Saturday, October 26, 2013

Paradox Sports.... Become a Member

English: El Capitan in Yosemite National Park ...
English: El Capitan in Yosemite National Park viewed from the Valley Floor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The other night I had the pleasure of going to an event.  Not just any event but one that made me laugh and cry and feel an immense amount of pride for some hometown homies.  The O’Neill family is a family that The Hub grew up with.  He was often considered the darkest O’Neill as he spent a vast amount of his childhood in the O’Neill household and The Hub’s Italian heritage was evident among their Irish-ness.   I did not meet the O’Neill’s until I was in High School.  My best friend was their neighbor and also an honorary O’Neill.  Although she blended much better.  When I first entered their home, I was teased and ridiculed and tormented and never felt more loved.  Mr. and Mrs. O’Neill have 7 children.  I love all of them.    All the O’Neill’s are extraordinary in their own right, but the two who had the event are Timmy and Sean. 

They have done and are doing some amazing things.  Timmy is a world famous rock climber.  He has been climbing for over 20 years.  Sean is also a rock climber and a T12 paraplegic.  They came back home for a visit to talk about their adventures of climbing El Capitan, -a THREE THOUSAND foot rock in Yosemite National Park- and Timmy’s non-profit called Paradox Sports.  Timmy is the co-founder and Executive Director of Paradox Sports.  Check out the website.  Their Mission: Paradox Sports provides inspiration, opportunities and adaptive equipment to the disabled community, empowering their pursuit of a life of excellence through human-powered outdoor sports. - See more at:   

Inspired in part by Sean, they create equipment and training for people with limited abilities to do what most of us would never even try.  Timmy has worked with countless disabled veterans, accident victims and those disabled from childhood, to climb rocks, kayak rivers, ski mountains, hike trails, ride mountain bikes and surf waves.  Their fearlessness and strength show us that we are all capable of whatever we set our minds to.  

Timmy and Sean gave a slide presentation of their adventures, including their major accomplishments, like Sean being the FIRST ever T12 paraplegic to lead a climb.  Timmy is a performer in the most universal sense of the word.  His fast paced and very funny part of the presentation juxtaposed with Sean’s very cerebral, pensive and dry sense of humor,  made the night flow.  It was heartwarming to see all the O’Neill’s, (Mr., Mrs., all their kids and grandkids, not to mention the honorary members and their kids.)  This group of people who I feel so blessed to know is the epitome of the word family.  If there is a problem or heartache or joy or blessing to be celebrated I know that each and every one them will be there as I would be for them.  

Here is the best news.  YOU can be a part of it too.  Look at the website. Read about Timmy and Sean and all the other amazing individuals involved in Paradox Sports.  With just a small donation to help this wonderful cause YOU CAN BE A MEMBER.   When you become a member you will get a hand written note from the famous Timmy O’Neill himself.   That in and of itself is worth it, but the fact that it will also help veterans who have given so much for our country along with other’s who’s dreams can be realized makes it that much more sweet.  

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Monday, October 14, 2013

For Sale by Owner, Magic included.

For Sale:

A Warm Loving Home with a side of Magic

This is no normal home.  This is a magical and wonderful place.  It belongs to my MiMom.  She and my PopPop bought this home and watched it be built in 1948. 
They were newly married, living in an apartment in South Philadelphia and had a bouncing baby boy (my father.)  Their families were surprised and worried that they were moving so far away, going all the way to this new development in Drexel Hill. Although, they were able to convince my PopPop’s brother and his new wife to move in to the twin house attached to theirs.  My great-grandfather, Pop Otto, was there to solicit his “advise,” in broken English, to the builders and to whomever would listen.  Although he spent a lot of time saying, “Waassa matta, youa no undastan de ingleesh?” 

Pop Otto 

When they moved in, after settlement they only had about $11.00 left for the month.  Therefore the celebratory dinner that they were going to have, had to be a modest one. Pop Otto (MiMom’s Dad) got to work along with my PopPop (his son-in-law) to custom build the corner china cabinets and wooden valances on every window, along with the trim woodwork and moldings.  My PopPop was very proud of the spiel he added onto the bottom of the banister.  This was a wonderful home of a hard working couple who raised two sons.  

Super Powers
The home did not start showing signs of it’s enchantment until the early 70s.  I don’t remember the first time I was brought to the home, since I was a baby but all my memories of this home are hard to be believed.  The magic happens the minute you step in the door.  Whenever I walked in, I was instantly transformed into “pretty-girl” and “princess.”  When there in the home, I could do no wrong, no matter how hard I tried.  In this house, my PopPop who was a strong disciplinarian with his own boys became the most kind-hearted and jolly man I knew.  He also thought I was the prettiest girl in the world and hung on my every word.  My MiMom who was a notoriously busy woman always had time to tell me stories and let me bake and cook with her.  She always wanted me there.  That is part of the alchemy, when you are there you are always wanted.  You are always accepted and you are never turned away.  The magic this home possessed is still there today.
MiMom and her Princess in front of china cabinet 
PopPop and his Pretty Girl

Thinking that I was the only one that experienced the home’s power, I spoke with my cousin, second cousins and brother.  They TOO felt the forces of this home.  When you sit and eat there in the formal dining room, and people start yelling and screaming, the house does it’s work and everyone is hugging and kissing before they leave.  

Great house for Parties.
It doesn’t stop there. When sleeping in one of the 3 bedrooms of this house, it is the warmest and comfiest you will ever feel.  When you wake in this home and run down the stairs you are always greeted as though you have not been seen in ages and the care and concern for how you slept is evident. 

When lounging in the living room watching tv you can easily look out the enclosed porch and see all that is going on in the neighborhood, but the house may make you go to the porch door and stand there with it partially opened while leaning out to make sure everyone in the neighborhood is behaving.  

The basement of this home has seen many parties and celebrations, not to mention a perfect getaway for kids who need to play and not disrupt the adults. The basement leads to a driveway and a garage that saw, teenage boys build their very own boat. It also has a workbench that was used by my PopPop, to keep the house always looking it’s best.  

The kitchen is where you will find the most bewitchment happen.  There is where the best food in the world is made with meticulous care and attention to detail.  It is in that kitchen, sitting around the table, stories will be passed on and gossip will be told and embellishments will be made.  It is at that same table where you will learn how difficult it is to make a Gianetti cookie, especially because you are never given the exact ingredients.  This kitchen table and the dining room table is where all the most important discussions will be made and where decisions will be finalized.  
Notice custom wooden valance

Notice the custom made banister
So now that my PopPop has passed on, almost 4 years ago now, and my MiMom is approaching her 94th year, it is time to pass this magical house onto another hard working family.  The magic is there.  I can vouch for it.  I still experience it when I walk through the front door.  Apparently it has doubled since my boys were born as the 5th generation has been enchanted by this home. 

5th generation to enjoy this fine home.  
This house is for sale.  But as you can see, this is no normal house.  It contains amazing powers.  There is no extra charge for the magic.  Yes, it may need a little bit of work in the bathroom and kitchen.  Yes, the finished basement, may need some tlc.  But this home, this mystical place,  is a true gem.  It is where you can make the same types of memories that fuel the magic of this house.  You can purchase this home and become transformed.  It will be the best investment you have ever made.  

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Beach Duty

Our duty is keeping vigil.  Constant, attentive eagle-eye attention.  I don’t know how parents of more than 2 do it.  I have done it by myself with my two boys, and it is exhausting.  I may look relaxed..... wait, I don’t even look relaxed.  I am on edge.  If you try to talk to me I am about 1/4 paying attention to your words.  Not the meaning of your words, or the context in which they are being said.  Just the words to which I respond with an “Ah-huh” or “Really?”  Nothing more.  I am analyzing not only the distance in which my 9 year old is drifting out into the sea but, the wave roughness, gauging the undertow as well as any adult that may be around him.  All while keeping an eye on my 5 year old who does not go out too far yet.  He is governed (a little bit) by his own fear, which is getting less and less as the day goes on.  First Born never possessed this natural fear.  He would have gone all the way to Portugal the first time we let him in the water.    

You know us, you may be one of us.  We stand sometime, sit, at the water’s edge.  Watching. Looking at our watches to see if it is time to reapply the sunscreen too our young ones, tender and perfect skin.  Ignoring our own older, weathered skin as the right side of our body becomes darker or redder depending on your melanin levels. 

I remember many, many of my younger days spent on the Jersey Shore, coating myself with my new bottle of Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil, just purchased at the Thrift Drugs, until I glistened like a glazed doughnut.  Checking my tan lines and flipping and shifting with the sun as to get the perfect - even tan.  That was in the 80s and early 90s when frying your skin to the desired hue was perfectly acceptable. My friends and I would compare our tans, by holding our arms next to each other, exclaiming how one would have the perfect “golden” tan, others looked too red, and I always looked more green.  Yes, my dark olive tone, seemed to stand out pretty significantly, next to their pretty irish skin.  Ahh, youth.  

Now we stand guard.  Like half burnt centurions. Our supplies neatly tucked away back at the base camp.  This is another of our duties. We must secure a position on the sand that is in close proximity to the lifeguards and a visible distance from the water, with consideration taken for the tide schedule.  Our supplies: umbrella or two, extra sunscreen, snacks, water, sandwiches, more snacks, extra towels, wipes, baby powder (c’mon rookie! Don’t know what the powder is for?! Google, “baby powder sand”.... Go ahead I will wait! ..... I know, right?!  It is genius and works!)  buckets, shovels - but not those wimpy little shovels, the big ones and plenty of them, boogie boards, trucks, frizbee, ball, diapers (if that applies), hats and extra swim shirts.     

After the base camp is set up, we promptly leave base and walk to the water’s edge to stand our guard.  Now that I don’t have to hover over a toddler, I have started bringing a chair to sit at the edge. Just to try to get a little break.  But the intensity of the watch is no less vigilant, just a little lower.  If the Hub is there we each take one child.  But, usually, if he goes into the water he has both - one in his arms and the other next to him.  Now that the Little One is 5 he is getting a smidge  easier.  First Born is frantically trying to optimize his water time.  He plays in the water then runs out, grabs his boogie board and runs back in.  Then he runs back out, drops the boogie board at base and runs back in.  This goes on for hours at a time.  

The lunch break is usually a cacophony of wiping sand off/drying off/ figuring out who’s sandwich is who’s/yelling about sand flying everywhere/jockeying for the best place to sit/ then, inevitably, a seagull takes off with someones lunch. Those friggin birds are good.  They know the drill. They just wait for that little hand that holds the sandwich just a tad too long, out and away from the body..... juuuuust enough, then BAMMM!  They got it, flying away with my good genoa salami while a child screams far beneath them.  Damn flying rats!   

After that battle, it is back to the water.  Sometimes the Little One will want to dig want me or The Hub to dig a giant hole.  A large crevasse that he can use to slide into and jump off of.  This is followed buy wanting another crater dug next to it so that First Born can have the same thing. Which is followed by another one that they both can play in.  Before you know it the area surrounding the base camp looks like the surface of the moon and anyone who walks by must be very careful. 

The drill of the clean up is timed and usually culminates with someone me screaming something to the effect of “I HAVE HAD IT! NO I WILL NOT CARRY YOU!  PICK UP YOUR TOYS IF YOU DON’T WANT TO LEAVE THEM HERE.  WHERE THE HELL IS YOUR OTHER FLIP FLOP?  I JUST CLEANED THE SAND OFF OF THOSE BUCKETS, DON’T PUT MORE IN THEM!  WE CAN NOT TAKE ANY MORE SHELLS! I KNOW THE SAND IS HOT, THAT IS WHY I TOLD YOU TO PUT THE FLIP FLOPS ON!  IT’S YOUR BOOGIE BOARD, IF YOU DON’T CARRY IT, IT STAYS HERE!”   However, each day spent at the beach gets a little more proficient than the last. Each night after the beach ends in an exhausted collapse.....adults first.  

There will come a time when we will be able to sit on the beach with a book again.  When we will go to the water when we feel like it.  When we can arrive and leave when we feel like it.  When we decide that it is too hot or too cold to sit for more than an hour, or stay until the sun goes down.  It feels like a long way off, but it will happen.  Until then, ATTENTION! ABOUT FACE!  FORWARD MARRRRRCH!   Set up your base camp, and stand attention at the water’s edge until further instruction.  

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Friday, May 31, 2013

Want My Advise......

I am feeling blessed.  It is easier on a day like today.  It is bright and sunny, about 85 degrees and I am writing, enjoying the shade under a picnic bench umbrella.  There is a soft breeze swirling my hair around my shoulders.  Little One just got finished being an “explorer.” Complete with his safari hat and binoculars, lurking for wild animals in the tall grass.  He is now in the sand box, telling me how cool and comfy the sand is on his bare piggies.  

I am in my back yard.  MY back YARD!  I don’t let that sink in enough.  This is my piece of heaven.  My abode. My haven.   Not everyone can enjoy this any time they want.  And all I have to do is walk out my back door. Every so often, I stop and am in awe.  It scares the shit out of me.  I chastise myself with feelings of inadequacy and being undeserving of such a life.  I am afraid that it will all be taken away, somehow.  I worry - it’s what I do. Then I get mad at myself for being scared.  I get angry for NOT being able to take it all in and enjoy it for what it is worth. 

The pressure we put on ourselves is too much.  We are constantly being told and also feel the need to “take every moment in.”  

“Cherish this time, in your life.”  

“It goes by so quick!”  

“They grow up so fast!”  

“They won’t be little forever!”  

It is a constant stream of people telling us, “Hey, you!  Don’t you dare feel frustrated or overwhelmed! If you don’t enjoy every split second, there is something wrong with you!”   It is not what they mean to say, but it is often what we hear. 

These messages are usually being thrown at us from people who mean well and have “been there-done that.”  But what if we started to throw the messages back at them? 

“Hey, enjoy your retirement You’ll be dead before you know it!” (OK maybe that was a bit harsh, but I am PMSing)

“Enjoy, waking up when you wake naturally!”  

“Enjoy a routine that is not interrupted.”  

“Have fun spoiling your grandkids without fear of screwing up their lives.”

“Enjoy the fact that your grandchildren will unceasingly hold you in the highest and best regard, no matter what and until the end of time.”  

It is not always the grandparent generation that is giving us this advise.  Sometimes it is those that have kids who are on to the next level.  My First Born is 9 and Little One just turned 5.  So sometimes those who have teenagers, long for those cute, smaller ages again.   They will often tell horror stories of the pubescent demon that resides in their child’s room.  “So enjoy it now!  It only gets worse!”  “God, I miss them being so small!” is often heard.  Maybe we could tell them:  

“Yes, but treasure the fact that you can let them get a bath or shower without worrying about them dying.”  

“Enjoy not having to wipe anyone's ass, but your own.” 

“Have fun not having to watch NICK Jr., PBS Kids or Disney. Every. Day.”    

“Enjoy not being woken up on the weekends, by anything other than your own circadian clock.”  

“Take pleasure in being able to go out to a meal with your Hub without having to find a babysitter, leave a list of instructions, numbers, Dr.s’ information, allergies and neighbor’s names.”    

I mean - every stage of life has moments to treasure.  Every stage of life also has moments that are infuriating.  I don’t expect to hate all of it, but we can’t be expected to love every single minute of it.  If we didn’t allow ourselves to experience the difficult times (and sometimes really wallow in them) we would not know the joy and euphoria of the good times.   

So as I watch Little One who has now found the hose and is “washing the house”
I think how sweet he is and how much fun he is having.  That is followed by, realizing that all his summer clothes that I just fished out of the basement are still in the washing machine.... from yesterday.  Which means I have to wash them again.  I also have to fight with him as I turn off the hose, inevitably getting wet.  Will I enjoy that.... Maybe. but that is my business.  OK, now he just dropped trough and is peeing next to the hose..... My advise is, don’t give advise, unless it is asked for.  Specifically.  Then again who asked me?  Better yet, write a blog! 

CAVEAT:  The "retirement aged people" I speak of in my blog are NOT my parents!   I honestly have never received that "advise" from them.  See Dad, I told you!
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Should I Stay or Should I Go

Starting a new workout routine is sort of like starting a new relationship.  You have to invest time, energy and commitment.  I have recently started a new one.  Now, I have written before about working out and have told you how I love Zumba and Yoga, Spinning is for crazy people and Pilates is for snobs.  I have yet to try out Body Combat or Body Pump, but they are on my list.  The newest thing I have recently tried is “Adventure Boot Camp.”  I was asked by my neighbor if I would like to do it with her. There was a discount so I signed up. I then roped in asked another friend and neighbor to join us.   

This exercise program is on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 5:30am to 6:30 am.  For those of you that know me, you know how much of a morning person I am.  For those of you that don’t know me, let’s just say that if there was a competition for the most dirty looks, foulest curses and angriest grunts given before 8am I would win, hands down.  The only thing that has me getting up every Monday, Wednesday and Friday is the fact that there are 2 other people either coming to pick me up or depending on me to drive.  If it was left up to me to go on my own.  I would have never went.  
I have a few problems with this “Boot Camp.”  The first problem I have is the fact that it is called “Boot Camp.”  The reason being is I know people that went through ACTUAL boot camp and that is no joke or 3 hour a week deal.  Real boot camp is hard and not fun.  

Second, I don’t really know what I was expecting, but I was instantly pissed off on the first day when I realized that we are basically doing calisthenics in a parking lot.  It is not rocket science, we run, do pushups, squats, burpees, jumping jacks, sprints, etc.  You get the picture.  

Also, it is advertised as a "Boot Camp for Women” and it is being run by a man (we can call him Boot Camp Bob).  So on the days when I forget my good sports bra and we are jogging I don’t feel as comfortable grabbing my boobs and holding them to my chest, as I would if it was ALL women.   

One other problem is, after having completed a workout by 6:30, the rest of the day I feel it is my prerogative to eat anything and everything I want, since I already worked out.  This has caused me to sort of maintain my weight since starting this program a little over 3 weeks ago.Then I hit a slump brick wall at around 2pm.  It is usually when I will stop whatever I am doing and suggest a nap for Little One.  Where I can sit and fold clothes while he sleeps.....HAHHAHAHAHAHHAAAA.  Where I can tell people I am being productive but actually take a nap with Little One!  

Boot Camp Bob is a nice enough guy.  He is pretty mild mannered and not too verbal.  He tells us what to do and we do it.  One of the women there brings a boom box and her ipod for music.  She is a success story for the program already having lost 30 lbs.  All the women who are doing the program are great. They seem very nice, all different shapes ages and sizes and all in varying degrees of physical shape.  I can’t say that I have gotten to know any of them more than casual small talk.  We all show up, at the ass crack of dawn, do our workout for an hour and go home. 

The positives about the program are, well, it’s serving it’s purpose.  I am working out 3 days a week for an hour each day.  I attribute that more to the women that I go with to the workout more than the actual workout.  As I said before, if I was not being depended  upon to show up buy someone else, I would find any excuse not to go.  The workout is also making me stronger.  I have not done this much zoned toning since I was much younger.  Also it is good to be outside breathing fresh air early in the morning, even if it is in a parking lot.  

The Hub has made it enjoyable too.  He woke me on the first day of “Boot Camp” playing ‘Reveille’ on his iPad, complete in an army shirt, army hat, drill sergeant sunglasses and his underwear.   He never ceases to make me laugh. 

Now we were given an option to sign up again for another 3 months (again, discounted).  Like any relationship, I have to make a decision if the commitment is worth it.  I have to figure out the pros and cons.  Boot Camp Bob and I have to have a talk.  Is this relationship headed in the right direction?  Possibly.  Although, I can find plenty of positives, I am going to cut my ties with Boot Camp Bob.  I can’t help thinking that if I was working out at 5:30 every morning and doing Yoga or Zumba, I would be much happier.  It’s not fair to be in a relationship thinking of someone else.  So, Boot Camp Bob, It’s not you, it’s me.  I surely hope we can still be friends.  

ADDENDUM:  I mean no offense to those that this program works for. And it works for many. It is really just me and my mental state! The instructor is degreed, obviously knows what he is doing and provides a balanced exercise program. I know that the friends that I go with are signing back up.  AND Pilates is not strictly for snobs but in my experience in the year 2000, they were snobs.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Momma's Head Revisited

~Autobiography in Five Short Chapters~

Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5
I walk down another street.

~ Portia Nelson ~ 

(There's a Hole in My Sidewalk)

BAM..... It was a beautiful day, much like the one 7 years ago.  This time I was in the passenger seat.  I started to sweat, and feel nauseous. My intestines started to spasm. I frantically started to analyze what was going on inside of me.  What was the last thing I ate? Did I forget to do something important? Are the kids in the car with us? Is anyone else hot? Why does everyone else look so calm,? Don’t let The Hub notice. The Hub just noticed.  

“Hey hon, ya ‘aight?”  

I don’t want to answer, but I say, “Um, I am not feeling good.” 

He is so well versed in my crazy that he pinpoints immediately, “You panickin’?”  which I was. 

I realized it at that moment too.  I looked down and started to breathe and concentrate on the breathing.  I told The Hub that I couldn’t figure out why.  

He grabbed my hand and squeezed and said, “Your accident happened right over there.”  

Oh.  Oh that.  That again?!  I still have no memory of the accident, or where it happened.  The brain is funny like that.  It doesn’t give you all the information that you want, but doles out little bits of information here and there as you can handle it.

Fuck, I did not have time for this.  I am over it, I don’t need to think about it again.  But I instantly start searching my brain for that day.  Where the hell was I going?  Where the hell was I?  Goddamn-it why can’t I remember?  Did I do what she said, and make a u-turn in front of her?   

I saw my Nana that afternoon, right before I regained consciousness, she gave me a hug.  The pain was blinding, the panic of reaching for the back seat for First Born and screaming his name, the pain, blacking out, hearing people come to help.  I cried for my son again.  They asked me where he was.  I couldn’t remember.  I was scared so very, very scared.  

That’s right,  my mom. He was with my mom. A wave of relief washed over me.  I kept repeating my husbands cell #.  Please call him.  I needed him, more than anyone in the world. They told me they were going to protect me with a blanket.  They covered my head when the machines were cutting open the car.  Then they said they were going to move me.  

White hot pain, searing through my back into my hip and down my leg.  I was out again.  It was so much better being in the blackness.  It was calmer, quieter and less desperate.   I knew I needed to go back into the pain so I did.  When I opened my eyes I saw blades whizzing around.  I felt wind on my face.  The helicopter ascended. I felt better.  The men in the helicopter were telling me that they were taking me to the hospital.  They kept telling me how many minutes it would be until we got there.  Every couple of minutes the numbers got smaller.  I felt safe.  I let go - back into the darkness.  

I awoke on a table.  I wasn’t pregnant any longer.  I already miscarried a week before. The Dr. could not take my word for it and before they could do any tests, or administer any pain medication, he had to call my fertility Dr. to make sure.  Fuckers.  Fuck you.  I am lying here right in front of you, in pain. Do whatever tests necessary and get me better you cocksucker!  Call my husband.  A nurse handed me the phone.  I heard his voice and he was trying hard not to sound panicked.  I told him to please, please be careful driving the over 70 miles it would take for him to get to me. I told him that they were taking good care of me.  Very, very good care.  I needed him more than anyone in the world.  He was on his way.  

Later they rattled off my injuries.  Fractured left clavicle, Fractured pelvic bone, Fractured pubic bone, Fractured L5, S1, Concussion.  I was laying in the hospital bed and my left leg kept sliding outward.  I could not pull it in.  I had a pain on my shoulder blade in the back.  My hand reached for the pain, it was sticky and wet.  When I looked at my hand there was blood.  When the nurse came in, I asked him to look at it.  Apparently with all my injuries they missed the small flesh wound on my shoulder.  Nothing a little gauze and steri-strips won’t fix.  

A few days later, the weekend shift and I needed the bedpan.  A nurse came in to roll me onto it.  She was miserable.  She did not know my injuries.  As she started to roll me onto my broken side, I screamed in pain and grabbed her arm as hard as I could.  She got in my face and said. “GET YOUR HAND OFF OF ME! DON’T GRAB MY ARM! I KNOW WHAT I AM DOING!”  I was shocked, and in so much pain.  I rattled off my injuries as quickly and as loudly as I could.  Another nurse quickly came in and relieved the nurse from hell.  I looked at the new nurse as I wet myself.  The anger washed over me like a scolding hot bath.  She looked at me and all I could say was “she rolled me the wrong way.”  She replied, “I am so sorry she did that to you.  She should have never spoken to you that way either.”  The kindness in her eyes and the level of her voice allowed me to let the tears come.  I hate crying in front of anyone but I was overwhelmed.  

People came to see me.  I asked friends to put my hair in a pony tail because I could not use both of my hands to reach up.  My husband was there and went with me to my first physical therapy.  I was excited because as soon as I could manage the walker they would let me go.  They handed me the walker and stood me up.  I felt the sweat forming on my lip and heard the hissing sound in my ears which brought me back down as I was passing out.  I tried again.  This time I got up.  I stood still and they explained how I was to walk.  I was not able.  My left leg felt as though it weighed 100 lbs.  I tried and tried, I moved a little bit.  I pretended it did not hurt. But my blacking out betrayed me again.  They sent me back to my room and told me that we would try again the next day.   I was beyond discouraged.  My husband was a rock.  Telling me that I would be back to normal soon.  I told him to go and be with our son, who was with my parents.  

Two days later, I did do better.  I muscled through and got my walking papers, so to speak.  Other than the nurse from hell, the nurses were amazing and helped and encouraged me immensely.  But, I wanted out of there.  I missed my son.  First Born was never without me.  He was only 2.5 years old.  I still counted him in months; 32 months old.  I rocked him to sleep every night for those 976 nights.  I left him with my mother to go get my hair cut and run a couple of errands and did not return to him until 8 days later.  I missed him more than words could express.  My heart ached for him.  

But when I saw him he was scared.  He asked me about my “Big Boo-Boos”  and what that thing was that I was using to walk.  I just remember wanting him to be ok and not be scared.  The fact that this was all affecting him so much, made me so angry.  It changed my little man.  I still see it.  It makes me so sad.   I struggled back to normalcy and eventually got there. 

I am not sure why this all came bubbling up again.  It was 7 years ago.  I have been to therapy for the anxiety it caused.  I even recently took my son to therapy for anxiety he was having that may have had something to do with this accident.   Anxiety sucks.  

I am healthy, healed and happy.  All the things I wanted after this accident almost took me away from those I love.  Those that I love more than words can express.  Maybe my brain released this panic so that I would realize that I am vulnerable and human and life is sweet.  I must learn to savor it.  Stop worrying.  Worry does nothing for anyone.  When things happen, it is not necessary to place blame, or reward.  I don’t have to pat myself on the back when things are going well, just as much as I don’t have to burden myself with guilt when things are not going well.  Just let it be.   Just be.  Be.  

I am here, I am continuing to grow, I am continuing to learn.  The feelings happen for a reason.  I can not ignore them. So I will write them out and talk about them and get them out, so they don’t have to come up again. I don’t think I have ever expressed the events and my feelings of that day in this much detail.  I have always been reluctant to talk more on it.  I don’t like to cry in front of others.  It feels good that it is out there.  I will continue to take a different path so I don’t fall in the holes in the sidewalk.  
A completely different path.... no holes. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

10 Ways Tired Kids Are Like Drunks

The Hub and I spent most of the day going from store to store looking at flooring and patio doors for an upcoming home improvement.  We took the boys.  They did not have fun.  They were bored and Little One, who is 4, was tired, cranky and wanted to be home.  This lead to an epiphany.  Being with Little One was almost an identical experience to being with a very drunk best friend or relative.  Like an Uncle, who you love and have a blast with most of the time, but when he gets drunk he is a real pain in the ass.  See if you can follow my logic.  

1. Like drunks, a tired 4 year old tends to fall down - a lot.  They just don’t have the coordination they have when they are older or less tired.  

2. They are both loud and can not modulate the sound of their voice.  We are constantly having to tell them that they are being too loud and that usually just makes them get louder.  

3. This is usually followed by inappropriate comments and gestures.  Both are notorious for making a comment or touching a part of their body that offends people around them. This unprovoked anger is usually quite hostile and embarrassing and mostly happens when in a crowd of people.   

4. Like your drunk Uncle, you have to apologize to those around you for their behavior and make excuses, like “He is going through a rough time he just lost his wooby.”  “He is usually so much better, he must be getting sick.”

5. They both tend to cry for no apparent reason and when you ask them what is wrong they bring up something that happened so long ago you don’t even know what they are referring to.  

6. Drunk Uncle and Tired 4 Year old like to repeat themselves over and over and when you try to tell them that you have heard the story before they will either revert to #5 or #3.

7. They like to have long incoherent conversations where you can not interrupt or ask questions.  Nor do you want to.  However if you are not paying attention they will call you out and again revert to #5 or #3.

8. If you are out they like to order food that they will not eat.  If you are home they will make you make them food that they will not eat. 

9. There are desperate times when they will sometimes urinate on themselves. Either in an attempt to pull up their pants before they are done or when they do not get to the facilities quickly enough and start before the pants are off. 

10. Then the evening usually ends when Drunk Uncle or Tired 4 Yr Old, passes out.  This can happen on the way to the car, in the middle of a meal, conversation or temper tantrum.  But any way it happens you are carrying them the rest of the way.  

All of this may cause arguments and fights among those dealing with Drunk Uncle/4 Year Old.  One will want to be more strict, while another will want to placate.  One will ignore the behavior while another one will to try to hide the behavior.  The fight usually dissipates when Drunk Uncle/4Year old does or says something that is so funny everyone starts laughing uncontrollably.  

You love Uncle and 4 Year Old no matter what.  You know them at their best and it somehow makes up for these times they are at their worst.  It doesn’t happen often enough that you are too concerned, but when it does you try to remind yourself to not get into that situation again.   Although it always makes for a great story.

What are your favorite Drunk Uncle/ Tired Toddler moments?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ready for Summer?

Woman's one-piece bathing suit, c.1920
Woman's one-piece bathing suit, c.1920 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am looking forward to summer.  I will be at the beach sportin’ my one piece like a boss.  Yes, a one piece, because no matter what kind of working out I do, or how good of a shape I can get this ole body in, the one-piece is the only style I will support, or will support me. Well, I take that back, I like those long tankini two pieces that look like one pieces.  Actually they are much more convenient when having to pee.  But my bikini days ended circa 1998.  This is mostly due to my post birthing belly.  

For those of you unfamiliar, after you give birth, especially more than once, the belly has a difficult time resembling any aspect of what it looked like pre-birth.  I had 2 emergency c-sections, so therefore my belly resembles a sad balloon.  One that was deflated, stretched out and sewn back together.  My belly button is like a true button now. It gathers in and holds all of this belly matter around it and when I suck in my gut it looks like it is tethered to my spine and almost disappears into this strange, black, belly hole.  It ain’t pretty.  SO one piece or belly covering piece, is the way to go for this Momma.  

But when I start to think about bathing suits I instantly get an itchy rash.  My bra and underwear support my body more than any bathing suit ever did!  The flimsy polyester/Lycra/nylon blend that bathing suits are made of, is pointless.  There is no support, the material does not breathe and the sizing is all wrong.  ALL wrong.  I got big boobys. They need support.  When they don’t have support it is a bad situation for all involved, for me, for them and for those that are exposed to them.   No one needs to see these girls hanging over the sad balloon, giggling like jello.  They need some sense of dignity.  I have worn a bra under the suit to facilitate that dignity. Then, after getting out of the water and the rest of my suite dried off, I was left with two large circles, as if spotlights on my chest.  The indignity!  

Now there are websites that specialize in making more supportive suits, like Cyberswim and Miracle Suit and even Spanx has gotten in on the action.  But I can’t spend that kind of money on something that I wear intermittently for a season, usually covered up by shorts and/or a t-shirt!  Don’t get me wrong.  I love me some Spanx, but I wear them under a dress going to a wedding.  I can manage being uncomfortable for a period of time at an event.  But I can not manage being that uncomfortable outside, all day, in the heat, running after my kids, playing in the sand and freaking out when seaweed touches my foot in the ocean. It is just too much to take.  

I like my underwear, after searching high and low, I finally found bras that fit, support and are comfortable.  Some of my underpants have seen better days, but I have about 5 good pairs in the rotation that are acceptable.  Can’t they make a suit that fits like a bra and underwear and covers the sad balloon?  Can’t they make a suit that is functional? Can’t they make a suit that doesn’t make you want to punch the air, screaming like a banshee while trying to put it on?  

Then there is the hoo haa maintenance.  The shaving and/or waxing of the nether region.  Since the stretch marks on my thighs are like arrows pointing to my hoo haa, there is no getting around it.  And I know they have these swim “shorts” but they are either so poofy that they look like you are wearing your grandmom’s shorts or they are so tight and riding up your ass that you might as well just wear the bathing suit bottoms.  Then there are the many styles of swim skirts, none of which seem to work with my bubble butt.   

One pieces or belly covering pieces are the way I roll. But, I have no hate for those mothers who can work the bikini.  Hell, if I had it like that, I would too.  Go for it! But do me a favor, DON’T sit at the kiddy pool next to me, and complain about the way you look!  I mean fuck you very much,  do you SEE what I am workin with?  If you think YOU look bad, what -in the name of all that is holy- do you think I look like!  Don’t sport that bikini with your perky, newly purchased boobs, that need no support, and the “insanity” abs you just spent 3 months working on and the NO cellulite, tight thighs that the Spin Class Gods have bestowed on you and utter ONE word of complaint about your body.  That is just gonna get you a bloody lip my friend.  Hell, when you look that good, show it, work it and OWN it!  When someone says ‘Wow, you look amazing!’  Say ‘THANK YOU!’ and move on.  No other explanation is needed unless they then ask what you do to look so good.  Then you can give your whole workout routine along with your latest wheat grass recipe.  But until then, just sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.  

crowded beach
crowded beach (Photo credit: notarim)
Summer, shore, sand, I am ready.  I will wear a bathing suit, I won’t love the way I look or feel in it, but I will enjoy the beach none the less...... Wait a minute, I haven’t enjoyed the beach since before First Born was born!  It is a constant worry and stress filled marathon that usually ends with someone me crying.  SO not only do I hate the way I look and feel out in the sweltering sun and hot sand, I am also trying to keep my two children properly covered in sunscreen while making sure they are, fed, watered and within eye sight amongst the 500 other people with whom we are sharing the beach.   Summer? I am looking forward to this?  OK how many months until fall?  

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