Saturday, June 28, 2008

Don't Drink the Koolaid!

In the news:

Dallas Residents See Crash Test Dummy and Umbrella Mouth Gulper Eel In Granite Slab!

Ha, you think that would actually make print on even a slow news day?

Does anyone really believe either of the Simpson sisters has talent?

But change it to Dallas Residents See Jesus in Granite Slab and you've got a headline!

(This was obviously brought to you by the same folks who mistook images of Scott Hamilton and Kristi Yamaguchi trapped in a potato as one of the Messiah.)

Hey, you doofs. If you have faith, you don't need to see an image of Christ on a cracker to affirm your belief in the Almighty. Go outside and roll around on the grass at morning, noon or night. Behold the majesty of a spectacular sunrise---or clouds drifting across an azure sky---or the blaze of color in a stunning sunset. Contemplate the life and workings of a lowly ant that crawls across your path.

If you need a miracle, go hold your child or your grandchild in your arms and breathe in the smell of them. Touch their hands and marvel in the flesh made from your flesh. Wonder at how their fingers, or their hair, or their eyes are like yours, and how your own might resemble those of your ancestors before you.

If you aren't a believer, well the above is still pretty cool stuff, however you might explain it.

But who in the heck needs a granite slab or a potato or a piece of toast to tell them that miracles exist?


Monday, June 23, 2008

Cutting the Apron Strings

We had a meeting with Big Kid's new neuropsych the other day. Although our family doc has been prescribing (last neuro was a diagnostician and couldn't prescribe meds), he wanted to have an outside consultation, because Big Kid isn't where he needs to be.

Some of it is his illness. Some of it is because he refuses to believe that we don't intend to allow him to squat in our home for the rest of his life and provide for his every need.

A lot of it is because he is resistant to being an active participant in his own life. Everything is done "to" him (he has no responsibility for whatever happens---like when he trips over the shoes he threw on the floor, it's the shoes' fault for getting in his way) or must be done "for" him (2 years of private rehabilitative driving lessons, and he's no closer to getting his license than he was then).

He's got applications out for part-time jobs, but refuses to call to follow-up on them. He got set up with a small thing where he could make pocket money sitting on his butt in front of the computer, but refuses to complete any of the work they ask him to do. Then he's angry because Little Guy has the money to buy CDs and DVDs and it's "unfair" and we're "favoring" him.

It's convenient to turn a blind eye to how Little Guy earns his money---by emptying the dishwasher, feeding the dogs, taking out the trash, pulling weeds, sweeping the deck. There's MORE than enough chores around here to earn a little cash.


Anyhoo, while I was visiting blogs the other night, I went over to catch up with my bud Ruth Dynamite, and she had a link to a sketch from Little Britain that I'd never seen before.

I laughed so hard that I cried. I showed it to Hubby and HE laughed so hard that he cried.

I showed it to Big Kid, and he said...."eww. That's gross. I don't get it."

He had a night to mull it over, and the next morning he said, "Were you trying to be sarcastic by showing that to me?"


Not really safe for work or for viewing around small children:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Small Blessings

Both of my wandering guys are home. Hubby is back from visiting his mom, and Little Guy is back from camp.

Whew. All accounted for and safe and sound.

Unfortunately, Ellbee was still Ellbee to all the staff and fellow campers, so my prayer for her personal rebellion and anarchy failed.

But I asked her how her week went and called her Daniella and got an impromptu hug from her in return.

Last year I wrote about Hubby, aka "Fluffy, the Peony Slayer". Heh. You have to read this before you go on.

Anyway, like I mentioned there, 11 years ago I bought some lilac bushes---which I tried to nurture for awhile---hoping they'd take to our climate and grow. No luck. They died. So I forgot about them and moved on to other plants.

On Friday, when we were leaving to drive up to get our Little Guy, I saw this small plant at the end of the driveway---about 2 feet tall---that was starting to bloom with lavender spikes.

What in the heck WAS that?

Holy smokes. It was one of the lilac bushes I'd planted all those years ago! It actually survived and is blooming!

On another note---keeping all the windows and doors closed, but it STILL isn't preventing that dreaded yellow pine pollen from sneaking in on our clothes and shoes and dogs.

There's a fine yellow dust on everything, and that part of the cycle is just starting.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Revolting Development


If you've noticed that my links list is wonky, well there's a reason.

I "upgraded" my template today so that I could add new features. Unfortunately, all the links that appeared are at least 6-12 months old.

So if you were on my list previously and don't see yourself there now, I promise I didn't delete you. I'm in the process of recovering them. Gak!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Binkys and Baby Voices

We drove Little Guy up to camp this weekend. There are very few social activities up here for young adults when school's out, so it's something to break up the summer.

It's a neat program for people who have mild to moderate disabilities. This week's age group is for 18-21 year olds, and Little Guy has been really looking forward to it, since he missed out last year when he smashed his fingers in the garage door.

For the past year, Little Guy has been practicing greetings---hand shaking, making eye contact, adding phrases to his verbal repertoire so that when he gets past the "Hi, how are you, I'm fine, how are you?" part, he'll be able to appropriately add more to an exchange other than his old initial stand-bys---"Are you wearing socks?" or "What did you have for breakfast?"

He desperately wants to go beyond a first conversational connection when he meets people, so he's been trying on a phrase wardrobe to see what fits and what doesn't.

"Did you take a shower today?" is not usually a hit.

"I really like your colorful t-shirt!" is.

While we were waiting our turn in the lodge to get him signed in (we were there early), I sat with his pile of stuff along with a few other parents and he wandered around putting his new skills to work. He introduced himself to other campers and counselors, shook their hands and chatted with them. Then he came over to stand by me.

Sitting next to me was a mother and her daughter. The daughter smiled at Little Guy and shyly said, "Hi!"

He stuck his hand out to her.

Hi, my name is Little Guy! What's your name?

Somehow her mother intercepted his hand first and shook it. "Nice to meet you, Little Guy!", she exclaimed brightly in a baby voice. "My name is Marty!"

He cringed.

I cringed.

We don't do baby voices.

She turned to her daughter. "This is Ellbee!"

Little Guy moved his hand over to shake. Nice to meet you, Ellbee!

She took his hand and grimaced.

"My name is really Daniella", she said softly. Pretty name for a very pretty young woman.

Then her mom chimed in loudly---again in an excruciatingly cloying baby voice---and pointed to the name tag on her daughter's chest, "But WE like to call her our little Ellbee!"


When we filled out the forms for camp, I remember there being a section for nicknames. I guess if I even spent any time pondering it, my thoughts would be along the lines of Tom being short for Thomas, or Liz being short for Elizabeth, etc. It never would have occurred to me to fill it in with nicknames we called Little Guy when he was 3----Bubarooni and Sweet Pea.

He's not a baby. He's a young man, for Pete's sakes.

While he was doing an inventory of his belongings with one of the staff, I wandered over to the table that held the name tags, hoping to see if any of his old friends were attending this week. Amongst the Johns, Ricks, Marys, Heathers and Kates were WeeDee and Binky.

What the heck?

Ok, to be fair, I haven't met these people. For all I know WeeDee and Binky LIKE their nicknames. Or maybe they're like Daniella, who is struggling to claim her adult name as her own.

I know it's hard to let go of our babies, especially if developmentally they will remain as children. But our babies WILL inevitably grow up to be adults.

Where is the dignity for someone named Ron, if everyone is calling him BINKY when he's 40? It's not cute any more. It's a bad caricature of stereotypes regarding people who have cognitive disabilities.

I said a little prayer the other night.

I prayed that Ellbee tore off her name tag and continued to assert herself after Mom dropped her off. I prayed that at least this week, she gets to be who she wants to be.

A lovely young adult named Daniella.

Monday, June 16, 2008

This 'n That


Hubby is still back east taking care of his mom and getting her affairs in order. She's doing well, but looking at a 4-5 month stay in the rehab unit. :-(

Drove Little Guy up to camp yesterday for a week of summer fun. Have a few comments on that, but will have to think about how to phrase them.

Big Kid and I are on our own, so we went out to dinner and rented a movie----Stephen King's The Mist.

I have to say that The Mist is one of my absolute favorite stories...on one hand, because it isn't stretching the imagination to believe that it could happen, and I've spent many a night over the years wondering how I'd react in a situation like that. On the other, because it scared the shiat outta me.

The movie, on the whole----was pretty true to the novella. Until, of course, the "adapter" decided to kick in some absolutely stoopid and unneeded third dimension bullshit (which pretty much took it out of the realm of "wow, I could actually see this happening") and then CHANGED THE ENDING COMPLETELY.

Boy, was I pissed off. I was so pissed off, that I woke up this morning STILL pissed off. Grrrr.

RC at Strange Culture did a really fabulous blogathon about Dad's and the Media for Father's Day. There are lots a great contributors with thought-provoking posts. Drop by and check it out!

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.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

I'm Running Away...

Far far away.

No not really.

Since Hubby is getting ready to leave for a week back east with his mom, I'm going to take a few days to go get a lil love and attention from my own momster.

And let HER yell at my kids for a change.

See you in a few...


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Peaches, You Guys are Just Peaches!

Thanks so much for your shared outrage and support over our dealings with Dr. Dillweed and the Dips.

Hubby came home with the mail last night after work. Got a letter from SS announcing an appointment with a NEW doc that basically said:

"Since you didn't make your previous appointment you better not miss this one with the new doctor, or else we'll make a determination on medical records alone."

And the date was scheduled for the day after Little Guy leaves for a week at summer camp.

I just about sat down and cried.

Then I bucked up. Screw them. His medical and school records are sufficient and complete. There ain't nothing in there that's going to indicate that he was actually trained to be a jet pilot in disguise who could earn 150k a year under the table while ripping them off for their $53.00 a month. No, not a typo.

About an hour later, the phone rang.

It was my sister-in-law, asking if I knew how to get a hold of Hubby. I told her he was swimming laps in the pool, and she said, "ok, can I talk to him"?

Can he call you back? He's been really stressed out, and I didn't want to go out there with the phone and get growled at.

"No, I need to talk to him now."

Yikes, is everything ok?


I've talked about his mom, who is 86 and lives back east. Since his dad died about a year and a half ago, he goes every couple of months for a week or so to spend precious time with her and help her with anything that needs to be done. He's got plane tickets to go spend a week with her on the 12th.

His siblings are actually half-sibs---children from his dad's first marriage. The half-sister who lives locally and the half-brother who is semi-local have been wonderful about filling in when he can't be there. But he's his mom's only baby boy.

Turns out that MIL went for a mammogram yesterday. While she was "in the vise" so to speak, she told the tech that she was feeling shaky and needed something to hold on to. The tech said, "wait until I get this picture".

Well, she fell down, broke her femur, sprained her wrist, ripped up the very thin skin on her arm---not to mention the--uh--part that was in the "wringer".

And the tech didn't even get the picture.

When we got the call, she'd been in the ER for hours (we got the call at 6pm which was 8pm there).

Blessedly, sis-in-law's son is a doctor with privileges in the hospital, and went down and raised hell about everything. And he knew her medical history better than the people from her assisted living place.

They were going to operate on her leg today, but she still had too much cumoden (blood thinner--don't know if I'm spelling it right) in her blood, so they put it off until tomorrow early morning.

Good news is that she isn't apathetic---she is thoroughly pissed off about the stupidity of the whole thing. Plus the hospital food. It sucks.

Better to fight her way through it, in our opinion. Oh, and Morphine is great.

Send good thoughts for her, would you?

So this morning, instead of feeling sorry for myself over this idiotic SS thing, I decided to work with the system, called and talked to the medical compliance person.

She assured me that the letter we received wasn't a reflection on the Dr. Dillweed episode, but a form letter that Social Security sends out. I told her the dates (before and after summer camp) that we could be available and she promised to work with us.



Update: The surgery went well---they put a steel rod in MIL's leg, and she's resting---not exactly comfortably, but with a lot of good drugs. Thanks again for all your kind wishes!