Sunday, January 29, 2012

Got Milk!

We stopped taking her to the emergency a long time ago. She would complain of chest pains and my middle sister would rush her off to the hospital. She would separately call me and my oldest sister to take her, and we would both show up at the same time. The biggest problem was that I had to fly in from out of town. But she did not care. She said that wanted a backup in case one did not show. She called us so much and for so many false alarms, that we stopped coming. So, she began to call the neighbors. Eventually, they figured it out. Next she had to call (and pay) other, not so close, friends and neighbors. You see, my mother is a hypochondriac.

She has been that way for years. I suppose it stemmed from her childhood. She had been a sickly child and was the baby of the family. That combination garnered her so much positive attention that she came to believe that being sick was a good thing. I am not saying that my mother has not had her issues, but more so, she has always had a very low threshold for pain and a very high expectation for sympathy, or empathy, or whatever high she seems to be getting from the attention.

Primarily, the complaint was about these constantly recurring chest pains that seemed to move all around her heart. And, yet, she was always given a clean bill of health. At least that is all that she would relay back to us. Then finally one day she let the cat out of the bag. I asked her why had she had started taking the cheese off of her sandwiches for the last couple of years. Her response floored me. She took another swig of her buttermilk and said, “The doctor told me that I need to stay away from cheese and milk.” I was livid. All these years of running to the hospital she never told us what it was. The pains in her chest were none other than gas bubbles caused by the intolerance to lactose – which, by the way, she was refusing to give up. “Dammit, I got to eat something!” was her only response. So she cut out cheese slices, but nothing else.

Well, it has been over 21 years since the diagnosis and she is now eighty-one.  She really does have a host of ailments. And when asked how she is doing, she will NEVER say fine, but, instead will drop her voice to sound weak and then start in on a litany of complaints. My biggest fear is that we will miss something important because the years and years of being the "Boy Who Cried Wolf” has made us deaf to her pleas. Instead, we let her go on for a moment and then sigh and ask, “What did you eat or drink today?” And her response, “Shit, it ain’t always the milk! I’m just gonna to have to call 911 myself. I need to go to the emergency!”

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My day!

Why is it when you finally get you want, you don't know what to do with it? I had been wanting a Saturday to myself, free of my child, for so long that I cannot remember having it any other way. Either I was alone with him, or the three of us stayed home together. If only there was Saturday daycare for a few hours, I could get my nails done. If only my husband were home to watch him, I could visit some friends or go shopping... for me. So why was it that my husband was not only home, but he volunteered to take our son to a movie with another dad. They were gone all day, Yet, I was not able to think of one single thing that I really wanted to do - so I stayed home.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Oh Brother!

Of course I love him dearly. He is after all my middle child, and though it is by marriage, I love him just the same. However, he is 21 years old and anyone with children know that right around year 15,  a demon takes possession of their bodies and holds them teen-napped until the early to mid-twenties. It is during this period in life that we come to learn and understand the concept of love and loathing at the same time.
Now my baby boy is five. Yes, it is a whopping 16 year spread, and my little boy adores this big brother. He can do no wrong in his eyes, no matter how hard I try to tarnish that image. Why would I, you say? Well, maybe it is because he has flunked out of college three times and feels that 24 hour video gaming is the life-- though that is not something I would tell his baby brother. Then, there is the fact that he has turned what used to be MY basement office … with a fireplace and walk out patio… into a bona fide pigsty of a bedroom and malodorous dog kennel (for the horse-sized dog that he brought home with him from college).  But I would never say that to my five year old either.
And did I mention that the dog is barely trained (translation horse-sized poop), and has not been snipped. He eyes me like a piece of meat. My poor little miniature schnauzer screams and runs every time he makes a break for her. My child thinks it’s humorous – I do not!
Also, son number two (there is actually another one even older) seems to have a neurological disorder affecting his memory. It is the darnedest thing.  He can’t seem to find the kitchen for returns even though he has no problem finding it in the middle of the night when he raids the fridge of all things edible (most recently it was my diet crackers and fat free rubber tasting cheese slices). So I watch as our glass collection, plates, and silver count diminishes over the course of a few days until I am forced against my psychological will to enter the dungeon. It becomes a scavenger hunt, or should I say excavation, as I dig under piles of clothing and beneath furniture to see what treasures I can find. I do not know why, but I always feel like I have hit the Jackpot as I head upstairs with my arms ladened with dirty, crusted plates and glasses.
On Saturdays, I constantly tell my baby boy to be quiet because his brother is still asleep, even though it is three o’clock in the afternoon. Inside my mind, I am silently hoping he will be annoyed that he can’t make noise. However, all that my child does is ask me if his brother is nocturnal. 
Sometimes I tell my little son who is dying to talk to him, to go ahead and say hello at 8:00 AM on a Sunday morning, only to have my child say, “That’s okay mommy, he is still asleep!” I even send him down below on occasion to seek help with his DS. Only to have him boomerang right back up to me with, “He was busy, here, you do it mommy!”
 And when son number two finally emerges from the depths around seven pm foraging for food, my child lights up like Times Square. Imagine my annoyance when he picks him up, calls him buddy a couple of times, Hi-fives him and heads back into the cave. And my child, who has waited for 20 hours for his appearance, the way a fan waits outside a concert venue stage door for their favorite star, is happy and satisfied for those ten minutes of affection.
So why then was I surprised by his unpredictable response yesterday? My son had asked for a bowl of Coco Puffs. I said we are out. He countered with, "No we're not; you just bought it." I smiled and was happy to reply, "Yes we are… your brother ate it all!" My baby boy, who typically loves the ground I walk on, too, refused to admonish his idol. Instead, with venom in his little five year old eyes, he turned to me accusingly and growled, "WHY DIDN'T YOU BUY THE BIG BOX!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


So much for the bikini. That was the fastest attempt at a routine that I have ever had! Within 13 hours of "Day One" my back went out. I decided then and there that I must shed -- my 30 day shred. I must admit that this is so frustrating. I have finally reached an age when I absolutely need to work out, but every time I get going, something goes out! It is a catch 22 that I only see getting worse. No, I must stop this negative attitude. I will prevail, and I will get my bikini back! For now on to Yoga!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bikini or Bust!

Bikinis, here I come...well, maybe not quite yet. Perhaps I am being a little overly optimistic. It is, after all, just day one of the "30 Day Shred" video. But I have to hold on to the dream. Just because I am over the 40ish hump and have found myself on a steep slide to fifty, does not mean I can't shoot for the same size that I was ten years ago. I say aim high (that's where you will find God so that you can pray for a miracle.) As for my new work out routine, well it only takes twenty minutes a day. I spend more time than that on Facebook. Now if only I can get myself just as motivated to do it. One down...twenty-nine to go!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Blind Faith

Today was a teacher planning day. I was running late… as usual. I had a student coming in at 8:00 am to write a paper which I was dreading. This young man has something going on. Others say he’s lazy, but I say otherwise. I feel as though he is shutting down. I pledged to myself to work on him today. If only I could get him to let me in.

As soon as I arrived I immediately signed onto the computer and was surprised to find a message waiting for me from another student, “Can you drop me bac home” There was no question mark and the “k” was missing. And other than the return email address, it was not signed.

There are days when I wonder if I am in the right place. God would not have made the transition go so smoothly if I weren’t. But that does not mean I like where I was lead. As I sit up until four in the morning grading papers that make me question my effectiveness in class, I yearn for the weekly mini vacations to Los Angeles, Miami, and London. I have replaced my favorite restaurant “Le Bistro Champetre” dans le soixante arrondissement in Paris, with homemade lunch in plastic Chinese food containers. No more tours of German castles and boat rides in Zurich. That all stopped abruptly when I traded my flight attendant uniform for fuzzy warm sweaters and a drafty classroom.

But then there is that email. Why would she show up without any confirmation that I would even be there? And though the students had the day off, she choose to come up to the school and look for extra work from all of her teachers. I have always believed that teaching is not just about the grades, nor the information that we impart. For some students, it is the place they come to get what others receive at home. I may no longer have a window seat on the world, but I have a young lady who trusts me unconditionally to be there for her.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Welcome Aboard!

Welcome to my blog -- Day one. What will you find here? Needless to say, being an older mother of one occasionally precocious little boy, a fair amount of my posts will be about him. Also, being married late in life, I can guarantee that there will be a fair amount of those tales as well. And lastly, there are my step children…whom I love dearly, but are grown and still trying to find theirselves. I will probably have a few comments in that realm as well. And why should you read this? Well, I hope to add humor to your day (and I pray to God, mine) through these antidotes. Yeah…okay, I admit it, it is for pure mental survival on my part, but if you should find some inspiration, enlightenment, or maybe even just a sense of sympathy, then so be it. One thing is for sure, as I am in my mid-forties, and am on the outskirts of menopause…it is bound to be a roller coaster ride. Welcome aboard!