Friday, February 20, 2015

It's my birthday and when I blow out my candle on my blueberry pancake...

Me and Mike the IHOP Waiter (Cool Dude!)
So today is "THE DAY" - my birthday.  It's not some monumental age such as 30 which my husband still reminds me of my embarassing behavior.  Yes, my dear friends and blog readers, I'm horrified to say I reacted rather badly.  I literally retreated into the Southern California mountains that particular weekend and refused calls from everyone.  I wept elephant tears lamenting my lost youth. Oh my, such drama!  Not much has changed as far as my "dramatic" qualities over the past 18 years; however, the ongoing birthdays haven't been as challenging (thank goodness).

My 40th year was an exciting one.  My mother prepared me well for it.  She repeatedly told me throughout her own 40-somethings that they were the "best years of her life" and once I reached them I completely understood what she meant.  I'm no longer tied to conformity.  I don't care what people think of me.  I say what I damn well want to say, do what I want to do, wear what's comfortable, shake my bootie and have never looked or felt better in my life.  But yes - these years have seen dark days too.  Days so dark I couldn't see my own hand in front of my face.  Times when sleep, permanent sleep, seemed like the only reasonable solution to a life with such incredible challenges.

Today, as I blew out my imaginary candle on my gross blueberry breakfast pancake, I figured a few things out.  Here they are...

First, Michael, my waiter here at IHOP, is a sweetheart, it's his first day and I'm his first table EVAH. Poor dude.  No one should have me as their first customer.  I'm a serious pain in the ass.  I'll be sure to leave him a nice tip.

Last night, as I looked into the beautiful blue eyes of my husband, whom I've loved for almost my entire life, I realized what a ridiculous decision my suicide attempt was last year.  Most nights, I struggle to even turn off the lights because I don't want to stop looking at him.  Why on earth would I consider losing a moment with Eric regardless of what lies ahead?  Whatever happens, we'll be together; probably laughing, perhaps crying and most certainly exchanging some serious curse words but that's okay because we'll be with one another.  I adore you, Eric.  Thank you.  I'll never attempt that bone-head maneuver again.

Another thing I've concluded is that I live in a fantastically beautiful state.  Colorado is my home.  No where else takes my breath away quite like this place.  I feel safe even in areas my girlfriend calls the "nastiest" parts of town.  I laugh because I think, "Hell, I used to live in these types of areas in LA". No.  I may be from SoCal but my heart was born in the Rocky Mountains.

It's been a tough road with my boys.  It's still a tough one and Lord only knows where this road will take us yet there have been moments where I've seen so much progress.  Yes, Austynn is almost a foot taller than I am and his anger at sixteen is usually directed towards me.  Honestly, he frightens me. Earlier this week, I was afraid to be home alone with him (due to some contraband found in his room) so I asked his older brother and Eric to come home early.  I can defend myself - to a point - but Austynn is now capable of hurting me.  Fortunately, everything stayed calm but it could have gone either way. Eric and I choose our battles carefully with Austynn just like we did with William when he was this age and we survived William.

William came from rampaging our garage with an axe, threatening our neighbor and hurting us with hateful words to a loving, gentle young man.  He may still be afraid of facing the world but now he comes to me asking for advice on how to defend middle school kids from hoards of bullies, sits with stunned birds until they're capable of flying away from possible predators and comes up to stray dogs - walking door-to-door if necessary - searching for their owners.  I'm so proud to be his mother. Whatever he chooses to be in life, I rest in the knowledge that he's a good, kind soul.  I love you so much, William.

I have not been practicing my faith.  I've mentioned in the past that I'm Catholic.  I am; however, extremely spiritual.  I believe in humanity.  I hold firm that people, in general, are good and that we - as human beings - are all connected.  Eric and I share this same core value.  We may not have much financially and probably, because of this ideal, will always struggle.  What little we have, we tend to give.  Our opinion is that we can't take "it" with us.  We have a roof over our heads, food on the table, and money (sometimes just barely) to pay the bills.  We're okay BUT there's always someone less fortunate.  We have a spare room.  If someone needs it, there's a reason we have it.

We've raised our boys with these same values. If there's an elderly person, pregnant woman or physically challenged individual, they've been taught to stand up immediately and offer up their seat. They've seen their father go hungry because he's given away his lunch countless times to the homeless around his workplace. Our family has taken in strangers around our table because they're cold and hungry. We never question - we trust. We've taught William and Austynn to treat every human being who enters our home with the same level of respect, whether they're wealthy or poor. To quote George Bernard Shaw, "There are no third class carriages in Heaven".  Eric and I may not approve of guns or war but we thank every Veteran who has served our nation and for the sacrifices they've made. We do not criticize any President on any public forum where foreign countries can mock our country. We live in a Democracy.  We have the ability and right to vote.  If we're very unhappy, we march and make our voices heard.  We're not complacent. We discuss politics with the boys.  We ask their opinion and we NEVER discount their thoughts but we will debate them.  If the boys choose not to believe in God, they are now old enough to make their own decisions.  They've been to church with us.  They know what we believe.  All we want for them is that they know the difference between what is morally right and wrong. That they always help those who can't help themselves; the weak, the undefended, animals, children, the elderly and the voiceless.  NO ONE is considered "a stray".  My children know this better than anyone because the system told Eric and I once that our boys were "unadoptable". Some days, some dark, ugly days when I worry about throwing away baseball bats in my neighbor's trash for fear of my own safety I think, "yes, adoption was a bad decision". Then, I recall the laughter around the dinner table, or how once Austynn waited, holding a door open for 10 minutes while an 80 year old woman hobbled through or when William rifles my hair after a long day because that's how he tells me he loves me.  No, there are no strays. Everyone deserves to be helped. We'll make it through this and Austynn will turn out fine eventually. He has a very good heart even under all of his sixteen year old angst.

And finally, I've learned that I'm funny.  Yep, I'm owning it.  I may not ever get hired for a gig but I concede that I have some friggin serious cajones for a chick of 48.  I had nerve enough to go into a local community theater and give my one-woman show proposal to a stage manager and so okay, I got turned down but next week, I'll go to another theater and try it all over again.  And - while I was waiting for this manager - I had five construction workers and the receptionist rolling in laughter because I was going on about something completely off the wall.  I made them happy and that, after all, is what I'm supposed to do, right?  Make people laugh? And, when I was at the optometrist yesterday with my crazy kid, I was throwing out one liners left and right and the doctor says to me, "You should be a comedian"!  Funny, and so...I AM.

Happy Birthday, Bri Potts.



       

Monday, February 2, 2015

D'Oh! That was stupid!

Those stupid, ridiculous moments...you know the ones I'm referring to my dear friends and blog readers; those bursts of higher intelligence when the earth stops on its axis for a split second and you think to yourself, "Did I seriously just do that? What an idiot!"  And of course there's the bigger, looming question, "Oh dear God, did anyone see me do it!?"

We're all guilty of the occasional gaff and even allowed a critical lapse of judgement every once in awhile; however, I've discovered that some people don't get caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar.  I find this unfair. This blog is dedicated to those people who, like myself, always seem to have crumbs, not only on our faces, but bits and pieces of cookies stuck in our teeth as we're vehemently denying any involvement in the notorious cookie jar heist.

*****

D'Oh!  That was stupid!

My son Austynn is currently sixteen years old.  He, God bless him, is a notorious liar. Not only is he an exceedingly bad fibber, but when the proof is glaringly obvious (as in the cookie jar analogy above), he still refuses to accept responsibility for his actions. One example is that he's brilliant but terrifying.  He loves electricity to the point of becoming an adolescent Dr. Frankenstein.  He is NOT allowed to have anything battery operated.  If so he's been known to disassemble it, strip the wiring and create sparks...OOOH FIRE!

Electric Glow Ball
Two years ago, on a quiet Sunday afternoon, Eric and I were jolted out of our bedroom by the smell of electricity and smoke.  Keep in mind that Austynn has no battery operated toys and NO DOOR. These have been removed after the last fire he started with a battery he found outside. My husband and I started yelling at the boys, "Who's done what?!"  They protested their innocence.  We started checking the walls for heat worrying about the wiring and then I walked past Austynn's room and IT hit me; the unmistakable smell of burnt carpet and electricity. I followed my nose to his closet and there it was, traces of what had been a stomped out carpet fire. I found remnants of burned tissues, a couple of pennies, a paper clip and his electric glow ball.  D'oh! REDRUM (Murder spelled backwards)! His response, "I DIDN'T DO IT!"  No, I suppose the dog did in his incredible canine capacity. It was all I could do not to commit maternal homicide.

Another Austynn classic.  This one happened just last week which is actually quite amazing that I'm typing this historical account and not sitting in some jail cell or tied up in a straitjacket tonight.

All four members of my household, including myself, wear glasses. Austynn practically wears coke bottle lenses, in other words, he's blind as a bat without them.  When the kids first came to live with us, it was standard procedure during their temper tantrums to throw, break or crack their glasses to get their point across that they were angry.  Now that they're older, my husband and I feel that they should be well past this stage in their lives.  In fact, their glasses aren't cheap, little boy glasses any longer.  No. They're very expensive.  Austynn has had his glasses replaced and repaired already once this year.  We're now waiting for our tax return money so we can get our annual eye exams and glass frames taken care of.  What did my not so little sixteen year old do last week?  Yes. It was a temper tantrum to end ALL TEMPER TANTRUMS.  His reasoning was that it was better to completely demolish his non-replaceable glasses than to whack the kid in line because he was teasing him (and per his teacher, the kid in question was NOT saying a word).  When Eric almost had them in somewhat wearable condition, Austynn took them apart deciding they were unacceptable and ruined them beyond recognition.  Yes, he seriously did that.   Ugh!      

On a sillier note, I will never recover from the humiliation of almost crashing head on into a neighbor at the outrageously dangerous speed of 5mph while turning into my own driveway.  How does one do such a foolish thing?  Vanity, my friends.  I was admiring my home's Christmas lights and not looking at the car passing directly in front of me. Oh the shame!  

I will spare this person's mortification and not share her name yet her story lives on in the Marriage Hall of Fame; a testament to her husband's love and good humor.  *Linda (for the sake of the story), was having an awful day.  She was parked downtown in a "Pay n' Park" lot and had misplaced her pay ticket.  By the time she found it, the sun had gone down, there were no lights and she was completely unfamiliar with that area.  Unfortunately, Linda had made the fatal mistake of going out the "Entrance" where there were spikes preventing cars from going in the wrong way.  Obviously, in the dark, she didn't see them and blew out her front two tires.  There was no one onsite to help her and this was long before the days of cell phones.  In her panic, God bless her, she had that moment - or lack thereof - when the earth stopped on its axis and all reasoning left her.  Yes, she did the unthinkable.  She drove on and blew out the back two tires as well.  Sobbing in disbelief, she wandered into a local restaurant, called her husband and whispered her secret shame into the receiver. *Hal showed up twenty minutes later with four new tires in his pick-up truck, a hug for his devastated wife and dinner so she'd have something to eat while he replaced the tires. In answer to your question my friends, yes, they're still very happily married.

Speaking of marriages, my first.  Exactly.  What was I thinking there?  Need I say more?

I've mentioned in many of my blogs that I can become somewhat manic when it comes to housework. There are things that I just can't leave alone.  For instance, for the past three months there's been an unsightly grease stain trapped between my oven door and the inner glass panel.  It's been driving me CRAZY.  So, after several requests to my dear husband to take care of it, I couldn't stand looking at it another minute.  How hard could it be?  Just a few screws and voila, right? Absolutely. It popped right open!  I wiped it off - but then, this was the dicey part...it wasn't as easy to slide the glass back in.  What the heck?  I didn't need any help...I could do this.  Suddenly, the glass panel hit the side of the oven door and then - POP, CRASH, EXPLODE!  GOD DAMMIT!  I just wanted to clean the stupid grease stain!  Now I broke the friggin oven!  SHIT!

Why is it that after I drink 6 or more shots of Tequila I believe a plate of greasy, fried appetisers at Denny's actually sounds like a good idea?

And finally, running down the stairs with a plate full of dishes to escape my chattering son - even though while typing this, seems completely reasonable - is a broken ankle in triplicate waiting to happen.

Wow, this stuff was really stupid!  Pardon me, while I shake off the cookie crumbs and why is it they always land all over my chest?  WAIT!  Don't answer that.  D'oh!