Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ballad of a Bad, Bad Mom

We're back from a brief visit to my mom's house. And it was quite the mini-adventure! A couple of tales to tell in upcoming days.

When the weather is good (no snow or ice), we usually take the back mountain roads to get up to Mom's house. They're winding and steep in some parts, but there's hardly any traffic, it's a nice scenic drive, and cuts around 45 minutes off our drive time as opposed to going the front way up the interstate.

About every 10 minutes from the back seat, Little Guy asks, "How you doing, Mom?"

I'm doing just great Punkin, how about you?

"I'm doing good! How about you, Big Kid? How you doing?"

30 minutes into the trip (on the 3rd time of being asked), Big Kid responded...."I'm not doing too good."


Big Kid: "I think I'm about to have a panic attack."

I looked at him. He was definitely white. You can tell, because he's a little freckly. They all stand out in stark relief when he goes pale.

During the last year, we've been able to cut down on his anxiety meds by half. But once in awhile, with no rhyme or reason, he has a panic attack out of the blue---with no obvious triggers. His meds were packed in his bag, which was in the trunk of the car.

I reached across the seat and held his hand.

Do you think you need more meds? Can you wait until we hit XXXXX (a small town on the way)? I can't think of any safe place to pull over until then.

"You mean the Ghost Town?"

We've driven through this little mountain town maybe 4-5 times a year back and forth. The main part of town is historical, with some buildings dating back to the late 1800's. It's so small that there isn't a grocery store, or even a gas station.

There are a lot of little Victorian cottages, a couple of which have been converted to antique shops. There's a relatively new church of the main drag, as well as a dilapidated trailer park. A little further on, there is quite a lot of new development with log homes. They have a restaurant, and usually there are one or two cars parked in front of it.

As terms of size, I guess you could say that if streets were named after letters of the alphabet, they'd probably stop at K. One of those "blink it and you'll miss it" kind of villages.

Anyway, in the last 10 years that we've taken this back way into the city, we have NEVER seen a live person in this town.

Nobody sitting on a porch. Nobody standing in a parking lot. Nobody playing on the swing set in the park. Nobody crossing the street. Nobody looking through a window either way from a store or the restaurant.

Not one person.


And after the first year or two of noticing it, we've made an effort as a family to peer out all windows of the car to see if there are any actual residents.

The only people we see are travelers in cars, like us, who are just passing through town.

It's like a really weird Twilight Zone episode where all the inhabitants are invisible. Or the "Lost Colony" of Roanoke, where everybody just up and disappeared, leaving all their worldly possessions. It's creepy as heck.

But every summer, when we drive through this little burgette, we see newly-hung banners for the "Rhubarb Festival", which has made me privately wonder if it's some Shirley Jacksonish way for the townspeople to lure passers-thru into stopping one day a year.

So they can do something terrible to us.

Maybe slaughter us like cattle and bake muffins out of our brains for the local bake sale to pay homage to some weirdo God to keep fire or flood from reigning down and wiping out the town.

ONCE, three years ago, we were driving through and we saw a Fed-Ex Guy standing on a porch with a package, waiting for someone to open the door.

"Look!" Big Kid squealed. "A real person!" He pointed, and we all pressed our faces against the car windows to get a look at the first real live person we'd ever seen in this town.

Except that he really doesn't count. Because well, he's the Fed-Ex guy. He doesn't really LIVE there. And he later prolly thought we were absolute loons----gaping at him in awe from our car.

If he ever made it out of there alive, that is.

So when Big Kid asked if we were going to stop in the "Ghost Town" to get his meds out of the trunk, I started thinking about the reference. Quite apropos. And in hindsight, I should have engaged my brain before opening my mouth, simply because we have similar thought processes sometimes, and I should have figured this was on his mind.

Do you think you can wait until we get there? I know just the spot where we can pull over.

He decided that he could.

Silly me, I thought I'd lighten the moment, and try to help take his mind off his anxiety with a little bit of demented humor.

Wouldn't it be really weird if you were getting your meds out of the trunk and somebody jumped out from behind the bushes and tried to rip your throat out with their teeth like in Shaun of the Dead?


Full and total meltdown. From the kid who thinks that
Saw 1 through 4 is cool and the ultimate in high moviemaking art.

Had to pull over to the very next mountain shoulder wide enough to fit the car into to get his meds out of the trunk.

Bad, bad BAD Mommy.



mrsb said...

Oh, no! I'm sorry, but I had to laugh! Times like that, you just have to keep a sense of humor ;O)

Beth said...

Yeah, occasionally our attempts at humour really backfire with the offspring. (That, or we become the butt of their jokes.)
Very eerie town.
Hope your son made it through the rest of the visit in good shape.

marymurtz said...

You're evil! LOL!

Melissa said...

I'm laughing my behind off at you right now--way to push him right over the edge, Attila! Oh my;)
I've seen western towns that look straight out of a Stephen King movie. Mr. D and I drove through one in Wyoming--there were houses & all the proper "town" things, but the cars all looked rusted out, the hum of a power station overpowered the wind, and antelope were ALL OVER THE PLACE. Spooky.

Casdok said...

Yes bad Mommy! But not always easy to engage brain first!
Well done Big Kid for cutting down on the meds!

TraceyTreasure said...

I almost spit my toast out laughing at this post. You must tell me where this little town is though, seriously, it sounds perfect for me! Sorry about the melt-down. I say things like that to my kids all the time! Thanks for sharing this story with us today! It's nice to be home from work so that I can catch up on all of my favorite blogs!! Big Hugs!

Queen Goob said...

How frightening; you and I both blogged about scary stuff today.

“Wouldn't it be really weird if you were getting your meds out of the trunk and somebody jumped out from behind the bushes and tried to rip your throat out with their teeth like in Shaun of the Dead?" I know, at the moment the words spewed forth from your lips it wasn’t a very good moment.

But that is funny as HELL right now!

I want more info on the town. Makes the cost of gas vs. a roadtrip a decision more easily made.

Mrs. G. said...

Yeah, you probably should not reference the Saw movies during panic attacks.

I am just relieved that you didn't have to endure some white picket fence version of The Lottery. Big rocks don't help panic attacks either.

You are so funny.

Jan said...

Funny, funny. Sometimes we have to be Bad Moms. Where is this burg? We want to know.

litzi said...

Hi Attila,
OMG, I thought the only place left in existence similar to “Ghost Town” is this place Holy City, California. Both are straight out of the Twilight Zone. At least you were able to get Big Kid’s meds…

mia said...

Two words: Motel Hell

A must see on your list of B horror flicks, truly reminiscent of said ghost town.

Preview: Crazy town people make sausage out of the tourists and passers through. It's a CLASSIC!

Always awesome to catch up my friend!

Anonymous said...

Oh, this had me laughing. Nothing like a Saw joke to calm anxiety. Actually, I totally understand, especially if he loves the movie so much, why you would try to make a joke out of it. I often fail at my attempts to prevent the biggie, because at my attempts at humor. You just never know.
Moral of the story (one I learned the hard way): Always keep a few of the anxiety meds. in your purse.

The town sounds very cool. Would love to see it for myself..

litzi said...

Hi Attila,
I forgot to ask you earlier: how's your Mother-in-Law doing? Is she able to get around with the aid of a walker and/or cane or is she confined to a wheel chair at this point?

I hope Mr. Attila is home soon...

Jezebel said...

You are quite the storyteller, Mom. I literally had to race to the bathroom while I was laughing 'cause I was about to pee in my pants.

I know it's not right to laugh at your son's expense but the Shirley Jackson and the Shaun of the Dad comments made me snork coffee through my nose.

I so want to come with you on your next trip through the ghost town! I could use a little Twilight Zone fun!

carmachu said...

Thats awesome! Between teh town and your "suggestion" thats hysterical. You sound just like I would, when telling lies and stories to sarah....

QueenofPlanetHotflash said...

When we venture through towns such as you described I always mention to my husband, that store looks like the one from Texas chainsaw massacre or that looks like a place from Wrong Turn..freak myself out

Jana B said...

Whoa... that IS a wierd town!!!!!!!!

I'm still laughing about your comment to him... that SO sounds like something I would say!!!!

Can't wait for more tales from the trip!!!!

Stinkypaw said...

You're not a bad mommy you're a funny one! Sorry, I couldn't help to laugh, even if, I know, that it wasn't really funny...

Anonymous said...

Too funny. You're right about not stopping. You could've been a "Lifetime Movie of the Week".

Anonymous said...

oh SNAP.
damn girl, i thought you KNEW better?!
ha ha ha ha.

Brenda said...

Oh No! Hahahahaha, betcha don't do that again.

litzi said...

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to the best Mom in the world! Ditto to Mr. Attila...

Valerie Marie said...

I'm so happy that Big Kid cut domn onthe meds! Congrat! You're NOT bad but funny! xoxo How is Hubby's mother doing? Good thoughts to her!