Monday, June 28, 2010


Abby has made running away from home part of her Sunday morning ritual. She has done it the past two weeks. Yesterday she ran away four times. Luckily she wears her collar and we were called each time by someone who found her. I keep asking her "why she wants to run away" and "why she doesn't like us anymore", but she doesn't have a straight answer. It doesn't help that the neighbor kid pets her through the fence, making her realize that yes, she can escape. She sneaks out of our backyard fence, because we need a new fence really bad. I think we also need a backyard above ground pool. Scott doesn't think it's a good idea. I think it's a wonderful idea. The one I want is 48 inches deep and 16 feet across. He thinks it's not big enough for the kids to swim in, yet too big for the 4,671 square foot back yard. The only draw back that I see is the neighbor kid might constantly be climbing the fence (which aids in it breaking, which leads to Abby running away) to swim when the kids or I am in the pool. Yesterday the neighbor kid (who is Ethan's friend) asked Ethan to come over to play. When Ethan got there his mother's best friend's kid was there because my neighbor was babysitting him, so Ethan was sent home. I totally understand. When Cole, Stacy's kid, comes over I'd rather it just be the two of them. However, we were going to set up the slip and slide. The neighbor kid saw it and he and his friend put on their swimsuits and were relentless about coming over. I can tolerate the neighbor kid. Not the friend. The friend is, for lack of a better word, "trash". I know his mom thinks I'm all snobbish throwing around my college degrees and fixed roof, but I can't stand the mom or kid. She thinks I'm a bad mom because I let the boys be in competitive sports. Really? Aren't all sports competitive? Well, gymnastics and ice skating aren't but they still have meets to find out whose the best. Even duck, duck, goose is competitive. Long story short- I didn't want him here. We decided to hide out in the house until the neighbor kid's friend went home. They kept ringing our doorbell asking if it's time. I finally said, "Hey, neighbor kid! It's not gonna happen today." Then they went home and got a basketball and started playing basketball with OUR hoop. One of our cars was in the driveway getting hit by the ball. Seriously. Who babysits a kid then pawns them off on the neighbor? Or lets them play at the neighbors house. Oh the best part about it was Ethan went outside to play basketball with them (in our driveway) and they said he couldn't play! As I right this I realize there is a great need for a sarcasm font.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Trench Foot

I am reading a book that is about a 12-year-old boy whose father ran off, his mother died on the couch of a meth overdose, but he doesn't want anyone to know. Obviously it is fictional. Anyway, the mother dies, he drags her body to the bathtub, and when the apartment starts smelling he wraps her up in the shower curtain and puts her in the deep freeze. As I read that, I had to chuckle. I pictured him thinking, "what should I have for supper... hmmm... hot dogs. I think there are some in the freezer, right below mom's left shoulder..." Actually, it's not that funny. Three years ago my in-law's small lap dog died in November after the ground had frozen. They couldn't bury him, and didn't want to pay the vet to "store" him until spring, so guess where the dead dog ended up? Yep. IN THE FREEZER!! Imagine my surprise when my mother-in-law asked me to run down and get some meatballs for Christmas supper. I opened the door, thought, "where the heck are the meatballs? Maybe they are in this white plastic bag... OMG!! That's NOT meatballs!!"

Well, in the story the boy avoids the bathtub while his mom is in it, and then later because he is a 12-year-old boy. He wears the same socks day and (literally) night. Because he wore the same stinky, sweaty socks all of the time, his feet started to rot and he had "trench foot". I can't believe it's a real thing- but it is! I looked it up on the internet and everything. It happens when you are in cold damp conditions and never change, or get out of, your socks. Your feet literally start rotting off. When I was going through my autism phase in the third grade, I was obsessed with clean feet. I used to wash my feet every night before I went to bed because I could not fall asleep with sticky, dusty, or just got out of clean socks feet. I also had to have my teeth brushed and carmax on my lips. This is the same ritual I follow today. If carmax causes some sort of lip cancer, I will undoubtedly get it. If there is some drug in carmax, I am absolutely addicted to it. My mom told me if I kept washing my feet before bed, they would get moldy and rot off my ankles. My grandma fully agreed with this, so I thought it must be true. So, to avoid foot rot, I started wearing socks to bed. My mom warned me not to wear socks to bed because that also would rot my feet, but I was desperate and could not sleep without them. I did it once and my mom knew! To this day I wonder how she could figure it out. I'm not sure what my plan of attack was after the sock issue, but I am pretty sure I must have found a way to have clean feet because I did sleep, and I still have the issue. I thought it was kind-of funny, not in a ha ha way, but in a ironic way that trench foot is a real thing, because when I was in the sixth grade I decided my mom was making things up to foster my autism just for laughs. Turns out she wasn't! Huh...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Good Room

Something I’ve always wondered about is “good living rooms”. Growing up my aunt and uncle, Marlys and Stanly, as well as my good friend in high school, Marvin had “good living rooms” They had the regular living rooms where you’d watch tv and well, live, but the “good” living rooms were like a forbidden haven. Both of the “good living rooms” had plastic on the carpets and furniture, and were not to be stepped upon by my feet. Marvin’s parents would yell from the actual living room downstairs, “You damn

Kids ain’t in the living room are you?” Marv would yell, “Nope, we’re drinking beer in the kitchen.” You’d think they would have rather had us in the living room. Once I asked my mom why Marlys and Stanly had plastic on the carpet and furniture in the good living room and she said, “people do that to keep it nice for company.” I always thought, ‘well, what am I? I’m company aren’t I? Who do I have to be to be considered good enough to go into the “good” living room?’ Once I remember spilling Kool-aid on the garage floor at Marlys’ and I thought, ‘great. Now I’ll never make it into the good room.”

Dad's 75th Birthday

Warning: this blog is long, so get a drink of your choice, a small snack and perhaps a pillow. I waited a week so I could give you the more entertaining, rather than the painful ranting version. So here it is, I spent last weekend celebrating my dad and his wife’s 75 birthdays. His actual birthday isn’t until August, but he and his wife had a big party in my hometown at the local “bar/grill/supper club”. It’s the typical small town dance hall complete with brown paneling on the walls and vinyl orange chairs for the d├ęcor; the bar completes the Hicksville appeal by using various taxidermies. This party was a big deal; my brother even flew in from Arizona. My step-mother has three children who live in Chicago, Minneapolis and Indiana. They all came back along with her two youngest grandchildren who are in their twenties. The wife’s youngest granddaughter is 20 going on 5 1/2. She literally made LOUD random bird calls periodically throughout the night.
My relationship with my dad has been quite strained for the past five years. I am learning to accept I can’t expect him to be the dad/grandfather I want and need him to be, so I have to lower my expectations. I just find it so incomprehensible how a parent cannot love their children or grandchildren. It’s not like I’ve done anything shameful. I have a successful career as a teacher, I’ve worked hard and gained a lot of education, I don’t visit the area drug dealer or loan shark to pay for a gambling habit, never been in the clink and I’m not a screw-up. The kids are really well behaved, smart and act mature. I understand how a person can fall out of love with someone else, and how friends drift away because you have nothing in common; I even understand how you can love someone but have to set up a ten foot thick barbed-wire wall for boundaries because they are not good to or for you. However, I don’t understand how you can fall out of love with your child.
When I found out Henrietta’s children were planning this party, I got a sick feeling deep in my stomach and contrary to popular belief, it was NOT the gut rot you get from drinking too much. Friday I met up with my step- siblings, at the dance hall to plan our decorating. We also drank beer and my step-brother Dan and I decided we need to step up our campaign plan for our presidential election in 2012. Our platform is sponsored by Coors Light and Miller, and we plan to get the religious vote. He wants our first line of action to be the legalizing of growing your own “plants” because that should eventually take care of the health crisis by itself. Friday was fine; it was actually a good time. Saturday, the day of the party, was a different story. I woke up with what I thought was a hangover from hell, but turned out it was more likely the party. I am not trying to come off as petty, and if any of the things that happened would have happened signally, I’d blow it off, but they kept on adding up and up. I felt literally sick the whole way to the party. I felt this deep dread that makes you sort-of light headed and it hard to breath. I told myself to plaster on a smile, suck it up and get it over with.
Henrietta’s daughter in-laws created a power point with photos of dad and Henrietta growing up, their younger years and them together now. It was a really nice gesture and fun to watch. There were photos of my dad holding my cousin’s son when he was a baby in 1985, which dad has always referred to as his “grandson”. The photo even read, “Russ with Great nephew Cory”. There were photos of Henrietta holding each of her babies and grandchildren along with her grandchildren while they were growing up. There was not one single photo of my children with dad. It was as if they don’t exist. Right after I got done watching the picture video, dad wanted to introduce my brother, my kids and me to the band. Dad is friends with the band, which everyone thinks is hilarious and calls him a groupie. I think it makes him a weird old man who thinks he’s 16 and wants the latest Joan Jett poster. Anyway, he introduced us, and one of the members said, “Oh is this the grandson that has an answer for everything” as they were looking at Ethan, I said, “Yes,” Dad interrupted and said, “oh no, that’s my nephew’s son. These kids don’t talk, they are real quiet, they just like sports.” Five minutes later I stood near dad as they greeted their guests at the entrance. One lady shook my hand and said, “Now who are you?” I said, “Sara, Russell’s daughter.” She replies, “Oh- I didn’t even know he had a daughter!” Really? Cuz he has TWO!!! You would think one time of that happening would be enough? Nope! It happened three more times!
Next, as we sat down to eat, I realized that they didn’t count our family and there weren’t enough chairs for us. This really didn’t come as a surprise to me because growing up, I was the tag-along on my dad’s side, having a six year difference from my cousins who were pretty much all the same age. I think they were all sick of looking at, and being around kids by the time I arrived. On my mom’s side I was plopped right in the middle with my next older cousin being 9 years older and my younger one 8 years younger. Until my little cousin came along I was pretty much on my own at every family get together. I don’t think my invisibility factor was ever on purpose, I like to think of it as just bad timing on both sides of the family. Anyway, I took the table right next to the head table, only to be told by my dad’s wife, “we need that table for the guests!” WTF? I replied, “OK. I will take my children and sit in the bar where there is room for me!” Somehow they made room me (not my family), probably as they were thinking ‘wow! She really IS a freak.’ The whole time I was eating I was on the brink of tears, I was literally shaking. My best friend’s parents walked in. Gloria hugged my dad, and dad’s wife said in front of Gloria, “Who’s THAT?!”… wow- THAT’S charming. Then I hugged Gloria and burst into tears. It was kind-of ‘thanks for coming to the party where one nutcase yells at you as you get in the door and the other starts crying.’ The majority of the night went better. There were over 200 guests. That’s more guests than I had at my wedding. 93% of them were his wife’s relatives, friends, or friends of the couple now. Seriously? How can someone so mean and nasty have that many friends? It’s like the school yard bully. You better be their friend, or they’ll beat you up. I knew about 24 people there, not including the ones that put it on.
Also while we were eating, her youngest grandchild (the bird caller) blurts out, “How much did that necklace around your neck set you back?” Considering the only necklace this girl would wear would be a studded dog collar, I was torn between saying, “none of your damn business,” and “This? Oh it’s nothing. I was a gift from the hit man I hired for your gra...” Then clamp my hand over my mouth and whisper, “Crap. I said too much.”
In the middle of the party, dad’s wife took my beer and told me to dance with my dad. “You don’t need to drink all night, get out and dance.” I wanted to say, “I will have more dancing and less drinking ON YOUR GRAVE ONE DAY!…” But I held back.
I had some drinks with my cousins who I now consider my same age, but they literally think I just graduated from high school and have 10 and 7-year-old children. That was fun. I spent a lot of my life wondering why I didn’t fit in with either side of the family. Now I spend it wondering why I don’t fit in with either side of my children’s families. As the night was ending- at 10:30… The super club turned on the lights as a hint “get the heck out, you don’t gotta go home, but you can’t stay here…” I helped dad’s wife’s daughter-in-laws (whom also loath her) pick up the decorations and extra left over cake. Dad’s wife cornered me and said, “Your dad is so upset that you didn’t call to see how his colonoscopy went. He waited all day and you kids didn’t call. They found a whole toothpick you know.” I asked how he swallowed a whole toothpick to distract the attention of my negligent behavior when one of her daughter-in-laws asked when it was. “June 3.” Hmmm. Let me see. June 3 I was scrambling to pack up my classroom so I don’t lose any of my crap, put in final grades, fill out my student’s cum cards, and try to keep straight what the sporting schedule for my children- whom I left home alone because I forgot I’d need daycare that day- was and where. I worked a 13 hour day. Apparently I didn’t leave enough room on my calendar to write “Dad’s colonoscopy” Then I thought what I would have said, “Hey dad, how’s your ass? Does her knee still hurt? Does she still hate the cats? How the hell did you swallow a whole toothpick and not know it?” I hope HIS 90th birthday celebration will be a bit better. My children will be recognized and he’ll apologize for the years known by my brother as “the sleigh ride through hell.”Until then, I am planning on finding and collecting the most unflattering photos of his wife to plaster on his next video slide show.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Weekend

I had a very quiet Memorial Weekend. I announced each day I was going to give Abby and Sam a bath, do laundry, sweep, mop the floor and vacuum. However, announcing it was as far as I got. I went to school to pack up my stuff, bought and planted flowers. I played 47 rounds of Sorry with Ethan, and four hours of Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud, and Deal or No Deal on "Games Show Wii", as well as wii dodge ball with both boys. I now have wii arm- which means my right arm is sore from playing wii. I looked last night and noticed I have definite muscle definition on my right arm, but not my left so I might need to start playing wii with my left arm. On Sunday I watched four hours of Lifetime. I flipped between Lifetime and Soap Network because they were playing a Young and the Restless marathon. I made a deal with myself, if both channels had a commercial on at the same time, it meant I was suppose to go into the kitchen to get an oreo. Oreos were my lunch and supper on Sunday. I realized the kids would rather be with their friends than their mom. Noah spend Friday night at a friend's. Had a friend over on Sunday and went to their lake all day on Monday. Ethan went to the neighbor's house for most of the day on Sunday. I have this week off while the kids still have school! Woo-hoo!!
Things to Know:
If at first you don't succeed, go through the trash and look for the directions.