugh when something is ridiculous and tell you flat out when you're being stupid.  She has a soft side too.  She cries when her teenage son gives her a long overdue hug and adores her four miniature, teacup poodles.  Go figure?

Sitting beside her while the Benadryl drip took hold and the toxins were simultaneously infused into her veins, I couldn't help but wonder about this miracle we call life.  I take advantage of my body every day; pop any number of assorted sleeping, pain, or antidepressant pills into my system.  It's a wonder my ole' bones don't rise up against me and say, "Enough already!"  I have this ridiculous notion of longevity on my mother's side of the family.  I'm immortal.  Not so.  What a silly thought.  And so, what if I should live to be into my 90's?  Should I treat my body this way?  Decidedly not.

As Sarah, God bless her, snored like a freight train, I looked around the room at the other patients hooked up to their particular poisons.  Some wore wigs, some head scarves, some were curled up in fetal positions clinging on to the hands of the friends or family members who brought them.  Others were being told their counts were too low and they'd have to come back next week - obviously very bad news.  Still others were being sent on to the hospital for blood transfusions.  Death and sickness surrounded me.  It wasn't an unfamiliar site due to my Hospice days but it had been a long time.  I hadn't braced for it.  My heart wasn't ready for it.  I had time to soak it in before Sarah woke up - three hours to contemplate it.  I realize that no one gets a free pass; however, it's how we handle our passing that matters the most.

As Sarah reclined back, belly exposed, her snoring becoming increasingly louder with every intake of breath, and with one leg dangling off the side of the chair, I was tempted to record her on my telephone in all her drooling glory.  I maliciously considered forwarding the video on to her sisters and kids - after all, that's what friends do, right?  Would she be angry?  Sarah?  Of course not.  She would howl with laughter and say, "Oh my God, Bri!  You're such a bitch but I guess that's why I love you so much!"

When Sarah goes down, she'll go down fighting.  And you know something, I'll be there holding her hand laughing and kicking right beside her.

*Name has been changed for privacy purposes.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Destiny or as I like to call it, "Magic Hands"

I wrote an entire blog on Wednesday morning and with a single flick o' the wrist, I deleted it last night.  POOF!  Gone.  An hour and a half worth of thoughts, edits, and re-writes disappeared in a blink of an eye.  The magic of technology!  Before I could afford a laptop - in my plasma-selling-days (I'll explain this in a moment) - I wrote everything in longhand on note pads.  My writing was a jumble of scribbles with lines, arrows, and circles.  My spelling?  FAHGET about IT!  Oh, and I'm still in constant lament over my grammar.  I write as I think - not as my freshman English teacher, Sister Mary Rodgers would have instructed - but as I hear it being spoken in my mind; broken, choppy, and with far too many dangling participles.

So, where am I going with this?  I suppose one instinctively knows if pouring out their soul to strangers is their calling in life.  The hard part is finding the courage to place ourselves out there.  I've taken some amazing steps towards this destination.  I've admitted that I'm somewhat introverted and yet here I am opening my life to readers around the world.  This month, I've had consistent hits from as far away as Russia, India, and Israel to name just a few (thank you, my friends).  I've taken my writing to the stage and attempted amateur stand-up comedy.  As of now, I'm not giving the stage up, just taking it in another direction; a direction which makes more sense for my comedic style (another blog, another day).

When I was a little girl, I started writing.  It started out as poetry.  Yes, some of what I wrote were the goofy "roses are red" rhyming do-dads which all 10 year olds are prone to hack out; however, there were some good ones - poems I wrote from the depths of my heart which seemed as if they were written by a much older soul.  Pouring them out felt "right" somehow.  I could convey feelings on paper which I could never say out loud.  Written words made more sense; there was a certain ebb and flow to them.  When I opened my mouth then (and still now) I always managed to botch everything up.

Back to my first paragraph.  What did I write about on Wednesday that was so horrible I felt it necessary to destroy an hour and a half's worth of work?  I was whining.  Not that whining is unusual for me (especially for a Wednesday blog) but my complaining was more annoying than usual.  It contained a certain high-pitch quality to it that even for the written word hurt my sensibilities.  I felt compassion for you, my dear friends and blog readers, and quite frankly - I was quite over myself...DELETE.

During my first marriage, Jeff and I struggled financially as most young couples do.  We found ourselves in constant search for an ever elusive dollar bill.  Eventually, we became so desperate we ended up sitting in donation rooms twice a week draining our plasma for $30.  After several months of this, I had to stop.  Not because of heavy needles being inserted into my veins but because of the anxiety attacks I'd have for the iron testing.  Back in those days the technicians would use thick needle pricks on our fingers which hurt more than the actual donations.  I still have the needle holes on the inside of my arms and on very humid days, small blisters will pop up on my fingertips causing me to break into cold sweats. My ex-husband and I also found ourselves perusing donation stores and walking to work in clothing unsuitable for the harsh Colorado winters.  This was my "rock bottom".  I swore never to return and so now as I type my blogs on a lovely laptop, in a beautiful home, and next to my best friend and soul mate to whom God has given me a second chance - I realize that I have an amazing opportunity to fulfill my destiny; to be the writer and entertainer I was destined to be. 

Destiny.  Some people don't believe in it.  I have to whole-heartedly disagree.  I was a firm believer once in making my own path but since looking back at my 45 years, it's hard not to see a little destiny or what I like to call "magic hands" laying down some cards for me.  I'll take that help now and gratefully acknowledge it.  Hopefully, when I've reached the end of my road, I'll look back, smile, and say, "Yup, there was a whole lot of magic goin' on." 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bored? Go outside and find something to do.

Picture of a perfect hiding spot - a kiddo's "secret fort"
 Wildcats Club.  No girls allowed! especially Kathleen Marie Bryant and Kiki Laporta!! 

It's funny how this 10 year old tomboy didn't consider that I, the President, Secretary, and Treasurer of the Wildcats Club, was indeed a girl.

A friend drew me a picture this morning on Facebook of how, as a little boy, he used to play in the woods, make forts, and "play doctor" with some of the neighborhood girls.  He caused me to stop and smile.  What beautiful memories we - the older generations - have of our childhood.  Long before computers and Nintendo, many of our mothers would sweep us outside on a hot summer's day and instruct, "Stay outside and play."  Many of us didn't need to be told.  We were out at the crack of dawn and oftentimes didn't stroll in until we heard our names hollered down the street for dinner.  Dawn 'til dusk we would play - or until the street lights came on.

When Eric and I adopted our boys, we had imagined this sort of childhood for them; bike riding, baseball in the streets, and hanging out with their best buddies until they drove me to distraction looking for them.  Obviously, things don't always turn out as one would hope.  Even if William and Austynn could make friends easily and didn't suffer the burden of Aspergers Syndrome, I don't know if their childhood would have been what my husband and I wished for them.  Times are different.  I don't hear or see kids outside building forts or playing in the streets any more.  Where are they?  This is a rhetorical question.  It doesn't need an answer because we, as adults, know what's happened.  They're inside on beautiful, sunny days playing electronic games or shuttled off to one too many after school curriculum practices.  When did we lose sight of our own childhood experiences?  Why are we not providing our children these same memories? 

It seems to me we need to remember our lives growing up and turn off the Wii remotes.  We need to step up as parents and say, "You're going outside and find something to do."  No more of this wasting away inside being pampered by air conditioning and coddled by overprotective adults.  Our kiddos need to learn the sting of what a scraped knee feels like when they fall and accept it without running in to mom for a Band-Aid.  So what if it's hot?  That's what water hoses and sprinklers are for.  No more catering to their comfort by carting the kids off to local recreation facilities with slides and water tubes.  "I'm bored!" should be met with, "Then I'll give you something to do around the house."  Bored?  I would never dare utter these words growing up, but then again - I never thought to say them.

John Laporta and I had a "neat" clubhouse.  That was the word back then, not "cool" but "neat".  In my parent's backyard there was a group of  Yucca trees, native to Southern California, nestled in the corner.  On hot summer days, John and I would convene our "meetings" in the hollow shaded space beneath these large bushes.  We had a little typewriter for note taking (though neither of us typed), pencils, paper, and assorted treasures we'd found from roaming the riverbank behind our homes.  Our "meetings" consisted mainly of plotting how we would destroy our sibling's clubhouse constructed out of old sheets hanging from my mother's clothes line.  

I recall a particular day, as we sat and munched directly from a bag of Cheetos John pilfered from his mama's pantry and sucked down grape Kool-Aid provided to us, how we felt that life couldn't get any better.  What a wonderful feeling.  Every child should feel this way growing up.  I've been inspired.  When Austy wakes up, I believe I'll hand him some old sheets and say, "Go outside and find something to do." 




Wednesday, September 5, 2012

How did you sleep last night?

When I'm lying in bed at 4:20am composing my daily blog in my mind, one can assume it's been a Hell of a night.  Since today is Wednesday and I'm long overdue for an impressive mid-week whine, I'll use this as my topic of horrible sleepless night.

My evening started out uneventful, quiet, even peaceful.  Everyone in the Potts' household seemed happy; even the dogs weren't fighting.  I decided to skip the nightly news and go to bed early.  Sadly, I've become a mutant in my middle age and "early" is exactly what it implies.  Let's just say, I was tucked in before my kids were.  Regardless of the pathetic hour, I thrill at the thought of sleep.  My bed is my haven.  My pillow is my  friend.  She calls out to me throughout the day.  She's like a siren; her song is almost impossible to resist (boy, this is getting silly).  Anyway, I believe I've made my point.  I love to sleep.

In order for me to ensure the quality of rest I so desire, the room must be pitch dark and silent.  My master bedroom is large and has a separate sitting area off to the side where my husband and I watch TV in the evenings.  Being the sweet, compromising wife that I am and having discovered that Eric's snoring has increased in velocity over the years, I wear an eye mask and foam earplugs (which I'm sure enhances my sex appeal as I also wear long johns and oversized t-shirts.  I'm truly a goddess.).  This way, Eric isn't inconvenienced and has to go downstairs and I can still go to bed when I want to.

9:30    Eric pulls off my covers and says, "Breezy, you're already asleep?"

10:40  Tank, my Lhasa Apso, decides that the foot of the bed is uncomfortable and walks his 19 pounds along my back to the top of the bed in an effort to avoid Tulip, his nemesis and our evil, sleeping Shih Tzu.

11:27  I roll over towards Eric (and Tank), open my eyes for a brief moment, the dog sees me and plants his wet tongue upside my nose.  Startled, I jump and my big toe kicks Tulip - in what I'm assuming is a sensitive spot - and our evil little Shih Tzu starts growling mercilessly.

12:53  I have a night terror (probably still overwhelmed by Tank's earlier display of affection) and start yelling, "Who's that in my bathroom?  Who's there?!!"  Eric merely groans and goes back to sleep.

12:53-1:37  I'm in a constant state of movement.  I'm cold.  No, I'm hot.  My earplugs are bothering me so I pull them out.  Eric's snore is sounding more like a wheeze.  "Is he ok?"  The overhead fan is clicking incessantly.  "Why do we need that stupid thing on anyway, darn it!"  My sweet, siren pillow is not singing to me.  Every shift of its surface seems wrong.  "My earlobes are too big, they're being folded!"  Each flip of my body discovers a new dilemma, "My boob isn't underneath me right.  Tulip is too close to my feet.  DAMMIT!" 

2:16-2:28  "Do I have to go to the bathroom?  I'm finally comfortable. I don't want to move."

2:29  I go to the bathroom.

3:55  Tank slaps my head.  This is an indicator that he needs to go to the bathroom, errr...outside.

4:20  I wake up contemplating a bizarre dream in which I was in a huge studio audience for the TV game show, The Price is Right hosted by Drew Carey.  He made a raunchy joke between takes and then realized his error.  Not only was I sitting next to a Catholic Nun, but when I looked around and behind me, the entire theater was filled with nuns wearing light blue habits.  Mr. Carey, befuddled, left the set.  In my dream, I started laughing hysterically and thought, "Thank God I didn't say that!"

4:20-5:34  Still considering my dream and the fact that I hadn't slept a wink since my initial attempt many hours earlier, I begin writing this blog in my mind.

5:34  I decide to change topics and focus on a sexy daydream.  Who's my partner going to be?  (Don't click your tongues at me dear friends and blog readers.  My husband allows me to wander in my daydreams and if you say, you don't then someone is fibbing!).  Mike Rowe?  The friendly fire station crew around the corner?  Someone else?

6:30:  Beep Beep Beep Beep.  Alarm Clock.  "Shit!" 

I believe I'm entitled to a Wednesday whine this morning, what do you think?


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Life is a dance.

I have a file of favorite songs on my computer which I often turn to for different reasons. Some nights, after a particularly difficult day with the kids or life in general, I'll curl into my husband's arms, listen to them as he strokes my hair, and eventually fall asleep.  Other times, like this morning for instance, they'll play as a backdrop while I'm typing my blog.  They inspire me, draw up memories from past romances, calm my spirit, and remind me that life is a combination of magical dance steps.

When I was small, the steps were simple and quick. As a teenager, the movements became chaotic and unpredictable.  As a young adult, I was confused.  I lost my sense of rhythm.  And, sadly - there was a time I became frustrated and stopped listening altogether.  Now that I've reached this middle point, this spot where I can take a pause and catch my breath, I've noticed that the melodies are slower, softer, and sweeter.  My body seems to sway naturally to the music; I'm not trying so hard at it.  The dance steps are smoother.  I may stumble every so often, but I sense with time - I'll learn to waltz beautifully.


Monday, September 3, 2012

My perfect storm.

I've been offline for a few days.  Most of my Facebook friends know why.  I've placed myself in a self-imposed exile from reality with the help of excessive sleeping medications.  I'm not a strong individual.  I wish I could say I was.  I'd love to believe that I could take on the perfect storm of stress and handle it like the southern Steel Magnolias (a reference to the female characters of the 1989 movie with the same name) but I can't.  I tend to easily wilt under a barrage of pressure and prefer to close my eyes hoping to find what little comfort there is in the soft stillness of my pillow.

The perfect storm of stress.  What defines this tempest in my mind?  First, it's my need for perfection which I realize is absolutely ridiculous.  When I see an inordinate amount of dust, in my thinking anyway, I've failed to keep a clean home.  My husband would never, EVER question my house keeping.  He appreciates everything I do.  In fact, he thinks I overwork myself and often tells me to take the day off.  Our house is big.  I want it to look nice for him when he comes home from work.  I want his dinner started, the laundry put away, the kids quiet (seriously?), therapy appointments finished, and I do not want to smell like something died.  I concede, this is fair amount of pressure to apply on myself even when I have managed to take a shower.

When, in the course of a single day, I receive not one but four separate calls regarding my boys' behavior at school, my teeth begin to clench.  Thank goodness the boys are both in special education programs whereas they won't automatically be sent home when they misbehaive.  Still, learning that my oldest screamed out "Vagina" in English class or that my youngest continuously poked his teacher's aide did not help my churning, stormy sea.  Also, knowing that when Austynn - in particular - comes home to face the consequences, I will be battered with tone, attitude, and behavior so awful, I will eventually sequester myself in my bedroom and insert ear plugs.  Why not confront him?  Because that would only make things worse.  Eric and I have been counseled that when our big 14 year old screams his 4-letter rants, we need to turn our backs and ignore him.  He'll suffer the consequences later.

"Mom, will ya read to me?"

"Austynn, you hurt my feelings.  You called me a fat whore and a lot of other ugly things.  No, I don't want to read to you right now."

"I don't like it when ya say those things, Mom."

"Neither do I, Austy.  Maybe you'll think twice before you scream ugly words at me for things that you did.  Now, show me you can be nice and maybe later I'll think about it."

"I'm sorry, Mom.  Please read to me."

"No.  I don't accept your apology.  You were mean and now you want something .  If you behave for the next couple of hours - don't lie or scream or call me names - than maybe I'll read to you after dinner."  I turned my back and ended my part of the conversation.  Austynn continued talking from three rooms away.

Final piece to the perfect storm.  It's been determined that Austynn has been overmedicated for months - not by a little, but by a ridiculous amount.  So Saturday morning, when our kiddo was pulled out by myself and his dad from within the sofa, Austy decided that kicking his dad was the best retaliation.  Eric and I have repeatedly told Austynn we would call 911 if he became violent with us again (yes, this isn't the first time).  Austynn called my bluff.  Four police cars and the threat of being handcuffed finally brought our son back to reality.  He was admitted Saturday afternoon to Children's Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and a medication review.  This is how it was determined that his meds were causing his behaviors to escalate.

Saturday's perfect storm.  Messy house, children going haywire, and my eventual decision to call 911 to have my 14 year old admitted to a psychiatric hospital shut me down.  It's Monday, Labor Day, almost noon - I'm still in the same clothes (pj's) I've been in since Eric took Austy away on Saturday morning.  I've been awake and out of bed for a few hours now.  The first few consistent "waking" hours since Austynn left.  As I sit here typing, I can't help but question my decision; however, for the first time in months, this house has a calm to it.  I feel guilty yet at the same time, serene.  There's certainly a contradiction to this thing called "motherhood" or is it particularly evident for mothers with special need's kids..or's just me?

*Side note:  Austynn will be hospitalized until the old medicine is slowly weened out of his system and new medication is being administered.  He will be under evaluation and sent home once the doctors feel his mental health has stabilized.