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Goodbye

Sunday, February 28, 2010


When I saw her sitting in the garage drenched from the cold Oregon rain my heart felt heavy and I began to cry. Our 17 month relationship had been initiated through tragedy and was now ending for my self preservation. For awhile it was comforting being with her everyday and knowing how loved she had been and how loved she would be with me. She carried her beauty and sensuality like no other I had seen. She was sleek, sexy and mysterious. She had an air of aristocracy, well bred and cultivated through the generations for sophistication and class. She became my world and my attachment to a previous life that we had shared. We comforted each other in our time of loss. We would become one.

What I didn't count on were the trying times, the times I could not bear to lay eyes upon her. With no intention of her own, she brought me memories of a tragic time. Ones that I try to keep buried, only to let out flashes of remembrances if the time was right. As the months went by, it became more difficult to go anywhere with her, to touch her, or to sit wrapped in the luxuriance of her sand colored soft leather.

As hard as it was, it was the time to let go. The time had come for her to move on to another family that could love her untainted. She ran so well on to where we took her. It was as if she was trying one last time to get me to relent and allow her to stay. But it could not be. The burden had grown too large for me to handle. She must go and it must be now.

I sat there watching through the glass as the man gently dried her with a towel and removed every trace of moisture from her beautiful body. I had to tell her good bye one more time. I slowly opened the door that had separated us and once again soaked in her beauty. With each step my breath became more labored. I kept slowly moving forward until I touched the cold, hard aluminum of her deep pacific blue rear fender and gently leaned down and kissed her. I rubbed her top and kissed her once again on her head. She is on a new journey now, as am I. I turned to leave before I lost the courage to do so. With tears streaming down my face and my nose beginning to drip I reached into my pocket to get a tissue to muffle my sobs and I walked out the door without looking back..

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My Daughter


As I look at her sleeping I'm transported back in time to 1983. My daughter was a toddler then and watching that beautiful baby sleep was the most wonderful thing in the world.
Now she's 25. She's so beautiful. She's lying peacfully on her right side, the heavy hotel blanket tucked around her waist. She has a pillow between her arms that is cradling her head and her breathing is soft and rhythmic. The sunlight is peeking through the window. It's whispering gently across her face casting a faint glow on the bridge of her nose and over her brow. She had pulled her hair up last night before getting into bed and some of her thick, auburn curls have made their way out of confinment and are resuming their job of framing her delicate suntanned face.
She's dreaming now. Her eyebrows are knitted together and her expression is pained. I want to wake her, to save her from the unpleasant experience, but truth be told I WANT THE SHOWER FIRST!
Ok, now I'm out of my nostalgic mood and sitting squarely in the middle of reality, the kid stole my pillow last night, She's right in the middle of the bed and it's almost 11:00 am. Wake up already I'm ready to get out of this hotel and back on the road. I'm starving!
All that aside, she's still my baby and I find myself tiptoeing around lest I wake her. Part of that is remembering how wonderful she is whilst sleeping, so beautiful, so aristocratic, and so perfect only to be reminded upon waking there is no taming the shrew, well at least until coffee.
I love my baby, she is the best and the worst of myself.

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What a Day

Thursday, February 18, 2010

By now I'm sure you all know that my daughter, Karli, is pregnant with baby diva, Anna-Grace. Well when Karli's pregnant, we're all pregnant. Her pregnancies are difficult resulting in lots of ER trips, doctor's visits and other assorted happenings.

Since baby Josiah was born so early, at 28 weeks, her doctor referred her to a high-risk clinic just in case there are problems this time around. The appointments are long and frequent, but she is getting the best care possible.

The doctor decided that Karli needed injections weekly to try to ward off pre-term labor with our little Diva. Today her father and I had to go and learn to give her the injections. No problem, you do what you have to do.

We get to the office and I don't know what Jeff had for lunch this afternoon but he was just like one of the kids. He wanted whatever Karli was having done. He asked the nurse to weigh him, he wanted his blood pressure checked, I'm surprised that he didn't also ask to have HIS urine tested when they did Karli's. The medical assistant kept her composure while dealing with this 56 yr old kindergartener. She finally escaped the room and left us alone while we waited for the nurse to train us how to give injections.

Jeff thought it would be appropriate to tell Karli about his experience giving injections in the 70's and 80's when he was in competitive weightlifting and doing steroids. I guess he thought it would be comforting to his daughter to hear her father talk about stabbing the needle in his friends back sides, how thick the steroids were, and the knots that were left memorializing the shots. With each of his words Karli's eyes grew wider and she began to grow more pale. The reality was sinking in quickley, this mad man was going to stick a sharp needle in her body every week for 20 more weeks.

When the nurse finally came in, Karli asked if she could just be put on bed rest and skip the shots. No such luck. The nurse went over all the instructions and had us go through a few dry runs practicing on a glove stuffed with paper. All of this just increased Karli's anxiety to the point that I thought she would pass out and fall off of the table.

Then the time came. No more practice. Jeff was chosen to give the first shot of the series. The nurse calmly kept reminding him what to and not to do.

Jeff was ready. He was going to do it. He drew his arm back like he was going to be throwing a dart in a pub and just as quickly plunged the needle deep into my daughter's hip. She didn't move. Her eyes were huge, but she was breathing. Jeff slowly pushed the hormone into her muscle. Since the medication is oil based, it seemed to take forever for him to empty the syringe. Finally it was over and he jerked the needle out of her bottom. She took in a long breath and slowly sat up, staring at her dad.



The nurse said he did very well. I thought it looked more like he was gigging a frog than helping our daughter. But he did it. Next week, it's my turn.

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Sea Turtles

The water was so clear, so aqua, so warm, so salty.

I dove under to swim with the great and majestic sea turtle.

I could feel my hair flowing behind me and the water rushing over each inch of my body

I dove even deeper following after the elusive, graceful creature

Their effortless movement was mesmerizing. Their glances at me were all knowing

I was soon gliding behind them

They were just beyond my grasp. I knew I would soon be with them if I could just make it a little longer.

My world was moving further away and I was moving closer to theirs

I had to breathe, I could wait no longer

I took the salty water deep into my soul

It was warm. It was refreshing. It was liberating.

It permeated every crevice of my lungs and circulated throughout my body.

It filled me completely. I continued my journey and continued to take in the clear aqua water

It was so easy, so natural, so welcome

Suddenly my speed increased and I found myself in the midst of the group

They had opened a portal to allow me in and quickly surrounded me

I was now one with them, one with the sea and one with the turtles.

There would be no return from this new and mysterious world.

There were reefs to discover and waters to navigate

My freedom was complete. My prayers had been answered. I would not return.

My home would be the sea, and my family the graceful shelled creatures that had in their wisdom coaxed me to follow.

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The Morning


I wasn't sure where everyone else was this morning when I was burrowed in the cloud-like softness of egyptian cotton sheets, eight goose down pillows and my fluffy down comforter. I was perfectly supported in the cocoon-like haven I had created throughout the night. No part of my body was exposed to the chill of the morning air except my nose. I can't sleep with my nose covered. The thought of breathing in hot air, especially hot morning air, really grosses me out. Besides, I get claustrophobic if I'm not breathing in fresh cold air when I sleep.

My thoughts had been of sleeping in luxurouisly late. Enjoying the warmth, enjoying the solitude and enjoying a few more hours of peace. I was trying to recover from the night before.

It had been an ok night. Those of us that showed up at Duke's Bar had fun. I was disappointed when some of my friends that were going to be there just didn't make it. And a couple of others that I have been trying to bridge a gap with decided not to participate in our gathering. Usually when we're at Duke's my daughters Karli and Michelle are there and we have blast drinking, dancing and playing. Karli was home pregnant with two sick boys and Michelle announced that afternoon that she also was expecting another little monkey. So no drinking for her. I was on my own.

Dukes is a country western bar that our kids go to. I'm not much on country music but we go there because the kids go there. The servers are cute in their tight jeans, boots and cowboy hats and the bouncers are big and buff. There's a mechanical bull at the back corner of the dance floor. Usually an intoxicated girl, tossing her teased hair around, is on the back of the bull trying her best to be sexy. They almost always end up in a not so pretty heap on the bar room floor after being thrown from the bucking animal. The ever present buff bouncers are close by to help the embarrassed wanna be cowgirls stagger back to their friends.

I think one of my favorite things about this smokey little club is that around nine or nine-thirty, right after the line dancing lessons, a spot light shines brightly on a large American flag on the stage and the "Star Spangled Banner" begins to play. The noisey crowd immediatley quiets. Every man removes his hat and places it over his heart. For those few moments everyone is of like mind. We're all Americans saluting our country. As soon as the song ends the party begins.

That's when I switched from Coke to Tanqueray and Tonic. Our server kept them coming. I had only ordered two but someone else must have been buying rounds because they kept showing up, and I kept drinking them. At some point I lost count of how many I had finished. Somewhere in between the first and the last of my drinks I decided that jello shots were needed and set off to find them.
I found the jello shot girl around a corner standing on a platform and surrounded by cowboys. I made my way through the mass of belt buckles and plaid shirts to the girl with the coveted shots. She was blonde and bubbly and dressed in a tight belly baring tee shirt and ripped jeans. I ordered ten of the orange flavored concoctions. The total came to fifteen dollars and I gave her a twenty. The bubbly blonde stacked them up for me, I grabbed them and headed back to the table.

When I got back to my group there were hands everywhere grabbing for shot cups. I saved two for myself and put the rest on the table. Within minutes they were gone. It wasn't long after that I switched to water for the remainder of the evening. I didn't switch soon enough. I could tell that the next morning would be rough. Jeff led me out to the car and opened the door for me. I fell into the heated leather seats and tried to keep my head from spinning.

After about ten minutes we arrived home. I headed for the kitchen to down more water before stripping off my clothes and collapsing in bed. I snuggled into the pillows and pulled the comforter up over my head. I was careful to leave my nose exposed. In minutes I was sleeping and enjoying every minute of it. That is until I heard a knock at the door.

I reluctantly peeked out from beneath my pile of pillows. Jeff was gone. It must be morning. Oh, my head. The knocking continued. Where was everyone and who the hell was knocking at the door? Finally I struggled to free myself from my cocoon. I stumbled as I searched for someting to put on. I found a short terry cloth robe, wrapped it around me and made it to the front door. I was still in the haze of sleep when I opened the door. There were two huge men standing before me with their backs to the door. They had on blue uniforms. Then I remembered. The appliances for the addition were going to be delivered. As soon as I remembered I felt the whoosh of a kid run by my legs.

"Jeremiah, go find your dad. I'm gong back to bed." I shut the door hoping that somewhere my son would find my husband to sign for the delivery. I staggered back to the bedroom, dropping the robe at the door and climbed back into my haven. I pulled the covers back up careful not to cover my nose and drifted back to sleep.

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The Intruder

Finally Jeff was sleeping after a day of leg pain and depression following surgery. It had been a long day for us all dodging flaming darts and flying walkers. I was tired and ready to sleep. Around midnight I turned off my lap top and switched off the light. I curled up on my side, arranged my pillows with one under my left arm, one under my left leg and another one over my head leaving my nose exposed to the night air. My bed was so comfortable and warm. I love the exqusite luxury of the deep pillowtop mattress covered in tightly woven egyptian cotton. I could feel the tension leave my body as I fell into a deep sleep. I had been sleeping for several hours when I sensed someone standing near me. I opened my eyes and strained to see in the darkness. There was a figure of a man at the foot of my bed. I could see that he was tall and broad. He had a hood of some sort on his head. He was wearing a dark colored sweatshirt or jacket and he stood staring at me in silence. It took me a minute to understand that it wasn't a dream. In the altered reality of being awakened I wasn't sure what to do. I leaned up on one arm trying to will myself to make out his features that were hidden in the shadow of his hood and then I asked "Who are you"?

What the hell was that? "Who are you", what the crap was I thinking? Did I really expect him to answer and say something like "I'm Harrison Hoodlum and I've come to rape you and the slit your throat, and you are?"

What a dumb ass I was. While I was wondering what the heck had jumped from my mouth, the man said "It's just me". It was Jeff. He couldn't sleep and was just coming back to bed.

"What the hell are you doing? I could have shot you! Don't be freaking lurking around in the middle of the night!"

"Teri, just go back to sleep."

I fell back into my pillows and was instantly sleeping. The full level of my stupidity hit me the following morning. I still can't believe it. "Who are you?" It'll be awhile before I live that one down.

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When Will I Learn?

I learned a very important lesson: always use the parents stock phrase "we’ll see" or "maybe" even when replying to your grandkids. Some of you know that I’ve been on a tortoise hunt. Jake asked me for a turtle several months ago for his birthday. My usual answer to the grandkids is "of course. Of course you can have marshmallows, of course you can have those shoes, of course I’ll find you an elusive and very expensive tortoise that will require hundreds of dollars to make sure the freaking thing lives for at least a month."

It was my fault. I slipped up. Never mind that all of the kids, grandkids included, know when to ask me for something. Wait until she’s on the computer, cooking dinner or painting and then in your sweetest voice ask for whatever you want. They know that I have no ability to multitask, and I’ll just say "sure" to whatever they ask.

"Mom, can the entire football team come over for home made pizzas and an all night video game war?"

"Sure".

"Mom, can I have your credit card so I can order these boots online?"

"Sure"

"Mom, can we have these three guinea pigs that they say are girls, but one will turn out to be a boy and we’ll have baby guinea pigs for months before you get so fed up with them and us that you give a choice : either you kids or the guinea pigs are going on craigslist, please mom, please?"

"Sure"

Actually I think it was after the last one we had to make it law that no one could ask me for anything unless I was looking them in the eye and repeated what they had asked for before confirming or denying the request. It’s funny how the requests dropped off after I went to the secret hidden parent’s handbook and learned the magical phrases "we’ll see" and "maybe later".

I know precious knowledge of tactical manipulation has been carefully preserved and passed from child to child and now to grandchild. It’s a conspiracy. I am an X-file. Sculley and Mulder will show up on my doorstep one day, of that I’m sure.

When I realized my blunder regarding the tortoise what could I have done? I could have said "Nana was nuttso then and I can’t get you the million dollar tortoise." I could have just said "You have a beagle that I bought for you, where the heck is she? Give her a shell." But no, one look in those little brown eyes that had began to fill with conjured up alligator tears and I knew what I had to do. I had to find the tortoise.

Now I know why my grandmother did what she did. We were back in west Texas checking on the farm one hot summer day and I saw a little blue fish that I wanted. This little blue fish was swimming in the reservoir by the windmill. He was a tiny fish, in a big, concrete rectangle filled with murky, slimy water. But I wanted it. My grandmother looked everywhere for something to catch that tiny creature with. There was no net, no bucket, nothing but a small jelly jar. She rolled up her pants to her knees, climbed over the side of the reservoir, jelly jar in hand, and began to stalk the fish. As I look back and remember I laugh thinking of her going from side to side bent over at the waist, wading in the icky water holding the jar with her perfectly manicured hands, her dangly earrings glistening in the sunshine, muttering. Now I know what she was muttering. Under her breath she was cursing herself for promising me that she would catch the fish that was destined to die within a day. It was the same muttering I was doing on my search today.

I also have realized the incredible joy you are filled with when your grandchild looks at you when you have searched for, and captured their dream. When you hand it to them and see their smile and they know that you have made their wish come true. It is the most amazing feeling in the world. That’s why, I assume, I can still see my own grandmother in the tank. Only a grandparent would do such a thing for a child. I hope that Jakob remembers this day as well. What are grandparents for after all, if it’s not to create memories for the grandchildren to cherish and to pass down?

I guess it kinda makes up for being a parent and telling the kids "No! you’ve already had a soda this year!" or "By the way, here’s a twenty, go pick up a birthday cake for your party." No I wasn’t that bad, I don’t think so anyway.

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Somebody's going to get their butt kicked!

So here I go venting again. Thanks for allowing me to. Most all of you have access to my other page and have seen the photos of my wonderfully mixed-race family. They are beautiful, they are sweet and they are as much mine as if I had given birth to them.

My oldest children, Taylor, Michael and Nikki are homeschooled as were the three older ones. My youngest are still in public school and probably will continue on that path. Michael and Nikki attend a sports and fitness two times a week at the 24 hour fitness we belong to. Last week when I walked them to their class there were these boys that were acting wild in the aerobics room when we got there. I reminded my children to behave and left. While I’m working out I can usually monitor what’s happening in their class because of the glass wall that separates the aerobics room from the weight room. All seemed fine.

When the class was over I retrieved my children and all seemed well. I later found out that it wasn’t. It seems that the two obnoxious boys I had noticed in the beginning of the class have a problem with my kids and were talking within earshot of my guys about them. I think the words that were used were "They’re not nice, they’re nothing but niggers." Ok, so first of all my kids were correct in not telling me until no one at the school could be reached and I would have a entire weekend to calm down. I left a message for one of the teachers and the vp. They were mortified that this would have happened. It’s not something that we’ve encountered in Oregon before. I told them that I wanted it addressed especially in light of the fact that when pushed Nikki can and will kick butt (GO NIKKI).

I talked to my kids about the fact that these kids are more than likely hearing it from their parents since they’re homeschooled and seem pretty damned unsocialized. We talked about the best thing my kids can do at this point is to be nice, smile and be friendly. Secretly I was thinking they should whip up on these kids and teach them a lesson, but that would only affirm the opinions of the little punks. The adults in charge are aware of the incident and have assured me that the boys will be monitored closely. My kids have been instructed to alert the adults discreetly should this happen again. So we took the high road, this time. Next time may be different.

Since most all of my kids have been homeschooled for part or most of their schooling we have made huge attempts to ensure that they can behave appropriately in public, interact with people of all ages and be well, rounded sociable children. We have succeeded. Unfortunately there are homeschooling families that cannot even discipline their kids let alone teach them social graces. It gives all homeschooling families a bad reputation.

I guess I could go a step farther and invite the little heathen things over for a play date or something so that they can see how great my kids are and that they are kids, not niggers. But then they’ll see the way we live compared to how they live and it’ll only incite more harassment. These boys do not come from a wealthy family and although they’re clean, there clothing and shoes are old and ragged. I would hope that they would see the goodness in my kids and how far they’ve come since they were adopted. But kids like the boys generally feel inferior and I don’t want to reinforce that by bringing them over here. Now I sound like a snotty bitch. It’s hard trying to stay above it and be more dignified when all I want to do it put the boys in a room with an un-medicated Joshua to teach them a lesson. Sometimes you have to get on the bully’s level to teach them the lesson.

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Constraints

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Somewhere between consciousness and the darkest shadows of sleep lies a parallel universe where dreams and reality are melded into one. It is a place where we are not bound by earthly constraints and our innermost fears and desires are lived out in the most amazing detail. We, as well as those that came before us and those who come after us, are free to enter and leave as we wish.

It is to that altered existence I find myself increasingly drawn. In that ethereal plane most responsibilities and difficulties of life are released and I am free to discover inner most truths and to follow the whims of my heart. These are times I have grown to treasure and my visits to this reality occur with greater frequency.

Judgment is not passed and assorted relationships can be explored without fear of discovery or retribution. It is during these precious few hours that those connections that have been severed can once again be enjoyed. And those that have yet to form are brought to fruition.

After hours of indulgence I find myself reluctantly being pulled back to the bonds of this terrestrial plane. I am left with only vivid memories and cannot help but wonder about the authenticity of these times and if I alone participated.

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It's Only a Car, It's Only a Rash and It's Only Water....Right?

When I opened my eyes this morning birds were singing and sunlight warmed my face. I stretched and turned so that I could watch as the tree tops danced in the breeze out side of my window. Nina saw that I was awake. She rolled over reaching her lanky curl covered legs straight up into the air before yawning and creeping her way across the bed to me. She nudged her wet, cold nose into the crease of my neck and positioned her long furry body next to mine. She lay with along side of me as I cleared the clouds from my head and mentally prepared for the day to come.

If I was able to predict the rest of a day by the way it began, I would have been certain that this one would be perfect in every way. Soon I would learn that my ability as an oracle should not be relied upon.

I felt great as I got ready for they gym. My workout was good. I increased both my cardio and my weights. I was tired but felt productive as I walked from the gym to the parking garage. I made my way up the three flights of stairs to the level where I had parked my car. The closer I got to my Mercedes the more clear it became. Someone had hit my car when I was in the gym. I could feel my blood pressure rising and and my teeth clenching. Dammit! Freaking Asshole! There was no way on this earth that what ever moron that hit my car could have been unaware of it. Oh I was beginning to feel sick. No note, no nothing. Son-of-a-bitch! Ok, so I needed to calm down. It's a car. It can be repaired. But dammit, I've hit cars before nothing big, but I've always left a note and how they could get ahold of me.

Ok, so I'll go call the insurance agent and get it repaired. I got home around 11:45 ish. Joshua was still in bed. Jeff freaked. I mean he absolutely came undone. No big deal, wake the kid up and tell him to get his butt out of bed. Well, yeah that would be great, in a normal family. Joshua pulled himself up, looking a bit like he had come right from the set of Night of the Living Dead. The kid is covered with a rash, not just a rash, but huge, red, raised welt looking things. and little bumps everywhere. When I say covered, I mean about 90% of his body, even his hairy butt. I did not need, or want, to see that but kid dropped his pants. So here he is covered with a mystery rash. My baby grandson is here, as is my pregnant daughter. Great, just freaking great. I told him to take a shower, wash his clothes and gave him some benadryl. He kept tryng to get close to me to show me more and I kept backing away. I don't want it. He has no fever, no runny nose, no watery eyes. I think we have him narrowed down to contact dermatitis or a viral infection. Oh mother of God, this day is NOT going well, I can see that now.

So I'm trying to get away from the splotchy kid when I hear screaming, not yelling, not shouting, but screaming coming from the laundry room. It's Jeff which means that there will be no calming of the situation, whatever it is. Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Didn't take long to find out what had happened, Jeremiah was washing his clothes. Good, dirty little kid will at least be wearing clean clothes next week. From what I've been able to piece together from screaming, ranting and crying it seems that Jeremiah somehow got the door of the front loading washer to open in mid cycle. The laundry room was, in Jeff's words, "flooded" which most likely means there was a little water on the floor. So this child took all of the dripping wet clothes out of the still running washer and put them in the dryer in turn filling the dryer with water.

Jeff's freaking out, ranting and slamming doors. Joshua's creeping around trying to hold his breath so he doesn't spread his weird rash, Jeremiah's crying, and me? Well, I'm in my room. I've taken 2 xanex and I'm gonna chill away from the chaos.

Please, someone, come and get me!

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Cheap Booze, Stale Cigarette Smoke and Armpit Hair


Sometimes watching my life unfold is like being in the audience of a dinner theater only without the stale cigarette smoke and cheap booze. The day we were waiting for Baby Diva to make her grand appearance still has me shaking my head and wondering how this family came to be and why Jerry Springer hasn't yet called.

I was sitting in the corner of the hospital room chatting online with a friend and asking myself what the medical staff must be thinking whenever they entered the room. There were seven of us there that day waiting. Jakob was sitting on a window seat looking out at a perfect view of incoming ambulances and helicopters. He was giving us blow by blow details of the injuries he saw and just what he thought had caused those injuries. In between arriving trauma patients he was frantically trying to beat his pokemon game or mess with his Papa.

Papa however spent a good deal of his time lying back playing in poker games on his blackberry. He did stop for awhile, however, to feed Karli. It's funny but I never had realized until then that all use of a pregnant woman's arms stopped while sitting in a hospital bed. So dad fed her, in between taking bites of her food for himself.

Michael was sitting with his computer laughing hysterically watching Abbot and Costello clips and trading off with Justin who was playing computer games and uttering the more than occaisional expletive.

Michelle was sitting in another corner on her computer trying not to let Jeff know that she had "misplaced" the scope of work and bid on a major contract we were getting ready to sign. In sign language, when Jeff was turned around, she was trying to get me to email her the documents she needed to finish her job and close the deal. That was until Karli asked the question that would test all bounds of friendship and sisterhood, "Michelle, will you shave my armpits?"

At that moment poker stopped, computer games stopped, Jake's head jerked out of the window and I turned on the video camera. After all, this would never happen again. It was a once in a lifetime moment and I wasn't just going to let Anna-Grace hear stories, she was going to see all of the shocking details in vivid color.

What could Michelle say? Do you ever say no to someone that's about to have a pre-term baby? Well evidentally not since her father was spoon feeding his soon to be 26 year old daughter. Michelle was trapped. There was no out. She was going to have to perform and everyone was watching.

Michelle, always the dutiful sister, found a basin, filled it with warm water and gathered the rest of her supplies: Justin's razor, hospital soap and paper towels. She sat on Karli's right side and dipped the paper towels in the warm water and Karli wriggled her, now usuable, arms out of the hospital gown. Michelle began to wipe Karli's several dayold, no shower, no razor armpits. Karli screeched "you could have warmed the water!" While they were squabbling over the temperature of the water everyone else sat open jawed at the spectacle. I guess the water warmed or Karli cooled because they continued. When Michelle completed her task on the one pit and began to move to the other side of the bed, Karli asked "Aren't you going to dry it?"

Ok, so where's the hidden camera, where's Alan Funt? Michelle got a dry towel and carefully wiped her sisters freshly shaven underarm. She thought her task was finished after shaving and drying the other side. That was when Karli asked her to apply deodorant to her baby smooth skin.

On the one hand I was thinking how sweet it was for Michelle to help her sister and that Karli felt comfortable enough to ask, on the other hand I was thinking "EEEWWWWW, these chicks are frrreaks and they're MY daughters." I guess we either did something very right, or very wrong as parents.

After that excitment died down and everyone returned to their entertainment of choice, Karli had a couple more requests. One if her dad could help her change into another gown and two, while he was doing that if Michelle could wipe her , Karlis, bottom. Not sure why, or what was there, and I wasn't going to find out, I was banishing myself from the room just as I had banished a doctor and nurse earlier in the day. Maybe they would accept my apology and, for a short time, I could hang with some people that are outside of the circle of freaks.

Watching all of this from the corner made the entire afternoon surreal. It was like a wacky experimental play with audience participation and was certainly a day for the Worley family history books.

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No Problem Free Days

I was almost fooled into thinking that today would be problem free. Everything seemed to be perfect. Yep, you saw it. That little word "seemed". You would think that after all these years I would realize that perfection is only a mirage. The beautiful oasis with cool water and swaying palm trees is in reality nothing more than hot sand and sweaty, spitting camels. Maybe not that bad, but you get the picture.

I rode with Jeff today on his bike. We took beautiful back roads for a relaxing two hours before returning home. My first clue that something was up was when we pulled into the driveway and Nikki and Jeremiah were standing waiting for us. I could feel the muscles in my neck beginning to tighten as I went through a mental checklist of every possible tragedy. Well, almost every tragedy.

I hadn't even gotten off of Jeff's bike when Nikki said that the door to the deck was broken. My first thought was that Joshua slammed the door shattering the glass. Oh, if only. No, they couldn't get the door opened. No big deal, the door's stuck.

"But Mom, the kids can't get in, they've been stuck out there for almost an hour!"

"What kids?" I didn't really want to know. This wasn't going to be good. Our deck is 25 feet off of the ground.

"Joshua, Jakob..............and...............Josiah!"

Ok, deep breath. It can't be that bad, right? That's where that little word "seems" comes back in to play.

I went up the stairs and into the house removing my helmet on the way. The door didn't look broken. Then I saw Josiah's big blue eyes and tear stains on his little cheeks. I turned the door knob and it wouldn't budge. Jeff came in a few seconds after me and he tried it. Nothing. Jos looked up at his papa knowing that he could open the door. Not happening.

When the baby realized that the door wasn;t going to open, he began to cry. Making matters all the worse. There was some little girl in our kitchen, I have no idea who she was, but she wouldn't be quiet. The dogs were freaking out because some strange kid was in the house, the baby was crying, Joshua was bouncing and Jake was chattering. And we had no idea how to get the door open or get the kids inside.

When Jeff realized the door was not going to open he decided to try to pull kids in through the window. You know it's not gonna be that easy. There are several feet between the edge of the deck and the window and it's a loooong way down. Jeff removed the screen and Joshua, oh my gosh Joshua, picked up the baby, and with his arms stretched out as far as they would go, pushed him toward the window. Jeff leaned over the sink and somehow there was just enough stretching between the three of them that they were able to get Josiah in the house. Next came Jakob through the window the same way. No way Joshua's cave man butt was going to be so lucky. That kid's a side of beef!

We were going to have to find a way to get the door open. Removing the knob didn't work. Pushing and pulling didn't work, neither did screaming, cursing or crying. When all else fails..........get the sawz-all out. With the kids, well 2/3's of them, safe I was now worried about my door.

One of the good things about being married to a contractor is that, usually, they know what they're doing. This was one of those times. Jeff was able to saw through the lock and open the door with minimal damage. Well except fror traumatized kids and a two year old with sunburned ears.

Everything turned out ok. But I still don't have any idea who that little girl was.

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When Pigs Fly


Mom. Nana. Diva. Nazi Mom. Bitch.

Those are all names I've been called and I answer to most of them. Today, however, I was a baby, a big, freaking, baby.

I had decided a few weeks ago to get another tattoo. I know, I wasn't gonna do it again, and not on my back. Well things change. I had just happened to pick up a tattoo magazine and saw this incredible tattoo on a girls back and fell in love with it. I thought about it for awhile and decided to go for it.

Boy, did I go for it! It's huge, it goes from below my tan line to around the tip of my shoulder. I thought about all the negative aspects of having another tat. From embarrassing my kids to the attendants in the nursing home when I'm eighty speculating on what type of girl I had been. Nikki said she'll take care of me so I guess the nursing home thing is out. Also, I didn't want anything that I couldn't hide.

All that aside, there was the pain side of things. I guess I really didn't think that one through well enough. The only places I thought I'd have problems with were around my ribs and my shoulder blade. What an idiot!

When I got to the shop (Living Art in Gresham) Dominick (awesome!) had the picture drawn. When he put it up to my back for me to check it out I could have sworn I saw pigs flying right by the window. Well that was the sign. I was going for it.

Dominick led us back through the hallways of the dungeon of pain into his room. Still not too late. I could pay him for his time and run. Thinking back I'm not really sure why I didn't. Dominick cleaned my back and applied the stencil. I loved it! As he got everything ready I took a couple of deep breaths and a Xanex.

When he was ready to begin he told me to sit on the table and lean over to stretch out my back. So I'm thinking "I have a little extra padding back there, no problem, I can do this". I must have been hallucinating. The second he touched my skin with that gun I knew it wasn't gonna be pretty, the Diva was going to lose it.

Holy mother of God! "Dammit Dominick!" Then I heard thuds, pig were falling to the ground! They tricked me, they hadn't been flying, they must have been jumping. Sly little bastards! Last time I trust a pig. Time for another Xanex.

I began to breathe deeply. I closed my eyes and tried to concentrate. Didn't work. Although I didn't cry, I'm sure Dominick heard things from me that he's only heard from drunken sailors before. Not sure why it helped, but it did.

After about two and a half hours I'd had enough. The outline was completed and he had began shading. I was able to compose myself enough to yell for him to stop before I turned around and grabbed him by the throat. No, that never crossed my mind, although I did wonder why the hell I was paying for him to do this to me.

Dominick was great. He always is. He put up with me and did an awesome job even though I'm sure I was being a complete pain in his butt. So now I'm home and already dreading the next session in June. When it's done though, I'll love it and Dominick will be my hero for putting up with Diva turned Baby.

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Crumbs

It had been a long day filled with the usual Diva-ness, coffee, the gym a little shopping, plus assorted extras. Mid-way through the afternoon I began looking forward to my bed. I love my bed; I've spent a lot of money on it. Well, I spend a lot of money on everything, but especially my bed. The way I see it my bedroom is a refuge from reality, a haven in the midst of havoc. My husband's chosen career of a hand's on general contractor is a physically demanding and my job is, well, exhausting as well. At the end of the day there is nothing more wonderful than closing the big wooden double doors of the master suite, shutting out the world and climbing into the enveloping comfort of 1200 thread-count sheets atop a plush pillow top mattress.

Every morning I carefully make and arrange the bedding on the tufted leather sleigh bed in preparation for the evening's cocooning. We only use king sized flat sheets on the beds in our home, especially on mine. None of that fitted crap on my bed. I hate the way they never fit the mattress and continually work their way off and create bothersome creases and un-needed distractions. Three sheets in all go on; one covering the mattress pad to sleep on, and two more, one on each side of a matelasse quilt. Each morning I remove all of the sheets and the quilt and shake out any little irritants that may have made their way into the sheets over night. You never know what a standard sized poodle or a construction working husband may have fall off of them in the middle of the night. Any foreign material in my bed is strictly prohibited, after all Divas have extremely sensitive skin, remember the Princess and the Pea? So think of that squared.

After the sheets have been shaken and the first two replaced, the quilt is put in place followed by the third sheet. Then the two top sheets and the quilt are folded over and smoothed down revealing the top one third of the bottom sheet. Four pillows are then neatly stacked one on another and arranged on each side of the bed and a down comforter is folded and positioned over the bottom third of the mattress. It's beautiful, refreshing and relaxing just to see.

On this day I was particularly looking forward to my bed. I was drained. Every muscle in my body ached, my joints were stiff and I just wanted to lie in peace and luxuriate in comfort. I made it into the shower and lathered the grime of the day off of me and down the drain. I shampooed my hair and scrubbed my face free of any trace of makeup. I stepped from the steamy shower, my mind continued to focus on my bed. I couldn't wait to smooth lotion on to my still damp body and climb between the sheets. I wasn't sure I could make it; my body ached more with every movement. I was so focused on getting into bed that I didn't recognize the symptoms of a virus beginning to attack my system.

I grabbed the short, white, terry cloth robe hanging on the back of the bathroom door and wrapped it around my freshly cleaned and moisturized skin. I opened the door leading to the bedroom and there it was, my nirvana.

I pulled off my robe and dropped it at the foot of the bed and pulled back the silken sheets. I sat on the side of the bed, took in a deep breath to blow the day away and eased my body back into the awaiting paradise. I carefully pulled the sheets up around my bare skin and fell back into the welcoming stack of pillows. I sank down surrounded by the softness of cotton and down. That feeling was worth every charge on my credit card.

Only seconds after burrowing in and finding the perfect position I felt it. Just when I though the day was over.

My eyes sprang open.

You have got to be FREAKING kidding me!

There was something in my bed, something small and annoying. I wasn't going to be able to sleep until it was out, but I hurt too badly and was too weary to get out and re-make the entire bed. I couldn't even muster the strength to call for help. Like anyone would help me. Kids can't get it, I'm naked and if I have to get up and put something on I might as well shake out the friggin' bed myself. Jeff won't help. He's laughed at me for twenty years and loves to brush crumbs, real or imaginary, over onto my side of the bed. He's figured out that it's one of my little pieces of craziness.

Shit.

Maybe if I move my legs around I can get it away from me. Maybe I can maneuver it over to Jeff's side, he has skin like an elephant, and he'll never know it's there. So with my left leg I try to brush it over. Wasn't working. Maybe I could grab it with my fingers and flick it somewhere, who cares where, as long as it's no longer in my bed. Couldn't get it. Little bastard seems to have a mind of its own and it had no idea who it was up against, then again, maybe it did.

Perhaps I could ignore it. I turned over on my right side and scoonched a few inches closer to the right side of the bed. Either it followed me or it was multiplying. Suddenly I realized that I was going to be done in by a crumb, a miniscule piece of annoyance. It was going to win. I was going to lose.

Out of frustration I began to frantically kick at the sheets, I was going to have to re- do them anyway. Pillows were flying and arms and legs thrashing wildly . In midst of my convulsive naked tantrum the bedroom door cracked opened. I looked up frozen in a panic-like state as my husband stood staring at me. He had this look on his face that suggested that he was just about to call the men with the white coats and butterfly nets.

"What in the hell are you doing?"

"There are crumbs in my bed!"

It must have been a pitiful site. I knew he was going to think I was a complete loon. It was just a crumb. I began crying. I couldn't even look at him. There I was flailing around, screaming and crying over a couple of crumbs in my bed. If that wasn't Diva-like behavior, I wasn't sure what was.

To my surprise, he didn't laugh. His look of shock turned into a knowing smile as he picked up my robe and wrapped it around my shaking skin. He told me to sit in the chair and he began to shakeout and re-make my bed. I did see him shake his head a time or two, but he never said anything. When he completed his task he pulled back the covers, and motioned for me to get into the bed. I crept back over, he removed my robe and I climbed into my now crumb free bed. Jeff pulled the covers up, tucked me in and gave me kiss along with a xanex.

He turned the lights down low and quietly closed the door as he left. It was then I heard "You kids will never guess what just happened!"

Oh well, I turned over, burrowed in again and slept in comfort.

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My Name is Teri and I am a food elitist

The previous days had been sailing along. I had been feeling great and looking forward to cruising along the highway with the sunroof of the Mercedes open and jamming to Kid Rock. I had just cranked up his new "Rock and Roll Jesus" CD when the phone rang. It was Karli. She was so excited.

"Mom! I made a cake for Justin's birthday, it turned out great, it's the first one that ever has!"

I was overjoyed. I love to cook, I love to bake. I have tried over the years to teach all of the kids, girls and boys, to be able to at least make the basics. I made the decision when they were small that there would be no boxed food, no cans, no frozen, none of that stuff in my house or on my table. I wanted meal time to be an event to be shared over a high-quality, freshly prepared meal and lively conversation. Karli, however, had never quite gotten down the concept.

In those few seconds that my twenty-six year old daughter was telling me how wonderful her cake tasted and how pretty it looked I fantasized about her wearing the white apron that I had bought her last Christmas. It's white with black stripes and turquoise ruffles and pockets. She was breaking eggs into a bowl, sifting flour and measuring out baking soda. Jakob and Josiah were clean and playing quietly in the living room. Anna-Grace was sleeping sweetly in the wooden cradle that I had slept in as a baby while Justin read the paper at the kitchen table.

"Mom, I'm so excited, even though it came from a box!"

In that instant I heard brakes screeching and glass shattering. Oh I was still cruising along the highway; it was my fantasy that came crashing down. My daughter had broken the rule; she had used a mix. I had failed as a mom. She must have sensed my shock.

"But, mom, I made the frosting from scratch."

In my attempt to salvage a sliver of my fantasy I asked about the kids. Anna-Grace was soundly sleeping in her cradle, good sign. Josiah was in the living room, but instead of sweetly playing he was projectile vomiting on everything in sight. Jake was running back and forth from the bathroom leaving a trail of diarrhea everywhere he went and Justin lay moaning on the couch from the same virus.

Now I was beginning to envision the reality of the situation. Karli had been up most of the night with a newborn baby and a sick, crying family. Instead of wearing the apron she was probably in worn out sweatpants and a dirty t-shirt, the real uniform of a young mom.

"Mom, I don't know how you did it. Jake was moaning and crying all night and I finally screamed at him just to be quiet! There's puke everywhere and I think my hardwood floors are ruined. The dogs won't stop barking and Josiah's trying his best to puke on the cat. How did you do it mom? I don't remember you yelling at me when I was sick"

Now I see that I hadn't failed as her mom. My baby girl was up to her ears in diapers, dishes and dishevelment and she was making her husband a birthday cake. She was being a real wife and mom; she was looking beyond herself and thinking of Justin.

I couldn't help but smile as I realized how well she turned out. I was proud of her and I was thanking God that I have no more babies.

I did later that day have to ask what she was wearing while she was baking the cake.

"The apron you bought me."

"What were you wearing under it?"

"Sweatpants and a t-shirt."

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Showers, Spiders and Shampoo, Oh My!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I saw it as I started the water for the shower. It was on the crown molding. Although I didn't know it at the time it was waiting for an opportune time. Its shiny brown body and eight long legs were perfectly still, probably trying to convince me it was no threat.
As the water warmed I watched the spider as I tried to evaluate whether or not I should knock it down and kill it. Should I get the vacuum hose and vacuum it up? Eh, both were too much trouble. I'd be fine, I wouldn't be in the shower long and it hadn't moved since I first saw it several minutes earlier.
I got in the shower and after soaking my hair I turned toward the shower head to wash my face. I put my face under the cascading water but tried to keep one eyes open as I rinsed the residual of the night's sleep away. It still hadn't moved. Piece of cake, no problem, I had it made.
As I reached for my shampoo I saw it drop several inches and catch itself on a silken thread. I watched as it climbed back to its place on the molding. Being certain that it would be there for awhile I lathered up my hair and leaned back into the water. As the foamy bubbles were rinsed out of my hair and down onto my body I felt safe as I saw the arachnid still securely in place.
Feeling much more confident I took my pink scrubby off of its resting spot and squeezed on body wash. I began to wash my arms and chest with the scented gel and glanced up to see that the spider was gone. The spider was freaking gone! I don't have a fear of spiders, but that doesn't mean I want a physical relationship with one either.
I looked around the crown molding that surrounds my bathroom. It was not to be found. I looked down into the shower floor, no luck. As I surveyed my surroundings once more the horrifying realization hit me. The little bastard was on me! Then I did something that I still don't understand, I screamed. Tell me how a scream is going to help in a situation like that? Do spiders even have ears?
I couldn't feel it on me which meant it had to be in my hair. Just like in the movie Arachnophobia I knew it was going to wash down my face as hundreds of other spiders made their way through the shower head and onto my naked, wet body. Ok, now I was freaked.
I thrust my head under the flowing water once more and flicked my hair around with my hands. The eight legged freak fell to the floor. Now it was me against it. It stood there staring before it started toward me. I wasn't going to step on it without shoes and I wasn't going to crush it with a shampoo bottle and get nasty little spider guts all over. The only weapon I had was the hot, running water and the hope that gravity was on my side. It was coming faster when the water moved it off of its steady course. The water had caught it! Its legs were thrashing as it acknowledged its fate. In one last ditch effort to get to me it jumped up only to be swept away and down the drain.
I had come up against an enemy and I had won. I had won with nothing but streaming water and Isaac Newton's theory. Even with my victory I was still creeped out. It could still climb up and out of the drain and come for revenge. I hadn't won; it still had its grip on me. I had to do something to ensure that it lost.
I quickly got out of the shower and grabbed the Drano. I poured a half bottle down the drain and scalded the little shit with my chemical arsenal. Was it rational? No, but it sure felt good.

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Unorthodox

Even through the fog the vision was clear, unsettling and necessary.

Through the haze I heard the call and followed the echo of my name that was being repeated in the heavy thick air that surrounded me.

Time had been suspended in those eternal minutes and the distraction that followed was a welcome relief from the bombardment.

The movements were smooth and deliberate.

Emotion was numbed and release was imminent.

Seeing the effect of those carefully placed strokes was strangely calming and despair was banished.

The cause and effect has been burned into my soul and will not fade from memory.

Although unorthodox in it's delivery, the ethereal peace that flooded my mind and body was as life giving as the crimson drops that fled the open wounds.

The whirlwind that surrounded this peace was for a time stifled, the world had stopped and I was allowed to catch my breath.

I'm left to contemplate the actions and the benefits and wonder if another time I shall surrender to it's spell.

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It's not so cool anymore


Cole called me today. "Mom, how do I get an epi-pen?"
Oh this was not going to be a good conversation. We found out Cole was severely allergic to bees when he was in first grade. The school had called. He had been stung by a honeybee and his face had begun to swell. By the time I got to the school, which was across the street, he was going into shock. We raced him to the doctor's office and they whisked him away. I wasn't aware of it at the time, but my son was dying. His system was shutting down from the allergic reaction. He hasn't been without his trusted epi-pen since. If he gets stung again he removes the stopper from the vial and jabs the pen on to his thigh. The pressure releases the needle and epinephrine is released into his system giving us enough time to get him to a hospital.
"Cole, you have to have a prescription for one. You need to go the doctor and ask for one before you go."
He informed me that he thought that was stupid and that he had an old one he could take. I'm imagining this fast-food encased, gunk covered, shattered epi-pen. Ok so now I'm going to get hives.
"Oh, and by the way, our plans have changed."
Ok Teri, stay calm, I tried to remind myself. Oh this isn't sounding good. My mom instincts are telling me to sit down and hold on to something, anything, it's gonna be a bumpy phone call.
"We're hitchhiking to Vegas instead!"
I was right, it's gonna get worse before it gets better. Seems Smart Boy and his sidekick, Brilliant Kid, are leaving tomorrow. Hitchhiking to Vegas. Through the desert, Death Valley to be exact. My suburban raised son and his friend in the desert with desert creatures like rattlesnakes and scorpians. This is a kid that stole acorns from a wild squirrel, and was attacked by one pissed off nutless animal.
Then he tells me the best part. When they leave Vegas they're going to go "up through Arizona". Just like that train to California. Oh Good God! I think I did a pretty good job at remaining calm, partly because I couldn't speak and partly because he's going to do it anyway. This way, he'll call me when, if, there's a problem. He did agree to call me at every major town and then he left me with the spine-chilling phrase "that way you can call the police if we don't call when we should". Great thing to tell a mom, especially one that fights anxiety under the best of circumstances.
One one hand, I am excited for him. It'll be an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience. On the other hand I have this feeling that I'll see him on a new Las Vegas episode of "COPS", and that would be a good thing compared to all the other dreadful things a mom's mind can conjure up.
He said he'll be gone for about 4 weeks. I hope I can last that long, and I hope he takes a camera.

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Calm

I think tonight will be a night for a bottle of wine, Blue Six in the CD player and a very hot, very long bubble bath.
My heart feels like it's turning, beats skipping. I'm fighting the allure of what's become my escape. Maybe I shouldn't fight it, but give in and let it envelope me in its calm.
I would slip beneath the foamy water and feel the heat cover every inch of my body only to look down and see my long blonde hair floating under bubbles that have been mixed with crimson threads. .

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Lessons

I think one of the best things about being a mom is seeing joy and excitement in the faces of my kids. Not over game boys, cell phones or iPods, but when they light up over things that we, as adults, seem to overlook more times than not.
Several weeks ago the kids noticed that robins had made nests on the support beam for our upper deck. From the middle deck that is outside of our office you can look up and see the mommy birds sitting on their perfectly formed nests. I came home a one day and the kids had discovered that if you peer through the openings between the slats on the upper deck you can look right into, and get a close-up view of, the nest and its contents. In one of the nests they saw five neatly arranged, speckled, light blues eggs.
Every day the kids would go out and spend hours taking turns on their hands and knees watching the eggs in hopes that they would see the baby robins breaking their way out. Today I had been out of the house most of the day when I got a text from Nikki. I could see her radiant smile as I read her words "Mom, the babies have hatched!" I know her well enough to know that she was jumping up and down while she was texting me.
As soon as I walked in the front door I was mobbed by kids. "Mom, come see our babies!" I didn't want to look at ugly little creatures. I didn't want to kneel down on a dirty deck while wearing white pants. I didn't want to do anything but pour a glass of iced tea and check my e-mail. One look at their faces and I knew what had to be done. I was going to have to get on my hands and knees and, with one eye, look through a quarter inch gap between the boards to see new hatchlings.
I'm glad I did. There they were, three fuzzy-headed, open-mouthed babies nestled between two un-hatched siblings. The kids were right, it was amazing. The birds, well they were ugly little birds, but the excitement of the kids for being able to share with me their discovery was priceless. I know that soon it will happen again. In the garage there is a cooler filled with rain water and probably 30 tadpoles and in Jeremiah's room is a container with a praying mantis egg pod waiting to burst open with around 200 praying mantis babies.
Summer at our house is always a time of discovery. There are baby bunnies, fawns, insects, and birds. We'll go to Cannon Beach and search the tide pools finding colorful starfish, crabs and darting fish. We'll go to Seaside for the culinary discoveries of salt water taffy, huge ice cream cones and elephant ears. We'll go to the lake house to discover what being a family was like before TV's cell phones and Nintendo. I think I may just discover more than the kids this summer when they remind me what the really important things in life are: kids, smiles, compassion and joy. Hopefully this time around I won't soon forget their lessons.

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Solitude?

The hot water was revitalizing as it fell from the ceiling shower head onto my body. I love standing under it. Its like standing beneath a hot spring fed waterfall. I'm in complete seclusion with nothing but my thoughts. I never sing in the shower as others I know confess to, I like the solitude it provides. Sometimes I think and other times I just zone out and concentrate on the feeling of the falling water. This day I did a bit of both.
I stood allowing the water to drench my body before leaning my head back to let the soothing rain fall on my face. I don't think many people realize what a blessing a hot shower is, I was thinking. I ran my fingers through my hair to thoroughly ready it for shampoo. I raised my head up as I swept the wet tresses from my face. Now I had encountered the first decision of my day, which shampoo to use. Did I want moisture or hydrating? I began to wonder what the difference was. Just a marketing ploy I decided so I went with the one that smelled the best.
I was enjoying being alone and savoring every minute of blissful peace while I worked the shampoo into my hair and scrubbed my scalp. I wondered why so many people stop with just lathering their hair and rinsing, never scrubbing their scalp. That's where all the yuck is and it's disgusting to smell that on people that neglect that little bit of hygiene. Thank God I quit cutting hair over twenty years ago. I tilted my face up once more to let the water rinse away the rich lather. I was aware of the foamy bubbles running down the center of my chest and onto my stomach as well as moving down my back to my waist before being dispersed by the force of the water.
As I reached for my scrubby I noticed the bathroom was thick with steam and that Georgia, my cat, was sitting on the tile tub deck watching water droplets move in jagged lines down the clear glass wall. I looked down for the shower gel in the midst of my array of shampoos and conditioners. Dang it! It was upside down. Why the hell does the do that? I really hate to use the wash after he's turned it on its head, after all the bottom goes down right? I hate it because, ok here's another one of my little eccentricities, water fills the cap and when I turn it right side up the cold, icky, shower water rushes out of the cap and down my hand and arm. Weird I know, but hey doesn't everyone have those quirky little annoyances?
I squeezed the White Tea and Almond gel on to the scrubby and began to wash my arm. Arms are always first followed my chest, back and I work my way down from there. Once again I was savoring the complete calm of my morning ritual. There was no one to bother me, no questions to answer, just me and Georgia. When I open my bedroom door there's nothing to stave off the chaos that is waiting. I was trying to decide where Cole was on his hitchhiking adventure as I washed away the soap and turned off the shower. I grabbed the squeegee just as I had after every shower for the last ten years and wiped the water from the glass. I watched Georgia as she was trying to catch the streams of falling water as they made their way down the clear glass walls.
Stepping out I had the feeling that this was going to be a good day as I grabbed up a thick Turkish towel and wrapped it around my dripping hair. The calmness of the morning had penetrated my being and brought with it a sense well-being and peace. I looked in the mirror at my still wet body. Not bad for 46 I thought and once again was so glad I chose the cosmetic surgeon I had. If nothing else, I have great boobs, he did a killer job!
I checked out my new tattoo and applied lotion to my damp skin. I was thinking of my grandkids and kids as I rubbed the perfumed lotion on my arms and behind my neck. I can never change my perfume, Beautiful, the kids all think of it as Mom and Nana's scent. That's ok, I love it as well. I finished up with a spritz of perfume on each wrist and on the back of my neck.
As I dropped the towel from my head I realized how long my hair had grown since I had, in a state of anger, told my stylist to it cut off. Boy was that a stupid thing to do, never again. I couldn't find my brush; it wasn't in the bottom drawer with the rest of my hair things. Jeff must have taken it again. Why does he do that? His brush is exactly like mine except for the color. But for some reason he feels it works better on his hair. What hair? It's only a half inch long. Whatever, it's not that big a deal.
I brushed my hair out and sprayed it with a papaya based leave in conditioner, rubbed in a body building crème and finished with a lusterizer. I picked up the blow dryer and began drying my hair. Man it really had gotten long, just about 6 more inches and I'll be happy with it. I bent over and flipped my head upside down. I brushed through my wet locks as I moved the blow dryer back and forth. I noticed my toenails looked like I had been scratching the ground for worms. The white tips of the French pedicure were chipping and ugly. I have to get a pedicure soon. Lost in thought about my horrible condition of my feet and hearing nothing but the hum of the dryer's motor I was once again in my own world, cocooned from the from the day ahead for a little while longer.
Without warning the bathroom door opened and I heard a deep voice. "Hello?" Being scared crapless I screamed and, for some reason known only to the Gods of Fear, I jumped up and back. That would have not been a problem had I not been standing in front of the soaking tub. When I jumped back my legs caught the edge of the tiled tub deck, while my unclothed body was still moving back. I fell right down into the tub, legs and feet in the air as I landed and hit my head on the back edge of the tub.
So there I was awkwardly positioned, naked in a big soaking tub and the blow dryer was still in my hand.
"What the freak are you doing?" I screamed before I added "And don't even think about laughing!"
Jeff stood there stunned at what he had just witnessed before coughing out "I just stopped by to say hello."

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I'll admit it, I have flaws

Being a Diva comes with its own set of unique abilities. For me one of those abilities is a proficiency in detecting smells, both good and not so good. My husband says it's a genetic mutation. I believe that it's special Diva gift that allows me to further enrich my life and the lives of those around me, as well as allowing me to avoid unpleasant situations.
Most of the time my olfactory excellence is a blessing, I can detect the most minute traces of cigarette smoke left lingering on untruthful teenagers. I can distinguish between real silk and a well-made imposter and most importantly I know if someone else has been lying in my bed.
There are times, however, that it can be a curse. The kids will bring me kitchen or bath towels and ask me to smell them to see if they need to be washed or re-washed. Not sure why they think I'll do it, my reply has always been "Get that damn thing away from me now, I'm not smelling it! If you have any doubt, wash it again with hot water, bleach and a disinfectant packet." They look at me as if I'd just escaped from the State Hospital before shaking their heads, sighing and starting another load of stinky towels.
Many times it has to do with the normal smells and odors associated with raising a pack of kids. I have been known to yell "What do you mean you just took a shower thirty minutes ago? Take another one now and this time use anti-bacterial soap and then put on deodorant!" All this to a to a freshly scrubbed adolescent with still wet hair and a damp towel (ick) over their shoulder. There have also been times when my car has screeched to a stop and I've demanded which ever child had not brushed their teeth out of the car and back into the house before continuing on my way minus guilty child.
I'm not sure there has been anything, yet, that has topped my recent visit to the DMV. I just hadn't been able to face taking my dad's truck in to be registered into my name since he died last September. The tags on the white '04 Toyota Tundra were up and it had to be done. Since the truck was to be registered in my name I had to be present. Making a trip to the DMV isn't my favorite thing to do, but it's usually not too bad. When I pulled the truck into the parking lot I noticed that there was a line forming outside the door. It was a beautiful summer day and I didn't see much to be worried about except for the smokers congregated in the corner of the parking lot, but they were about twenty feet from the door, so they shouldn't be a problem.
I got in line behind a rather hefty gentleman that appeared to be in his early seventies. He was dressed neatly in clean jeans with a light blue terry cloth pullover. His salt and pepper hair had seen thicker days. He had it parted on the left and it was perfectly combed back with every strand in its place. Soon another man got in line behind me. I didn't notice much about him except that he was also neatly dressed, about my age and had dark hair and a goatee.
I had only been in line a few minutes when a gentle breeze blew past me, bringing with it an unforgettable odor. It was unmistakably human in origin and had nothing to do with digestion or lack of deodorant. The smell fell into an unthinkable category for a Diva and that would be the category of failing to shower for several days. I'm sure my nostrils flared as the stench made its revolting way past my nose. While still in line, I backed up into the side of the building. Maybe I could discern where it was coming from and try to avoid it. It didn't take me long to realize that it was emanating from the neatly dressed, elderly gentleman in front of me. I looked ahead of him to see that there were still about six other customers in front of him. Great, freaking great, I'm stuck. I could turn around and face the back of the line, like that wouldn't be an odd thing to do. I moved closer to the side of the building. I felt the cool brick as I pressed my back into the wall. I leaned my head back, put the folder that contained my documents up to my nose and began to laugh. Then I began to feel badly about laughing. It wasn't like the man didn't care about his appearance, he clearly did. Being as heavy as he was and older I'm sure he had a difficult time with all sorts of everyday activities, bathing included. The worse I felt, the more I began to giggle. The more I giggled, the worse I felt. It was a vicious cycle and I wasn't about to get out of it any time soon.
After about ten minutes he was at the front of the line. I was watching the girl at the reception desk as she helped him, mainly to see if I had been over reacting. She was polite and composed, but I saw her ever so slightly crinkle her nose and take about a half step back. Then I noticed that she widened her eyes and glanced down at the desk. My eyes followed. The elderly man was leaning on the desk taking papers out of a voluminous file one by one. It was hot and I could see sweat beginning to soak through the back of his shirt. I then realized that if his back was sweating, everything that was touching the desk was sweating also. Oh, God, I was next.
After what seemed an interminable amount of time, he slowly gathered all of his documents, took his number and left to be seated in the crowded waiting room. I froze looking at the desk where I needed to be and the pools of sweat on it. I slowly walked closer. I knew there was no breeze inside and the odor would still be hanging there waiting to envelope me. I caught the receptionist's eye as she reached down and pulled a container of Lysol Disinfecting wipes out from under the desk. She carefully wiped every inch of the surface and reached to her left to turn on a standing fan before summoning me up. I was flooded with relief. Not just because she had sanitized the area, but because I hadn't been over-reacting. She gave me the proper forms secured to a clipboard and asked me to take a seat and wait for my number. I began to fill out the forms while making my way to the over-filled waiting area. When I looked up in search of an open seat I saw, to my horror, there were only two seats remaining, one on each side of the elderly gentleman. I decided to stand.

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The Runaways

What began as a typical March day in the Northwest would end up as something completely different. March in Oregon is gray, damp and cool. This day was no different. Kids were in school as I went about the normal household tasks for the day. I had just completed vacuuming the living room and kitchen when the phone rang. It was my 13 year old foster daughter, Brooke, asking to stay after school for a drama project. Although she was one of those kids not to be trusted, I saw nothing wrong with her request as long as she was home by six o'clock that evening.
A few minutes later the phone rang once more. This time it was my 15 year old son, Cole. He wanted to hang out with one of screenwriting friends and work on some scenes after school. No problem. That's where, as a super-sleuthing mom, I should have seen it coming. Two kids, on the same day at the same time wanting to stay after school for "projects", the signs were there, I should have realized something was up. I didn't though, I guess what was about to happen was destiny.
It was around 6:30 and neither was home. Beginning to get that "mom feeling" I got in the car and drove through the neighborhood to her friend, Ashley's house. Her house looked like one right out of "Leave it to Beaver. It was a yellow two story home with a meandering pathway from the street to the front door. The pathway was lined with colorful primroses and led to the cheerful "Welcome" sign hanging from dark stained entry door.
Ashley's mom met me halfway on the path. She was frantic. Ashley hadn't come home from school and hadn't called. I told her about Brooke's phone call and that she had asked to stay after and work on a drama project with Ashley. "Ashley doesn't have drama!" the now nearly hysterical mom yelled. The clouds were parting, the plot was becoming clear. Several days before I had received a call from the Jr. High assistant principal telling me that she had overheard a plot of Brooke's to run away with a group of friends. When we had confronted our foster daughter about the call, she convincingly said that is wasn't her but one of her other friends that had planned to run away. She and another friend had been able to talk her out of it.
Now I was getting pissed. I, the master of discerning the deceit of kids, had been duped. Within about a half hour we had the scheme figured out with the help of the principal and some other parents. Six kids in all, two 15 year old boys; one being Cole, and four 12-13 yr old girls, Brooke and Ashley included, had been planning for weeks to run away. They had been stealing money and clothes. Gathering supplies, in this case of the remarkably "brilliant" kids, like one of those reflective silver, Mylar-type blankets and not much else. Luckily for us, these we kids of the suburbs. Spoiled little brats that were working as slaves in their family homes by having to do dishes and take out the garbage. These kids had no calluses on their hands, they had no street experience and most of all had no common sense.
These kids had thought things through so well that they had invited kids that allowed all exits of the city of Portland to be sealed from escape by these braniacs. The father of one of the girls worked for Trimet, the Portland area mass transit system. Another father's best friend was a Portland police officer. There were flyers and descriptions out all over Portland with minutes of our discovery. Exiting Portland was not going to happen for them.
The hysterical parents all got together and decided to go downtown and search the area. They took flyers to the train station and did whatever they could do to ease their runaway minds. Every parent was freaked, rightfully so, except my husband and me. You see being foster parents we'd been through this before. The most important thing we realized was that Portland is a small place to run away in. It's only a matter of time before they were caught. All avenues of escape had been sealed by their brilliant choice to take a bus driver's kid and a kid with a cop friend. These kids weren't going anywhere. And the weather, who in the hell runs away in Portland in March? They were going to be freezing and hungry well before morning. Jeff and I did our part lest we be burned at the stake by irate Happy Valley parents. After about an hour, we went home, went to bed and most importantly we slept well with the knowledge that these little punks would be found and then they would answer to us.
I was awakened the following morning by a phone call from Ashley's dad. No news, no sign, our kids were surely dead, or perhaps had already been kidnapped and sold to a prostitution ring in Canada. Yeah well, whatever, scare yourself silly, let the kids win and then pay the price later. Not me, I was already plotting my actions after their return. I was able to pull myself off of the phone after about 10 minutes of listening to the ranting and raving about whose kid had started what. Like that matters. Fact is that there were six underage kids together in Portland on a school day. Their window was closing, they would soon be caught.
I got up out of bed and took a nice warm shower, relishing the fact that the Six Stooges were freezing their asses off. I dressed and then kept my appointment to get my hair cut and colored. After about an hour into the color I received a phone call. It was an officer from the Portland Police Department. "Mrs. Worley?"
"Yes?"
"Your children have been apprehended. We have them at the juvenile detention center and they can stay here for five hours before we have to let them go. Do you want to leave them the full time?"
You bet your life I did. The more they had to wait, the less I'd have to do. They'd scare themselves shitless waiting to be picked up. Table had turned and this time I would control the outcome.
Then the officer giggled. "And Mrs. Worley, we had to charge your son with carrying a concealed weapon. I really apologize for that, but the, eh, knife was just at the legal limit. We had no choice. But don't worry. He's no hardened criminal; I think he bought the knife at a magic shop".
What could I do but shake my head? That was Cole alright. I bet he had bought the "knife" to protect everyone on their adventure. Like I said, suburban kids. "Mrs. Worley, what color was their hair before they left?" Oh God, this was getting better with each word, I'm gonna need my camera.
Seems The Six Stupid Stooges had decided to color their hair to be less recognizable. Brooke's long, thick blonde hair was now orange and green. Cole's Billy Idol blonde hair was now bright red on one side and bright blue on the other with a stripe shaved down the middle. The officer said he looked a bit like a Pepsi can. Jeff said now he was a true "butt head". Now I was sure they had my son, only Cole I tell you, only Cole. It would be years before I would tell him, but I laughed, this is going to make a great story for the generations to come. Oh I was going to enjoy this, maybe a little too much. But hey, now it's my turn. I loved that the tables had turned, but they weren't going to like it one bit. I was comforted by the fact that while sitting in juvie they were sweating bullets waiting for me to show.
When my hair was finished I called Jeff and told him about the developments. He was in a meeting so I would pick up our little criminals. I got there about fifteen minutes before they had to be released. I took one look at my kids and covered my inner laughter with the blazing eyes of one pissed off mom. These kids looked like kids from the dark side. They were all dressed in black and had dark eye make-up on. With their dark clothes and make-up teamed with the circus like hair they looked like "The Addams Family" meets Bozo the Clown. I signed out my little villains and they followed me to the car in silence. The deafening silence was only broken when I told them that they had better have that God-forsaken make-up off of their faces before they got in my car. From my peripheral vision I could see the licking of hands and the frantic wiping of eyes. For a minute there I thought they were going to completely rub off their skin. Oh well, it would grow back.
After they were all settled in the Expedition I told them what we were going to be doing that afternoon. We were going to the mall. They shouldn't mind, I'm sure they were proud of their new looks. Brooke had just been allowed to get her belly button pierced and we were going to have that removed. After her lack of judgment in leaving the day before, I told her that surely she couldn't care for a newly pierced navel. They seemed fine with it until I parked at the other end of the mall. When they realized that I was going to walk them through the entire mall, before getting the ring removed and then back again, all the color drained from their faces. I'm sure I heard one whisper to the other "why couldn't Dad pick us up?" Ok, good, now I knew I was on track.
We were back in the car before I said anything else to them. "Kids, you know that there's no way to get that color out of your hair", just a small white lie, "without cutting it off." Ok, so that was a bigger lie. But since they started with the lying, I figured I'd finish with it. "I'm going to have to shave your heads to remove that color, you can't go to school like that. I'm sure we have some sort of hats you can wear until it grows in a little."
Needless to say the ride home was silent, except for the occasional sniffle, or sob. When we turned into the driveway the little kids were playing outside. They all ran up to us to see their wayward brother and sister. Michael, who was just 7 at the time, looked at them as if they had just erased all of his cartoons or burned his Pokemon cards. "That's disgusting", he huffed as he walked away. Nikki and Joshua took one look at them and then turned their backs and left. We continued up the steps and into the house.
"Cole, you're first". Cole sat on the barstool as I got the clippers to remove the "Pepsi Can" from his head. Brooke watched in horror knowing she was next. I plugged in my chosen instrument of torture, turned it on and began to run it over Cole's head. Bit by bit the brightly colored tresses fell to the floor. Soon his head was bare. He rubbed his newly freed scalp and skulked away as Brooke made her way over to the stool of baldness. She was crying so hard that the she was shaking. She sat down and waited. "Be still", I told her, "you don't want to end up with patches".
I took the clippers, flipped the switch on and turned them upside down. I put the vibrating clipper at the nape of her neck and ran them up to the top of her head before I turned them off and moved in front of her. "I didn't shave your hair. I wouldn't do that. I just wanted you to feel a fraction of the fear that those parents went through with their kids missing. I know you were the one that was behind this whole little adventure."
After a few hours of letting them shower, eat and get warm I asked the details of the break-out. They had slept under a bridge that night and had one "space" blanket for six kids. Cole, my wanderlust, pirate boy, had bought the "knife" to protect the girls, not sure why he hadn't realized that to protect them, he should have left them at home. They had wanted to jump a train to California, but Cole had jumped on an east-bound train and had to jump off as it chugged him away to Montana or some other snow-covered place. They had spent all of their money on value-meals and Cinnebons. True to what Jeff and I had believed, in the middle of the night, when they were freezing on the ground of a hobo camp, they had wanted to call home but were too afraid to do so.
It turned out well. All kids were safely at home. While Cole looked like a cancer patient, Brooke still had her hair. They were warm and fed, and realized doing the dishes and taking out the garbage wasn't the worst thing on Earth. Plus, besides having a story to laugh at for years to come, Jeff and I had a sparkling bathroom, continually clean laundry and a weed-free yard for the rest of the spring and summer.

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Distance and Drama

Oh, learning lessons is a difficult thing to do. I would think that the older I get, the easier I would learn, but not so. At least not until now.
Most of you that know me know that things have been pretty up and down here lately. There's been a lot of loss, trauma and tension around here. Drama has come in every form.
The good side of it all is that it brought a undiagnosed, until yesterday, condition I have to the forefront. It's been such a big relief to know that there is something that's wrong and it can be stablized and kept in control.
The bad thing is that I've put many of my friends at arms length, not fully trusting anyone. Being wary continually is a hard thing to keep up, it's draining. My fear is that they would think that it was my belief that they had somehow caused the rift, but it was just me protecting myself from the loss.
However I learned this week that I can't protect my self loss and it freaking sucks. Without going into detail, I've lost, or will lose, some very special people. Tonight was the last straw I guess, even with family. My relationships with four of my favorite people in the world have been damaged. They'll never be the same, because now those people are at arms length. I feel, whether right or wrong, that it has to be that way for my protection. My circle is getting smaller. The pain though is piercing and seems to be without end.
And this condition I have been diagnosed with has been freeing and confining at the same time. While not curable it is controllable. It seems that while some of the closest people to me now understand some things, they also view me differently Not really sure why. I'm the same person I've been for 46 years. The only thing that's changed is a label and medication.
I guess I'm rambling, my mind is wandering from topic to topic trying to make sense of distance and loss of trust. I'm not really sure what to do now other than keep my mouth shut, keep these people at a distance and keep my eyes open and my heart guarded.
I do still have a couple of people that have been so incredibly supportive and uplifting and I love them all the more for that. They make up my circle now and I know that I can be myself in their presence.
If none of this makes sense to you, it's ok. It makes sense to me and that's what matters

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The Stronger force

The fog has lifted, the clouds have fled

And with them went the barrier that had prevented

The radiance of the sun from being impressed upon my soul

Its essence able to reach the innermost depressions of my being

While being anxiously absorbed by my parched and trampled spirit

Benefits of this new found energy are difficult for my mind to recognize

Instead it fears that the strangeness brought forth may instead singe my naked soul

Logic and heart will bond and the perfect balance Intended by the Creator will be experienced

One day surely the haze will come again but its grip quickly loosed by the brilliance of this radiance

And this light shall remain the stronger force.

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Fireside

It was the fourth night of our summer vacation with the kids. We were staying at a "resort" in southern Oregon. The site is on a beautiful lake deep in the forest and is called Lake of the Woods. There are a couple dozen cabins for rent. We had reserved two of them earlier in the year for all of the family to vacation together. The cabins we had were small. Each had only one bedroom, a tiny bathroom, an even smaller kitchen and a cozy (think non-existent) common area. Beds and bunks everywhere they could be squeezed in. My husband and I had one cabin with Jeremiah and Joshua. That cabin could sleep six. The other cabin had room for eight and was overflowing with Karli, her husband Justin, their kids Jakob, Josiah and Anna-Grace, three of my kids, Michael, Nikki, Cole and his girlfriend Josie.
Late in the afternoon of that fourth day, I realized that I hadn't put out any meat earlier that morning for tacos; it was frozen and hard as concrete. Most of us had been out all day exploring the surroundings, swimming and just generally relaxing and I just didn't think of it. That's something at home that I never have to worry about. Usually I buy meat the day we're going to use it so that it's as fresh as possible. I do keep hamburger meat and Italian sausage in the freezer just for times like this. A few minutes on auto-defrost in the microwave and we're ready to go. There are no microwaves in these cabins, only ovens. The ovens are tiny white things with an even smaller stove top with 4 miniscule gas burners. They definitely are not a cooks dream.
I looked around at the 24 eyes staring at me wondering "what the heck is mom gonna do now?" I know because I was wondering that myself. Give these people a recipe, except for Karli with cornbread, and the ingredients and they can cook anything. With no plans and having to wing it, I was not going to get any help. I was on my own and had to pull out my "super-mom" skills. I usually try to keep those hidden. Why let those skills be known when I know that they'll be drained from me on a daily basis if I use them too much.
I looked in the very small, rectangular box they advertise as a refrigerator and saw the ham that Justin had glazed and cut, which was a start. We had a couple of bags of tortilla chips, ok those would work. I also found the ingredients for some killer queso dip. Ok, so now we have ham, chips and queso, I grabbed some fruit and a pitcher of iced tea. Not a great gourmet dinner, but for outside on a picnic table fireside, it would be fine. All they really cared about was being able to roast marshmallows after dinner anyway.
Everyone was at the table except Nikki. The queso was awesome and the kids are always excited when I make it. It never lasts long and if you want it, you have to get if fast or it'll be gone. I thought I had scored with them that night. Well, until Nikki came to the table. She sat down and surveyed the unusual feast set before her. She had a tad bit of a puzzled look on her face, but she would never be rude to me or her father. She leaned over, put her head on my shoulder and in her sweetest, most sincere voice put a dagger in my heart and took away my mom of the year award when she said: "Thanks for making us cheese for dinner mom."

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Handguns, Troopers and Assholes

We had left the camp in Southern Oregon from vacation with the kids a few hours earlier. The weather was perfect with blue skies and warm temperatures. We were heading north on I-5 when I noticed the silver Tahoe in my rear view mirror. I had seen it earlier in front of me and had remembered it because of its vanity plate OLD 32. I hadn't realized I had passed it but evidentially he did; he was tailgating me. I changed lanes from the fast lane to the left to the middle lane. So did he. I thought that was a little weird but didn't think much of it. My 11 year old son, my 8 year old grandson and I were singing to "When You're Good to Mama" by Queen Latifah so I just kept driving, singing and having fun with my boys. We were practicing for the family talent show that had been postponed during vacation until Thanksgiving. We pretty much sucked so we needed all of the practice we could get.
A few miles and several song repetitions later I saw that the Tahoe. It was dangerously close to me yet again, so we changed lanes, and as before, he followed us. Ok now, this guy was messing with me. I picked up my cell and called my daughter, Karli. I told her what was going on and that I was going to speed it up and try to lose this loser. I pushed cancel on the touch screen phone and stepped on the gas. We lost the freak, or so I thought. A few minutes later, there he was right behind us again.
Surely I was being paranoid. I changed lanes this time into the slow lane to the far right so jerk-off could pass. He changed lanes right behind me. Ok, now I was getting freaked. I was about 50 miles from home and this ass has been following me for about twenty miles so far. Jeff was no help; he was on his Harley with no way to get a hold of him. It was just me, Joshua (the kid with autism), Jakob (the human superball) and Jeremiah (the flat footed kid that can't run) and the Tahoe from Hell. Millions of things were going through my head; Karli's stalker, my motorcycle accident, and even that movie about a killer truck. Yeah, I had pretty much lost my mind.
I tried to ignore this brainless freak, but he had me scared. I don't frighten easily, but this guy had accomplished his mission. I was panicked. I asked Joshua to hand me my purse that was at his feet in the passenger side of my Mercedes. He handed me the tan leather bag, I reached in and pulled out my .38 Taurus from the bottom of the Coach purse. The handgun had been my mom's and my brothers had given it to me after my dad died last September. It's the one I keep loaded with hollow points and in my car at all times, ever since that homeless guy tried to get in the Jaguar with me at the 7-11 months before. I carefully put it on the dash so if Tahoe Dude got near me he could see I was armed and hopefully he would back off.
When we got to the Wilsonville exit, about 25 miles from my home, traffic slowed to a stop. Great, just freaking great! There was no one beside of me and scary Tahoe dude switched to the middle lane and I could see him slowly inch his way beside my car. Out of the side of my eye I could see the hood of the Tahoe beside my window. I cranked up the CD, closed the sunroof and looked straight ahead. Then Mr. Brainiac was right beside me and screaming. Joshua looked over with this look of sheer panic and I told him to look away and ignore this freak. I glanced over at the Tahoe Terror and grabbed my handgun off of the dash and took it out of the holster. I then made sure he saw it as I put it in my lap. The Tahoe sped away and off at the Wilsonville exit. I grabbed up the iPhone and tried, yes tried, to call 911. The damn phone wouldn't work. It was like every nightmare I had ever had. The phone never works or they put me on hold. Both of those happened that exciting day. When I did get through to 911, they routed me through "push number one for fire", "do this for that", and at the end of the long menu the recording said to say "Help" if you needed help. So I pay tax dollars to put on hold only to find out I could have said help at the beginning of the recording. When I get through I get the Clackamas Police only to find out that I needed to be transferred to the Oregon State Police. Ok, I'm feeling really safe now. When I was finally routed to the correct person I got out the license plate of the Crazed Chevy before the call was dropped. By this time I was shaking so frantically that I couldn't hold the phone to call back. I threw the phone at Joshua and told him to call 911. After several attempts the call went through. I was connected to a woman dispatcher and told her what was going on. She asked me what vehicle I was driving and I told her it was a silver Mercedes. The tone of her voice told me that they already knew of me.
"Ma'am, can you hold on for a moment?"
What is this the damned DMV? I have a maniac following me and I'm being put on hold again!
"Ma'am, is a trooper pulling you over right now?"
"Yes, thank God!"
I dropped the phone and put the windows down. I could see the trooper approach my car as if we were on COPS.
"HANDS IN THE AIR! NOW!"
"Oh, I'm screwed, " I thought.
"NOW! IN THE AIR"
"Ok, Ok, they're in the air"
"Ma'am, can you step out of the car?"
Now I was crying. Not because I was of the trooper, but because I knew we were safe. Not only was I crying, I was about to puke. I was shaking so badly that I had a difficult time moving to the front of the car as the trooper was instructing me to do. I kept stopping and he kept telling me to move to the front of the car. I finally made it and sat on the guardrail. He told me that a driver, Mr. Meathead, had called in some crazy lady waving a gun in a Mercedes. Holy crap, I was going to jail!
I explained that I have a CHP, a concealed handgun permit, and that my gun was in my purse. The trooper got the gun out of my purse, checked it out and returned it, loaded, to my floorboard. He came back around the front of my car and said "Nice weapon, that's the same one my wife carries".
Oh God, I'm not going to jail, it's going to be ok. I explained to him what had happened and how afraid we had been and then promptly threw up over the guard rail. He assured me that I was ok and that he believed the other driver to be the instigator. He had Tahoe Terror's information and was going to be making a visit to his house to tell him that he had chosen the wrong car to mess with. The trooper then told me that since I was in fear for my life and the lives of my children the man should have realized that I could have killed him and would have been protected under Oregon law.
About that time, Michael and Nikki drove by seeing their mom stopped by two state troopers. The looks on their faces were priceless. I was just relieved that I wasn't going to end up dead or in jail.
Looking back on the entire incident the only thing I can think of that I could have done to piss off Tahoe Dude was when I was watching a motorcycle that looked as it were going to swerve into my lane. Sure enough it did and I had to swerve to keep from hitting and killing him. Sorry Tahoe, get a life and watch what's going on around you, and maybe try taking a Xanex.

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