Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Christmas Miracle

Welcome, friends.

It's high time that we had a Christmas fireside chat.

Grab your lattes, your cappuccinos, your warm milk, your hot cocoa, your Monster drink, your Gatorade, your Diet Coke, and your Mountain Dew and settle in with me for a nice winter's chat.

It is time to tell the miracle of my son.

Yes, THAT son.

He was (and still is) most certainly a miracle.

We have to go back a few years.

SEVEN, effective five days ago.

Yes, that screams, "Happy Birthday, J A K E!"

But we have to go back seven years and eight months.

Correct.

Eight months.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was April of 2004.

Reilly the Red was almost two, and was out of diapers.

We had been trying to have another baby.

Remember, my body doesn't typically cooperate with me and what "I" might want, expect, or NEED it to do.

I had stopped my Remicade treatments for about a year, to safely prepare my body for a pregnancy.

You see, we didn't know WAY BACK IN 2004 that Remicade was safe for pregger mamas.

Well, allegedly, they know it N O W!

Alas, it wasn't happening.

And I had rolled the dice, and started to get sick-er.

As I had stopped taking most medicines, save one or two, I was playing with God, but against time.

I only had so much time until we would have to give up our hope of having a second child, hopefully a boy, before I would have to resume my life-maintaining treatments again.

Lo and behold, on the first of May, I discovered I was pregnant!

Woohoo!

Grandmothers were alerted, bosses were notified, two year old daughter was prepped.

We started to get ready, and we started to get excited, and well, a second time Mama starts to 'show' a HECK of a lot earlier than a skinny minny first time Mama, so we couldn't hide it very well, even if we wanted to!

In mid-may, we decided to take Reilly the Red to her first trip to Disney's Magic Kingdom.

Since we're locals, we used our connections, got in for free, stayed for three rides and the requisite Disney tantrum, and headed home for a nap.

It was a good day.

I was feeling really good.

So good in fact, that my Team(s) of doctors opted NOT to mark my Obstetric file as "HIGH RISK".

SHOCKING!, I know!

Anyhoo.

For Memorial Day, we traversed the state to visit with my parents in the Gulfa Mexico.

It was a great weekend, as always.

On our way home, I noticed a few bug bites on my chest.

No matter.

The Gulfa Mexico is where mosquitoes go to breed, and where people go to die.

But by the time we got home, I was feeling really, really......B A D.

And not 'pregnancy' bad.

And not 'Crohns' bad.

Something else 'bad'.

But a friend of ours was in the hospital, recovering from a near catastrophic accident involving a chain saw, a tree, and a shoulder.  We were gladfully obligated to make a quick visit.

After we left the hospital and headed home, my 'condition', which I had since decided was either West Nile, Avian Flu, the Ebola Virus or the Plague, worsened significantly.

I had two options.

Option one - call Dr. House. 

That didn't work out so well for me, well, since HE IS NOT A REAL PERSON!  I keep forgetting that one.

Option two - summon Old Mother Hubbard's Medical Encyclopedia.

I needed a PHOTO of what my skin was starting to look like before I called my previously NON-HIGH-RISK Obstetrician and caused him to break out in pustules simply from the stress I continued to cause he and his entire practice.

I knew what I had.

I had know idea how I got it.

But Old Mother Hubbard confirmed it.

FAHRVERGNUGEN.

I had chicken pox.

I know.

Stop right there.

In answer to your questions -- HEATHER??  HOW THE HECK, I MEAN WHO THE HECK, GETS CHICKEN POX AT THIRTY FOUR AND WHO THE HECK GETS THEM WHEN THEY ARE PREGNANT AND WHY DIDN'T YOU HAVE THEM BEFORE AND DOES REILLY HAVE THEM TOO?

Well, thank you for asking.

The obvious answer is quite simply, only Hurricane Rojo gets chicken pox at thirty four and pregnant (remind me, I should call Lifetime for their "I'm Pregnant - And I Have the Chicken Pox" show) and considering the incubation period I most likely got them at Disney, so said Dr. Crop, and when my 'little' brothers got them, well, I was all grownsed up and 'away', and well, Reilly had successfully been inoculated, which gave her pediatrician absolute G L E E.

Hmmmmm.

Which was worse?

- self-diagnosing (correctly, I might add, and yes, I should have been a doctor, RUMSPRINGA.)

- alerting my OB

- telling my husband

DING DING DING!

Telling the husband is the big winner here.

Cuz the OB screamed at me to go directly to jail   the back door of the NINTH floor of the big city hospital, which would be EIGHT floors away from the other preggers.

So I did.

By myself.

All forty miles, thinking I might be staying, well, awhile.

Once there, he isolated me and gave me a room with a TV and a bed and several anti-viral infusions/injections and we waited.

Several hours later, he came back and shook his head and said, "You are seven weeks pregnant and you have the chicken pox."

And I said, "Yep."

And he continued to lament, "WE HAVE NEVER SEEN SOMEONE YOUR AGE HAVE CHICKEN POX SO EARLY IN THE PREGNANCY"

Might I add this dude was as close to Dr. House as I could get, AND he was the Director of Obstetrics for the entire HOSPITAL?

Yeah.

I was in deep doo-doo.

He tried his best not to scare me.

shaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

The following words will resonate in my mind forever, ".........we cannot even begin to predict the effect this will have on the baby.............what he/she will look like..............if you will go full-term........................if there will be scarring of the baby............."

I left the hospital, out the back door, the same way I came.

For the next two weeks, with the frightened support of my employer, I SUFFERED through the chicken pox.

OMG.

They say it's worse in grown ups.

WHATEVER.

It just plain - - - S U C K E D.

Miraculously, I don't have a single pock-mark or scar anywhere on my body.  I have no idea how that happened.  Maybe God was given me some cheese with my whine?

Two weeks later..............

I'm pock-less, still pregnant, and returning to work.

Two months later..............

I'm pock-less, still pregnant, still at work, and CONTRACTING every FOUR to SIX minutes.

It is now July, 2004.

My due date is January 9, 2005.

HA HA HA.

My weekly ultrasounds showed a healthy baby boy, albeit a very SMALL healthy baby boy.

There was some concern about his lungs.

And this elusive and alleged potential 'scarring' issue.

We named him right away.

Just cuz.

And he was a mover and a shaker, no big surprise there.

He let me AND the whole world know that he was done being in 'there'.

On Monday, December 20, 2004, I visited my high risk OB for my twice-weekly ultrasounds.

It's so much fun to have TWO Obstetricians and to have TWO appointments every week of your pregnancy.  Fun, fun, fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The ultrasound tech said the baby boy looked fine.

The doc came in.

Asked me if I had felt Jake move as usual.

I think I was more stunned than he was, when I said, "Come to think of it, I haven't felt him move since Friday."

High Risk OB goes into freak out mode.

He says the BOY is moving fine, but, um.................

"You're having this baby...........................

.....................T O D A Y."

W H A T?

The news just got worse from there, far before it got better, since y'all know I have more than a healthy baby boy.

Billy met me at the hospital, Grandma was on her way, Reilly was in safe harbour with the preacher's kids.

At 641pm, after MANY gory complicated details that belong nowhere but in the abscesses of medical infamy, Jake William Fallon arrived.

He was little.

He was jaundiced.

He was early.

He needed a teeny little bit of help breathing.

He had no scars.

He was...........

B E A U T I F U L

and

P E R F E C T.

Don't you dare tell him I said that.

Ladies and gentlemen:

May I share another miracle of my life, yet again?

This miracle is my baby boy, my Christmas miracle:




Thanks be to God...........

Amen.


PS - Happy Birthday Jake!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Amish Spring Break

So.

For those of you who 'know' me...(not in the Biblical sense, thank you very much).

Ahem.

For those of you who 'know' me.....you know that I tend to, um, er, uh......

well, I kinda like sorta, um,......

SIN with my MOUTH.

Yeah.

It's word-sinning.

Or as my dear friend Aunt Jodi tells me, "You were born without a FILTER".

Yeah.

Which means I say things that shouldn't be said, or I let out 90% of my thoughts instead of the 10% percent that are acceptable to be orated.

Yeah.

It's confession time, repentance time, and change time.

Yeah.

Cuz, there's kind of another problem with the 'Mouth of the South'.

Yeah.

I cuss like a sailor.  And a pirate.  And a sailing pirate.

I know.

It's bad.

I shouldn't.

Oh, but I promise you, it is MUCCCCCCCCCCHHHHHHHHHHH improved once I had children.

No, seriously.

I save the 'bad words' for private adult conversations, or I use them in print in my writings.

I certainly still 'say' them in my head, whether I want to or not, but they don't cross my lips as much as before.

And I am very proud to say that my children do NOT use any of those words that they know are VERY bad, even if Mom (or equally as likely....BBFMD = BIG BAD FOUL MOUTHED DAD...sorry Two Swords, but we're in this one together) slips every once in awhile.  If I don't catch myself, well, don't you worry, I've got two little brilliant tattle-taling FrankEinsteins to remind me that "Mama!  You just said something I N A P P R O P R I A T E"!

But then, very recently, a very dear and most respected long time "2 AM" friend of mine mentioned that he was searching for a new job.

I responded that I would certainly pray for him, and if he needed a letter of reference, I would be more than happy to write one for him, since, well, I kinda know my way around a keyboard if youknowhatimeanverne.

He said, 'Yeah Heather, but, um, you cuss......A L O T."

SHOCKED (as I thought I had um.....stopped....doing....that.....), I said the only thing I could think of, which was:  

"I promise that I won't in your REFERENCE LETTER?"

Yeah.

That was several months ago, but it's been weighing on me ever since, like most painful sins of self-awareness tend to do.

Let's look at this like an addiction.

If you try to stop smoking, usually you use replacement therapy such as nicotine patches, gum, Kojak lollipops, Cymbalta, or, in the case of Billy Two Swords - Jolly Ranchers.

So.

I have tried to bite my tongue, but my artificial Tourette's Syndrome just spits out these words that are often bitingly sarcastic, and sometimes, yeah, they are downright M E A N.

So today, a thought (a pure one, no less) popped into my head.

I need to use replacement therapy to modify my own behavior!

DING DING!

The psych degree pays for itself...A G A I N!

For the past two hours, I've tried to think of ONE word that will encapsulate all those other 'bad' words that I have said.

And, yep, I've said every one of them.  'cept one.  There's one I've never said.  Never said it, never will.  If you want to know what it is, well, you'll have to figure it out on your own, cuz I ain't sayin' it.  My Mama and Daddy didn't raise us with THAT word in our house.

Anyway.

The point is this.

I've found THE word.

One word.

An awesome word.

A good word.

A word that will garner attention (as if I need an ounce MORE of attention, seriously).

A word that will fit when I stub my toe and need to SCREAM.

A word that works in the hospital setting when needles the size of meat thermometers are being shoved into me like I'm the Christmas prime rib.

A word that works in front of my children.

A word that works for.....ME.

You might have heard of it before, might not.

If not, go ahead and 'google' the title of this post - AMISH SPRING BREAK.

Okay, so here it goes.

Ready?

There's no turning back.

I'm heading for:


R U M S P R I N G A


~

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Children's Sermons Volume XIII

~

Pastor:  Do any of you know about Mary?
Jake:  Yep.  Mary had a little lamb.


Pastor:  What do you think Jesus' friends said when he walked on water?
Jake:  They probly said, "Jesus, you look taller today."


Pastor:  There will be no more questions today.


Friday, November 25, 2011

So.......................................Much.

~

Happy Day after Thanksgiving! 

I'm not going to call it "Happy Black Friday", cuz, well, that's just w-e-i-r-d.

Today is more like, "Happy You Don't Have To Work Today Cuz You Worked So Hard Yesterday And You Gained The Entire 18 Pounds Of Turkey That You Cooked And Your Feet Feel Like They Are Going To Be Severed From The Ankles And You Might Be Just A Little Hungover From The Mysterious Blue Concoction That Your Sister In Law Is World Reknown For And Yeah There Ain't No Way We're Having A Yard Sale Today Day."

Or something like that.

We had such a great day yesterday.

Family old and new.

Traditions old and new.

As we went around the table(s) to say what we were thankful for, I realized my answer was one word.

EVERYTHING.

But I knew I had to expound, cuz, well, everyone else was expounding, and even though I am thankful for EVERYTHING, I knew I had to give a 41 year old answer instead of a 6 year old answer, although, the 6 year old answer was, "Football, baseball, and yeah, I guess my family too."

What a difference one year makes.

Flashback.

One year.

Same house.

Same hostess.

Same table.

Same invitation list.

Same menu.

Different life.

One year ago----

My husband had recently returned from the Gulf of Mexico and Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The only places that he could find WORK involved oil spill disasters.

And when the oil was cleaned up, there was still no more work at 'home'.

And his absence had adversely affected the dynamic of our family.

None of this was his, or anybody's, fault -  it just, simply, 'was'.

Concerns loomed in my head - our marriage, our house, our bank account, my failing health, his depression linked to being unemployed for far too long.

The list just went on and on.

Fast forward.

2011.

What a difference a year makes.

My husband is employed.  At a job that he loves.  With a company who is EMPLOYEE-driven, CUSTOMER SATISFACTION-driven.  A most perfect fit, in the twilight of his career.  Only God could have made this one evolve the way it did.  And we know it, believe me.

We're not going to lose our house.  HUGE Amen.  Cuz we love our house.  Cuz it was designed and built with the blood, sweat, and tears of not just 'us', but so many of our family and friends.  I can look at a wall and remember who painted it.  No, it's not just a house.  It is, and always will be, our SANCTUARY.

My kids are amazing.  They are HEALTHY and beautiful and smart and engaging and God-loving and....and....and...  yeah, you know.  They rock.

I haven't been in the hospital in 2 1/2 years.  That may not seem like a big deal, but for someone like 'me', that's downright miraculous.

The federal government finally agreed with me and my doctors and gave me a label that, while difficult to swallow, it was a label I NEEDED to be smacked with.  Finally, I have been officially labeled.

DISABLED.

Oh, what a HUGE relief.  In so many ways.

I am thankful for so..................much.

My amazing husband, so amazing in fact that he has left our home for extended periods of time simply to provide for his family in any and every way that he possibly could.

My restored marriage.  End of story.  Amen.

My Reilly and my Jake.  Joy?  Are you KIDDING ME?  There is soooooo.....much............   laughter and joy in this house, in our lives.........

Laughter.  Yes, I am thankful for laughter. 

My extended family.  Every single member.

I know there's more.

There is.........

So...................

Much.........................

..............to be thankful for.

Amen.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Forgive Me, Father...







It's THAT time again......






Some of us were mainstream in our tomfoolery.....



Even if perchance our Halloween hijinx by the mini- Wolverine involved 'claws'....








And then of course, as tends to happen in THIS family, some of us took things a bit to the extreme.



I know.  The HORROR!





It's even worse when the Cloistered Nun Zombie S-M-I-L-E-S.....


Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.  I enthusiastically encouraged.RELUCTANTLY kowtowed to my daughter's blasphemous Halloween costume.  And her father gleefully assisted refused to help apply the blood lather.

The Nun Zombie pondered what might happen if she approached a 'Catholic' house in her costume.  Her parents assured her that she would probably be prayed for.  And if she happened upon an IRISH Catholic house, she might be prayed for and handed a beer all at the same time. 

Alas, the annual fright fest came to its inevitable close with two complete sugar meltdowns.

Thusly, I leave you, until next year, with the "After" pictures:







It is worth mentioning that Captain Jake "Wolverine" Sparrow swindled piggy back rides from his 'chaperone' for 2 1/2 hours.  All 41.5 pounds of Wolverine, plus 12 pounds of empty candy wrappers.  Said 14 year old chaperone returned to the house without the Wolverine.  His excuse, "That kid WIPED me out.  I couldn't carry him anymore and I couldn't keep up with him.  At one point, I sat down on the curb and said, Yeah Jake, go ahead and start eating some candy."  And then he handed the Wolverine off to the rest of the 'group' and abandoned his post and came home and went to bed! 


Can't say that I blame him one bit!  I know exactly how he feels.  Every day of my life............

See ya next year!



Saturday, August 27, 2011

When Science Should NOT Be Tried At Home



photo credit to my future daughter in law, Miss Nooooon-yezzzzzzz



Jake Nye the Science Guy was in the bathroom.

With the door closed.

Alert #1.  Jake, in the bathroom, with the door CLOSED?  Hmmm. 

Jake?  Are you okay?

"Yeah Mom, nuthin to worry about here.  I'm not doing nuthin wrong."

Alert #2.  He's already confessed.

Jake.  Are you using the toilet?

"Only to put my experiment on the seat."

RED Alert #1, Alert #3

Jake.  Get out of the bathroom NOW.

"I can't leave my experiment alone, Ma."

RED Alert #2.  Forget counting the regular alerts.  We're nearing a Defcon situation.

Since we no longer have any pets, and since his sister escaped the asylum and is currently being detained in the home of a 'more' normal family, I did my best to remain calm.

JAKE.  Listen to me VERY carefully.  BRING your EXPERIMENT and YOURSELF to ME IMMEDIATELY.  YOU HAVE FIVE SECONDS.

Science Guy is beaming.  Not sure if it's cuz he likes science, or because he knows it could potentially be the last time he ever displays a smile for the rest of his Earthly days.

"Here it is Mom.  But you might not ah-preesh-ee-ate how cool it is."

Red Alert #3.  Appreciate?  Used correctly in a sentence?  While beaming?  And holding a recycled plastic cylindrical Crystal Light container filled with.......oh dear Lord what hath he done?

Jake.  What is this?

Beaming Muppet of a Pretend Scientist:  "It's my experiment!  Doncha love it?"

No, Jake, what is your experiment MADE OF? (as terror starts to grip me as I realize the contents of the plastic container will soon begin to melt and burn my fingers into stumps before I can dial 911)

Science Guy, counting items off using his fingers, "Well, it's nail polish, shaving cream, ummmm oh yeah, my lemonade Crystal Lite that I was drinking, um, shampoo, and um..oh yeah my perfume (cologne, for those who need interpretation)"  And he's still beaming.

I begin to slowly walk towards the front door.  Beaming Science Guy follows.

It's been several decades since I had Chemistry, but, yeah, there's something else in his concoction, for sure.

Hmmmm.  Jake?  You sure there's nothing else in your experiement?

Beamer:  "Nope.  Oh, yeah, wait a second, yeah, um, itch cream (aka HYDROCORTISONE), and my special smell good soap (Dove Care for Men that Beamer HAD to HAVE just cuz his Dad uses it)."

Jake?  What ELSE?

Beamer:  NOTHING!

I give him 'the look', as I continue to hold the nearly dissolved, highly fumigating, mysterious concoction that I am not so sure is not about to melt several of my phalanges in an accident that I will for once, be completely unable to decipher or describe to the medical attendants and/or the social workers who will eventually want to know how it is that my 40 pound six year old son had access to shaving cream and nail polish, of all things.

Beamer:  Oh, wait, yeah, something else too.

I'm silent.  Waiting.

Beamer:  Ear drops.

THESE ear drops Jake?  THESE ear drops that come from a visit to Dr. Jill for ear infections?  THESE ear drops?

Beamer:  Um. Yep.  (And he is still BEAMING!  As if he has just solved for pi.)

Jake?  This container is EMPTY.

Beamer:  Yeah, (head nodding violently).  I used the whole thing.  It took a long time to squeeze them all out but i did it.  But then it was too watery so i added more nail polish.  But then it didn't smell so good.  So that's when I put in ALL MY PERFUME.

I open the front door.  And yes, it's 905pm, Eastern time.  And I tell him to follow me.  And he has the nerve to tell me no, he doesn't want to get his feet dirty, since he JUST HAD HIS BATH. !?!?!?!?!

I'm done with being calm, cool, collected Mom.  And become my usual PSYCHO Mom, as I came pretty close to screaming, "THEN PUT ON YOUR SHOES THAT ARE RIGHT HERE!  RIGHT HERE BY THE DOOR!  RIGHT HERE!  PUT THEM ON AND PUT THEM ON NOW!"

No longer Beaming Failure of a Scientist:  "Are you gonna hit me?"

Oh buoy.  No, I am not going to hit you, nor am I in the habit of hitting you, but I've got something even more painful up my sleeve, Bucko.

I force him to accompany me outside (where we do have outside lighting, thank you very much.)

And I give him the oozing and melting and smoking container that used to hold 5 packets of Crystal Lite, and now holds, well, to be completely honest, I HAVE NO IDEA.

And I tell him to put it over 'there'.  Not IN the trash can.  Not IN the grass.  Not NEAR a sprinkler.  Not NEAR the house.  Put it by that big plastic bucket.  And do NOT dump it.  And LEAVE it.

Science Whackjob amazingly does as he is told.

But doesn't want to come in the house.

Jake.  GET in the house.

"But Mom!  I wanna see what happens next."

"Jake?  GET IN THE HOUSE NOW BEFORE I WILL SHOW YOU WHAT HAPPENS NEXT AND I AIN'T TALKING 'BOUT NO EXPERIMENT."

He enters the house reluctantly, kicks off his shoes, and mutters something under his breath.

WHAT did you just say?

"I said, YOU don't ah-preesh-ee-ate how cool science is."

My first thought is, "Where is my Xanax?"

But I chose to deliver and elicit consequences first.

He has six more minutes to complete his essay on:

1).  WHY he thought it was a 'good' idea to try and build a Crystal Lite bomb.

2).   WHERE did he get this cockamammie idea from.


and finally:


3).  HOW it is that he can assure, aka PROMISE, his downtrodden mother that no such science 'experiment' will ever happen again unless he is in the 10th grade, in Chemistry, in a controlled environment, with a lab coat wearing teacher named Fred Savage who wears Safety Glasses every day and mixes red, green, and yellow frothing concoctions into a beaker, drinks it, smashes the beaker against the blackboard as it splinters  into glass smithereens and cackles like the mad scientist that he is/was as he informs 25 aghast teenagers that he just made 'water'.

Fast forward 40 minutes.

The MAD scientist.....is supposed to be writing the answers to his essay questions.

I hear a very weird sound involving what sounds like something being shoved into a plastic garbage bag.

So I weeble wobble myself to the living room to find out what 'science' experiment could be in process NOW.

Whatever it WAS, I missed it.

But I persued my usual line of questioning.

After a valiant attempt at warding off the interrogation, Science Boy fessed up.

"Mom.  I was trying to put my FOOT into the bag of APPLES."

Sigh.  Head down.  Eyes closed.  Prayers for the divinest of all possible interventions.

"And then my FOOT got stuck and I couldn't get it out."  (of a 3 lb. bag of Granny Smith Apples)

Jake.  How many apples were in the bag?

"You mean, like, when we got them at Publix?"

Sigh.  No Jake.  I mean, like, how many apples were in the bag when you stuck your foot in there?

"Oh.  Just one Mom.  Just one."

(I've noticed that his foot is no longer in the bag.)

So, Jake.  Whadya do with the apple that was in the bag, after you got your foot out of it?

"MOM!  Whadya think I did with it?  I ate it!  It was a perfectly fine apple!  And you and Dad are telling us all the time that we shouldn't waste food!  You can't get mad at me for eating an apple!  Geesh!"

Oh no, Whackjob.

I'm not mad.

Nope.

Bewtiched, bothered, and bewildered?

AB-SO-LOOT-LEE


Monday, June 27, 2011

Sweet Child O'Mine

~

The Summer of the Pirates has kept me, well, busy.

So unusually busy, in fact, that I have been quite remiss in my postings.

I neglected to mention and publically celebrate Reilly the Red's birthday.

It wasn't a 'big' birthday.  (Translation - there was no P A R - T E E)

But every birthday deserves mentioning and celebrating, no matter who you are, what age you are, where you are, how you are....

Reilly the Red woke up at 147am on the day she turned N I N E (9!!!!), and woke me up to tell me she 'just couldn't stand it (the excitement) any longer'.  I told her to go back to bed.

At EXACTLY 347am, she woke me up AGAIN to tell me she couldn't stand it any longer.

This time, I actually opened my eyes.  I casually reminded her that she already KNEW what her birthday present was (tickets to the American Idol concert in Orlando, thank you very much), she KNEW we weren't having a big party or anything like that, she KNEW that we would be taking her to dinner and a movie over the weekend.......why was she so excited exactly?

She exclaimed, "I just can't BELIEVE that you didn't even get me one teeny tiny surprise on my BIRTHDAY!"

I sighed.

I directed her to the dining room table.

There was a white box.

A bakery box.

She opened it and said, in classic Captain Jake Sparrow fashion, "WWWWWWW H O AAAAAA...."

Inside the box was something she requested about six months ago, saying, "THIS is what I want for my birthday, NOT a cake."

Children underestimate the power of a mother's mental Rolodex.

She was staring at a glazed donut.

A really big glazed donut.

A really big glazed donut that was in fact so big, that I think it consituted being called a glazed donut CAKE.

It weighed about 3 pounds.

As her bulged out eyes had yet to return to their appropriate sockets, I spoke again.

"Happy Birthday, Reilly.  Please use a fork."

I went back to sleep on the couch.

From what I was told, she waited a few more hours, then went and shared her big fat donut cake with her Daddy and her friends at Fox and Friends.

And she got plenty more attention and shout-outs: a gazillion Old Navy gift cards from friends and relatives (she likes those better than cash, although she got some of that too, always eliciting a smile, just like every gift or phone call or card or casual birthday wish does) , a surprise shopping trip and lunch with Aunt Mermaidelicious, a surprise shopping trip and lunch with Dirty Diana, an unexpected 'let's drop everything that we're doing and sing happy birthday to Reilly the Red' celebration at Vacation Bible School, a surprise visit from some 'old' friends (the good kinda old, not the old kinda old) wearing bathing suits and bearing gifts, and the aforementioned family dinner at the restaurant of her choice, Red Lobster, where she ordered from the adult menu, tasted and rejected her first Shirley Temple, stuffed her piehole with Cheddar Bay Biscuits, shrimp and crab and garlic mashed potatoes, the gratis strawberry cheesecake with candle and a capella serenade and inevitable miserable tummy ache due to the voluntary gluttonous birthday dinner stuffing of one's nine year old shrimp and crab hole.

She's still 'waiting' for the Cars2 viewing.  It's coming.  We like to spread things out and make her 'suffer'.

Instead of writing my annual birthday ode to my beautiful daughter, I've chosen instead to quote the lyrics of my favorite song of all time.  I have my doubts that the songwriters were in fact reminscing about a young daughter.  It matters not.  Whenever I hear this song, I think of me, and I think of her.  And yes, this song remains on my cellphone, the only ringtone I've ever had.  And no, I could not have written a better lyric, but the rock ballad certainly epitomizes the most beautiful, sweetest, blue-eyed daughter of mine.

Sweet Child O' Mine lyrics
Songwriters: Adler, Steven; Hudson, Saul; Mckagan, Michael; Rose, Axl; Stradlin, Izzy;

She's got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky

Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that special place
And if I stare too long, I'd probably break down and cry

Whoa, oh, oh, sweet child o' mine
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, sweet love of mine

She's got eyes of the bluest skies
As if they thought of rain
I'd hate to look into those eyes and see an ounce of pain

Her hair reminds me of a warm, safe place
Where as a child I'd hide
And pray for the thunder and the rain to quietly pass me by

Whoa, oh, oh, sweet child o' mine
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, sweet love of mine

Whoa, oh, oh, oh, sweet child o' mine
Oh, oh, oh, oh, sweet love of mine

Whoa, oh, oh, oh, sweet child o' mine
Ooh, sweet love of mine

Where do we go?
Where do we go now?
Where do we go?

Where do we go?
Where do we go now?
Oh, where do we go now?

Where do we go?
Where do we go now?
(Sweet child)
Ooh, where do we go now?

Where do we go?
Oh, where do we go now?
Oh, where do we go ?

Where do we go now?
Where do we go?
Oh, where do we now?

Now now now now now now now
Sweet child, sweet child o' mine




Happy Birthday, Sweet Child O'Mine..........

Love,
Mama
~

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Pirate Concierge Who Audaciously Angers At The Absence of Cantaloupe

~

So.

It's Easter week.

We are packing our bags and heading to the west coast of Florida, a different sort of fireswamp, but not one with ROUSes (Rodents of Unusual Size). IOUSes perhaps, (Insects of Unusual Size), but definitely not Rodents.

Unless we're talking about the Captain, of course.





Ahem.

As we were making preparations for our annual Easter exodus, somebody seemed to have a problem with EVERYTHING.

We're talking about the Captain, of course.

Initially, he refused to share a suitcase with his sister, because he didn't want his wonderwears to potentially touch her wonderwears.

What?

Really Jake?

"I have to have my OWN suitcase. And it has to be on wheels."

Jake, I don't think you understand. There is not a lot of room at Grandma's, and we have to share suitcases to make room for the other people who are going to be there, too.

"I am NOT letting my clothes touch any stupid girl clothes. And this one time, when we were at Grandma's, and I had to get a change of clothes cuz I was dirty, and it was kinda dark, and I was naked, cuz I just got outta the shower, and I put my hand in the suitcase and I thought I had grabbed my shirt, but then, I pulled out Sissy's wonderwears, and I freaked out. Totally. I freaked out. I couldn't handle it. Nope. I'm gettin' all creepy just thinking about it."

***For the record, "Sissy" is eight years old and is ALWAYS modestly dressed. She is a very un-worldly EIGHT, and her 'wonderwears' have yet to DE-volve into anything freaky. (i.e. no, she does not wear g-strings or thongs.) Does the word COTTON mean anything to you?

I digress.

Upon realizing that I did not have the energy nor the where-with-all to engage the Captain, as supper was cooking, laundry was going full-steam, others needed to pack, and I had to tend to the aforementioned eight year old "Sissy" who is writhing in pain because, allegedly, her brother broke her ankle....on accident.

Billy Two Swords aptly recognizes that I am indeed in the middle of a monstrous maelstrom, by no fault of my own, simply because, I am the Mother of the Spawn.

Two Swords said, "I'm going to go spend some time with HIM and see if I can figure out what HIS problem is."

OMG! Thank you so much, honey, because, really, my plate is kinda full right now. I really appreciate your help.....

Whew.

One down......
___________________________________________________________________________________

Wait, there's something I need to address here, on behalf of Billy Two Swords (whom I have crowned Father of the Millennium) and me (the vessel that launched the Spawn, in addition to the Genius): We do NOT indulge our children. We do NOT allow our household to be run according to the whim of the children. We are proponents of Biblical parenting, and on the scale of, are we doing a good job as parents or not, well I am going to say YES WE ARE. Our children know that they are immensely loved and adored because we tell them so, about a hundred times a day. If I were to ask them, right now, out of nowhere, "Who loves you?" they both would answer one of the following four entities, "Mama, Daddy, God, Jesus", in no particular order. Our children receive consequences and punishments for negative behaviors, and they receive lavish lauding for any and all accomplishments, even those that fall short of perfection. We have a budding musician and songwriter who we are proud of. We have a little Charlie Hustle of a baseball player who we are equally proud of. We have two little sinners who we forgive and who we love with every fiber of our beings, every minute of every day.

THAT BEING SAID, it takes a village to raise the Captain. It really, really does.

He has never visited a psychologist or psychiatrist before, because, well, his Mama was so extensively trained in child psychology that somebody once gave her a very pretty piece of paper with a gold stamp on it.

And this Mama in particular is CONVINCED that the Captain has OCD (Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder).

There once was a time where Two Swords didn't 'completely' buy-in to my amateur diagnosis, and thought that perhaps we could completely cure the Captain of his 'alleged' ailment through lots and lots of Biblically applied corporal punishment. It wasn't too difficult for me to arguably convince Two Swords that his approach would not work. I have taught Two Swords everything I have ever learned about OCD, and as frustrating as the Captain gets sometimes (okay, every day), we have figured out when to 'let Jake be', and when to throw the hammer down. Sometimes we teeter and sometimes we fall, but for the most part, we beautifully balance the beam (plank) on which the Captain doth walk. Thus far, we have adroitly educated all of his teachers on the idiosyncrasies of the Captain, insisting that he NEVER receive preferential treatment, that he NEVER be treated with kid gloves, that he ALWAYS adhere to any and all classroom/school rules, that he ALWAYS respond with FIRST TIME obedience. We have insisted that if the Captain doesn't obey a rule on the first 'try', that a consequence must immediately follow. We do not allow 'wiggle' room while disciplining the Captain.

At the same time, however, we do allow the Captain to be 'the Captain'. But he does not 'run' this house. Nor his classroom, nor anything else in his life lest the occasional remote control object or his dog. Which is not to say that he hasn't tried. Lord have mercy, he has tried. And continues to try. Or to push. Prod.

I think y'all get my drift, but in case you didn't, I'll summarize:

We, Hurricane Rojo and Billy Two Swords, are well aware that our son, Captain Jake Sparrow exhibits many, if not all, symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. We have not had him examined nor diagnosed by a psychiatrist because we don't believe that giving him that 'label' would help him in any other way than how we are already working together to help him. We do not believe that his 'condition' warrants medication at this time, nor at any time in the past. Of course, all of this is subject to change at any time, but so far, by the Grace of God, and with the love and support of a very large contingent of our small community, collectively we have done a 'good' job at figuring out the 'right' way to 'manage' our Sparrow.

I just felt the need to 'throw' that out there, in case one of you were to read of yet another exploit of the Captain and quietly mutter to yourself, "If that were MY kid, I'd BEAT it out of him." It can't be 'beaten' out of him. Trust me on that one. And if this is Captain Jake Sparrow's biggest hurdle in life, then I will get on my knees and thank and praise my God. Because we can work around this little quirk of his. It ain't easy, and yes it can be difficult and exhausting at times, but he is MY son and he brings far more joy and laughter and love to far more people than he does aggravation and exasperation. And as long as we are balanced on THAT beam, we, the village, are successfully and collectively raising Captain Jake Sparrow.

I'm done with my thesis on "How to raise an OCD pirate".

__________________________________________________________________________________

Back to the situation at hand......

Two Swords has entered the Captain's bedroom to see what the deal is with his 'packing' conundrum, as well as to hopefully gain some more insight on what REALLY happened fifteen minutes ago between the "it was a a a a accident!" brother and "MY ANKLE IS BROOOOOOOOOOKEN" sister.

After coming to Reilly the Red's immediate rescue, I have propped her up in the child cave (the den), examined her right ankle, determined that it is most likely NOT broken, applied ice, provided a "i think i'm gonna throw uppppppppp" bucket, and educate her on the 1-10 scale for nausea and for pain. As she has overcome her hysteria and reverted to slow and quiet moaning, I retreat to the kitchen to flip the pork chops.

The Captain informs me that, "Me and Dad have made a different arrangement for packing" and quickly returns to his bedroom.

Okay. Don't care. Stir the fried corn.

From the child cave: "Maaaaamaaaaaa?"

This requires another visit to the child cave. The pain is now an '8' and the nausea is a '9'. I inform Reilly that I will not give her any Tylenol until her nausea goes down to a '5'. The soft moaning returns.

I return to the pork chops.

The Captain must have a "Mom is now available for me to bother" radar as he appears AGAIN to inform me of the following:

"Yeah, so, me and Dad are gonna share a suitcase so I don't have to worry about my wonderwears being FREAKED OUT if they touch any disgusting girl WONDERWEARS."

The Captain has given life to 'wonderwears'. He has animated the clothes in his suitcase. This is beyond any Fruit of the Loom commercial. This is pure lunacy.

In what seems like several eternities later, I loudly declare that supper is ready, and ask everyone to please wash their hands and come to the table.

Reilly the Red's nausea has subsided. I placed a Tylenol next to her beverage.

We four pirates enjoyed a delicious dinner, complete with engaging and comfortable conversation, since we have no broken ankles on our proverbial plates.

Reilly's Tylenol kicks in pretty quickly, and I helped her get to her bed. As she struggled to keep her eyes open, she begged me to wake her up by 745 pm so that she can see 'who got kicked off' American Idol. It is now 722 pm. I have no intentions of doing any such thing, but reassure her that I will watch it and DVR it and she can watch it in the morning, before our westward expedition. And, Ryan Seacrest-style, she is Reilly-OUT! I closed THAT door, blessedly thankful that we have either a twisted or sprained ankle, not a broken one.

Back at the trough dinner table, I notice that Jake has devoured nearly an ENTIRE cucumber, slice by slice. That child LOVES cucumbers. As I watched this herbivorous behavior, I remembered an anecdote from his younger days that I proceeded to tell him.

One of the first 'table' foods that the Captain tried while being weaned from the bottle was......cucumbers. Weird, I know, but not nearly as weird as when Reilly the Red ate an entire onion as if it were an apple, and would NOT surrender it. She never did get sick, but she also never asked for another one again.

But when Great-Grandma Izzy found out that our tiny little Captain had an affinity for cucumbers, she proceeded to scold her forty year old grandson, Billy Two Swords, that babies absolutely, positively must NOT be given cucumbers PERIOD. Humored, Two Swords stood up to the Matriarch of the Great State of West Virginia and said, "If my boy wants cucumbers, I'm gonna let him have cucumbers." Great-Grandma Izzy cursed predicted that giving cucumbers to babies will, um, 'make them crazy'.

So after re-telling the Cucumber Prediction to Jake, the conversation went West to Cantaloupe Town. Literally.

The Captain exclaimed, "Grandma Diane BETTER have me some CANTALOUPE."

My eyes met with Two Swords, and a hint of friskiness was in the air. The Captain very rarely uses the telephone. Much to the disdain of grandmothers and aunts alike, the kid just doesn't like to talk on the phone. But to quote Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas, 'I Gotta Feeling....that Tonight's gonna be a good night."

Two Swords said, "Well, you better call her and make sure she has some."

I responded with, "She might need to put it on her grocery list for tomorrow, and you know how far Grandma lives from Publix - she won't be able to make another trip once she's back home."

We succeeded in our mischievous gentle nudging when the Captain jumped from his chair and said, "I'm callin' her RIGHT NOW!"

Two Swords dialed the number for him.

And ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you..........

The Concierge.

Jake: Pap-pap?

My Dad, Pap-Pap: (Heavy, long, loud sigh, to be heard in Montana) WHAT, Jake?

Jake: Can I talk to your Mom? I mean, can I talk to your wife?

Pap-Pap: Can you talk to WHO?

Jake: Grandma! Can I talk to Grandma Diane?

Needling Pap-Pap: What do you want to talk to her about?

Jake: I need to discuss some arrangements with her.

(Two Swords busts out laughing so hard I thought he was going to break his recliner)

Needling Pap-Pap: What? What KIND of arrangements, Jake?

Jake: I need to discuss the arrangements for coming to your house.

Needling Pap-Pap: (knowing full well that he doesn't have the patience nor the energy to combat whatever it is that is about to exit the mouth of the Captain) Yeah. Hold On.

(Background noise on other end of phone: "Here. Your grandson wants to discuss the 'arrangements' for the weekend." "What arrangements?" "I have NO idea. He wants to talk to YOU about the arrangements.")

Grandma Diane: Jake?

Jake: Hiiiiiiiii Grand-ma Diiiiii-annnnnne.

Grandma Diane: What are you doing?

Jake: I'm sittin' in my dad's lap talking to YOU on the phone. What the heck do ya think I'm doing?

Grandma: Well, what can I do for you.

Jake: You got any cantaloupe?

Grandma: Do I have any WHAT?

Jake: CANTALOUPE, Grandma, CANTALOUPE. You got me any?

Grandma: No, I don't but I can put it on my list if you want some.

Jake: You better or I'll get really angry.

(WTF? Seriously? 'you better'? To his grandmother? Ugh.)

Grandma: Okay, Jake. I'll get some cantaloupe. Pap-pap likes it too, and I know how much YOU like it. I don't want you to get angry. Okay?

Jake: Yeah, whatever, um, can we discuss some arrangements?

(Honestly, this child has never uttered the word 'arrangement' in his life prior to this evening, and he's flaunting it like he's a newly crowned Miss America sashaying down the Atlantic City runway.)

Grandma: (Oblivious to the need to FURTHER discuss arrangements with any pirate, let alone the Sparrow, since all necessary and pending arrangements have already been discussed with the Sparrow's PARENTS) What kind of arrangements, Jake?

Jake: All kinds of arrangements, Grandma. (By this time, he is comfortably settled in Two Swords' lap, he has his feet crossed at the ankle, one hand holding the phone, the other used as a tool to animate his conversation to a person who can't visualize him. Note to self - Skype might be in our near future.)

Grandma: Like.....?

Jake: (waving and weaving his right hand and nodding his head to and fro as he rants) (deep breath) Like, sleeping arrangements. Do I have to sleep on a mattress?

Grandma: You can sleep on the couch if you like.

Fist pumping Jake: YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! I like sleeping on the couch Grandma and do you know what, well the other Friday I think it was the other Friday or maybe it was the other Friday, well, I did a good job at my baseball game so my Dad said I could watch appropriate TV in the den and if I fell asleep on the couch that he was okay with that and do you know what happened well while I was sleeping I accidentally fell off the couch and landed on the floor, the brown floor, you know, the wood one, the one in the den, and I fell off and I got back on the couch and I went to sleep and i fell off again maybe even a couple more times but I wouldn't get hurt at your house cuz you have a rug by your couch.

Grandma: Um, okay. What's Reilly doing.

Jake: Wellllllllllllllllllllll. She's sleeping because I kinda sorta, um, ACCIDENTALLY broke her ankle.

Grandma: WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTtt?

Jake: It was a accident! See Mommy told us we were playing too rough and we needed to settle down or go outside but we didn't want to go outside hey did you know we have a turtle now that Daddy found and we named him Nerdel the Turtle and he eats strawberries and grass but if we touch him even a teeny tiny bit my Mom makes us wash our hands cuz she says that turtles have really weird germs but I really wanted to call him Bob I wanted to call him Bob William Fallon isn't that funny Grandma but yeah me and Sissy were hanging upside down off the back of the 'new' couch and Sissy started to fall and asked me to help her and wellllllll I ACCIDENTALLY pushed her instead of pulling her and her round bone on her foot smacked on the yellow floor I mean the new yellow floor the wood one and she started crying and screaming and I ran to my room really fast but Mom doesn't think it's broke so you're sure I can sleep on the couch because I'm sick and tired of sleeping on a mattress.

(clearly, this spawn of mine needs to see Slumdog Millionaire. Ugh.)

Grandma: (by this time, nearly stunned into silence) Oh. Well I'm glad her ankle isn't broken. Maybe you shouldn't play so rough inside the house.

Jake: Yeah. Um did I tell you about the suitcase arrangements because maybe you need to know that me and my dad are sharing a suitcase cuz we're boys and we're sharing a boy suitcase so that I don't have to worry about my wonderwears touching any girl wonderwears and it would be fine if they touched my dad's wonderwears cuz him and me wear the same kind even the same colors sometimes but his are bigger than mine cuz he is bigger than me and boy I sure am excited about playing in that big sand pile.

Grandma: (doing her very best to keep up with the 185wpm NASCAResque piehole) Um. Okay, but I thought the sand pile was gonna be a secret?

Jake: Yeah well mom and me had to negotiate something earlier and she told me if i did what she wanted me to that she had a big secret to tell me but i couldn't tell anybody but i couldn't help it that it made me so excited that i told everybody all about it at dinner and now i'm wondering what other kind of fun arrangements you might have for me like if the boys i mean daddy and pappap go out fishing and i'm stuck there with all the girls except for uncle chris he's not a girl but i'm sure I can have lots of fun with the sand pile and my mom told me i had to bring like ten pairs of clothes because i was going to get super dirty on that sand pile and what did pappap need all that dirt for or did he just get it for me because he knew i was coming and he knows how much i love playing in sand piles cuz remember the time that i wasn't supposed to play in the sand pile and i did anyways and pappap got really mad at me and just kept screaming JAKE JAKE JAKE all day long but I'm wondering what other kinds of fun I will have oh yeah my mom told me that you said you have a dvd player for the house we're staying in so i got my movies picked out already and i'm bringing Happy Gilmore cuz I think i'll really like it even though I've only seen pieces of it i never have seen the whole thing to the end and a Spiderman training video where i can learn all of Spiderman's moves and that would be really cool if i learned some of his moves and then i could try them out on the sand pile oh and i'm bringing the really old Ninja Turtle movie that Uncle Chris said he used to watch when he was little and maybe we can watch it together cuz I know how much Uncle Chris likes movies too.

Grandma: Well, Jake, it sure does sound like you're excited to come see us.

Jake: (Violently nodding his head) Yeah. I really am. I'm really excited. 'specially since i don't have to sleep with my sister UGH and I don't have to worry about my wonderwears touching any girl wonderwears and yeah i love that sand pile and i'm really happy that we got these arrangements all worked out.

Grandma: (most likely still in shock upon learning that her grandson has suddenly become an enamored Concierge) Well, let me go then, so I can get your cantaloupe because I don't want you to be ANGRY and please hug and kiss Reilly for me and try not to hurt her anymore because that might make ME a little bit angry, too.

Jake: (Laughing) Okay Grandma. I'll see you tomorrow. But don't forget the cantaloupe.

Grandma: Okay Jake. I'll see you tomorrow.

Jake: Bye Grandma. I love you.

-click-

Jake: DAD! Grandma made the arrangements (yeah, um, he heard he entire two-way conversation, Rain Man, he already knows) and I don't have to sleep on no stinkin mattress and she said it was okay that my wonderwears won't touch no girl wonderwears and she was going to get my cantaloupe and she's happy that i picked out some movies for my down time.

Dad: Dude, um, how much 'down time' do you think you're gonna have over there?

Jake: You know, like when you and Pappap get back from fishing and everybody is working hard to get the boat cleaned and the towels and bathing suits washed and you are helping Pappap to clean the boat and the girls are cooking supper and the boys are cleaning the fish if they caught any and that's my down time to watch my movies all by myself inside while everybody else is working. i might have to get more than three movies ready.

A Concierge.

A Concierge Who Happens To Be A Pirate.

A Pirate Concierge.......

A Pirate Concierge Who Audaciously Angers At The Absence of Cantaloupe

Sounds like I'll have plenty of yarns to spin when we return from our Western odyssey.

YO HO YO HO

~

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Children of the Corn

~

So.

Two weeks ago, we Scallywags were honored to be guests at Morticia's, I mean Marguerita's wedding.


Morticia, I mean, Marguerita, and I have been BFF's since, well, Olivia Newton John was at the top of the charts, if youknowhatimeanverne.

I can't stop calling her Morticia because her new name is Adams, and well, you know me, and I just can't help myself sometimes.  I never know when to shut my piehole, according to Two Swords.  Hmmmm.  Sounds like another pirate I might be acquainted with.....

Where was I?  Apopka!  Yes!  Apopka!  The wedding~

It was a glorious event, and will recieve it's own posting, with pictures and of course, the usual mix of snide comments and oozing compliments.

But I gotta tell the 'after-party-party' story.

We left the soiree and headed home at 10 pm. 

Reilly the Red, who just started to come out of her shell at 930, and let loose and meet a ton of girls her age, and actually DANCE, and who put up a bit of a protest at leaving 'so early', but was not inappropriate with her protest, just said, "Really?  It's time to go already?  I was JUST starting to have A LOT of fun!", well THAT pirate was asleep at the click of her seat buckle.

The Captain, who interestingly had on the same color scheme as another boy in attendance, who had fun the minute he got there, who tried to breakdance on his head on concrete, who took his shoes off (with other boys, I can't just out 'him') and decided to run and slide down a very shiny wooden floor hallway, who literally tried to beat a smitten 5 year old girl off with a stick, who asked the DJ to play "Ho-zay Qwherevo You are a friend of mine" (not at the behest of his mother, oh no that would NEVER happen), who, during the processional of the wedding actually turned around in his chair and SHUSHED a four year old girl (AS IF!), well THAT pirate put on his headphones and watched a video at the click of the buckle, and blinked the sleep away.

THIS pirate sat in the front passenger seat and tried to download to our chauffeur, Billy Two Swords, who the heck all those seven sisters were and who this was and who that was, because, other than the bride, who he knows very well, and one of the sisters and her husband, he was pretty much flying blind at the wedding.

NOT!

On the ride TO the wedding, Two Swords said, so who am I going to know there except for Morticia and her sister and Mr. Snap?

And I very forebodingly said, "Oh, I am certain you will run into someone you know, Mr. Most Popular Guy On Earth Who Saw Somebody He Knew In The Middle of Times Square in New York City During New York Marathon Week".

And my prediction was absolutely true when Two Swords hit the open bar for one cocktail and two Sprites and looked at the bartender and said, "Hey!  I know you!", at which point said bartender came out of the bar, to the 'other' side and offered high fives to the pirate family, as he is Mr. Gump's son, and is not typically a bartender two counties away.  So, once again, I maintain my contention that one is more likely to be six degrees from Billy Two Swords, than Kevin Bacon.  As for Mr. Gump - he comes by our house from time to time to pull his false teeth out of his mouth and totally freak out the pirates.  All FOUR of the pirates.  But we love him for other reasons too.

Backtrack - false teeth, Gump Jr, Billy Two Swords.....right!  The ride home!

It was a beautiful night, we had a great time, and we were all pretty whooped from baseball early that morning, a bit of chores in the afternoon, and BOOM the wedding.

Our drive home should have taken approximately forty minutes.

The weather was clear, the roads were barren, Two Swords was sober as can be, and my reminiscing piehole continued to runneth over.

As we exited off of a toll road ramp, and ended at a stoplight, (one pirate asleep, one pirate quietly watching a movie, one pirate running her reminiscent piehole, and one very quiet pirate very safely operating a family vehicle), Two Swords rolled his window down.

Three lanes away, an EXTREMELY large man has EXITED his EXTREMELY large truck and starts heading directly towards our family vehicle (um, there's an Alvin and the Chink-munks DVD clearly playing in the middle of the car).

It wasn't until I 'heard' him that I said, "Oh  buoy."

The words "Dumb, drunk, redneck" do not do this individual justice.  In fact, I'm probably insulting some dumb drunk rednecks when I try to offer a comparison.  And I'm reallllly trying to be nice here.

This guy was huge.  And inebriated.  And balded.  And inebriated.  And loud.  And tattooed.  And profane. 

And when I say profane, I mean, well, he is using words that THIS pirate has never uttered, even though she used to be a foul mouthed sailor before she was a foul mouthed pirate.

Out of NOWHERE, this BEASTLY BEHEMOTH BRAZENLY and ILLEGALLY exits his MONSTER truck and hightails it to our car, yelling and screaming and threatening Two Swords the entire way.

I shut my piehole.

Jake throws down the headphones.

Reilly wakes up.

Two Swords is silent.

The light turns green, and we turn right.

The BEASTLY BEHEMOTH had been in the far left turn lane, of a four lane highway off-ramp.

I thanked God that he was thankfully gone.

Yeah, right.  As if any of THAT would warrant a Pirate blogpost.

Oh-ho-ho- nooooooo.

To illustrate his insanity, the BEHEMOTH endangered Lord only knows how many lives that night, as he crossed over those four lanes of traffic and did his very best to incite Two Swords into a potentially deadly state of road rage conflict.

As we are now on a TWO lane road, this BEHEMOTH, still shouting expletives out of his open window, though all of ours are now sealed, but the BEAST was so loud, you could have heard him back in Apopka.

Or Ohio for that matter.

I whisper to Two Swords, "What did YOU do?"

Two Swords, who used to be a race car driver, (yep, it's true, I got pictures!  Doesn't that just make him even sexier?  Forearms, race car driver, a bit of a haunted past - just enough to be a 'bad boy' once upon a time, totally sexy bald head, gorgeous blue eyes, rough hands that tell the tale of a hard-working man.....yum.), attempting to safely and deftly navigate our 'family' vehicle, replied, "I guess this guy thinks I cut him off, but I didn't."

Which makes the BEHEMOTH even more BEASTLY and BRAZEN.  I'm not even using the word redneck anymore as a description, because that would make US rednecks and a whole gazillion of other rednecks look bad.  Let me try really hard to be a Christian here - this individual, to us a stranger, clearly made one or a dozen bad choices on this beautiful April Saturday evening.

His pursuit, no, his INTENTION to wreck our car, at the expense of his own, and his profound sense of voluntary endangerment began to frighten the bejesus out of all four pirates.

As the hair rises on the back of my neck, I begin to feel as if I am in the middle of a Stephen King horror story.

Two Swords remained silent.  Focused only on getting his family home safely.  To which I give him the ultimate thanks and praise, BECAUSE, in a former life, Billy Two Swords would have exited his vehicle way back at the four lane off ramp and proceeded to successfully pummel the BEAST, even though the BEAST outweighed Two Swords by about a hundred pounds, and outlengthed Two Swords by at least a foot.

Now, if you have had the pleasure of meeting Billy Two Swords, you know I speak the truth.  Billy Two Swords is a total BADASS.  Yep. Has never backed down from a fight.  Has incited his share of fights.  I have seen with my OWN eyes that this pirate of mine is NOT one to mess with.  No doubt about it.  And although it's ancient history, he has had his share of  'unsafely exit the car and begin road rage incident now' incidents.

But on this beautiful yet frightening warm April night, Two Swords became an even BIGGER BADASS.  But in a whole other way.

He did not exit the car.

He did not wind his window down and engage in profanity-laced screams.

Perhaps for the first time EVER, my awesome pirate husband, Billy Two Swords, navigated the vehicle like a MAN.  Like a MAN trying to protect the lives of his wife and children.  Fighting all the adrenaline his kidneys were releasing, Two Swords was focused on his mission:  Get home safely.

Keep in mind, we are still being chased and taunted, and we are clearly in danger and in need of assistance.

The BEAST is behind us, then to the LEFT of us on a TWO lane road, then he is in FRONT of us, trying to get Two Swords to play chicken, then he gets on the RIGHT of us.

On the right of us is nothing but the shoulder of the road, trees, brush, and ME.

Upon realizing that neither Two Swords nor I brought our cell phones to the wedding (and we have the names of COPS in our cell phones, hello!), I decide to roll my window down and loudly but passionately exclaim, "THERE ARE BABIES IN THIS CAR!  PLEASE STOP!"

This just incited the BEAST.

He went back ACROSS the TWO lane road and tried to sideswipe us.

Again.  Why?  Biting my tongue and saying - because he made some bad choices.  But YOU know what I REALLY want to say.

Two Swords rolls HIS window down and screams, "MAN!  I got MY KIDS in this CAR!  SETTLE DOWN!"

Another red light.

Crap.

Yep, the BEASTLY BEHEMOTH is out of his Monster Truck again.  Screaming expletives so rarely heard, that my non-Virgin-eared, non-earmuffed children have NEVER heard uttered.  And we live in Redneck country.   And they've been to college football games and NASCAR races.  And their parents have been construction workers for a very long time.  Yeah, they've heard 'some' words before.  And even utttered 'some' words before, which resulted in lecturing and consequential punishment.  But right now?  At this minute?  My two little petrified pirates are attempting to decipher the language of the BEAST.

As the light turned green, and the BEASTLY BEHEMOTH re-entered his MONSTER truck, his BRAZENNESS took me completely by surprise.

The BEAST passed our vehicle, on the left, of a two lane country road, in the middle of nowhere, and PARKED it, just BEGGING for Two-Swords to T-bone him.

Billy Two Swords went back into race car driver mode, somehow, by the grace of God, veered off to the right shoulder of the road, and passed the BEAST with nary a nick, nor a flat.

(An aside to my in-laws, near and far, dearly departed or still with us - be thankful of those days he drove like a maniac - he saved our lives as a result of cutting his teeth on those crazy two lane West Virginia mountain roads.)

We are out of the jaws of the BEAST.

Two Swords' eyes dart from sideview mirror to windshield to rearview mirror back to sideview mirror, a thousand times a second.

There is complete silence in the car.

Two Swords whispers to me:  "Where's the closest fire station?"

He knew where it was, but he was focused solely on getting his family to safety, so I whispered the location to him.

He nodded.

If my husband hadn't already 'known his role' as husband and father before this night, he certainly learned it and knew it on that Saturday night in April.

Eyes still darting, Two Swords whispers to me - "He's gone."

I still haven't taken a breath.

This whole um, 'adventure', has taken place over a period of three minutes.

I silently wonder if this BEAST is armed.

We are not.

But we might start packin', very, very soon as a result of this wonderful life-affirming experience.

I silently wonder if this BEAST is stalking us without his lights on.

I silently wonder if this BEAST has written down our license plate number, or the words on the frame surrounding our license plate which clearly state the name of our church.

I silently wonder, if this BEAST finds us, finds our home, dear God what happens NEXT?

Two Swords whispers to me again, as we are within two miles of our home, our blessed Sanctuary, the one with cell phones and computers and um, ammo....

"He's gone.  He turned around at such-and-such."

I do not question the veracity of his statement.  Perhaps moreso than at any other time in our marriage, I'm leaving this one up to the MAN.  He knows what he's doing, and he knows what he needs to do, and he proved it to me once again that he KNOWS HIS ROLE.  Husband, father, man of God, no longer chained to the falsity and sin of revenge or one-upping.

Silence in the car.

The children are still petrified.

So am I.

I whisper to Two Swords - "say something to the kids."

Two Swords said, "He's gone.  It's okay.  I'm sorry you had to see all that, and I'm sorry you heard some really bad words.  But look.  There's Walgreens.  We're almost home."

Reilly the Red expresses her fears - what if he comes back, what if he brings friends with him, what if he has a gun, what if what if what if and WHY was he doing and saying those things?

I try to reassure her - "Honey, we're almost home.  We will be safe.  Daddy will get us home."

Finally, we hear from the Captain.  YO HO YO HO.

"I gotta tell you something, Dad.

I gotta tell you,

that it really made me mad

when THAT guy

told you to

F--K him."

We didn't correct him.  We silently allowed him to express his anger, even though he said the 'F' word.

The Captain continues, of course.

"Dad.

That doesn't even make any SENSE!

How are you supposed to F--K him?

That guy was STUPID."

Again, we say nothing.

As we turn at the last light, so very close to home......the Captain says,

"Where was the C O R N anyway?"

Huh?

Jake, what are you talking about?

"That guy.  That stupid guy who was screaming about the corn.  Where was the corn?"

Jake?  What corn?  That scary guy never said anything about corn.

"Yeah!  He did!

He told Daddy to SUCK HIS COBS.

He told Daddy that Daddy was a COBSUCKER."

PHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

COBSUCKER!

PHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

"And I want to know where the corn is.

Cuz I like corn."

PHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

And as I thank and praise God for getting us home safely, the Jakester brings us back to reality at the exact time that Two Swords pulls into our driveway.

Another day, or night, in the lively lives of the pirates........

COBSUCKER.

Hilarious.

~

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Who What Where When Why Wednesday

So.

(SHANA!) has completely ignored my begging and pleading for a quick how-to-set-up-a-blog-carnival-successful-or-un.

So.

I'm pressing on.

Cuz it's Wednesday.

And last week, well, I left out the 'why'.

Which makes today, "Who What Where When Why Wednesday".

Last week, I veered a little toward the negative.

This week, some might view this as a 'regret' post, but it really isn't that at all.

I'm still feeling the shock of "Pia" from last week's American Idol, so this isn't a 'regret' post, merely a 'reminiscent' post.

Sort of.

It goes something like this:

I am 40 years old (and quickly approaching 41, dammit), and the goal I set for my 40th year was to lose 40 pounds.  Yeah, I did that already, and then some, and still losing.  Yay me!

That's NOT the post!

I am 40 years old, and now that I can actually say, I am 40 years old, I feel somewhat, well older, but um, validated.  Like, I graduated from college!  But "I am 40 years old" somehow seems more...I dunno, it seems more IMPORTANT than it did just a few years ago, and perhaps even more IMPORTANT than that pretty piece of paper that hangs in a pretty frame on an obscure wall in my home that I really, really, worked hard for, but in the end...did it really matter?  Does it really matter?  Because if you think about it, I've really, really, really worked hard at 'making' it to 40.   Really.  I've stared death in the face more times than I can count, and more times than I can remember, and when I go to Walgreens, or I'm admitted to the hospital, 'they' still say to me, "you are far too young to be this sick." 

So.

40 has become a milestone I wasn't quite expecting, in ways I never would have dreamed.

Which has made me a bit reminiscent.  That, and the joyful high school reunion wedding my family attended last week.

Anyhoo.

Here's my question and answer session with myself, or someone else, if anyone still reads 'me'.

If, I knew that someday I would lose my health, WHAT would I have done differently in my TWENTIES.
This has nothing to do with my choice of husband or wealth of children.  It's simply, if I knew I was going to become 'sick', then WHAT would I have done that would be impossible, today.

1). Join the Peace Corps (which sends my radically right-wing Republican conservative husband into a Keith Olbermann-like tailspin, but hey, it is what it is.)

2). Given more blood.  A lot more.  Cuz I used to, every now and again, and well, now I can't.

3). Imbibed in alcohol a whole lot more, learned how to smoke cigarettes, and maybe even, well, experiment with 'stuff' that is illegal in all 50 states.  At this juncture, I can't do any of those things, and honestly, I never really 'drank' until I was 29.  In retrospect, I would have liked to have tried some of these things with people I trusted.  But there weren't very many of them around.  But I could have asked my Dad, hey Dad, here I am, at oh, 26, and I think I'd like to try THIS, because I've never tried it before, I want to know what the big deal is, and I know that you won't let anything bad happen to me.  There it is. I wrote it down.  I made it real.  Yeah, sinful as it may seem, sinful as it truly is, I would have experimented, just a bit, with someone I trusted, Dad or no Dad. 

4). I think I would have had a lot more fun in the past 20 years if I wasn't so guarded, if I just 'let loose' and TRIED to have a good time, rather than built up more walls than Ft. Knox.  Judge me if you like, but the Jeopardy Queen hath spoken, and wonders if I would have gotten more or less answers correct if I were intoxicated at 7 pm on a Thursday.  Interesting. 

5).  I would have stayed single longer, worn makeup sooner, and accepted the fact that yes in fact, you are a girl, Rojo, accept it and move on, cuz you damn sure ain't getting anything altered, duh.  Again, 29 was my magic number, and I really don't know why.  But I think if I had done all these things sooner, I never would have had....

6).  The blasted 'first'.  I can't even use the word 'marriage' here, because it wasn't.  Let's just say, that KNOWING WHAT I KNOW NOW, it never would have happened, and I regretted it as I was saying the vows, KNOWING it was a mistake, and I have since conveyed that fact and those feelings to my little 8 going on 23 year old daughter, in the hopes that she'll trust her 'gut' someday.  So maybe that was 'the reason'.  So I could spread the word.  If you ain't feeling it, don't do it.

6).  Toured the world before it became unsafe to do so. Unsafe not just because I am an albino of an American, freckled, frail and fair, and could never 'pass' for anything else, but also unsafe because I got sick with an inflammatory autoimmune disease that a Pakistani psychiatrist in Clermont, Florida translated into "brane injuree"?  I would have gone to the Motherland (Ireland), and I would have fit in beautifully.  Heck I might have even stayed there awhile.  Attempted to attempt to speak the 12 years of French that I allegedly 'learned', while traipsing down the Champs-Elysees, which happen to be what I believe are the two prettiest words ever spoken, in any language - chaun-zz-aye-lee-zay.  Say it with me:  chaun-zz-aye-lee-zay.  Like butter.  I would like to have said chaun-zz-aye-lee-zay while sitting at a cafe along the Champs-Elysees, with a mouth filled with French bread and French butter.  And of course, French wine.

7).  I would have been kinder.  Not just once.  Not just twice.  Always, and to everyone.

End of discussion.

~

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Who What Where When Wednesday

~

So.

As I was awakened from peaceful slumber with what seemed to be a loud argument between my allegedly sleeping children who had risen two hours early to watch tv and were fighting over the remote but upon a Further Fallon Investigation (FFI), it was determined that....

Yeah.

It was a dream.

But I SWEAR I heard them arguing.

Maybe I have some weird kinda tinnitis going on, where the ramblings of the Sparrow don't just echo in my ears, but also my subconscious.

I traipsed into the living room at FIVE O FOUR AM, after finally getting to sleep at ONE FORTY FIVE AM (FRICK A FRACK A FRICK A FRACK), and of course, found perfect silence and silent darkness.

Crap.

I am such an idiot.  It was 'just a dream', as Hairy Underwear (the moniker established for Carrie Underwood by, you guessed it, the Sparrow) would sing.

So, I return to bed.

And started to think about.......supper for tonight.

Why?

Heck if I know.

Anyway, I was thinking that I had some thawed chicken tenderloins, and was trying to mentally scan my recipes for something that the kids 'love', as we can have a 'real meal' tonight because there is no baseball game.

At the same time that I am mentally preparing dinner, 14 hours EARLY, a thought occurred to me.

I have said it once, and I will say it til the day it can no longer be said - you don't EVEN want to know what goes on behind the skullcap of THIS brain.  Even I, keeper of said brain, fear what's in there.  Which is why I will never submit to hypnotism.  Ever.  I'm scared to death of what they might 'find', and then they'd probably send me to some psycho underground chamber where Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones simply 'erase' my brain, Men In Black-style.   What I do know is that there is potetntially enough daunty stuff in there for me to become downright horrified once it's revealed and unleashed.

Okay, this post is not about physiological psychology, although it could be, as I would be more than qualified to hold such a deliberation, so says that pretty framed piece of paper hanging on my wall.  But alas, it's not.

As I lay in bed, hoping that sleep will come 'right back', yet knowing that of course it will NOT, thinking about chicken tenderloins, the proverbial light illuminated.

How do the chicken farmers/slaughterers separate the chicken tenderloin from the chicken breast?  Hmmmm?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Is there REALLY a machine that is capable of splaying a dead, headless, featherless chicken on a conveyor belt, removing the skin and bone and slicing the premium parts of the once-feathered, now-slaughtered barnyard fowl in just the right places? 

In the flash of a non-blinked eye, my bizarre inner monologue of the lamentations of the chicken slaughterers  quickly became something even more quirky and ridiculous.

I decided, right then and there, that I would NEVER want to be a chicken farmer.  Bleck.  And I am a consistent consumer of cooked chicken.  Lots and lots of it, and I thank God for Mr. S. Truett Cathy and his pioneering 'invention' of Chick-Fil-A every now and again.

Then, my brain took a trip, threading through thick thorny thistles of thought.

I started thinking of all the 'jobs' I would NEVER want to have.  Not just "Dirty Jobs", Mr. Mike Rowe.  Just plain 'unpleasant jobs that have no appeal to me whatsoever, and actually disturb me that anyone would choose such career paths or to be so unfortunate as to have little or no choice to function in these areas of employment, let alone potentially thrive.  And the numbers and types of those jobs began to add up really quickly.

And to quote the Staples' commercial, "That was easy".

And then I took my thick thorny thistles of thought for a trot around the corner.

I thought of starting a blog carnival, entitled, "Who-What-Where-When-Wednesdays".

'cept I'm so technologically impotent, I don't know how to capture my own html code, load it onto my blog, and have a REAL blog carnival.  But there are those of you out there who do, (SHANA!), and I'm hoping you'll feel some sympathy for my ignorance and assist me with my complete unrealistic fantasy of Mommy Blog greatness.

So.

Until someone (SHANA!) schools me on implementing html code, I have chosen to begin my very first blog carnival for Who What Where When Wednesday, sans the link back to my blog.

And I don't have any giveaways, because I don't have any 'real' advertising, and I'm still in the prenatal stage of blogging, but I do hope you will 'ride' my carnival, perhaps even have some fun and play along nicely with others, and check back next week to see if (SHANA!) heard my cries for my help, and made this a REAL blog carnival!


Today's topic is:  What Job/Career Would You NEVER Choose For Yourself?

Here goes my top ten list:

  1. Chicken Farmer/Slaughterer
  2. Septic Tank Emptier
  3. Mother of Multiples - hey, I'm not knocking anybody else here, but I have ONE SINGLE SOLITARY SON who hath convinced me that he himself is TRIPLETS in and of himself.  I don't think there could possibly be any more anguish (or hilarity) if there were physically three of him, as there are most definitely, at a minimum, three of HIM in HIS head, and of course, MINE as well.  Which leads me to number.....
  4. Mother of the Spawn - yeah I'm his Mama, and yeah, I love him, and yeah, he cracks me up and gives me awesome writing material, but No, I would never have chosen this line of vocation.  Or Chinese water torture, as it often seems as insufferable as "Don't EVEN ask me what happened today".
  5. Speaking of vocation - I don't think I'd make a great cloistered nun.  Forget about the whole celibacy issue.  They don't have pretty shoes, so, yeah, I couldn't do that job if I can't wear low rise jeans and pretty shoes.
  6. Colo-rectal surgeon.  Does one really 'choose' this as a specialty?  Do you make more money if you are a butt guy, rather than a boob guy?  Is it really 'worth' it to shove lasers and scalpels into the asses of near strangers, day in, day out?  Is it 'fun'?   Honestly, does one wake up one morning in their second year of medical school and exclaim, "I want to be an Ass Man"?
  7. Toll booth cashier
  8. Fishmonger
  9. Phlebotomist
  10. A Zoo Poop Scooper for extremely large turds excreted from animals such as lions, tigers, bears, oh my.
  11. Brussel Sprout Taste Tester
There you have it.

You'll notice I have chosen eleven, not 10.   I couldn't stop, to be honest, and if i really tried hard enough, I'd probably end up with 80.

Waiting with baited breath to hear "yours".

Rojo

~

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dirty Rotten Scoundrel

~

Remember this picture?


Come on.  Surely you must.  I just posted it YESTERDAY in fact.

It was his 'wedding' attire.

Well, a few moments ago, I got an email from Aunt Jodi, who liked the pics of the kids, but wrote to me in an email, AND I QUOTE:

"I'm still searching for the RIGHT comment to post on the photo of Jake...."

I started to write her back, and stopped midstream with the following sentence - "Forget it.  This is a blog post.  Go there instead."

So.............................
There are no 'wrong' comments to post in regards to the Captain whose ship never sails, that's for DAMN sure!

Just minutes ago (and please keep in mind, his room looks exactly the same as it did a month and a half ago, when Aunt Jodi was last in our home, but of course, worse)....

In fact, I simply don't go in 'there', for fear that one of the ROUSes (Rodents of Unusual Size) from The Princess Bride's fire swamp, might just lurch at me from under a stack of legos, well aged and rotten green apple cores, 'weapons of mass destruction' aka light sabers and Incredible Hulk fists, clean laundry from 2007 buried underneath dirty laundry from yesterday, empty juice boxes, drums, alleged 'science' experiments in different stages of analysis (no, he doesn't take science, yes he's only in kindergarten, and no, I have no idea whatsoever what this new laboratory nonsense is all about, but yes, I am absolutely certain this spawn of mine will never be a scientist, let alone a 'rocket' scientist, if you knowwhadimeanverne), and.....oh, where do I finish?

Heckfire, where do I start? 

First, let me beg of you, please don't call the Department of Children and Families and alledge that we have Rodents of Unusual Size in our home.  

The Bug Man was just here for his REGULARLY scheduled appointment.  

On Friday.

From like, four days ago, Friday.

One of my children could most definitely be considered 'vermin', but no, we are not rodent-infested.

Where was I?  
 
Oh, yeah, Aunt Jodi wanting to comment on Jake's picture.....

So.

Billy Two Swords had morning duty this morning - sometimes we do it together, sometimes we take turns, no biggie, it just works out.  

Well, since Billy has had some handyman work lately (thank YOU GOD!), he's up early every morning, seven days a week, and finishes up at about 430 pm, which he very astutely structured to fit perfectly into our afternoon/evening/baseball/music lesson schedules.  (We just need to focus a bit harder on Sundays, cuz we've been missing worship, and yeah, we're all 'missing' worship...)

So, Jake is not a morning person. 

This is well documented. 

In fact............yeah, y'all have ridden this horse before.  No further details needed.

As I'm half awake/half asleep, still snuggled under the covers in my 'Sanctuary', I don't hear any barking, neither the human nor the dog kind, whining.....actually it's pretty quiet.  

So I figured BBD (Big Bad Dad) had it under control, and I learned was schooled by Big Bad Dad a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng time ago, that if everything is going smoothly, just stay the hell in bed, I got this, and when you come out here you upset the equilibrium of the morning and the proverbial feces hits the fan and if I need you, I'll tell you to get your fat lazy butt out of bed and help me with.........

the SPAWN.

Suddenly I hear the wrath of Two Swords.  

I'm certain you heard him in ASS-TAH-TOO-LUH, Florida, if not in AND-A-LOSE-YAH, Alabama.

Yeah, it wasn't a sonic boom from the Space Shuttle re-entering the earth's atmosphere.

It was Two Swords, with his deep, deep, Wolfman Jack-esque voice, hitting a note that can only be 'hit' when the 'song' is 'sung' to a certain.....SPAWN.

Capitalizing it, bolding it, italicizing it......I simply can't convey to you the true effect of what THIS sounds like:

"JAKE!"

Trust me on this one.

So I rolled over, and literally ROLLED my CLOSED eyes.

Unfortunately, this tactic of mine didn't aid Two Swords' morning duty menagerie in any fashion.
Especially when I heard the next outburst:

"JAKE!  It is SEVEN TWENTY FOUR (um, they have to be AT the bus stop at 730, even though the bus stop is our driveway, however comma) and you are STILL.......NAKED!  GET   DRESSED     NOW!"

Yeah.

Off went the covers.

Feet hit the floor.

One Eyed Fred crawls out from under my bed and follows suit.

I go straight to the Fire Swamp Jake's bedroom, as Two Swords has now switched gears to 'trash duty', which is Jake's JOB....never mind.  Two Swords is taking out the trash.

Jake is wearing the black dress socks from the wedding we attended on SATURDAY, the white undershirt from the wedding we attended on SATURDAY, and the underwear from the wedding we attended on SATURDAY, and is struggling to put on the dirty, wrinkled, covered-with-dog-hair-chicken nuggets-Hershey's kisses - patches of dirt and sand from unknown origin - dress shirt from the wedding we attended on SATURDAY, and I observe that his choice of leg covering yet to be put on is in fact the dirty, wrinkled, blah blah blah, dress pants from the wedding we attended on SATURDAY.

Today is NOT "Picture Day" at school.

Today is NOT "Wear Your Dirty SATURDAY Wedding Clothes To School On Tuesday Day" at school.

Yeah.

Oh, if I only had Dumbledore's crystal ball and could read the mind of the Captain whose ship never sails.

But alas.

I don't.

I pull the wrinkled dress shirt from SATURDAY off of Jake.

And he starts with the buts.

"BUT I wanted to wear that today!"

I ignore him, and find a clean t-shirt (Remarkably, there are clean clothes in his room. The ones that only get  into his dresser when his mother risks her life to put his clothes away).

I shove the tshirt over his head and pull his arms through.

Yeah he's still BUT-ing, BUT I am still IGNOR-ing.

I then locate a folded-nicely-and-put-in-his-dresser- pair of jeans.

The BUT-ing is now accompanied with full blown CRY-ing and MELT-ing and face SPLOTCH-ing.

Talk to the hand, pal, talk to the hand.

I marshal him out of the fire swamp his room, freshly dressed accordingly:

1).  Blue camo boxer briefs that he wore on Saturday, took off on Saturday night, strewn aside on the floor of his room, and put BACK on this morning.  I tell you this so you don't think the kid has been wearing the same underwear for four whole days.  No.  He wore them one day, and for some reason decided they were 'wearable' again today.  And I'd bet my left kidney that he doesn't know what the 'smell' test is so.....

2). Black SATURDAY dress socks.

3).  Clean! West Virginia University football t-shirt.

4).  Clean!  Jeans.

In the midst of me dressing The Sparrow and ignoring him at the same time, Two Swords re-enters the house from minor trash duty and lets it fly with, "WHAT THE HELL?  I HAD YOUR CLOTHES ALREADY PICKED OUT FOR YOU TWO HOURS AGO AND PUT THEM IN THE LIVING ROOM AND ARE YOU WEARING THE UNDERWEAR FROM THE WEDDING ON SATURDAY????"

Oh buoy.

The CRY-ing continues.

The WHIN-ing begins.

To the tune of, "Why are you guys ALWAYS so mean to me?"

Two Swords:  "YOU DON'T HAVE YOUR SHOES ON YET????"

Captain:  "whine cry whine cry whine cry ad infinitum"

I am now in the beach/pirate bathroom, toothbrush cocked and loaded with toothpaste, rinse cup filled with water, ready to brush the Captain's teeth on his behalf.  No, I don't do this on a regular basis, but I was bound and determined to  GET THIS KID OUT OF MY HOUSE AND OFF TO SCHOOL.

I brush his teeth for him.

He cries the whole time.

He locates his shoes.  Blue vans with skulls on them, that look oh-so-cool with black dress socks.  NOT.  

And he knows it. 

"THESE socks look STUPID with THESE shoes."

You are correct, sir, but you done dug your hole quite a while ago, so, um, in the words of your muthuh, 

SUCK IT UP, you DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDREL!

Still CRY-ing.

Still WHIN-ing.

It is now 730 am.

Wow.   Those were like, the longest six minutes of my life.  They are also six minutes of my life that I will never get back.  Sigh.

Jake runs out the garage door.

Sans backpack.

I open the garage door and scream:  "BACKPACK!  JAKE!  BACKPACK!"

He walks at the pace of an inchworm.  And elderly inchworm.  With a back injury.

I toss his backpack to him.

He injuredly inches incrementally towards the edge of the driveway.

Just as the bus arrives.

And then....

And ONLY then........
Do I collapse in exhaustion on the couch.

Six minutes.

I feel like I just ran a six minute mile.

Dirty rotten scoundrel.

AAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

~