October 31, 2011

Halloween With Teenagers

Halloween changes when you have teenagers. First, decorating has changed.

When they were little, it was a family of pumpkins. The kids had to have five pumpkins... one for each of us and they were decorated accordingly. Finally we put our foot down and had one COLLECTIVE pumpkin for it was decided it was absolutely too stupid to spend that much money on pumpkins even if it was going to the local United Methodist Church.

We took pictures in the pumpkin patch, in the beginning in their costumes, then just in regular clothes as they ran through the patch looking for the 'perfect' pumpkin, hoping to convince their father, bigger was better, a philosophy they seemed to have been born with, attached somewhere to a Y chromosome.

Last year was the first year that we parents absolutely did not assist in the carving. With minds of their own and an ability to handle sharp objects, we left them to their own devices and creativity.

Appalled... surprised? Remember last year?

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This year I was not home as the buying of pumpkins commenced. The boys had convinced their father that THREE was the magic number. And this year, instead of a single pumpkin, we had a creation of a pumpkin murder scene.

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Just so you know... that's an evil pumpkin on the top of the ladder, who pushed off the pumpkin at the bottom, with the pumpkin under the ladder looking on in horror.

I'll give it to you individually... just in case you need to see a piece by piece breakdown.

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Evil Pumpkin

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Horrified Pumpkin

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Dead Pumpkin

Meanwhile, with the big day here, things have changed with the kids themselves as well. Ringo doesn't Trick or Treat, but goes to hang out with friends and watch movies. He's 16. Mr. T decided he was going to watch Monday Night Football. He is 14.

That left Bones... to go alone.

Bones is a very social person. He suddenly got all sad sacky on me and copped bad attitude. It didn't matter that he had coerced me to go as...

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... what I call, 'The Angry Chicken'.

We got him OUT of the house. His father took him. Thirty minutes into it, my husband called and said, "What is his deal? He's got really bad attitude."

I said, 'He didn't really want to go alone, I think. I think he's sad. Let me talk to Mr. T... Come home and I'll see if he'll go."

So I explained the situation to my middle son who said, "No big deal. I'll go..."

We proceeded to look for last year's costume, the Whoopy Cushion, but couldn't find it. All we could find was Bones' costume from a couple years ago when he went as a Mustard Bottle. Bones was 10. Mr. T is 14.

The Mustard Bottle was a little small. When Bones wore it, it came down to his knees.

Mr. T put it on and he and I started to laugh so hard, I nearly started to cry. I think two things did it for me... 1) he looked like a village idiot, and 2) that he would do this for his brother. He would look SO ridiculous for his little brother.

I got a picture of the two of them together. After they left, my husband sent me a txt that said, "This is much better... there is laughter."

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It is funny what people think when they come to my door. I think the mothers with only daughters are kind of appalled by our pumpkin displays. I think they are thankful they don't have boys. I think they want to keep their daugthers away from my boys. I suspect anyway.

As for me? I'd not have it any other way...


Posted by Boudicca at 09:21 PM | Comments (11)

October 29, 2011

Live From Tennessee

I am in Tennessee at the Straight White Guy's. There is a current livestream feed from his garage...

Language Alert...

Posted by Boudicca at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2011

Halloween Treats for your Cardiologist

Crazy stuff going on here, most not bloggable, however, I was furloughed today.

For two hours.

My Lead calls it the shortest furlough in the history of furloughs. I was kind of disappointed. I had a long list of things I wanted to do this week. I told him when he called me with the great news that my contract came through, "Great, but I'm coming in late because I'd already decided that tomorrow I was cleaning the bathrooms and changing all the sheets. I'll come in after that..."

He didn't have much to say other than, "Yeah, have fun with that..."

For a Halloween theme, I give you a video TGOO sent me today. Only Southern Living would have "Deep Fried Fridays..."

You know how the Grinch's heart grew three sizes that day? Well my heart shrunk three sizes watching this video. I think I started getting chest pains.

I give you... Deep Fried Candy Corn. You can't make that crap up...

By the way, I don't give Norman long for this world working Deep Fried Fridays for Southern Living. I hope he has good healthcare benefits...

Posted by Boudicca at 10:21 PM | Comments (6)

October 24, 2011

Old Lady

The smoothie wasn't bad. It tastes a bit watery, but it's fine and I think my diet is so high in fiber that anything added to said shake was absolutely no big deal.

Bones wants one tomorrow. I'm hoping he likes it as I'd like him to eat a good breakfast and this could be it. The key was telling him it was mine and not his... as he proceeded to assist in the buying of the ingredients. Suddenly he wanted it.

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I walked into the lobby at work today and there were some scary young men standing at the desk.

I walked through to the breakroom to put my food in the fridge when I said to the engineer next door to us, "So... are we interviewing for Kindergarten slots?"

He replied, "Interviewing? Hell they're HIRED. Today is their first day!"

I couldn't believe it. I got to my cube and said to my Tech Lead (who got the promotion, Woot!), "Kindergarten started today. You'll see them all over the building."

Young. I said to our assistant, 'They've been driving for... what? Six years?"

Then there was some crack about if I just waited 8 more years Mr. T would be with us. I told them I aspired for him to do better...

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I'm furloughed probably as of tomorrow. My TL is looking for a new project for me, but I have a lot to do at home, and I'm fine.

The workload projected for this year was far exceeded by reality. I'm waiting on a new contract to get me through the year, but things are so busy here... I'm cool.

------------------------------

I'm tutoring Pre-Calculus and I'm pretty appalled by how the public schools are teaching matrices. The girl I'm tutoring is taking Pre-Calc in the junior college and when I said to her, 'OK, remember when you did this in Alg II?" she replied with, "Oh, our teacher just had us plug the numbers in our calculator."

Nice.

Fortunately, that is not the case at my kids' school. I sat down with T to teach him matrices tonight and was pleasantly surprised that not only did she expect them to know how to do it, but she gave good notes.

The status of our education system is very very bad when it comes to math and science. But that's another post... it hurts my head tonight.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:36 PM | Comments (6)

October 23, 2011

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut

My boys think I'm a nut. I know it and I'm Ok with it. Mostly, they try to hide it from me. Or they roll their eyes.

I heard from the backseat of my car today, "That's something Mom would do..." And when I queried as to what this was, I was met with blank faces and nobody willing to fess up.

I'm betting it wasn't something I would find flattering.

They tease a lot.

I spend a lot of time researching the physiology of how the body handles food... trying to understand why my body operates the way it does. I read, I try new things, I watch for effects.

And the boys just know... this is how Mom is. In the last few years, I have finished a marathon, completed 2 or 3 half marathons, joined an organic fruit and vegetable co-op, lost 26 pounds in a very cool but restrictive diet, and have started to experiment with other ways of eating.

During this journey, most of what you all have read about, I nearly crippled myself, most of my IBS has gone away, realized my family hates Kale, gained 10 of the 26 back as I try to adjust to what I can really eat, and have realized I'm probably developing an allergy to seafood. (That bugs me.)

The boys watch all of this and sometimes laugh and sometimes don't, in particular when they have to participate, like during the organic fruit/vegetable co-op gig when we realized that anything you hate can be turned into bread.

I have again eliminated all processed whites from my diet. It is hard to do, but it's really how my body functions best. I've realized my body absolutely cannot choke down regular vanilla Greek yogurt, but the stuff with fruit I can eat for a snack and not yak.

The latest is I've been trying to find a shake I can eat in the morning. I wanted to make my own and not buy a mix. I found the Dr. Oz has a breakfast blaster and thought, "Hmmm... I could try this..."

So off to the healthfood store I went, Bones in tow, to find a protein I could put in, realizing I need to stay away from soy. Whey was the protein of choice.

We meandered through, looking at labels, comparing items when I settled on whey protein that might work. But I had other ingredients to find... Flaxseed oil and psyllium seed husk. WTF?

I found a guy who worked there, someone who'd offered to help me earlier. He looked at the whey protein Bones had and said, "Girlfriend. WHAT are YOU doin'?"

Very gay, very black, very funny. He made the whole trip. Bones keeps imitating him.

So I explained what I was looking for and he said, "OK, girl, you are looking to do that Dr. Oz breakfast..." to which I said, "Yes, so I want to buy everything in SMALL quantities in the event that I can't choke this crap down. I don't want to be stuck with choking it down for year..."

He said, "Well, you are talking to the right guy. I know colons..."

To which I didn't know whether to spit or blink. Gah!

He continued, "You do know this is all high fiber stuff, right?"

I replied, "Yeah, I'm wondering..."

And this is the part Bones likes to quote, "You'll be clean as a whistle..."

You can't make this stuff up. I said to my Dad, "You know you've arrived when you're talking about cleaning yourself out with a loud gay black man in the middle of a health food store and you're way OK with it..."

I bought my items and as I did he said, "You drink this stuff fast. This fiber will absorb the water and you'll be choking it down otherwise." He looked at Bones and said, "You make sure you eat yourself breakfast. Your Mama will tell me if you don't. I'll come to your HOUSE and MAKE You breakfast. Let me tell you, it's a scary thing when a black man comes to your house to make breakfast..."

Bones fell out laughing.

We got in Publix for me to buy the fruit and Bones said to me, 'Life was really good until Dr. Oz came into it. What a mess..."

Heh.

Here's to my not having to choke down this shake in the morning...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:29 PM | Comments (10)

October 20, 2011

What's Good for the Gander... Is Not So Much for the Goose

My eldest son has to drive my mini-van around if he wants to get anywhere. I don't let him drive his Dad's car as his Dad's car is a nice car and my car is a POS.

He hates it, but they're the only wheels he has. His buddies make fun of him and call him "Mom". That's become a nickname of sorts. Evidently, his buddies' Moms no longer drive mini-vans. In an age where most people get rid of their vehicles every few years, their Moms moved on to something more efficient.

Me being cheap and enjoying no carpayment, as I hit 190K this month, refuse to get a new car until 250K. This will be the vehicle that teaches my kids to drive. The goal is for it to survive teaching Bones to drive.

The boys are somewhat aghast. I mean, my van really is turning into a POS. It's holding up pretty well, but it's worn. It's just flat worn. There is NOTHING glamorous about it. It is purely functional. They cannot imagine I could be 'happy' driving something such as I drive. I can't get worked up about it.

It's a functional tool. It's reliable, it does what it needs to do... and it's free, other than tires, gas and oil.

We were driving back from Scouts tonight and I saw a Scion that had been painted or wrapped or whatever they do, to advertise a local company. Big pink bubble letters adorned the gray vehicle. My eldest told me that there are companies that will PAY YOU to advertise. You get your vehicle wrapped with their logo, you drive a lot, they'll pay you.

Hello? I drive 30,000 miles a YEAR. I DO SERIOUS DRIVING!

Seeing the gray Scion, what my boys saw as ridiculous, I saw as free gas. Her gas was being paid for by driving something around that she couldn't see! She can't SEE the big pink bubble letters! She just has to drive it.

I looked at Ringo and said, "Wow, can you imagine the kaching I could bring in if I get my car wrapped? I need to look into that..."

Keep in mind... it's a 2004 Toyota Sienna, 190K miles.

He stopped reading, looked up, and an expression of absolute horror crossed his face and he said, "Don't.YOU.DARE. It's bad enough that I drive a mini-van when I'm out with my friends, and that they all call me "Mom", but I don't need to drive one painted up like a pig or something equally awful."

And with that, I just about fell out laughing. I was picturing the Asexual Mom-mobile painted like a big pig. Holy crap. I'd love that.

But my son... not so much.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:22 PM | Comments (10)

October 17, 2011

October Randomness

Fall is here and it makes me happy. Last week, I walked outside and said to Mr. T, "Fall is here... I can smell it."

Even in South Florida, you can tell when Fall has arrived. We don't have changing leaves or anything visual that will cue you, but the air smells crisper and the silence sounds different.

It's supposed to be cool on Friday. Cool for us is a high of 77 with a low of 63. I'm beside myself, wondering if I'm going to be able to wear a sweat shirt to the high school football game!

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All the insurance companies in South Florida are reassessing our homes. My husband and I are gritting our teeth.

Five years ago, after the hurricanes, my insurance was raised to ... hold your breath... wait... TWELVE THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR.

We couldn't afford it, I freaked, paid an inspector and raised my deductible to 10% of the value of my home should the cause be a named storm. So my deductible is $1000, but my hurricane insurance is 10% of the value of my home. That brought it down to SIX. Thousand. Right.

Two years ago I got them to lower the value of my home, I felt they were insuring my property. That brought me down to $4000 per year.

Nobody I worked with seemed to be having these issues. Until... this month.

Every person I work with has had a $2000 jump in their insurance, bringing it in line with mine, and they've all had to up their deductible for hurricanes to 10% of the value of their home.

It is CRAZY. I think my insurance company was just ahead of it's time.

An inspector came out today and said to me, "We're just checking to make sure that everyone has what they say they have to get the deductables they're receiving. You're good."

Deep down I do wonder if this is another excuse to jack up our insurance. It really is sick. It's one of the reasons why when my husband retires... S. FL will no longer be my home. I don't know how people who are retired afford to live down here.

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We really need Bones to pass Science. It's the little things.

The kid has not passed ONE Science test. Not one. My husband, finally fed up, got hold of the teacher. The tests are completely jacked up.

We looked at his grades. For a kid that hasn't passed one test, he has a C+. There is apparently one helluva curve on his tests. I'm not sure that makes this guy a very good Science teacher.

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On a quick political note... WTF are we doing in Uganda? Why are we sending boots to such a hopeless place. What is up with that?

Travel back to... 1974. We were living in Washington DC and I was 9 years old. My folks got the Washington Post and I sat down and read some article on Idi Amin.

I was horrified by what I'd read, absolutely aghast. I hadn't even heard of the Holocaust yet. I didn't learn of that until the next year. Everyone else in my class may have been surprised of the horrors man was capable of after hearing of the Nazis, but I was probably the least since... after all just a couple years before I'd read of Idi Amin.

That place has been a hell hole... for my entire life. Really? President Hopey Changey is sending our troops there? Really?

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On a funny note, it is Homecoming at the high school of my two older boys. This conversation happened in my car:

Ringo: I have to dress... 70s. So we're going as greasers. I need to borrow Dad's leather jacket.

Me: That's not 70s.

Ringo: We're going for late 60s.

Me: That's not late 60s. That's... 50s.

Ringo: Well, 70s looks dumb. We're not doing that. I can't believe people dressed like that.

Me: It was bad.

Ringo: You know what else I hate? The style where girls wore their jeans right here *pointing to the top of his waist*

Me: Wait. That's just like 5 years ago.

Ringo: Yeah, the kids who have to dress in the 80s wear their jeans there.

Me: No. No. That's just recent. Nobody started wearing this low slung stuff until 5 years ago...

Ringo: I hate that.

Me: But... I STILL have jeans like that!

Ringo, shaking his head: I know. I hate them...

Good grief. He thinks old style is wearing jeans on your waist? Where they were MEANT to be?!

Posted by Boudicca at 09:11 PM | Comments (5)

October 16, 2011

Looking Into the Future

There is a counselor here in town that we've used who is also a 'life coach'. As applications for college soon start, Ringo has been at a loss as to what he might even like to study.

So I called this guy up and said, "HELP!" and he said, "Come on in, I have a test I can give him and it won't tell him WHAT to do, but it will give him an idea of what other people with his interests decided to study."

The results came in pretty much as we had expected. High on the list were for him to study either Medicine or Finance.

But it was the mid way down the list item that had me raise my eyebrows. It said he should enlist.

Now, I don't have a problem with it, other than the fact I don't like where we send our troops... places like Uganda. I just as soon my sons don't go to hell holes like that to places so corrupt and in mind, unsalvageable. My family, however, has been serving this country since it's inception.

Mostly the members of my family have been enlisted. I had someone ask once, other than my father, did we have officers in our family. I replied, "Mmm... I don't think so. Mostly I think it was a case of "Hey, I have a gun. Can I fight too?""

But I was intrigued that my son hits the top spots with Medicine and Finance and in third or fourth... it says he might consider enlisting.

And it raised the eyebrows for the test giver as well.

So we asked him, "Ringo, can you think of what you put that this test said you should think of enlisting?"

He grinned and said, "Oh yeah. I put I'd like to be sniper..."

Nice.

Playing Army guy really doesn't seem to go away... even when they're 16.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:14 PM | Comments (6)

Closure in the Fall

Today was Pop's birthday, so we stopped by the cemetery to put flowers on his grave as well as that of my mother-in-law's.

Today was a tough day and I'm not sure why. Today... the cemetery felt like new grief. It was overwhelming. Was it seasonal? All over were Fall flowers, pumpkins, and October displays. Everything felt fresh.

The grief felt the freshest. As I stepped out of the car, it hit me. I immediately turned to my right and there was a grave stone I'd not seen before. She was my age. She was buried in June.

The rest of the trip was just horrible. It just felt oppressive. I could hardly breathe.

I looked to my left and I saw like it was yesterday, the scene that played out a few years ago. I could see the teenager leaning against the wall, walking away, coming back to it, grief wracking his body. I saw the father, standing aside, walking around, pacing, coming back, unable to say or do anything.

I remember standing there watching, tears streaming down my face as I saw this family falling apart. I was a voyeur to something so awful, something so raw, something they should have had the privacy for, but instead were unashamed with grief in public. When I first witnessed it, I quickly turned and went to my mother in law's grave. I tried to stall us... keep them to their own.

But it was time to leave, we got in the car, and the grief washed over all of us. I cried as we left, my husband was horrified as I was for this family. Staring straight ahead I said to him, "I'm not going to get over this. I'm damaged..." We drove home in silence.

I have never forgotten that scene. I have vowed, that over time, I would walk over to the wall where she was laid to rest, I'd find her marker, I'd find out who she was. Who was this woman so loved, taken too early?

Today I needed to know. I needed to know because deep down inside, I wonder if I will ever run into her son. There are times I pray for him. The father would find a way for handling the grief of the loss of his wife, but children... how do you deal with the loss of a parent? I cannot comprehend... losing a mother so young.

I knew I'd know her. I knew the building she was at, approximately the location, and as my husband and boys paid respects to my inlaws, I quietly read through the dates until I found her. Across from her spot was a marble bench that had her name along with little engravings of things she loved, like seashells from the beach and golf clubs. Engraved along the side it said, "Best Mother in the World".

I cried again.

She had been 51. With my cell phone, I found her name, her obit, and saw how she died and who had survived her. I have a name to add to my prayers now... instead of the 'unnamed teenage boy', I have his name and some stranger he will never meet, will quietly pray that he is well.

I think of him often.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:14 PM | Comments (5)

October 14, 2011

Stupid is as Stupid Does

Dinner discussion revolved around my eldest spending the night at a friend's and the two youngest going to a movie with their Dad. "I'll go," I chimed in.

The boys looked kind of surprised and said, "Ok!"

My husband walked into the theater and bought the tickets while the boys and I milled around. We got to our seats and as the lights started to dim I said to Mr T, 'So, what are we seeing?'

Mr. T stared at my blankly and then said, "You're kidding, right?"

I popped some candy into my mouth and said, "Nope. I'm along for the ride. I figured I'd not been out with y'all in awhile. What are we seeing?"

Mr. T, slowly, "It's a boxing movie..."

Me: *blink* Are you kidding?

Mr. T: Uh, no. But with robots.

Me:

Mr. T:

Me: Crap.

Mr. T with a BIG Grin: Maybe you won't think it's so bad...

Me: Great.

It was the loudest movie I have ever seen in my life. I think my ears are still ringing.

Note to self, when three people full of testosterone leave to see a movie on a Friday night, ask to see what the movie is before committing.

Sheesh.

Bonus for me, Hugh Jackman was hot...

Posted by Boudicca at 10:21 PM | Comments (10)

October 13, 2011

Birds

Bones struggles to sleep every night. This has always been a problem and I think it has something to do with the ADHD. He struggles to turn his brain off.

Over time, we've eliminated all video game playing after 7:00, no sugar after 8 (in particular chocolate ice cream), and we try to stay away from TV as well after 8.

For awhile he was drinking chamomile tea and although I pushed it, I thought it was more of a psychogical thing for him. I never expected it to work, but thought if I convinced him it might... any edge would be good.

He thinks it helps.

The latest was his need for a 'sound machine'.

"Mom," said he, "I think if I heard the ocean or some other soothing white noise, it might help. Like, listening to the rain..."

I'm willing to try anything at this point, even if he's convinced HIMSELF that it works, I'm game.

So this weekend, he and his Dad went out and bought him a machine that had something like 12 sounds. The first night, he spend playing with them, figuring out what he liked and what he didn't.

Tonight is night two of... bird chirping. I am sitting in my dining room and it sounds like birds are chirping in his bedroom.

How in the hell he finds that soothing, I'll never know. But that's the sound of the night.

Birds. Thankfully he negated the freight train...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:58 PM | Comments (14)

October 12, 2011

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Joe is gone. He is home with his family. I made it through the logistics and the airline folks were very good to him.

I picked up Bones today from the bus stop and he said to me, "So, is Joe out of our hair now?"

This isn't like Bones to say something like that. I had to think about it. Look at him. I just simply said, "yes".

We got home and shortly thereafter, T and I were talking and I said, "I have plans for myself I won't end up like Joe..."

To which he replied, "Good. Because I don't have what it takes to do what you've done."

It's two summers I have taken care of two old men. And my boys... are done.

It was really hammered home by Bones. I hadn't realized how over it they were. It had taken a toll on them too.

This chapter is closed. It was time.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:48 PM | Comments (4)

October 11, 2011

Bones... For Real

So this is odd.

I've been blogging for... seven years. Just over. And I've talked about my kids, told the funny stories, and carried on in general.

My Dad and I have discussed whether other people think the stories are as funny as we do since we actually KNOW the cast of characters. We know what they sound like, how they move, what they're like.

But after seven years, I think most of you have something in your head. In one way or another, you think Bones is funny, even if you don't know what he looks like. It's like reading a book. You develop the character in your head.

So I've wondered... by showing you him... does that ruin it or make it better?

I dunno.

We'll see.

Bones had to perform a monologue in school today. This isn't really Take 1. It's take three or four. He was hesitant to let me tape him, but when I showed him the issues he was having with swaying... he saw the good in being able to see himself.

So here you go. Bones performing... The Patch. It's his very first monologue. He leaves out his name in the beginning... per my request. The first part is he and I going at it about the video. Then he... gets into character. Its a joke between us. This is afterall... Take Three.

BTW, the last three words in this, in case you cannot understand him is, "wear eye patches?"

Posted by Boudicca at 09:44 PM | Comments (16)

Moving Through

I'm in the process of trying to upload a video of Bones onto Youtube so I can link it and you all can see this monologue that makes me laugh.

His monologue is due today, so yesterday I videotaped it on my phone and let him watch it until he got most of the little quirks out. In the beginning he was resistant to my taping him, but after the first when he saw little things he didn't like, he was more than eager. It's our fourth take and his favorite part is always the beginning when he's talking to me and 'getting in character'.

If all goes well and I can figure out wtf I'm doing, it'll be up this evening or tomorrow.

He has a vocal performance tonight, which of course means I'll cry. Anytime those little boys get up to sing I cry. Just hearing the voice of angels coming out of those mischievous bodies... gets me every time.

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Joe leaves tomorrow. I have it all arranged. I've been working out the details with his niece over the course of the last four days.

This is what is bothering me greatly, as grounded and observant as I am, even I am surprised by where he is and what he is incapable of doing and I'm angry at the facility for not being forthcoming with the information and telling the family.

I get that he'll never walk unaided again. I called that one and told them 8 weeks ago, which is a good thing because nobody else did.

I get that he won't climb stairs or be able to live in his home the way it is now. Called that one too, I did.

No more driving? Got it, said it, it's cool.

The inability to dress himself... yeah, not only did I not see that coming, they didn't tell us. Nor did they tell us he'd probably never be able to get out of bed by himself, raise himself out of a chair... or... most importantly... change his own colostomy bag.

All of this takes assistance, the things he will no longer be able to do. And when I pressed yesterday why nobody told the family, I was told, "Nobody has a crystal ball... "

But the bottom line is... his insurance won't cover him anymore, someone has decided this is it, there is no more they can do here, and NOBODY ever called the family and said, "Look, we're 99% sure he's going to need assistance for the remaining years, you need to plan accordingly for the following."

Never.

And so now everyone is scrambling, in somewhat of a bind as he has not a dime to his name other than the SS that comes in every month. He has a home that now has to be sold along with 85 years worth of belongings.

And when he gets to NJ tomorrow, where is that assistance going to be coming from? For... the family did not truly understand his true state until last week.

I blame the facility for that. I'm there nearly every day, I'm eyes wide open, and even I didn't fully understand the magnitude.

Should be interesting...
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Last night's gym run comes courtesy of Berlin. Love the '80s music.

Just a little FYI, if you're running or walking and your hips hurt so bad in the morning you struggle to get out of bed or your knees start to feel like the tin man with bad ache, you might need new shoes.

Just sayin'...

Quick little prayer that my Tech Lead got the job... life will be better for me if he gets it. Stress is stress... I'm in the middle of it all with work, but the green would be nice.

Posted by Boudicca at 06:06 AM | Comments (8)

October 09, 2011

File this under...

... you can't make this crap up.

So this thing with Joe has taken on a life of its own and I think I'm pushing it forward since it's somewhat of a challenge, logistically. Can I make this happen?

We will see.

Meanwhile, I was in the rehab center today and some CNA asked if we were related. She said we looked alike.

WTF?

OK.

I'm going to let you all decide. Have at it. In the Extended Entry is a really crappy picture of Joe and a not so hot picture of me. It was taken two weeks ago and I have this crappy flippy, "I'm pretending I'm 9 years old" haircut.

I personally thing the CNA thinks all white people look alike. My BIL thinks she was trying to make conversation.

I'm left wondering how a 46 year old 75% Celtic female looks like an 84 year old Italian Man.

She went on and on about how when people start to hang out together, they start to look alike. I'm looking at his drawn long face, his long ears, his much wider nose, his tired eyes... I'm just not seeing it.

Oh yeah, and he doesn't have teeth.

Go for it.

crappy Joe.jpg

stupid picture.jpg

Posted by Boudicca at 09:25 PM | Comments (5)

October 08, 2011

Ugly October

This week has been hell on wheels. I told my Tech Lead on Friday, "Life won this week. I'm toast."

Between the kids, work, Joe, and other stuff... I spent most of the week not able to sleep or in high anxiety. I didn't have time to go to the gym, so there wasn't even time to try and work off the angst.

My Tech Lead, if everything goes as it should in this world, is probably going to be promoted. He asked me if I was going to apply for his job, which I answered with a prompt, 'Absolutely not'.

As I walked away, he said to me, "You're the most qualified person for the job..." to which I retorted, "Management doesn't care..."

He wants me to take it though as we work together well and he trusts me. He needs someone he can trust. After 25 years, we're like an old married couple. I can sense when he's in a bad mood and stay away.... or at least don't poke at him too much, and vice versa. We can finish each other's sentences practically and although my big line for him is, "It doesn't matter how loud you think, I still can't hear you..." that's not actually true. Usually I can tell what he's thinking.

There is something to be said for having a good working relationship with someone like that.

This will be the second job in three months that I've pretty much said, 'No. I won't.' My eldest is still pissed I didn't pursue the first job further, but I think he just wanted bragging rights. 'Oh yeah, well listen to what MY Mom does..." But life is too stressful as it is and that job would have thrown me over the edge. Honestly, I'm not a very good parent. Stress me out any further, and it could be detrimental to my kids. That's not fair.

What has happened to me that what I would have perceived as GREAT career moves, coming my way, I'm deftly batting aside and emphatically saying No to?

I'm beat. I'm just tired. And I'm in survival mode. I just need to pay bills at this point. I won't ever run the world and I've lost the desire to. I just want to... survive it.

Things with Joe have taken a turn for the ugly worse. He survived Fournier's Gangrene (if you google it, don't look at the pix. Don't say I didn't warn you.), but he may not survive the insurance company and how he's now a throw away person that they are dumping on the streets to fend for himself, although he now can no longer bathe himself, get out of a chair, cook for himself, or dress himself, let alone use a urinal, and he doesn't know how to change his colostomy bag.

None of that matters. All that matters is he can walk 75 feet with a walker. They're done. Gone he is... without a lick of OT.

What a mess and I can't even post all that has happened in the last week because it's such a long awful story and because... I'm too tired.

I came up with a solution for the family. They can't afford to come down and get him from NJ, so I'm working on getting him up there. I suspect by the end of the week he'll be in NJ. His niece, who has taken the brunt of it up there, gave me all the reasons it wouldn't work, and I in turn explained how I'd worked out the logistics already in my head. I had an answer for every potential pitfall, having given this considerable thought.

Problem solving... it's what I do. I just wish I could get paid more doing it.... working for a better company... with a boss who respected me. Maybe one day my TL will be the big boss. That would be grande...

I went to the gym today and powered through the elliptical until I thought I might puke.

Best running type music ever... I kept it at a steady 200 strides per minute to this...

Posted by Boudicca at 10:44 PM | Comments (6)

October 06, 2011

You Might Live Under a Rock If...

I was at a high school football game tonight. The game was on a Thursday night since Friday at sunset is a Jewish holiday.

The cheerleaders were doing their thing and I looked at a Mom and said, 'What's the deal with the pepto bismol pink colored pom poms?"

She stood there for a minute, looked at me, and then grinned, because this would only be me that would say something like that and said, "Umm, Bou, Breast Cancer Awareness. All the sports teams do that in the month of October..."

To which I replied, "D'oh!"

Posted by Boudicca at 10:06 PM | Comments (2)

Lovin' The Band

I wish I didn't have to park. I wish I could just get my car to be where it needed to be by blinking.

No pulling in far enough. No making sure I pulled far enough over to leave room for the other car. Nothing.

I hate parking. 30 years and I still suck at it. Even my 16 year old is better than me. He now walks away shaking his head. That's not a good sign.

-------------------

From Nina I have this GREAT band video. Some of you may have seen it.

Get to 35 seconds... you can start to see what's going to happen, I could tell by the drumline. By 1:40, I thought I might want to play the cymbals. By 2:00 I knew for sure...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:25 PM | Comments (4)

October 05, 2011

Thoughts About a Man I Didn't Know

My grandfather was younger than Steve Jobs when he died of cancer. I don't remember thinking of him as a young man, he was my grandfather. But he was a young man.

My uncle was younger than Steve Jobs when he died of Pancreatic Cancer. He seemed like a young man. He was.

This thing about Steve's death is really bugging me. I've spent the better part of the evening trying to figure out why.

Why would the death of a man I didn't know bother me?

I don't own an iPhone (husband does). I'm not an Apple freak (husband kinda is). I don't use an iPad (husband does).

What bugs me is... with all his money and his connections, he couldn't save his life against pancreatic cancer.

You may be saying, "Does a rich man deserve to live more than a poor man?" No. Not at all. But if the rich man can throw money at it and survive, beat it, then there is hope that the science has come to the point that the rest of us can too.

I had hoped there was something out there somewhere that would show me... that given time, we could all beat it.

And that didn't happen.

Granted he lived far longer than my uncle. It is coming up on 10 years, I believe since he passed. He died on his first day of Chemo. I remember not praying for his survival, but instead for no suffering. 'Dear Lord, do not let him suffer. He does not deserve to suffer. If he is to suffer, please take him soon.' We all prayed that. Our prayers were answered... no suffering. Our hearts are still heavy.

But Steve didn't beat it and I wanted him to so that there was hope for the every man. And I think that's what bugs me, is I feel like the hope has been extinguished.

And I look at what he brought to the table and I do find it amazing. I grew up thinking, 'What is left to invent?! What else could change someone's life like cars and air travel?"

Now we have smart phones, lap tops, desk tops... all in our HOUSE and they're used constantly. Although he didn't invent them, he was a catalyst and was part of it all. The iPod and iPhones have changed so much... two little gadgets, merged now into one.

Who would think that people would watch their movies wherever they were? That playing with a screen with so many apps would function like it does, instead of pressing buttons.

So MUCH has happened in the last 20 years and he was a big part of it.

And he couldn't save his life.

That bugs me.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:56 PM | Comments (6)

October 04, 2011

October Days

The adage of "The difference between a bad haircut and a good haircut is two weeks" is false. Sometimes it's six weeks. Or more.

I'm not sure what she did, but it's not looking so sassy to me as it's looking pixie. I look 9 years old. With a 46 year old body. Yeesh.

-----------------------------------------------------

We are getting city water through the neighborhood. I refuse to hook up. We're sticking with our well. They can make us pay for it to run it through the neighborhood, but they can't make us drink it.

The other day we drove by a neighbor's house. They have three boys, the oldest being Bones' age. There was a BIG mound of dirt in front of their home. The workers had left and the boys were jumping their bikes over the dirt onto the street.

No helmets.

It was crazy.

Ringo and I drove by. My eyes got big and I said, 'Is it me, or does it appear an ER visit is imminent?" He replied, "It's not just you... " and shook his head.

These kids end up in the ER more than any other group of kids I know. Over Spring Break one of them nearly blew himself up with gasoline. Good grief.

Don't ask where their Mom is. I don't know.

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I drove by another house yesterday with a big mound. There was a boy around 8 years old standing on the top, holding a big shovel. I started to laugh because every boy in the neighborhood is crazy about the dirt.

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My boys are not crazy at the prospect of having a fire hydrant in our yard. Whereas I look at it as an insurance savings, they look at it as an impediment when mowing the yard.

They're growing up...

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Big Face Bones

Life size. Larger than Life. No kidding.

Life Sized picture of Bones.jpg

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Joe was supposed to be tossed out on the street tomorrow, not completely healed. It's a long story that is crazy and awful and has made me feel even more certain about my end of life plan. My gf, PFB who comments here, left me a message last month on my cell phone, realizing my end of life plan and said, 'Hey, just don't do it before we can talk one last time..."

It was kind of funny.

I always talk about my funeral or my exit strategy and some people laugh and some people talk about it factually, which does make me grin. Like the time about 17 years ago when I said to my mother in law, "I hate ABC Funeral Home. It just seems so... grungy. It's dank, and cheap, and is decorated more like a 1920s whore house than a funeral home. I hate it..." She listened as I went through various funeral homes I didn't like and finally she said, "You know they just built a new funeral home in Jupiter. You should go check it out and see if you like it better..."

I laughed because she was helping me plan my funeral.

Anyway, so Joe was supposed to be tossed out. A throw away human being he had become, except to the actual staff. The nurses love him. The admin and some of the incompetent doctors and the insurance... not so much.

Tonight at 6PM we got some sort of reprieve and it looks like he's safe for another month... and at that point he should be good enough to get home.

What a mess. I'm starting to obsess again about the Exit Plan.

I remember when my grandfather was sick with heart disease. My Dad would get off the phone with him, clutch his chest and say, "Makes me want to go run five miles."

I get involved with Joe and the mess that is his caregiving and I think, "Makes me want to fine tune my Exit Plan..."

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I have said often, that if I were ever to write a book about my kids and life, it would be called, "Something is fermenting in my car..."

My kids don't snack in my car anymore. Mainly it's because they aren't in snack mode anymore, they want full on meals.

So imagine my horror when I got in my car this morning and it smelled HORRIBLE. I was looking around thinking, "Dear Lord, what is that smell?"

I looked and looked... nada.

The two older boys got in the car and said, "What IS that smell?"

I'm quietly freaking, saying, 'I don't know... maybe a container of yogurt rolled under something after I left Publix?"

T said, "It definitely smells... like bad dairy..."

Something was fermenting in my car. It was a milkshake Bones got at the mall on Sunday when we went to fit his uber large feet for new shoes. He left it unfinished in his cup holder.

No more shakes for him...

Once you smell that smell, you don't forget it.

Like you don't forget the smell of hot August road kill exploded on the under carriage of your car. But that's another story...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:57 PM | Comments (7)

October 02, 2011

The Things That Bore Bones

There are times that I think to myself, what do I blog on? Should I skip tonight? And then Bones opens his mouth and something tumbles out and I think, 'That answers that question..."

Tonight:

Bones: Hey T, did you pee your name?

Me: *blink*

T, from the back of the house: NO.

Me: Pee your name? What's that about?

Bones: I can pee my first name, last name and an exclamation point.

Me:

Bones: Look, you know how, well, if you're a guy, just standing there peeing can get boring, so I pee my name.

Me: *blink*

Bones: I told T about it, but he obviously isn't interested.

I had no idea that peeing was... so boring. Can you imagine my life if we had SNOW?! Hell, I'd have EVIDENCE. He'd probably bring the entire family out to see his artwork.

Posted by Boudicca at 06:56 PM | Comments (5)

October 01, 2011

The Oddball Life of a 16 Year Old

I'm not used to being a Mom of a driver. There are more questions you have to ask. "Who is going to be with you?" "Who is driving to the final destination?" "Where are you going?" "When will you be home?"

When you're the parent driver, you know all this stuff. The friends are with YOU, you are doing the driving to and picking up. All of this is more obvious.

Two weeks ago my son told me where he was going, but I didn't ask the nitty gritty questions. I knew he was going to hang out with his buddy. I knew they were going to his buddy's high school. Something about girls playing football.

Next thing I know... he's a powder puff cheerleader for this other school. I have a parent sending me a picture of my son being held on the top of a pyramid, holding a sign with "JUNIORS" written upon it and he's getting the crowd riled up cheer on the Juniors team.

And then I find out he's a powder puff cheerleader for their Homecoming game... the girls played before the real game.

My son is the only private school student on this public high school 'cheerleading' squad.

Whatever. He's happy and he's pulling all A's, except for his Desktop publishing class, that he finally pulled up to a B. (He said to me the other day, "For once in my life, I'm pulling all A's in my tough classes and I have a dang C in a crap class...")

So last night at 10:30 (curfew is 11:00), homecoming game finished, coming back from a quick bite to eat with his buddies, he calls me and asks if he can stay over at his buddy's house. I was kind of pissed. He had my car. But it was dark and rainy and I live in the sticks. I said, "Be home at 10AM..." to which he said, "But... I am going to the ballet with Paul at 12."

Wait. My son is going to the ballet? Really? So I acquiesced and told him he best take care of my car. It's the family vehicle.

Flash forward to tonight... I said to my son, "So how was the ballet?"

Ringo: *blink*

Me: You told me you were going to the ballet...

Ringo: No. I was going TO ballet...

Me:

Ringo: With Paul.

Me: TO? I'm lost... you don't take ballet.

Ringo: Paul has a girl friend who needed help in her ballet class. They have a big performance and I guess some guys are coming down to dance with them. Until then, they need guys to lift them. So Paul and I went and lifted them while they practiced.

Me: How many boys?

Ringo: We each got assigned a girl by size. There were six of us...

Me: So. Basically what you're telling me is that today, for an hour, you and Paul held girls.

Ringo, *grinning*: Yeah. Pretty much.

Me: Do you get community service hours out of this?

Ringo: No, free dance lessons.

Me: Are you going to take ballet?!

Ringo: Nope. But we're going to keep going back as long as we need us. *grin*

Me: That would be...

Ringo *big grin*: Saturday. I've been a cheerleader and a ballet dancer this week. Crazy week.

Tough to be him...

Posted by Boudicca at 08:55 PM | Comments (6)