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Bipolar Has Trumped The Diva

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's been a bipolar week or two. Actually, I'm switching medications. I've been tapering off two of the meds I'm on. Let me tell you, that's big time fun!

One's a mood stabilizer, just the sound of that's scary. The other is thyroid. It was making me all jittery, cold and jumpy. I'm sure everyone I was around thought I was a crack whore, so I'm cutting that one back. I damage my reputation enough, I don't need a script helping me along.

My friend Joe died Saturday morning. That's been weighing on me. I want to get to Texas but don't think I can until February. I'll be going back in April as well, so three trips so close together are a bit too much.

I'm touring the private firing range tomorrow night to make sure I like it before writing them that first check. That will be a great distraction. I'll take classes a few days a week to brush up on my mad ninja gun skills. I bought some really cool targets. They have these insanely scary, life sized clowns on them, well, they're politicians, but what's the difference? I plan on relieving some stress by blowing the holy hell out of the things.

Hopefully that will help this bipolar fog lift. For those of you that know what has happened in the past with the foggy times, I'm safe, just foggy.

Tomorrow afternoon I think I'll make a trip to the Cheesecake Factory for some white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. I'm sure that'll help quell the fog.

I'll probably be scarce for a few days until things even out.

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Everyone Made It Out Alive, This Time

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A glimpse into the chaos that is my life.





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Mary, Xanex and Scandal

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm listening to you all, well, I'm reading the endless emails I've gotten about Mary. She'll be back in full force, but it's been crazy wild here and Mary, well, she takes effort. I have to be able to focus enough not to puke my socks up with every word I type. My nostrils burn just typing her name. The smell of that house was seared into my memory banks.

Truth be told, I've been distracted these past few days. I had a couple of the grand-creatures over for a few days. That's always fun, but busy.

Then it "snowed" here. We got all of about 1/8" and it's all on the grass. It was enough, however, to stop Portland in it's tracks. Everyone's been home and I've been sucking xanex anticipating their return to wherever they go during the day.

All of that's been good for me. I've had something on my mind that's tearing me up. My friend, Joe, is dying. He's in the hospital and unconscious. He was removed from life support a few days ago and given last rites. Everything within me wants to get on a plane and fly to Texas to be there, to see him, to say goodbye and to do whatever I can to support his family and friends.

I can't do it. I sit here and try to think of other things and stay occupied. It doesn't work. I jump at every text and every time my phone rings my heart stops. Our friend, Doug, is keeping me informed and I love him for that.

Joe Martinez

Now to change the tone. My friend. D. Scandal gave me this cool award for one of my posts. It was "Beagles, Mexicans and Facebook." These are her words,

Have you ever read a post and thought to yourself, "I couldn't have said it any better myself? It's like they got inside my head or something?!" Since I'm such a Big Mouth Whore it's hard to believe I didn't say it first. (You like that didn't you BSF peeps!) Well, just in case you aren't reading these amazing posts? I'm going to share them with you! These are the two posts that inspired this new award!





If you haven't yet discovered her scandalous site, click on over there and read the secrets of a sweet, southern girl.

On top of all the goings on here, I'm getting sick. It's lights out for me. I have too much to do to be sick!

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I'm Uncomfortable With That

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I'm going to give you a little personal background before I get to the point. I have eight kids. Six of my kids are adopted. Of those six kids only one is white. All of the other kids are black, or black and white.

When we went to adopt for the third time, we were adopting a beautiful, ebony skinned, six year old girl through the State of Washington. The state suggested we attend diversity training, our black friends suggested we didn't.

Since Nikki's adoption could have been on the line we attended. It was taught by radical social workers that seemed to feel it was their duty to let the white parents in the room know they were dooming the children they were adopting to hell.

I thought it funny at the time that all of the people in attendance, that were adopting, were white. All of the children being adopted were black. We were told to expose the kids to "black culture," "black food," "the black lifestyle." We were told that "African-Americans" and "European-Americans" were fundamentally different.

When a lone parent had the courage to ask why there were only white people in the class the instructor got in a huff. Her exact terse words were "It's not in our culture to adopt. European-Americans adopt." So why in the hell was she berating the parents that did want to adopt kids that needed parents to love them?

After she ranted on the vast differences between "African-Americans" and "European-Americans" for several more minutes, the same courageous parent from earlier politely said he wasn't "European-American," he was white. That's when she really got aggressive with her "diversity training."

I left the meeting in tears, my husband was pissed. That night we spoke with some friends, black friends. I asked them what "black culture" was. Mike looked at me like I was an alien. Then he asked, "Have you been talking to social workers?"

"Yes, we attended a diversity training class so that we could adopt Nikki."

"Teri, forget everything they told you. I grew up eating at McDonald's just like you did, I went to 7-11 and shopped at Safeway. I suppose they told you to give her ribs too?"

"Yes they told us to make sure to feed the kids ribs, chicken, greens and pork chops. When they said that, I thought it sounded a little stereotypical."

"Teri, those people only have one thing in mind and that is to continue segregation."

"Mike, the trainers were all black."

"I assumed so."

I was feeling better after our talk, and his encouragement. I spoke to other friends. They told us the same thing. Something else each of our friends mentioned was to ensure that our children knew they were American.

We followed the advice of our friends, after all they lived the life and had no agenda. Our kids know that they are first a child of God, then an American and then a member of our family.

A couple of years ago my daughter, Nikki, was at a friend's house. The parents had friends over and when Nikki walked into the room the mother introduced Nikki, not as her daughter's friend, but as her daughter's "African-American" friend. Let's see, what if I was being introduced? Would she have introduced me as her "European-American" friend? I don't think so.



My daughter said, "I am NOT African-American! I've never been to Africa and I never plan to go to Africa. I prefer that you don't disrespect my pride in being an American by hyphenating my heritage."

The mother sat there speechless for a few seconds before she said, "I'm just not comfortable with calling you that."

WHAT? My daughter wants to be called American and you're not comfortable with calling her that? What kind of Kool-Aid have you been drinking?

With that little revelation Nikki gathered her belongings and left their home.

Before you all jump on the "evil white parents indoctrinating their black children" bandwagon, you have to know that our kids are well-rounded. They've been taught history, ALL history, not just the type you read in school these days. They have friends of varying backgrounds, they've been exposed to the world, not just one small section of it, and they are comfortable with who they are.

I took the long way around to bring you to this. I was at the pediatrician's office Friday and saw this print hanging on the wall.



I realize that many of your opinions regarding this print will vary from mine. Many of you would have never thought anything of it and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm on the other side of the fence. I've had people try to shove my kids into a box for 20 years.

I think that the radical social workers would be proud. My kids were offended. To me this screams "stereotype" and continued segregation. How are people supposed to get along if there are those that continually find a way to put a wedge in race relations? Uh, tell me that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, tell me that.

By the way, that stereotypical list of "black" foods on the menu are all culturally southern foods, not African foods. That's what I ate while I was growing up and I still do. All of my kids eat those foods, even (GASP) my white kids.

Stop trying to keep my kids at the back of the bus!

So that's my second rant in two days. I should be good for several months, unless someone pisses me off before then.

Kisses to you all,

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A Rare Diva Rant

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I rarely publish my rants but I'm a tad, well a lot, pissed off about a couple of things. Some of you know that I took my 12 year old to the pediatrician yesterday for a check up and vaccinations.

First of all let me say that I LOVE the kids' pediatrician. She's not only their doctor, she's our friend. She walked us through Isaiah dying and when she got the call that we lost him, she was at our house in less than five minutes. She stayed with us for hours that terrible night. We've been friends ever since.

I also should say that she's part of a practice that includes a number of doctors, so in no way am I coming against her.


When I checked my 12 year old son in at the front desk yesterday he was handed a "private" paper. I was told that he was to fill it out without parental input. RED FLAG!

I took the paper from him and read through the entire thing. While some of it was innocuous, the rest was none of their business in my very strong opinion.

I was a foster parent for years. I know how the State works. I know what doctors are required to report to the State and I certainly know what belongs between parents and children. I also am smart enough to know if my child needs a counselor. I've seen the State abuse their power. I've seen doctors, not ours, abuse their power.

I tried to find the form online and was unsuccessful. So this is from memory.

"Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?" This matters why?
"Do your parents argue?" Whose parents don't?
"Are you afraid of your parents?" I certainly hope to an extent they are. It's called respect, not fear.
"Do your parents listen to you?" Preteens never think their parents listen.
"What form of discipline is used in your home?" None of your freaking business. Does my kid have the tell tale signs of abuse? NO.
"How do you feel about sex?" Again, preteen here.
"Who lives in your home?" Why?
"Do your parents have guns?" Have you heard of the 2nd amendment?
"Where do they keep them if they do?" I keep mine loaded on the kitchen table in full reach of all of the kids and grand kids. Come on!
"How often do you stay home from school?" Again none of your business.

There were other questions that are escaping my memory. Most of the paper I marked a line through and wrote "PERSONAL" across it.

This form was put out by the American Medical Association. While I realize there are irresponsible, and abusive, parents that children need protection from, I also realize that doctors, and schools, are trained to notice this and take appropriate action. They are, as I was being a foster parent, called "mandatory reporters." I have no problem with that.

In my opinion this questionnaire crossed the line. I am not a sheep. I'm not going to blindly do something because someone "in authority" tells me to, especially when it comes to my kids. I'm not going to divulge information that is none of their  business. I will not let organizations or the government get into every part of my life and the lives of my children.

If you see my kid with a hand shaped bruise across his face turn my ass in. If you see that my child is obviously malnourished and there's not a medical reason for it, turn my ass in. If you see that my kid jumps when a hand is raised, or is obviously afraid of me, turn me in. But don't ask leading questions, don't go on a fishing expedition and do not get into our personal business.

I think this post is long enough. I know that some of you will disagree with me and that's fine. These are my opinions.

I'll save the other rant for tomorrow. I'm taking the weekend off from Mary. She'll be back on Monday.

Also if you're going to chew my ass out for my opinions, respectfully chew please. I moderate comments and if you're a jerk I'll take Gucci Mama's lead and post your comment in a new post and tear it apart.

Lovingly, 

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What About Mary, part six

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Here we go again. If you're new you really need to catch up. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5. You'll love me for it.

Several days after the sandwich bag incident we were back at the house. We had to complete the cleaning so subs could begin work. We were on a deadline; we needed to finish before Mary was released.

Jeff and our boys went down to the dark cave of a basement to clean the makeshift kitchen. They bagged up and threw away whatever they came across. By that time trying to save anything was futile.

I was upstairs with the girls cleaning the master bedroom. I heard the boys yelling, I heard Jeff yelling. Then I heard kids running like wild horses up the stairs.

“What happened now?”

“Dad opened the refrigerator! It’s black in there. The smell is awful, Dad’s gagging!”

That was significant. Jeff doesn’t gag. He’s the guy that has caught, in his bare hands, vomit spewing from the mouths of kids. They weren’t even our kids. He’s the guy that cleaned up after a dog that had eaten an entire turkey. He’s the guy that would have no trouble eating lunch in a Porta-Potty. If he was gagging it was bad. If he was gagging I was hiding.

I heard Jeff yell out for me.

“TERI, come down here!”

He was evil, pure evil. The only reason he wanted me down there was to torture me, to watch me lose it. He liked to laugh at my involuntary retching. He would be wiping tears from his eyes while I was puking my feet up. I wasn’t about to give him that satisfaction.

Kids were laughing, Jeff was yelling and I was making myself scarce.

“Teri, come on. Please.”

“Jeff, I’m in the middle of something. I will NOT come down there. Savor the mess by yourself.”

Jeff’s laughter was radiating up the stairwell. He could damn well laugh himself silly. I wasn’t about to join in the fun of marveling at a filthy, mold growing, toxic waste site.

He gave up and I went back to bagging dirty clothes. The piles of clothes were up to my waist around much of the room. My intention was to have the girls take them to a laundromat, wash and fold them. It would be nice for Mary to have clean clothes, probably for the first  time in years.

Under the clothes were prescription bottles from the eighties, ten year old newspapers, and over a dozen dead rats. There were even more rat skeletons. We were used to the rats by then. We scooped them up and dropped them out of the window into the 40 yard dumpster.

We were on our third 40 yard dumpster and the house was only 1000 sq ft. When the third dumpster was delivered the delivery guy shouted, “Where in the hell are you getting all this shit?” We told him it was all from inside the house. He just shook his head and drove away.

The girls and I continued cleaning. Finally all of the clothes were bagged and the floor was clear. I noticed the dresser. It was next. I stood there with my arms crossed staring down the piece of furniture. I was wondering what I was going to encounter in its belly.

I pulled open the first heavy, wooden drawer and was surprised. The drawer was filled with Beanie Babies sealed in plastic eggs. I closed that drawer and opened the next. Dozens of beady little Beanie Baby eyes blankly stared back at me. I was feeling pretty confident then. No dirt, no dead rats, no odor.

I opened the bottom drawer. There were more Beanie Babies. Those Beanie Babies were in shock. They’d been traumatized. They were innocent toys for children. Neatly stacked beside the wide-eyed, pellet filled playthings were several stacks of lesbian porn.

The Beanie Babies were confiscated to be sold. The magazines were left where they were found, left for an old lady with cases of batteries.

The girls and I switched modes. We needed some fresh air. We began lugging the bags of clothes down to my daughter’s car. My son came walking out of the house eating a chocolate bar.

Not knowing if I wanted to know the answer I hesitantly asked, “Cole, where did you get that?”

“I found it under some boxes downstairs. Do you want some? There’s gum too.”

I puked, the girls gagged and chocolate eating Cole was sent on his way. I didn’t have the strength to fight him.

That afternoon the girls took 17 black garbage bags of dirty clothes to the laundromat. They drug each bag into the front of the establishment pretending not to notice the inquisitive stares of other patrons.

They opened one bag and started filling the first washer when a woman from the back hurried toward them. She had a disgusted look on her face and a can of air freshener in her hand. She saturated the air with the miracle spray while informing the girls that they needed to take the remainder of the clothes to the back room, the enclosed back room, the back room of death.

The girls respectfully agreed. They began the chore of pulling the heavy bags into the room reserved for the worst of the worst. With every step they noticed wrinkled noses, faces covered by magazines, and mothers protecting their children from the putrid breeze that followed them and their bags.

They worked into the night washing and folding the aged clothes. As the garments were folded they were packed neatly into boxes and loaded into the car.

Meanwhile back at the house Jeff and I were moving furniture off of the carpeted areas. It had been determined that the carpets could be saved. First they had to be pulled up and the underlayment sealed. We rolled the sealant over decades of pet urine so it wouldn’t soak up into the carpets after they had been steam cleaned and sterilized.

We went through two gallons of sealant and I went to get a third. We kept all of the extra supplies in the spare room down the hall from the main area of the house. I started down the dark hallway.  It had been cleaned so the path was clear. Half way to the room I tripped on something.

I backed up and turned on the light. I saw what had tripped me and called out to my husband.

“Jeff, how much worse do you think this will get?”

“We’re nearly finished cleaning. It’s all downhill from here.”

“Uh, Jeff?”

“Yeah?”

“I think Scooter the dog is dead.”

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An Itty Bitty Break From Mary....Randomness

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm loving all the feedback I'm getting about the Mary saga. I'll continue it tomorrow, but tonight I needed a bit of a break from re-living her situation! Plus the Sons Of Anarchy has me all tense and I can't seem to form a thought.

Out of respect for Daisygirl I won't spill what happened, or my feelings about tonight's show. She can't watch it until tomorrow, so I'm biting my tongue, or, I guess, binding my fingers. Meanwhile I have a tension headache and have taken a valium and drank another Blue Moon. How in the world can I let a show get to me like that?

So here's some randomness of the happenings around here.

First there's the homecoming dance picture of my son and his girlfriend. Boring you say? Not so fast. This is Joshua, my son with autism, and he has a girlfriend! He went on a real "date." He's being accepted by at least some of the people in school and that's a HUGE deal! So here he is with his girlfriend, Kenzie.



Next I saw the doctor today and freaking passed out on the way in. I guess now they know I'm serious. She's baffled, of course, I mean who hasn't been lately? She said I was "tiny." Haha. that's kind of a funny description of a 5'12" chick with huge boobs, but I'll take it. More blood work. Should have results tomorrow or the next day.

I've lost more weight. Now it's pissing me off! I have hangers and hangers of $300 Rock and Republic, Citizen's For Humanity and Seven jeans that now are too freaking big and replacing them now isn't a good idea. Damn!

My daughter just had surgery and is down for at least 60, but probably 90 days.

I hate Christmas and it's next month.

And, drum roll please........I just joined the private gun club here! It has a private key lock, 10 fifty foot ranges, it's open 365 days a year and I can buy my own ammo. Buying your own ammo is a HUGE deal! At the public range you have to buy their ammo and it costs a fortune! I'm also signing up for the one on one classes to improve my skills, brush up on rapid and night firing, instinctive shooting and rapid reloading. I've been bored lately and this will be just the thing I need to liven things up a bit.

Also I was just given this cool award from The Enigmatic, Masked Blogger. She thinks I rock and I know she does!


Now I am to list seven things about myself. Hmmmm, that will be a trick, I mean, you guys know it all, almost. There are those lucky few that know EVERYTHING!

1. When my dad was a corporate pilot he would take us up in the private jets. You haven't lived until you've done rolls in a Lear Jet....yeah right. I puked. He also called Lear Jets "Tinker Toys" and "starter planes for those that thought they had money."

2. I love catfish, especially deep fried, and I LOVE their tails and fins....yum, yum!

3. The only foods I REALLY hate are beets and sauerkraut.

4. I have headaches a lot these days and I'm tired of them.

5. I think I found a new psychiatrist.

6. I believe that the American Constitution is sacred.

7. I had a dream about Obama last night. I won't tell you about it since it creeped me out.

If there are typos in here, just remember the valium and Blue Moon.

Leaving big lip prints right on your foreheads!

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Mary's Back, Part Five

Monday, November 15, 2010

If you're new to this series you really should catch up on the story of Mary. You won't regret it!


Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


Part 4


I thought I’d seen it all in Mary’s house, but when Jeff brought out that pickle jar filled with chunky, gray ash I thought I was going to die. I felt guilty about laughing so much at Mary’s situation but we had to find humor in what we encountered or we wouldn’t be able to finish the job.

“Jeff, you’ve got to put Chuck back before you drop him! We’ll never be able to get all of him out of the carpet!”

“But Teri, you’ve got to look at this.” He held the jar out for me to see like it was a prized trophy.

“Get him the hell away from me and put him back in the closet!”

After having his fun for the day, and after my continual pleading, he put the jar back in it’s resting place.

That morning we made arrangements with Mary to visit her in the nursing home when we were finished for the day. We had a few things to discuss with her, and Chuck was on the list.

As we drove the few short miles to the nursing home, we tried to come up with ways to sneak in a few questions without being too obvious.

Mary’s nurse met us at the front desk and led us through the wheelchair filled hallways to a common area where patients could escape the confines of their rooms. Mary was waiting for us. She had showered and was wearing clean blue pajamas and a blue and white striped hospital robe. Her ‘scooter the dog” slippers had been replaced with new terrycloth slippers provided by the nursing home.

Jeff and I sat in plastic yellow chairs across from Mary. After asking how she was, and talking about her recovery, we told her of the progress we were making on the house. I needed to know about flooring choices and paint colors for the new kitchen and what she wanted to do with the carpeting.

In the middle of telling me to choose what I thought would work best, she leaned over on one hip and whatever had been building up in her digestive system that week came roaring out. I’m sure Jeff and I had looks of shock on ours faces, Mary never missed a word.

She settled back into the couch and continued her conversation. A few minutes later she hiked her hip up again and, once more, roared forth. Why was I surprised? This was the woman that threw some of her garbage out of the front door. This was the woman that had stuffed dirty underwear in the walls. This was the woman that kept her husband above the toilet.

Trying to maintain his composure, Jeff went a different direction and began asking questions.

“Mary, we found some guns in your bed.”

“Oh, you found those? Better be careful, they’re loaded.”

“Why in the world do you have a .45 under your pillow?”

She looked at him oddly, lifted her leg and let another one rip before answering. The deadly combination of gases were beginning to envelope us. I was fighting back hyena like laughter. I wasn’t sure I could keep my composure. If she did it again I was going to lose it. I put my hand in front of my nose in a lame attempt to guard my nostrils from the noxious fumes. I waited for her answer.

“For protection,” she said flatly.

That made sense, I guess. In theory, some crazed meth addicts could possibly be roaming through the woods of Skyline, see a decrepit old house and decide to take up residence. But first they would be slipping and sliding through an obstacle course of slimy, crap filled kitty litter on the way in. I’m sure that would be enough to deter even the most dedicated of drug addicts.

“Mary,” Jeff went on, “why do you have a loaded pellet gun in your bed?”

“I use that to shoot the rats that run through the room at night.”

Oh Holy Mother of God! My mind flashed back to the dead rat the kids found in the bedroom. If there was one dead rat there had to be more. There was one surprise after another with this woman. Each one more astounding than the last.

I changed the subject and told her I found her baby book, her college annuals, and other things of importance and had packed them away in a box marked “special.” That must have sparked her memory.

“Teri, have you found a plastic bag in the desk drawer?”

I thought back and couldn’t remember a plastic bag in the desk. In fact, I hadn’t been through the desk yet. I didn't even know there was a desk.

“Well when you find it make sure you put it in that box.”

“What does it have in it?”

“There’s some string, rubber bands and twine in it. I’ve had it for years. The vet removed it from Heidi’s intestines and I want to make sure it doesn’t get misplaced.” Heidi was “scooter the dog.”

Who in the hell keeps shit their dog ate in a baggie in a desk drawer?

I could feel Jeff looking at me as I stared blankly at Mary. I was trying to comprehend what she was telling me. He stepped in, deciding it was time to steer us away from the doggy treats and ask the question we both wanted the answer to.

“Mary, while I was cleaning your bathroom I found a jar of ashes above the toilet. Are they Chuck’s?”

Mary was shocked. Her blue eyes sparkled with amusement. She then laughed as she said, “Oh heavens no. Those ashes are from Mt. St. Helens. I put Chuck in sandwich bags.”


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You Guessed it. Mary Again.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

You've all been asking for it and here it is! Part four in the saga of Mary. If you need to catch up read these first. 


Part One


Part Two


Part Three

After the discovery of the battery operated entertainment devices, I’d had it for the day. Before we left I soaked the adult play things in bleach, put on gloves and replaced the batteries. I took them back to the bedroom, emptied the drawers of the bedside tables onto the floor and placed one plastic cylinder in a drawer on each side of the bed.

Every one was famished after all we experienced that day. Jeff went around closing windows and locking doors while I wondered who in the hell was going to break in. We packed into the car, leaving the mess behind for the night. Our next mission was to seek out food.

There happened to be a little burger joint around the corner. Everyone jumped out of the SUV. The kids ran in to grab a table. As they rushed off I thought I smelled that house. I couldn’t have, my brain needed to re-set and I’d be fine.

Through the windows of the burger shack I saw the kids pushing each other. After the day, everyone was edgy and I’m sure they wanted some space.

I pushed open the heavy glass door and heard the screech of my youngest, “Get AWAY from me! You STINK!” Oh tell me it wasn’t so. Tell me the stench of the house hadn’t entrenched itself on us. I hesitantly sniffed my shirt.

My stomach rose to my mouth. I could feel the saliva rushing forth. I jetted from the establishment and gulped in the fresh, clean air.  I refused to eat or drink anything in, or near, Mary’s house so I knew I would only dry heave. I couldn’t do that in front of the bulging eyes and gaping mouths of the people that were staring in amazement at my actions.

Some how I pulled myself together and went back in. I ordered each child into the car. There was no way any of us would put a bite of food into our mouths until we were showered and wearing clean clothes.

My construction working husband tried to call us back.

“Teri, come on! It’s just a little smell. I’m hungry, the kids are hungry and you need to eat.”

“Jeff there is no way on God’s green Earth I’m allowing my kids to sit there and eat while smelling that shit! And who in the hell knows what’s on their hands or what can fall off of them and into their food?”

“Teri, you Purell-ed them to death before we left.”

“Jeff you can leave with us, or stay here, but I’m taking the kids home!”

He relented. We drove home with the windows open and the air on full force.

Once home everyone showered and changed clothes. I Purell-ed them again before they ate. All the clothes were dumped into a bleach filled washer.

We went to bed early that night in preparation for the next fun-filled day at Mary’s.

When we drove up the gravel driveway the next morning the kids were chomping at the bit to get out and into the house.

“You kids are deranged,” I said.

“No mom, we can’t wait to see what we’re going to find today!”

I was beginning to think I was the only sane person in the family. Jeff threw them the keys. They raced up the deck and into the house. Each of them screaming, “I’m first!”

Jeff and I stayed back and surveyed the yard. That was another project we were going to have to tackle.

The kids were alone in the house for just a few when minutes when again we heard, “Mom, Dad! Look what we found!”

Jeff and I started up the hill. We were met by three gun toting kids.

It was Jeff’s turn to get freaked out.

“PUT THOSE ON THE GROUND NOW!”

“But Dad...”

“NOW!”

The kids obeyed. They carefully placed the weapons on the gravel in front on them. Jeff snatched up the firearms. All were loaded. One was a pellet gun, not so bad. Next there was a 12 gauge shot gun, and the last was a .45.

I remembered seeing Mary’s concealed weapons permits but how in the heck would a little old lady be able to hold up a .45, not to mention conceal it?

“Where did your find these?”

“They were all in her bed Dad.”

“Her BED?”

“Yes Sir, the hand gun was under the pillow and the others were under the blankets.”

My mouth fell open. I was going to use one of those guns and club each kid to death. Their bodies would never be found in the overgrown, junk filled yard.

“You TOUCHED her sheets WITHOUT gloves?”

Jeff spared them from answering me by telling us we needed to get to work.

I decided it would be best to keep the kids with me in the living room. After Jeff secured the guns he went back to the bathroom. He had resolved to conquer the filth.

The kids and I worked filling black garbage bag after black garbage bag with trash, rancid kitty litter and what seemed like hundreds of food containers. After we cleared enough of the room to be able to walk around and not trip, I asked two of the kids to uncover the couch and clean it.

I went to the front of the room and started filling boxes with collectibles from the curio cabinets. Our friends were going to sell them so Mary could have some cash. I had just finished taping the third box shut when, you guessed it, the kids screamed again.

I kept my back to them and dropped my head. I raised one hand to my face, breathed in deeply and rubbed my forehead. I was attempting to prepare myself for whatever horror awaited me.

Slowly I turned and opened my eyes. The kids had removed the garbage from the couch and pulled up the cushions. There were thousands of white plastic spoons and forks  covering the couch’s carcass.

Out of everything I’d seen, that made no sense to me. Garbage was everywhere, food containers were everywhere, heck there was food everywhere. Why in the world would she stuff the plastic-ware under the cushions for years while throwing everything else on the floor?

While contemplating her rationale another kid called my name. This was going to be an eventful day I had a feeling.

“Mom, you need to look at this, and please bring me some gloves.”

A kid asking for gloves? Oh I couldn’t wait to see this.

The teenager was in the unfinished, bare-studded hallway. Wedged between the blackened 2x4's were dozens and dozens of dirty panties, bras and socks.

Nothing more was going to surprise me. I was ready. I’d seen it all. I could make it through anything now.

“Uh, Teri,” Jeff’s voice drifted into the hallway, “what did Mary do with Chuck after he died?”

“She had him cremated. Why?”

Jeff emerged from the bathroom holding a large pickle jar filled with ash.

“I think I found him.”




to be continued...



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You Know You Want To Read Part Three

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Before reading this post you'll have to read this one first, then this one so you won't be lost and miss out on any of the saga. You won't be sorry. I promise you it's worth the read.



Several days had passed and I was doing my best to erase the all too vivid memory of what I’d been witness to in the hospital.  Thankfully my phone rang and jolted me from the scary scene that was continually playing in my mind. 

“Mrs. Worley?”

“Yes”

“This is the Providence Hospital. I'm calling about Mary. She gave us your phone number as a contact. Last night she tripped in her home. Her hip is broken. She’ll require surgery and will be in the hospital for nearly a week. After that she’ll be placed in a re-hab center for at least eight weeks.”

I know that I’m going to sound like a cold hearted bitch here. While it was tragic for Mary that she was seriously injured, the timing couldn’t have been better for the project we faced. Those nine weeks would allow us the much needed time to not only to get the house cleaned, but the remodel completely finished.

I called Jeff and informed him of the situation. We began cleaning that weekend. It was going to be a challenge sorting through years of papers, mementos and trash. We needed to attempt to discern what was important and what could be thrown out. The thought of it was overwhelming to me.

That first day we had a dumpster delivered. We hauled in an arsenal of cleaning supplies and stocked up on boxes and tape. Since I flat out refused to clean the bathroom, Jeff and one of our daughters took that on as their first task. I started in the living room while a couple of other kids tackled the master bedroom.

In the midst of all the papers I found Mary’s baby book. It was heart wrenching. She had been an only child. She was cherished by parents that had tried for years to have a baby. Her tiny hand prints were lovingly traced month by month, then year by year. There were locks of strawberry blond curls and faded, old photographs. It seemed as if her mother had documented not only every milestone, but also each of her emotions of having a child at long last. Her handwriting was beautiful and breathed life into Mary's childhood.

After I finished taking in the beautiful memories I placed the book in the box I had marked “special.” I leafed through more papers and I uncovered her college year books. She had a degree in music and had been deeply involved in many activities during her years in school.

There were albums that contained carefully arranged photographs of her wedding. Another album was filled with handwritten notes. The first ones I read told of her courtship with Chuck. There were others in which she documented every last detail of their wedding, from the excitement of a young bride to exactly what she had been wearing, down to her lingerie. She had been an attractive young woman and her husband was quite a catch.

There were pictures of vacations and holidays. There were cards and letters. Bit by bit Mary’s past emerged for me to witness. I found her concealed weapons permits, both current and dating back decades. I found Chuck’s cremation papers and announcements of his death. There was a prescription bottle of Morphine for Chuck dated 1988. I began to feel a deep sorrow for what she had lost and for the way she was living her last years on this Earth. She was alone in the world. Complete strangers were going through her life, and what was left of it.

A blood curdling scream jolted me from my thoughts. The initial scream was followed by more screaming. I jumped up and ran to the bedroom hurdling piles in the process. Two of my kids were on their tip toes, jumping around a partially cleared section of the room. They continued screaming while staring and pointing at the floor.

“What in the hell are you two screaming at?”

“Mom, there’s a nest of dead baby rats and a huge dead mama rat!”

“Jeff! Get in here now! Bring gloves and a plastic bag!” I kept yelling for him, I sure as heck wasn’t going to touch the things myself.

Jeff slowly appeared in the doorway of the room. Once again he was doubled over in laughter. He had removed his glasses and was wiping tears from his eyes.

“This isn’t freaking funny!” I was about to puke all over the place, two kids were screaming and he was laughing his ass off.

“You guys are a bunch of sissies,” he was finally able to choke out.

Jeff dutifully scooped up the rodent remains chuckling the entire time. After the excitement died down I talked him into helping me take some garbage out to the dumpster. I needed fresh air and a break from the mixed emotions of the day.

We weren’t out there five minutes when we heard hysterical laughter emanating from the open bedroom window.

“Mom, Dad, you’re not going to believe what we found!”

The kids came running out of the front of the house and bolted down to the dumpster. They both had something in their hands. I could tell the items were long, slender and beige. The kids were laughing while holding the items by their fingertips.

“Look Mom, LOOK!”

That was when a light went off. Long. Slender. Beige. And there were cases of batteries everywhere.

“KIDS, DROP THOSE NOW!”

My mind’s eye flashed back to that day in the hospital where everything God had given Mary was exposed for the world to see. My kids had found, and were holding in their hands, the sex toys of an elderly woman.

to be continued...

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What About Mary, part two

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

 This is a continuation of the previous post. If you haven't read the first one you may want to start here so you're not lost.

We had our job cut out for us. How in the world were we to complete a remodel on a home that was filled with garbage and a woman that wasn’t likely to allow us to take anything out? Leave it to Mr. Get It Done to come up with a not so great solution. He rang the bell that signaled a family meeting.

Each child filed up the stairs not sure what was going on. Usually when the bell rang someone was in trouble. Eyes were everywhere trying to discern just what was about to happen. The kids took their seats and looked at their father with uncertainty.

“Everyone look at me and listen up. We have to clean Mary’s house, the entire house, before I’ll have any sub-contractor begin work. There’s no money in the budget to call in a Haz-Mat team, we’re it.”

He was looking directly at me. I was avoiding his stare. The four oldest kids collectively let out sighs of relief and readily agreed to what they thought would be an adventure. They had no idea what they were really in for. I knew and it wasn’t going to be pretty.

“Teri, look at me. You need to be on board. I know it’ll be a hard, dirty job, but I need your help.”

“Jeff, you hate me don’t you? You know I’ll throw up continually.”

“Teri, we don’t have a choice.”

“Ok fine, I’ll do what I can tolerate.”  I began thinking of what I was getting into and it triggered my gag reflex. I pictured the filth, I could smell the odor. I saw that damned dog scooting across the filthy floor. I excused myself from the family meeting and promptly vomited.

The next day Jeff began calling subs to arrange to meet at Mary’s. They were going to have to see the house in it’s current condition and we had to make sure they were up for the job.

When the day of the meeting arrived we got to the house about an hour before the subs did. That’s when we saw a part of the home that we hadn’t seen the first time, the basement.

We walked down a small path left on the bare wooden stairs. The path took us to the dark, dank basement. The stairs were covered with items old and new, clean and ravaged. It seemed impossible but it was worse in every way than what we had seen a few nights before.

There was a tiny kitchen that was completely filled with stuffed garbage bags and black trash bags of used cat litter.  Moldy dishes were stacked around the counters, they nearly reached the ceiling. There was a small, food covered refrigerator, a microwave with hundreds of aspirin packets spilling off of it and onto the pots and pans that had developed a life of their own.

Jeff had the bright idea of opening the microwave. I thought I had seen it all in this house. The microwave appeared to have never been cleaned. There was burned food inside that was clinging to the top. It was hanging down like a stalactite. It was about 6 inches in diameter at the top and hung down nearly reaching the bottom of the blackened appliance. On further inspection that was the largest stalactite, there were smaller ones around it.

I retched as I screamed at my husband,

“Close that NOW or I’ll file for divorce first thing in the morning!”

Jeff began hysterically laughing at my reaction. He was bent over convulsing, with tears streaming from his eyes, when there was a knock on the basement door. It was our painter, Tony. Still laughing, and dabbing at his eyes, Jeff opened the door. Tony stood there with a wrinkled nose and contorted face.

He yelled out “What in the hell is that smell?” He then quickly covered his face with his thick flannel shirt.

Jeff was laughing as he said to Tony, “Come in here you have to see this.” Jeff went to open the old refrigerator door.

Tony screamed, “Don’t do it Jeff, I mean it! Don’t open that door!”

Jeff was now doubled over with laughter. He was laughing so hard that he couldn’t breathe. Neither Tony or I saw any humor in the situation.

Through his flannel covered mouth Tony informed us he’d wouldn’t be able to give us a bid until the house had been cleaned. I covered my face with my hands, lowered my head and slowly shook it from side to side. This wasn’t going to be easy.

Curiosity got the best of me after Tony left. Jeff was preoccupied with discovering new life forms in the minuscule kitchen and I decided to poke around the basement while we waited for the rest of the subs to arrive.

In between dashing outside for fresh air and being nosy I found that there were three organs, dozens of cases of batteries, and exploded cans of food everywhere. As I looked around at decades worth of hoarding the same question bombarded me. How were we to accomplish our mission with Mary in the house?

Soon the other contractors came and went with the same reaction as Tony. Some entered the home, others declined, all covered their faces with what ever was handy, whether it be a clipboard, clothing or just a hand. They all left with twisted faces and shaking heads.

After the last sub left, we climbed the bare wooden stairs back to the top floor. We needed to talk to Mary. As we reached the top we could see her sitting on the barely visible couch. She was eating a can of soup with a plastic spoon. As soon as she heard us approach, she tossed the can behind the couch and slid the plastic spoon beneath the cushion.

“Teri,” she whispered, “I have some tests in the hospital tomorrow. I have to stay the night. Can you pick me up and bring me home the next day?”

“Of course I can. Call me with the time and I’ll be there.”

Over the next two days Jeff worked on getting the budget put together and I tried to come up with a game plan to clean the house. I bought disinfectants, mops, sponges, potions and lots of gloves and masks.

The day came that I was to pick up Mary. I got to the hospital and was informed that Mary’s paperwork was taking longer than originally thought, it was going to be at least another hour. I was led to her room to wait with her.

As I neared the room my nostrils burned as the familiar odor escaped the hospital room and immediately attacked my nose. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and opened the door.

Mary was still in the bed. She had not yet changed out of her hospital gown. There was a tattered brown paper bag filled with her belongings on the window seat. A pair of slippers shaped like “scooter” the dog was at the foot of the bed.

Mary was livid. She wanted out. She wanted to go home.

That’s when a sight I’ll never be able to delete was seared into my brain. In a rage Mary threw back the blankets. Her gown was twisted tightly around her waist. She was wearing nothing under it. She then swung her left leg out of the bed, raised her right leg and placed her foot flat on the mattress. There before God, and everyone in the room, was the reason I could never be a gynecologist. All talk ceased as everyone stopped what they were doing and stood frozen staring at the cavernous spectacle. As my shock waned I turned my back and a nurse scurried to help her out of bed and into her well worn sweatpants and “scooter the dog" slippers. 

It was at that moment I realized that there would be more surprises, more shock and more reality checks in the weeks ahead.





to be continued...


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What About Mary?

Monday, November 8, 2010

This post has it all, death, drugs, filth and naked female body parts. This is the tale of Mary. As I sit here thinking about the sordid story I’m realizing how involved it is and I believe it may have to be a trilogy, minimum.

It all began with Beanie Babies. You remember those cute little things that people would stand in line for? Half crazed mortals would gather for hours anticipating that first memorable touch of their prized purchases. They would then seal the precious items in acrylic shells and worship them as if they were the Gods of the Stuffed Animal Universe. Mary was one of those people. She was at every Beanie Baby show, she bought hundreds of the stuffed toys. She spent thousands and thousands of dollars on her obsession.

Mary bought so many of the things that she was in trouble, real trouble. She somehow hooked up with friends of ours at one of the shows and our journey with her began.

Mary and her husband, Chuck, got married and built a little love nest in 1951. She and Chuck embarked on a remodeling project in the late eighties. Before it was half finished Chuck died a horrible, painful death from cancer. Mary was still living in that tiny house when we met her.

Mary was a compulsive shopper. She not only bought Beanie Babies, she bought batteries, she bought camping gear, she bought Thomas Kinkade paintings. She bought just about everything she saw on The Home Shopping Network. Mary spent so much money that she had run through all of her retirement and all of Chuck’s life insurance. She re-financed her house and tore though that. Mary was penniless and was about to lose the home she and Chuck lovingly built decades before.

Our friends were trying to get her a reverse mortgage in an attempt to save her home, but first the bank insisted the remodel be finished. Mary had been living in the house just as it was left the day Chuck died. Half of the house was nothing but bare studs, there was no electricity, there was no real kitchen and no insulation. Chuck had died ten years earlier.

That’s where we entered the picture. Being the owners of a general contracting business we were called in to finish the home. We made an appointment to go with our friends, meet Mary and devise a plan.

Even though we had been warned of what we were about to encounter, nothing could describe the reality. You see, Mary was a hoarder. We were told our senses would be assaulted but we had no idea how assaulted they would be.

The night of our appointment we drove up a hill on a curved gravel driveway and through a thicket of overgrown blackberry bushes and vines. On the crest of the hill was a little white house that looked like it should have been condemned years before.

The smell of rotting trash, body odor, and decaying food hung heavy in the air. It hit us square in the face as we exited the car. It grew more dense with every step we took toward the door. Our friend shouted for us to dodge clay cat litter that covered the ground. It was a thick, slimy mess that appeared to have had been there for years, in fact it had been.

We made our way up the creaky, crooked steps of the decrepit deck and hesitantly knocked on the half-hung door. The door opened just enough for us to see a sliver of the aged face that was staring back. That’s when the odor hit us dead on. I had to try to hide the involuntary retching I felt coming on. I coughed and my eyes were tearing. I turned away in the hope of catching just a tiny ribbon of clean air. It wasn’t to be. After a minute or two I was able to calm my self enough to enter the chaos that awaited us.

After our friend introduced us Mary glanced our way and said, “I have a little trouble with housekeeping.”

No freaking crap! The dilapidated house was filled from the floor to the ceiling with newspapers, boxes and trash. My heart was pounding, my breathing shallow and my stomach was churning. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it. I had no choice, I had to take the putrid air deep into my lungs before I died of oxygen deprivation.

Mary turned to lead us through the maze. As she did she stuffed her hands into the back of her dirty sweatpants and frantically scratched her, I’m sure unwashed, back side. As it turned out, that was a nervous habit of hers. We would see it continually in our time with this woman.

We stood surveying the scene when, out of nowhere, a mangy dog raced by us, only he wasn’t on all four paws. He was aggressively pulling himself along the carpet with his front feet while scooting his bottom along the littered path. Oh Holy Mother of God! It was getting worse by the second! At that point I had no idea it was all downhill from there.

We carefully navigated the papers, garbage and trinkets that had been heaped in piles over the years. There was a small pathway that led from room to room. The floor could not be seen, not even where we walked.

There appeared to be a couch in the middle of the living room. It was hard to tell what it was since it, too, was covered. The stained orange curtains were barely hanging from a rotting wooden rod. Dozens of open boxes of baking soda were strewn about the mess in a futile attempt to mask the odor.

Surrounding the walls beautiful glass curio cabinets stood in stark contrast to the rest of the house. They were filled with classic Barbies, Precious Moments figurines and other expensive collectibles. She had to have had tens of thousands of dollars invested in her treasures.

After admiring her collections she was ready to show us the rest of the house. We dutifully followed her as she took us from room to room spinning her tale of woe while continually stuffing her hands in her pants.

In the bedroom there was a small sleeping space carved out on a bed that was surrounded by clothing and boxes. On the bathroom counter was a tiny hot plate, an ancient coffee pot and dozens of frozen food containers. The tub was filled inches deep with dog hair and moldy wash cloths. The water in the toilet was black and the porcelain itself was encrusted with filth. The stench was overwhelming.

The remainder of that first visit is a blur of trash, old cat litter and scratching hands. We left the house and stood beside the car for a moment allowing the cold, crisp air to flow through us. As we got into the car no one spoke. The ride descending the hill was quiet. We were overwhelmed by what we had just witnessed. I knew we were all thinking the same thing. We couldn’t let her continue to live that way, she needed our help. At the bottom of the hill Jeff broke the deafening silence. He turned to our friends and shouted, “What in the hell are you getting us into?”

to be continued....


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Thumbs, Concussions And Revenge

Sunday, November 7, 2010

If you ask anyone in my family they’ll tell you I sometimes have “accidents” in the kitchen. I’ve burned my kids, I’ve burned myself, but generally the accidents involve knives and sharp objects. I know, I’ve told you I collect knives, but those are the cool, ninja type knives, ya know, the ones you use to shank an intruder? I digress. I seem to only have problems with sharp items in the kitchen.

Have any of you seen the classic Saturday Night Live skit where Julia Child cuts herself while disarticulating a chicken? That’s the type of knife accident I’m speaking of. Screaming, bloody, flailing about accidents.

Last night I got out the piece of shit food processor I recently purchased. I’ve only used it a few times and so far I’m not impressed. I’ve loudly expressed my opinion within ear shot of said processor. I had some onions to chop, olives to slice and cheese to shred. Doing it by hand was not an option with newly manicured nails.

I cursed at the POS processor as it half-heartedly limped through shredding the cheese.  I then removed the cheese and cleaned the container. I went to turn the blade over. That’s when it happened. That’s when it got even with me for calling it a piece of shit. The slicing blade ran rampant across the knuckle of my left thumb and cut it clean off. Damn it!

I grabbed a paper towel to try to stop the bleeding. It didn’t work. Blood was everywhere. I opened the kitchen cabinet to grab a Bandaid. Oh, now that would be too easy in my house. I mean who in the hell would expect to find a Bandaid in one of the three Bandaid boxes on the shelf? The Bandaids were gone and my lazy, friggin’ kids had neatly put the empty boxes back in the cabinet. BLEEP! BLEEPING  BLEEPER!

Great, freaking great. I was bleeding everywhere and there was no bandage of any kind in the kitchen. Off to my closet I went to get the first aid kit that I have to keep under lock and key for just that reason. The kids around here will put a Bandaid on a freaking freckle.

I wrapped the, now soaked, paper towel a little more tightly around my thumb and reached for the kit. Damn thing fell on my head and nearly knocked me out. I wasn’t only missing a very useful part of an appendage, I also had a goose egg on my perfectly Botoxed forehead.

I picked up the box, got it to the bed and ripped the lid off. I commenced to rummage through the already rummaged through kit. Who in the hell got into my locked room and went through the first aid kit? It looked like a garbage can a raccoon had been ripping through.

There was an instant ice pack, not gonna work. There was benadryl, an epi-pen, a roll of scotch tape (WTH?), some Biofreeze, and a package of Uristat. None of the crap was going to help me and my now gushing thumb. Where in the hell were the freaking Bandaids? My head was beginning to throb and I was seeing stars.

Finally I found a box of the coveted sticky saviors. I opened it with my teeth and it was EMPTY! I was beginning to breathe fire as I threw the useless box on the ground. I searched some more. At the bottom of the kit I saw Bandaids and grabbed them up. Wrappers! Empty wrappers! I was beginning to formulate a plan to go after my apparently evil kids with the slicing blade of the vengeful food processor.

I dug some more. More benadryl, an instant heat pack, a pair of scissors and more empty Bandaid wrappers! What in the hell? Was it a freaking conspiracy? If I didn’t find a Bandaid soon I knew I was going to pass out from blood loss and a concussion, fall to the closet floor and impale myself with a stiletto. I was at death’s door and not a Bandaid in sight, not a bandage of any type could be found.

I was pissed! I threw the damned box on the floor and frantically pawed through the useless mess. Finally I found it! A lone, naked Bandaid half stuck to the side of the Syrup of Ipecac bottle. At that point I wasn’t going to be picky. I was desperate, and woozy, from blood loss. I would have taken the thing had it been stuck to the inside of my son’s shoe.

I tightly wrapped the semi-useful bandage around my then lifeless thumb, secured it with some of the scotch tape, broke open the instant ice pack for my head and begin to plot sweet revenge.

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Day Of The Wolves

Saturday, November 6, 2010

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Herding Cats

Friday, November 5, 2010


Most of you know I’ve raised 8 kids and have had numerous foster kids. You’d think that having three of my grandkids for several days would be no big deal right? That would be a big fat HA!

I’m here to tell you that it’s like herding cats and at 48 I’m too damn old to herd cats.

Anna-Grace is 2. That means there are a lot of words that don’t mean “yes” she loves to spit out at full volume. The kid is adorable with her halo of dark brown curls and ever present smile. It’s a damn good thing because I would have posted her on Craigslist by now.

Josiah is 4 and that means he likes to ask LOTS of questions, fight with his sister and refuse to take naps.

Jakob is 10 and is usually a lot of help. Without him I would bought a one way ticket to Brazil and said “hasta la vista” to the entire bunch.

Today I must not have taken my anti-psychotics. That’s the only thing I can think of. I had to have been in a full blown psychotic state to even consider taking all three kids to Starbucks and then to the mall.

The morning started off with me trying to find the right car seat for Anna-Grace. It's not as if we only have one car seat like normal families, we have a bazillion. That alone took around 45 minutes to find one and secure the freaking thing into my car. Then I had to look through every car we own to find Josiah’s booster seat. Finally we get packed into my car and it’s “stop kicking the back of my seat, let go of your sister’s hair, quit poking your brother’s eye with Barbies feet!”

We made it to Starbucks and it took 20 minutes to get the kids out of the car. Starbucks was ok, meaning we made it out with minimal damage. Then for the psychotic part, I drove to the mall.

Half way through our escapade Jakob looked at me and said “You’re too old for this aren’t you?” Don’t even ask what the hand-shaped red mark is on his face. It’s a birthmark I tell you!

Now we’re home. Demon-monkey girl is sleeping, howling-hyena boy is playing with his sister’s Barbies and Jake is playing his gameboy.

Me? Well I’m sitting here with a half empty bottle of Tanqueray waiting for their grandfather to get home and take over.

Jake was right. I am too old for this.





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The Beautiful Boy

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Today, as many times before, I'm waiting in the surgical waiting area. My daughter, Karli, is once again having surgery. She's had so many in the past five years that we've all lost count. As I sit here I remembered being here two years and several surgeries ago. My grandson, Jakob, was with me as we waited. I wrote this as I watched him wait for him mom.


She watched intently as the skinny little boy with the curly blonde hair played on the rooftop terrace of the hospital. His mother, her daughter, was in surgery again for the fourth time in a little over a year.

She knew that Beautiful Boy was worried and gazed at him with the concern of a grandmother. He was so handsome with his enchanting smile and quick wit, but she worried about what was hidden behind those smiling brown eyes.

Rays of the soft autumn sunshine that fell on his sweet face made her think that God indeed had special plans for this young child.

He watched with a knowing look as the scarlet and tangerine colored leaves fell from their homes on the stately maple trees that were planted on the manicured grounds of the hospital. They gracefully floated down, gliding with the breeze and coming to rest around the life giving roots of those trees. Soon they would decompose and the cycle of life would begin once more. Beautiful Boy was bright enough to know that all things must come to an end; he just prayed that this wasn't the time that God would call his mother home.

He had endured much loss in his eight years, he deserved a break. The angels took his baby brother, Isaiah, home just 12 weeks after he had been born on the second floor of this very hospital. Two years later his baby brother Josiah was born three months early. Everyone was afraid of angels also coming for this baby, but they didn't. Josiah came home three months later healthy and thriving. During this time Beautiful Boy had to endure the death of his great grandmother, although to him she was more of a grandmother, especially since she was about the age of his friends' grandmothers.

Beautiful Boy had to watch the grief of his mom and her mom, a grief that seemed to never end and left them lost in a hazy fog. He took what he had witnessed and hid it deep in his heart behind barriers of smile and sparkling eyes.

Then came the Baby Diva, also born three months early. Beautiful Boy was frightened once again, more now that he was older. He still wasn't old enough to put into words what he felt, but you could see it in his soft brown eyes.

Several weeks later the family got the terrible news that his mom's Papa Airplane had died of a broken heart from losing his wife the year before. Beautiful Boy's eyes now carried a deeper sadness that was hidden behind the twinkle he always had and the ever present smile on that handsome dimpled face. But a grandmother can see these things and she worried about him.

She continued to watch him take in God's world that perfect fall day. The dormant Mt Hood was to the east. Snow was beginning to cover its picturesque peaks. He watched the birds flying in and out of the scarlet and orange trees. He thought and wondered about not only his mommy, but about life itself and just how fragile it is. Beautiful Boy had learned lessons that many adults take decades to learn and he knew that it wasn't over yet.

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