Monday, December 5, 2011

Now THAT'S a Redneck Christmas



Update:  I drove by again the other day and they drove off with the car.  Santa must have had to go to work.  He left all the reindeer lying broken though.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This man opened his car door and threw up in the carpool line today.  Moments later, we smelled the contents of his stomach wafting through our open windows. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Things That Just Don't Seem Right

This post is about things that I have seen that just don't seem right.  These are my own photos.

How often do you see this when you're driving down the road??

Something is just not right with this ramp.  One could go up to 30 miles per hour on that thing.

These are the new "fancy" handicapped stairs nex to the wheelchair van parking space.


Desperation

The makers of my daughter's homework have sick minds.


I swear it's not just me that thinks these things.

Can you tell what's not quite right?

I've never understood how his picture relates to the ad.  Can anyone help me on that one?

I don't want to play Bingo with cow patties. ew

Ummmm

I SWEAR there aren't any in there.

That's bad-ass. 

That top left window REALLY bothers me.

Ok, ok, this isn't my photo.  But it seemed fitting with the post.
By the way, it is SO wrong.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Change (or Mid-life Crisis)

As I was driving home this morning, after dropping Natalie off at school, I got lost in thought.  Who was I before children, before I was a mother?  The truth is, I don't really know.

I remember having a great job as a Marketing Director for an assisted living community.  I remember how much I loved dressing up for work every day and feeling important.  I had a closet full of at least fifty business suits from expensive stores.  I had dozens of high heels that I wore 18 hours a day without a complaint. 

I remember being good at my job, and with people, and with money.  I remember going out and listening to live music or dancing in clubs.  I remember trying new restaurants and going to see movies.  I remember staying out late, sometimes till dawn, just having fun with my friends.  Ah, I remember spending time with my friends...

But I don't really know WHO I was or where I was headed.  I have had a million jobs.  I have lived a million places.  I've been married twice.  Was I ever happy? Yes, of couse.  But I was also happy in change.

I'm constantly changing, as I'm sure everyone does as well.  I think what makes me different than other people is that I don't live in my discontent of a situation, I make change happen.  I don't want to waste a minute of my life in the wrong situation. 

Being a mother now, there really isn't a whole lot of option for change.  I know I was meant to do this, and I know a million mothers have said the same thing, but there are times that I want to do something else, something important, something life-changing.  I love my children and would never want to change the fact that I am their mother.  But I want to be good at something.  I take that back, I want be GREAT at something.  I want my brain to work like it used to.  I don't want to stare at plans to make a simple birdhouse at Home Depot and think "I can't figure this out, it makes my brain hurt". I used to run an assisted living, damn it, why can't I make a birdhouse?

I want to dress up again.  I stood in my closet this morning and held up dresses that I want to wear one day.  I tried on high heels that I want to wear.  But I have no where to go today, except to take Eliah to Occupational Therapy.  So, I put on the same old jeans and t-shirt I wear every day. 

I want to go places and do things.  Having a child that is in a wheelchair and gets overwhelmed easily, makes going anywhere a challenge.  Eliah sleeps until noon, then eats lunch.  By the time he is done, it's time to pick up Natalie from school.  By the time I pick her up, it's time for the home health aide to arrive.  By the time we get settled, it's time to make dinner....then homework....then baths....then bed.  And then it starts over.

I want to talk to adults again, and be able to maintain a conversation about things other than what brand of diapers I use or how long it takes Natalie to do her homework.  I want to discuss music and movies and literature (although reading just makes my brain hurt).  I want to try new restaurants and local hot spots.  Although, I can honestly say I don't want to stay up all night.  I'm over that part. 

I want my body back.  Motherhood is not kind to the female figure.  I know I'm too old for mini-skirts and leather pants, but I want to be able to wear a bikini again.  I want to wear form fitting dresses again.  I want to be able to see all my body parts when I look down. 

Is this what a mid-life crisis is?  Is it a matter of trying to define who I am now?  Is it figuring out how to combine the old me with the person I've become?  My guess is yes.  I will say this, I am happy as a mother and I am comfortable in the life I have.  I think I've changed my perception of my ideal life to include a special needs child.  I still feel important.  Is it changing the world?  No, not really. 

Is a mid-life crisis about changing the life you have? Or is it coming to a place of understanding and comfort with what you already have?  I have no clue.  But I do know there is always room to make my life better. 

Maybe tomorrow I will dress up. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Handicapped Parking Etiquette

I was so excited the day I got the
Handicapped Placard for the wheelchair van.  There's a ramp that comes out of the side of the van,  so that I can roll Eliah's wheelchair down.  It's awesome. The only problem is, it requires a LOT of room.... which brings me to this post.

I don't know if it's true or not, but it seems that many people that have a handicapped placard think that all handicapped spaces are for them.  It seems that if they have the placard, they are required to park in a handicapped space, even if there are regular spaces free nearby.  It seems that people with a placard think the extra space in a handicapped space is for their bad parking skills.  And while some of this may be technically true, it's really not polite at all.
Not okay

Every day I search for a handicapped space to park the wheelchair van.  No ordinary space will do. It has to be large enough for the ramp and wheelchair to come out on the side.  Basically, it requires the space of two vehicles.  And every day I see compact cars in van accessible spaces, with several vacant regular-sized handicapped spaces right next to it.  Every day I see cars parked in the ramp space, not the actual parking space.  It's so frustrating.

It also seems, at least where I live, that everyone and his brother has a handicapped placard.  I'm not saying they don't deserve it, but it seems excessive when I pull into a Walmart parking lot and all 20 of the handicapped spaces are filled, and I see people, that walk without difficulty, jump into those cars.  There are even people that park in someone elses ramp space, as if it were an actual handicapped space.  I've even been unable to get the ramp out, because someone used my ramp space as their handicapped parking space. 

Yesterday we went to Walmart, and like other times, every handicapped space was taken.  So, we drove around looking for two empty spaces together.  When I finally found them, a good distance from the door, we parked and quickly got Eliah out of the van, through the rain, and into the store.  By the time we got back to the van, I was greeted with dirty looks from several people for taking up two spaces.  I even had cars honking at me, because they needed to park and I was hogging two perfectly good spaces.  In the past, I've even gotten a note on the windshield calling me a jerk for taking up two spaces. 

So, I am letting all of you with handicapped placards know, that just because you have the placard, it doesn't mean you HAVE to park in a handicapped space.  Please TRY to look nearby, or at least save the van accessible spaces, because there may be someone that really needs that extra space.  And if you need to park in a handicapped space, please try to stay in the lines.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Trimble the Friendly Squirrel

In honor of the wild animal that lives under my bedroom, I shall post about my old, dear friend, Trimble.  He was a squirrel that used to visit me every day in my old house.  I used to post about him on Facebook two years ago. Here is the story, with pictures, about Trimble.




From 2009:  This squirrel stalks me daily, regardless of how much I try to scare him with my hip hop moves in the kitchen. Maybe I'm better at the Running Man than I thought. 







His name is Trimble. He sits in the corner and eats the trim off the side of the window. I don't know if that's an attempt to eat his way into the house, but he is not phased by ANYTHING. He is still sitting there now, even after I ran the garbage disposal six inches away from him. 

The funny part is, he sits up and looks in, then when I look over at him, he sits back down and pretends like he's doing something. I'm waiting to hear him whistling when I look over.







He always find me, wherever I am in the house.  (Pay no attention to that dirt.  I'm a much better housekeeper now.  Plus, I blame dogs for that)





Eliah had to get in the action too. They were both so curious about each other.  










I think he wanted a kiss. Trimble is the sweetest little squirrel. 


And then one day, I opened the door to find this.........















My dog Finlay thought Trimble was pretty sweet too.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Carpool

Every day I wait in a long carpool line to pick Natalie up from school.  I usually sit there for about 15 minutes before the line begins to move.  I get bored....really bored.  I don't have a cool phone to make posts on Facebook, and I don't bring a book, because Eliah would never let me read.  So, we sit and listen to the same cd over and over again. 

When the weather is nice, I open up the moon roof and both sliding doors on the mini-van, so Eliah gets a great cross breeze as he sits in his wheelchair.  Parents in the other carpool lanes like to see Eliah's big smile as they drive past. 

Each day, in my boredom, I discover new things.  There's always a woman that gets out of her car to talk to other mothers.  There's always a woman that jumps out of her van to open her back door to yell at her other children.  There's always someone that gets caught up texting or reading and holds up the line because they aren't paying attention.  Today was special though.

There is a woman that is responsible for calling out the numbers off everyone's cars.  This way, they can have your child ready and waiting when you pull up.  I arrived a few minutes early, so that I could be closer to the front of the line.  And this woman was walking down the line, writing down the numbers on the cars. 

She had a large mircophone tucked into the top of her pants.  When she passed me, I laughed and yelled out, "Hey...Is that a microphone in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?".  Man, I crack myself up.  What I didn't expect was her response.  She started to strut, then grabbed the microphone inappropriately and started saying, "Yeah.....baby". She was REALLY into it. Hahahaha. Well, that's just wrong...  I think it wouldn't have shocked me if I had actually known her, or ever spoken a single word, or if Eliah wasn't staring out of the open van door at her. 

The funny part was that as she was doing her "show", Eliah pressed his "Pick up Lines" button on his wheelchair, and the recording said, "Have you been arrested before? Because I believe it's a felony to look THAT good!". How appropriate.

Anyway, I guess I need to be prepared for the response I'm going to get when I start a conversation with "Is that a ____ in your pocket?" Lesson learned. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Living Social Gone Wrong

When I became single and moved to my apartment last year, I discovered the wonderful world of Living Social Deals.  For those that don't know, Living Social, like Groupon, provides major discounts on food, adventures, vacations, clothing, jewelry, beauty treatments and so on.  Immediately, I was sucked into these fantastic deals.  I bought my skydiving ticket for half price.  I bought my ziplining tickets for half price.  I bought bowling tickets, which have now expired, because what was I thinking? And when I saw a One Hour Deep Tissue Massage for $30, I jumped on it and bought three vouchers.

So that I wasn't selfish, I decided to share my vouchers with my friends.  We could have a girls' day out, enjoying shopping, massages and margaritas together.  I called and scheduled our massages right away.  When I called, I found out the "spa" was on the other side of town (not in the best neighborhood), but shrugged it off.  Hey, it was only $30, what am I complaining about?

The day of our massages arrived, and my friend Heidi was unable to make it into town due to inclement weather, so it was just me and Brenda.  I picked her up and we drove over together.  We were thrilled about spending an entire hour relaxing.  As we followed our printed directions, we turned into a small, old corporate park.  I saw a sign for a spa and we pulled in.

When we walked in the door, we were in a small hallway with stairs in front of us and a door to the side.  Brenda says, "Oh God, what is that smell?  It stinks in here!".  The door was filthy and said, "Please knock".  We looked at each other in horror and I knocked.  A small Asian woman answer the door and said, "Can I help you?". I enthusiastically said, "Yes, we're here for our massages!".  She gave me a very bizarre look and said, "You have wrong place". 

We breathed a very heavy sigh of relief and got back in the car to look for the REAL massage place.  We drove to the back of the parking lot, around the back of a building, and THERE it was.  Whew, finally.  We went inside relieved to see a fairly clean and not so smelly hallway.

We entered the office and there was a very large man sitting behind a desk.  He was approximately 60 years old, 300 pounds, covered in tattoos up and down both arms, and reeked of cigarette smoke.  He greeted us and explained that all of his six children work for him and do the massages.  I dare not look at Brenda at this point.  If I did, I think she would have just gotten back in the car.  Lucky for her though, I had indicated that she required a woman to do her massage. 

A nice 28yr old girl popped in from the hallway and greeted Brenda with a big smile.  They walked toward a small, dimly lit room with a table.  I said, "Have fun! Relax!"

Personally, I had visions of a tall, strong, handsome man named Sven giving my massage, so I had indicated (beforehand) that I was just fine with a man doing my massage.  So, as this man is setting up the paperwork, he looked me up and down and said, "Oh, I will do you".  I think I may have gotten a little sick to my stomach here. 

I filled out my paperwork, explaining that my trouble area is my upper back and neck.  You know, I carry Eliah around all day.  So, we walked back to a large room with a warm table and serene music playing.  He left me alone to get undressed and lay on the table (face up he told me).  I had no idea what I was in for.

The man entered the room and uttered a little small talk.  Then he began the "rub down".  He explained that he doesn't really do "deep tissue", he likes to be gentle.  But all his friends told him he gives a great massage!  Didn't I buy a Deep Tissue massage voucher??

As he started rubbing my neck from underneath, he was explaining to me that some women prefer he do a "preventative breast massage" as part of the session.  I said, "Oh no thank you" in my most polite and uncomfortable way.  Then, as he worked on one of my arms, he pulled it high above my head so the sheet was dangerously close to breaking loose the contents underneath.  I didn't worry though, since I had another free hand to pull the sheet up higher, much to his dismay.

I tried to relax and listen to the music.  But every couple minutes I heard a loud cough and he would hack up some mucous, no doubt from the years of smoking. The unfortunate part was that the one time I opened my eyes, I discovered that he was using his hand to cover his mouth when he coughed....then put his hand right on me.

When I turned over on my stomach is when it got really...questionable.  He started at my feet.  After 10 minutes on one foot, I started to wonder what was going on back there.  After another 5 minutes with just one hand barely rubbing that same foot, I started to wonder what he was "really" doing back there.  Was he texting?  Was he doing other things??  I'm not even sure I want to know. 

It was so absurd that I actually started laughing to myself.  I tried to control it so that I wasn't violently shaking.  I didn't want him to think I was really enjoying that one-handed foot rub.

As he worked his way up, he was sure to offer the glute rub as a bonus option.  Again, I turned down the offer.  By the time he got to my back, he was only able to put in about five minutes of lightly shifting the hair pattern on my back and the time was up. 

He then left the room and I got dressed.  I wasn't sure if I was supposed to feel relaxed, violated or cheated. It was NOT a happy ending.  But I walked out of the room to discover that Brenda had a wonderful time and felt renewed, refreshed and relaxed.  At least one of us had a good time.

Needless to say, I never used that third voucher, and I don't ever buy the massage packages on Living Social anymore.  Life is like a Living Social massage, you never know what you're gonna get. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monkey See, Monkey Learn A Lesson

What are the odds of yelling out a mental illness in public and someone nearby actually having it?  Apparently, a lot better than one might think.  I may or may not have learned my lesson though.

Brenda and I went on our weekly dinner outing on Thursday night, but instead of being spoiled with great service and exceptional food by our normal mexican restaurant, we decided to go downtown.  I figured I had more of a chance of running into other single people if I'm not hiding in a booth cramming my food hole with endless amounts of chips.  I thought I would do that right in the middle of town. 

After dinner, we decided to walk, and maybe we would stop in a popular bar for a drink.  We sat on a bench in front of the bar for about half an hour.  I say we were people watching, Brenda says we were too chicken to just go in.  I was scoping the place out, she was bored.  In her boredom, she looked at me and said, "I have Narcolepsy".  So I laughed and said, "Fine, we'll go in".  And we went into the bar and had a drink.  Well, I had a drink, Brenda drank water.  We are total party animals....so much so, that we were there for about 12 whole minutes. 

On our way back to the car, we stopped in the drug store.  And as Brenda took forever to choose a pack of gum, I shouted out, "COME ON!  I'M GETTING NARCOLEPSY!"  I laughed and turned to the cashier, who was staring back at me with a shocked look on her face.  She said, "I actually have Narcolepsy".  Was she serious?  YEP.  She went into a whole description of how and when she was diagnosed.  Then we looked at each other and laughed and laughed until there were tears in our eyes.    Luckily, she was not offended and was quite amused by it all.  We even talked about the movie Deuce Bigalo, which had a funny character with the disorder.

What lesson did I learn?   Don't repeat things Brenda says. 

This happened once before, years ago, with my friend Amanda.  Whenever she would walk away from me, she would smack her own butt (as if in defiance to whatever I had just said).  Then we would laugh.  Well, I used to think it was hilarious, so one day I did it to someone....

I was at the batting cages waiting for a cage to open up.  Another woman (with a few others) walked up and took a cage I had been waiting for.  I spoke up.  She spoke louder, with backup.  So, I backed down.  And as I walked away, I smacked my own butt, just as Amanda had taught me. 

Apparently, that is the signal to come beat my ass. This woman, and her group of friends, were so offended that they threw down their helmets and ran full speed in my direction.  Holy crap, I'm about to be pummeled in a public place!  I ran as fast as my legs could go.  Luckily, I had a head start of about 30 yards, so I was able to make it to the car in time. 

What did I learn?  Don't do things Amanda does. 

.....or maybe I just need to learn discretion......

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Party in My Bedroom- Please Don't Invite Your Friends

I have become somewhat self-reflective and analytical like Carrie Bradshaw of Sex in the City (that means I have too much time on my hands).  I will admit that I am naive, gullible, and sometimes way too nice.  What I get in return (more often than not) is people that take advantage of my good nature.  Am I an angel?  HELL no. But I'm not the devil either.  I try to always do the right thing. 

(small rant) There are times that I want to scream out the injustices of the world.  There are times that I want to expose people for what they really are, not what they show on the outside.  There are times that I want explain why I do things the way I do.  But I don't.  Why, you ask? Because it doesn't change anything,  it's not nice to talk about other people, and sometimes people really don't care to hear it.  So I continue on my way, believing that  "Do good things, good will come to you". (rant over)

So that brings me to Saturday afternoon.  I pull back my shower curtain to clean, and as I reach into the drain to pull out the hair cork, a bug jumps into the air and almost hits my face.  I may have screamed, I don't remember.  But I look down, and it's this big bug, half stink bug half spider.  It was a mutant.  And being that I have a son that is "different", I felt sorry for this bug.  I spoke to it (in my head), "Ok, you can hang out", then left the bathroom with my new little mutant friend still enjoying my new shower, and me feeling proud of myself for being so kind to God's little creature.

Then came Sunday morning.  No bug in the shower.  Where did he go? I searched and searched, finally discovering him in my bedroom, watching me from the wall above the window curtains.  And I spoke to him again, "Okay, you can hang out, but don't be jumping on me".  I left once again, leaving my friend to play in my room.

Monday evening came around, and I told Natalie (the bug queen) of my new mutant friend.  We searched everywhere, but could not find him.  Natalie thought she found him, but it turned out to be a dead spider (I've really got to clean better).  So, no sign of him Monday night. I figured he crawled back outside the way he came in.  What a nice visit. 

Then came Tuesday night, last night.....  (insert dramatic music).....  I tucked the kids in bed, turned out the lights, and went to my bedroom.  I started to pull the decorative pillows off my bed, and low and behold, that bug was under the pillow, right on my sheet.  And I spoke to him, "Oh no you didn't!".  He immediately did the guilty dog pose.  He KNEW he had gone too far.  I went and got toilet paper and was talking to myself the whole time, "Why does everyone have to take everything too far?  Why is everyone so selfish?  Why wasn't what I offered enough?".  When I got back, he was still there giving me his best guilty look, and pleading with me to let him stay.  But I held my breath, scooped him up with the paper, and flushed him. 

In addition to this mutant friend, my shadow stalker from the previous post was not necessarily a cat.  I'm not really sure what it is, but it lives under my bedroom.  It's large.  It goes to bed around 11pm and wakes in the morning around 6am.  I would like to know what is making such a racket under there, but I would probably just let it stay.  I even tip toe when I have to get up in the middle of the night, so I do not disturb it.  Seriously, what is wrong with me?

This morning, in dealing with my anger, confusion and guilt over the wild kingdom in my bedroom, I couldn't help but wonder.... Is being nice out of style?  Do I have to be ruthless to have life go my way?  Is there a class on this, because I have no idea how to do it. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

I Will Cut You.....

I'm holding the keys

It's the little things that make such a big difference

Roll in shower

Bathroom after I Anncredibled it






Well, I fell a long way and I landed on my feet (so far).  I am now a proud homeowner of an AWESOME house that happens to be handicapped accessible in very subtle ways. It's been a very long journey with many ups and downs.  The air conditioner caused a massive leak in the attic, and the laundry room flooded with approximately 600 gallons of water, all before I completely moved in.  But....I have recovered, both mentally and mostly with the repairs. 

I have spent the last week moving tote after tote after tote.  If I never see another 18 gallon tote, I will be happy.  My friends came to my aide and saved me having to move entirely by myself.  I even had a friend drive 11 hours just to help.  For all of that, I am so thankful.  I still can barely move...even typing hurts. And how on earth did I get a bruise in between my toes??  (damn toes)

Anyone that knows me, knows that within 24 hours I had the entire place unpacked and decorated.  I feel at home.  I feel happy.  I still waiver between feeling like I'm over my head, with feeling proud of myself.  But I am here.  And after buying and changing my first toilet seat, then crawling in the attic to dig in a condensate drip pan, I feel like roaring and drinking a beer.  (yeah, I don't know what that means)  Just wait till my friend Brenda and I do lawn care! 

Last night was the first night that I did not collapse into bed from exhaustion. Because of that, my ears perked up when I heard noises right outside the house.  I sprung out of bed, grabbed my knife and phone, and snuck through the house (yeah, I'm a total badass. lol).  As I tip-toed through the living room, I saw a figure in the window in front of me.  He was a scary, hunched-over man walking past my front window.  I was ready to cut him.

What I didn't realize at the time was that the garage light goes directly through my house from back to front, and the figure I saw was merely my own shadow on the curtain.  Luckily, I didn't start swinging or I could have gotten hurt.  I found out today that the noise was a neighborhood cat making himself at home on my porch.  Also, I am now working on standing up straighter.

Tonight is the first night with the kids in the house.  I hope I have made it feel like home for them so they sleep well.  At least I know I will cut somebody to protect them! :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Fall Season

For the first time ever, I had a dream that I was falling.  It was night, and I was driving my van with Eliah in the back.  I was downtown (not where I live), but somewhere I'd never been, that had the very high ramps to get on and off the interstate.  It was dark and I was lost.  I chose one of the ramps and started driving up.  It went higher than all the other ramps, then suddenly I could see that the ramp had a sharp turn ahead, almost a u-turn.  I slowed down as much as I could, and I eased around the corner.  But it didn't matter, the wheels glided over the edge and I could see the front of the van with nothing underneath.

The van started to fall over the edge, and I remember saying to myself, "There is nothing I can do now".  As it started to fall straight down in slow motion, I resolved to the fact that this was the end.  I thanked God for the wonderful life I have had and asked forgiveness for all the things I had done wrong. It felt like I fell for at least a mile. 

Because the van was straight up and down, I could not see where I was going or what was at the bottom.  I assumed it was concrete. All I could see was straight ahead of me,  It was scary, but I had made my peace.  I was just waiting for that moment of impact.  I kept thinking, "I wonder what it will feel like.  I wonder if I will feel pain or just die instantly"

Right before impact, the van turned upside down, and I could see that there was dark water beneath me.  Then I hit it with great force.  The van sunk under the water, and I looked around in the darkness.  I remember thinking, "I'm not dead.  Why am I not dead? Why am I not even hurt?".  This part is silly, but I remembered an episode of Mythbusters about not panicking when you are in a car underwater, and I followed the rules as best I could to get out. 

I swam to shore, but I don't remember getting Eliah out.  He was on shore with me though when the medics were all around. He didn't look to be hurt or bruised, but he was never conscious.  I just kept saying, "He has Hemophilia, I have to give him his shot or he'll die."  Then someone gave me some half-assed supplies, and I ended up breaking off the needle in Eliah's port and not being able to finish.  I felt like I was panicking and doing everything I could possibly do, as fast as possible, but still failing. 

That was it.  I didn't wake up, but the dream ended there.  I know it was a metaphor for what's going on in my life right now.  I'm looking forward to going back to the flying dreams. :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Get Busy Livin' or Get Busy Dyin'....

....and that's what I'm doing.

I find it interesting that over the course of the past four years....not so coincidentally as long as my son has been around.... I have been on a roller coaster of emotions so extreme that something like skydiving could not compare.  If you follow my son's blog, eliahjames.blogspot.com, you know that he has come close to death several times over the past four years of his life.  I can now say, with complete certainty, skydiving is easier than being a parent to Eliah; and not just a little easier, a LOT easier. 

I have always wanted to go skydiving.  In fact, I wanted to be an aerial artist and do the formations for shows.  When I was 18, I decided to do it.  My parents told me I could not go, but I was determined to do it anyway.   My friend, Emily and I, went to the skydive center, she as my photographer.  I paid the $180 and did all my training for a tandem jump at 10,000ft.  But the wind was against me that day, and just as we were about to head up in the plane, they canceled and sent me home.  I never had a chance to go back after that, but I always dreamed of one day flying through the clouds with a parachute on my back.

Since Christmas, I have hiked the mountains in North Carolina (in small amounts, since I'm completely out of shape. hehehe), zip-lined in the tree tops of Seneca National Forest, and this past weekend, I finally got my chance to skydive.  

I fully expected to be afraid, nervous, sick to my stomach, and possibly even back out.  When we saw the first jumpers gliding to the ground with their parachutes, I felt excitement .   When I watched the video explaining that I may die while jumping, I only felt anticipation.  When I was in the plane, looking at the ground getting further and further away, I only felt happiness.  And when I was leaning out of the open door of the plane, 14,000ft above the Earth, I only felt peace.   

Some people say that skydiving is a life-changing experience, and I can understand that completely.  It was completely AMAZING to glide to Earth with a parachute, to see the world with an airplane view and be able to reach out and touch the clouds.  But where was the RUSH these adrenaline junkies crave?  I expected to be a changed person.

I expected.....more.

I thought my Thrill-o-meter was busted.  Was it??

I thought and thought, then it hit me, I've had the big adrenaline rush a hundred times...with Eliah.  Nothing will get your heart racing faster than your child turning blue.  Nothing will make you as sick to your stomach as seeing your child lying in a hospital with someone pumping air into their lungs.  I've held my breath, my legs have shaken, and I've been physically weak from nerves over Eliah.  

He has trained me to handle stress. I could skydive with ease because he conditioned me.  I could sit back and enjoy the moment without fear because I have dealt with SO much more.  There is something so freeing with that feeling.  I know I can stand in front of a crowd and sing at the top of my lungs.  I know I can bungee jump from a helicopter.  I know I can do ANYTHING.  The world is a new place.....I guess it WAS a life-changing experience.  


Here's me zip-lining-

video  

And here are some pics from the past couple months: 




















Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An Easter Story


When I was about three years old, my family took me to a huge church Easter egg hunt.  You know the kind...all the kids line up in front of what seems like an enormous field filled with colored eggs at every bush, tree and oddly shaped blade of grass.  I was so proud to participate in my first big event.

There was a large crowd of children waiting for the hunt to begin.  You could feel the excitement in the air.  An adult told all the children to line up on the sidewalk, and then sit down facing the field of eggs.  Everyone was already looking for eggs from their seated positions. 

As I sat down, my sister noticed that I missed a step in getting dressed in my Easter best.  I was not wearing any underwear beneath my frilly white dress.   My sister, in her oh so helpful way, immediately brought it to my parents' attention.  They scooped me up out of the line and said, "We'll just run home and put some underwear on.  We'll be right back.  You won't miss a thing".  

But I did.

By the time we got back, the children had emptied the field of all it's eggy goodness, and I was left standing there with a covered bottom and an empty basket.  It was pitiful.  Each year following, everyone made sure I was wearing underwear before the Easter egg hunt.  

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Liar, Liar, You Do NOT Use Contractions

As a child, I learned the phrase, "I didn't do it", as all children do.  I used it often.  However, most of the time, I was telling the truth.  There were also times that I used it when I was, in fact, the one that did it.  Yes, I ate the last banana and hid the peel behind the couch.  Yes, I ate an entire pound of grapes.  Yes, I MAY have played with hair spray and a lighter in my brother's room.  But they all soon learned how to read me...

When I was about 13 years old, my brother had a part time job at the People's Drug store.  Or was it Peebles?  Regardless, he worked there after school and on weekends.  Occasionally, he would bring home things that the store did not want or could not sell, like expired food or overstock.

In the several months following Halloween that year, he brought home approximately 100+ bags of Halloween candy.  The store had obviously over estimated their buyers purchasing power that year.  So all these wonderful bags of snack-sized candy bars made their way to my brothers room, where they sat on display across a long shelf.  The temptation was too great.  I took a bag of Reese's peanut butter cups for myself.  Oh, how good those forbidden treats tasted.  To top it off, my brother never noticed or suspected the loss.  Maybe I could take one more...or two...

Over the course of the next month, I took almost 30+ bags of candy off my brother's shelf.  He went about his teenage life, never noticing that his stash was now reduced by a third.  I hid the bags in the top of my closet, where I needed a chair to reach, and nobody would ever think to look there.  I didn't even know what to do with all of them.  I couldn't eat that much.  And then, I had another one of my brilliant ideas.  I would sell the candy to my friends.

I was born to be a salesperson. I took several different candy bars to school each day in my backpack.  I ate them in front of my friends, taunting them by opening one and taking a bite.  "Oh my gosh, these are SOoo good...".  And then the orders started pouring in.  I sold the candy bars for 25 cents a piece.  For about a month, I was known as the "go to" girl for candy during the day, and I was raking in the dough.  And then my big mouth got me in trouble.

I MAY have told one or two people where I got the candy.  And as I became smug in my selling abilities and hoards of money coming in, others became resentful of my success.  As I and my friends walked home from the bus stop, one of them shouted to my brother, who was standing in the front yard, "Ann's been stealing your candy and selling it at school!!"  Busted.

That evening, my family (all of them), sat in front of me and plainly asked, "Did you take Glen's candy?".  And I replied, "I did not do it."  They repeated, "Ann, did you take Glen's candy?", when they clearly knew the answer. But I stuck to my guns, "I did NOT do it"".  Although, once they had the candy in their possession, obtained from the top of my closet, I could not refute any longer.  My lie was out in the open, and was just as bad as the crime itself.

From that point on though, unbeknownst to me, everyone knew the telltale sign of my lies...I did not use a contraction.  They figured me out.  If I said, "I did NOT do it", they knew I lied.  Still, to this day, my family mocks and laughs at me about what a bad liar I am.  I don't even realize I do it.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Worst Babysitter Ever

I am the youngest of three.  My brother is older by five years, and my sister by two and a half years.  And when we were kids, we were out of control.  We were "those" kids that you see running around stores and restaurants, wildly screaming and climbing on furniture.

My parents often hired babysitters to escape us, even if just for a few hours.  However, we rarely had the same babysitter twice.  We never went to bed, or stayed in bed once there.  We even tied up a babysitter for our parents to find when they came home.  Ah....good times....

When my brother was old enough to supervise us, my parents would leave, only saying, "You kids be good!  We'll be home in a couple hours...."  But the couple hours didn't come.  They would call SEVERAL hours later and say, "Oh, we're in another state.  We'll be home in a couple days."  And we were left to fend for ourselves with TV dinners and endless hours of public television (we didn't have cable).  But we survived, unscathed.

As I got older and more mature (age 12), I felt confident in my abilities to govern those younger than I.  So I began taking babysitting jobs.  Most were easy.  All I had to do was sit for an hour or two and watch MTV while the kids had afternoon snacks. Then, I starting getting more serious jobs....babies.

Who in there right mind would let a 12-15 year old watch their baby?!  Or more importantly, Who in the right mind would let ME watch their baby?!  And I will be honest, I admit that I was not always the best babysitter.

As I sit and think about those days, I recall some very disturbing moments in my babysitting history.  I remember trying to test breastfeeding on an infant, who was not at all interested in my mosquito bites.  And I recall another instance with a different baby that happened to wander out of eye sight and subsequently fell down a small flight of stairs.  Luckily, he was not injured. (I did tell the parents)

And then, there was the time that I THOUGHT I was an awesome babysitter.  I had two older boys to watch, and we all had a brilliant plan to ride their mattress down the stairs like a sled.  It was a blast.  No one was injured, but the parents were none too pleased to come home as their six year old is barreling down the stairs on a Serta Sled.  As you can imagine, I was not asked to babysit again.

Luckily, as I grew old enough to work legitimately, I was able to work with kids in a structured environment.  However, that didn't seem to stop the antics.  When I worked for the summer camp with the local YMCA, watching 24 five and six year olds, I used to get in trouble for napping when the kids did.  Parents would sometimes have to wake me to pick their children up.

When I ran the Saturday Morning Fun Club at the local YMCA, I got in trouble for taping a kid to the wall.  Now don't get all upset, it was a few single pieces of scotch tape, and the boy was all for it.  But his parents were not nearly as amused. Nowadays though, I would probably be berated on national tv showing that my youtube videos of the incidents went viral.

Anyway, the point was, I sucked as a babysitter.  I was a wild kid, that grew into a semi-wild teenager (only wild with fun, I never did drugs), and then a more subdued wild adult.  And yes, I still do crazy stuff with my own children, and I MAY have broken that younger one, but overall, I'm a great mom.   Luckily, I can't get fired from this job!