Why You Gotta Be So Rude?

This morning I stumble out of bed and head to the bathroom.  In this new technological age that we live in, I actually reach for my cell phone even before I attend to nature’s calling (did you see how delicately I worded that? You’re welcome).  The first thing I note is that there are no frantic calls from my oldest daughter, which means that she made it in safely to work.  Usually, I will then just spend a brief moment on Facebook and Twitter to see if any life-altering world event has happened while I slept.  Then I will check email, the weather and maybe eBay.  We make our living selling on eBay, so it is really like going to the office, so often I will avoid checking the app until I have taken my youngest kid to school.  Today I made the mistake of checking in first thing.

Immediately I notice several messages regarding a fairly expensive item that someone has purchased and we shipped out several weeks earlier.  I’m expecting maybe that the item was damaged in transit or something to that effect.  Although I am a fastidious packer, very occasionally there will be an issue with an order.  With some trepidation I open the first message.  The customer starts out by calling me Sir which I take to be a good sign because at least they are trying to be polite (although despite the onset of excess facial hair that menopause has delivered, I am actually a Madam).  They then go on to say that the delivery company has told them that we wanted the order back and is sending it back to us, and then proceed to tell us that the package is legally theirs, blah, blah, blah.  Say what?  I have no idea what in the hell they are talking about.

Like, I haven’t even peed yet (oh dear, now we are going down hill), I am not prepared to debate the legal ownership of a package sent on eBay.  But I’m a fairly nice person and I figure we just need to iron this little problem out.  I explain to the customer that we have had no contact with the shipping company and have not requested this order back.  I unwisely provide our telephone number so they can pass it onto the delivery company, and feel that I have done what I can to help.  I’m a bit bothered by the weirdness of the transaction, but I move on with my morning.  Stupidly I check my messages again before I head to the car to drive my kid to school.

Apparently my answer did not satisfy the customer; now they are really angry.  They state that the delivery company said we would have had to request the order back and this is their item, and then they say lots of mean stuff after that but your delicate eyes don’t need to read those words.  Now I’m getting upset.  I literally did nothing but ship an item, on time and packed well I might add, and now I have been pulled into some kind of Days of Our Lives, Shipping Edition.

On some level I do understand that this person is freaked out that they aren’t going to get the order they paid for.  In order to try to assist, I head over to the local office for the shipping company.  They track the item and it turns out that they attempted to deliver the item three times and then held it for two days for the customer to come pick it up, which the customer did not do, so they sent it back.  Unfortunately in the process, some lovely person did put on a tag that said that the shipper requested the item back, which is total horse pucky (I’m cleaning it up for you again, that’s how I roll).

Then I call the shipping company’s telephone number to see if I can reroute the shipment and they tell me I can’t.  I then message the customer and tell them all the information I was just told by both the in-house office and the 800 number.  The customer responds with a very angry message telling us if we don’t get the item to them, we owe them everything they paid and an additional sixty dollars on top of it.  WTF?  I’m literally shaking because this went south so quickly.

My husband jumps in and involves eBay.  After reading all the messages and tracking the item fully, eBay rules in our favor and says the man has a responsibility to pick up his order and he is out the money and the item.  My husband thinks this is a fair and karmic ending, but I actually do not.  Even though eBay closed this case out, I go to Paypal and return the man’s money excluding the shipping, because this item will eventually make its way back to us.  The man is blocked and we should have no further dealings with him.  But still, the entire situation brings up the question, why do people feel the need to be so rude?

I understand this man’s concern, but the way he handled it could have cost him a pretty penny if I wasn’t a fair person.  If the man had messaged me and been polite, we would have worked out a way to reship the item when we got it back.  We just would have had him ship to a different address or he could have provided the gate code for his building, but instead he lost his shit and ended up threatening us, total strangers.  How have we gotten to this place?

The internet seems to have taken away people’s abilities to see others as human.  Instead, it has become a place to let your insecurities feed by demolishing other people using your keyboard.  It is a place where displaced rage can be visited down upon anyone whose viewpoints are different than your own.  People can wage war with one another because there are no repercussions generally.  The only weapon your opponent can use is their computer.  If this man was face to face with my husband, I guarantee he would not have been nearly as vocal, but the anonymity of the keyboard made him all powerful.

I see this so much with my daughter’s YouTube channel.  My youngest child is an animator and she loves it, and she is damn good at it.  She has her own channel where she has created a story-line for her own characters and she has about 60k followers and gains more every day.  Her channel is barely PG, but mostly G-rated.  She is very aware that many of her followers are young teens and tries to keep the content up to a level that is appropriate.  There is no swearing and no sex scenes.  So if this is something a person is into, this is a great channel to follow.  If it isn’t your thing, move on to something else on YouTube, right?  You would think, but that isn’t how it works.

When my daughter puts up a new video, she has hundreds of hours of intricate work put into drawing that story, so you would expect that she would get compliments–and she does.  The glowing reviews flow in, but so do the nasty, mean-spirited comments.  Sometimes I read the comments and I’m flabbergasted (yes, I did use that word, and no, I was not born in the 1920’s).  If a person watches one of her videos and doesn’t care for it, why don’t they move on?  But they don’t, they will write the vilest messages and then have full-on arguments with her ardent supporters.  What does a person get out of that?  Everyone walks away feeling like shit…especially the artist who just put all this effort into something you have just smudged with your darkness.  I don’t get it.

The truth is though, it isn’t completely the internet.  If you met my husband’s aunt, she is the authentic in-person rude.  Weirdly she has a heart of gold, but if someone triggers her temper, whether it be a stock person at a grocery store, a waiter at her favorite restaurant, or even a family member that looked at her wrong, she will lose her shit.  She will scream and yell, and turn beet red in the face.  If there is something within reach to throw, it will be flying at you in seconds.  It doesn’t matter that you are completely innocent, if she perceived you did something wrong, you will be on the receiving end of her wrath.  Once her tantrum has played out, she is happy as a clam and moves on with her life, leaving her victim broken.

So even before the internet, there were Aunt Mary’s out there, but the internet has allowed all the closeted Aunt Mary’s to come out of hiding.  On the internet, it doesn’t matter how physically strong you are, it only matters how well you use words.  My daughter tells me to ignore these people, but no matter how hard a person tries, those unkind words still needle in and leave a stinging wound.

What’s the solution?  I don’t think there is one.  Blocking an internet troll helps for the moment, but for everyone you block, several more take their place.  I guess we all have to develop tough shells, but that makes me sad because my capacity to think of other people is what makes me, me.  I don’t even take satisfaction in knowing that my eBay customer could have paid big-time for his rudeness.  I’m just sad that he felt that he needed to attack in the first place.  His attitude feels like a small piece of a very abnormal puzzle that is starting to be accepted as normal.

I guess I will just have to be one of the people that choose not to buy into this new behavioral norm.  I know there are others that do that also, my daughter being one of them.  In battle, the one who gets the last jab in is the winner, but maybe the world will get to the place where the one that can walk away with their integrity is the winner.  I’m not sure that will ever happen, but I can always hope because that is the kind of person I am.


Ah, My Newest Bottle of Torture…

When the newest bottle comes in the mail, my excitement goes through the roof.  These tiny, dark bottles filled with exotic oils derived from Mother Nature’s bounty thrill me to no end.  It matters not that my wet coonhound’s scent is more pleasant than many of their fragrances.  As I bubble with excitement when a new jar of oil arrives, my family retreats in horror.  They have experienced too many openings of these earthy oils and have been unwillingly swept into the realm of nature’s tang that no one in their right mind would willingly smell…except me.

Essential oils are my jam and I know just enough about them to be completely dangerous!  These little bottles of oil are filled with Mother Nature’s healing properties used over centuries, long before the ER was a quick car trip away.  But more than the healing, I love their magical and spiritual uses.  Healers and shamans have used nature for years to medicate, to soothe, and to send people on spiritual journeys.  Now sure, those shamans weren’t using a little organic bottle of peyote that they bought off of Amazon (which I would probably totally buy if it was available–its not, and I know that because just for fun I went and checked), but my essential oils are as close as I am going to get to the ways of the old.

The problem with essential oils is that most of them reek, and not like a somewhat unpleasant aroma, but generally a turn-your-stomach, can’t-get-that-smell-out-of-your- nostrils type of reek.  But if you can get past that, there is so much you can do with essential oils (unless you are pregnant, a child, a senior citizen, taking a medication, have a liver condition, or under the care of a doctor, in which case, stop reading this blog post immediately…you are just going to have to meditate to your start on your own spiritual odyssey or go to the drugstore for an OTC med).

First, lets talk about some good oils to use if you are hurt and there has been like an earthquake, and you can’t get to a store or the doctor (P.S. I do have doomsday bookcase–not doomsday books, just regular books saved for a major emergency–and you are welcome to come to my house to borrow a book to alleviate the boredom of having no phones or televisions).

So, if you are hurt, many essential oils have antiseptic properties.  Myrrh is a great oil for this, just clean the wound and then apply the Myrrh.  Now fun fact, Myrrh smells ridiculously bad, and I think it was really sucky of the Wise Men to offer it to Mary and Joseph as a gift because of that.  They couldn’t have stopped at the 7-Eleven and bought a bundle of flowers?  Anyway, back to you, the person who was just hurt in the tornado or whatever it was.  If you want to help your wounds heal and you don’t feel like having sex that night, Myrrh is the way to go.  Your wound will heal nicely and your spouse will not come near you with the way you smell.

An even better oil to use would be Tea Tree Oil.  It is going to help you heal and it is going to ward off of any nasty infections.  Now Tea Tree Oil isn’t exactly a rose garden either in the scent arena, but it isn’t a loaded diaper of smell either.  Now I have heard rumors that it can also be used on head lice (dude, if you have just made it through a tornado or an earthquake and you have head lice, well your life is just sad…), but if a natural disaster has not occurred and I have head lice, I’m headed to the drug store and get the chemical shit.  There are certain situations in life where you just use the chemicals instead of trying to be natural–bugs crawling all over your head is one of these times.

If you don’t want to smell terrible while healing, you can always use Lavender.  Lavender is basically one of the superheros of the essential oil world.  Lavender is a disinfectant, anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, reduces anxiety, helps you sleep and might even help with PMS (again, you are so unlucky if you are on your period when this doomsday thing hits, I’m so sorry).  Now if you do want to get lucky with your spouse, Lavender is going to be the way to go.  Unless they are really into Italian food, then you might want to use the Rosemary essential oil instead.

Okay, so now we are back in the world where there haven’t been any natural disasters or doomsday things happen, but lets say you just want to get more spiritual and connect to your spirit guide…or God, or nature, or a wood fairy, or whatever, listen, I don’t judge.  If you want to get a bit mystical and add some mood enhancing notes to your meditating space, then drop a few dashes of Mugwort to the water in your diffuser (please note, this is one of the all-time worst smelling essential oils, but it is well known for its mystical abilities).  Frankincense is another good oil for this (again, those Wise Men were so off-base bringing this smelly stuff to Mary and Joseph, I’m fairly sure that after they left Mary and Joseph put the Frankincense and Myrrh out the back door of the manger because all the animals were complaining).  Jasmine or Sandalwood will accomplish the same thing with pleasanter smells.

If you want prophetic dreams, use Clary Sage or Peppermint.  Feel like you watched too many scary paranormal reality shows?  Put some Lime or Lavender in your diffuser.  Rose is fabulous for this too, but just use the smallest drop or you will feel like you were buried in a rose garden, and not in a good way.  Want to increase the love?  Use some Rosemary or Cinnamon, maybe a little Ylang Ylang or Orange.  Need a little joy?  A splash of grapefruit is the way to go.  Could your life use a little peace and calm?  Breath in the scent of Cedarwood, Cypress or Lavender.  Is your pocketbook a little lighter than you would like?  Put a drop or two of Chamomile or Cinnamon on your money.  If you can stand it, Patchouli is a great money draw oil.

Hopefully you can now see why I’m crazy about oils.  There are so many of them and they have so many uses benefits.  Now if you will excuse me, I’m getting ready to open my newest bottle and find out what kind of  aroma is about to torture my family….

What if Your Best Friend isn’t your BFF Anymore…

I saw her many times before I ever met her.  An attractive twenty-something brunette living right above the new house we moved into.  My social husband quickly met her husband and forged an easy-going, friendly relationship.  Knowing that I would be a hermit if given the choice, he encouraged me to break out of my comfortable shell and meet the wife of his new friend.  I resisted.

Life was busy enough for me without adding the awkward, tentative dance of getting to know someone.  A precocious toddler kept me busy most days, along with a part-time job, a dog and the hard-working landscaper I slept with (and was married to, shame on you with your dirty mind).  The last thing I wanted was a social life, but my toddler had other plans.

Apparently my husband and I were not as good at parenting as we thought because the day came when our toddler disappeared, and embarrassingly we didn’t even know she was gone.  It was one of those parenting moments when he thought I had her and I thought he had her, and it turns out we were just bad parents because the neighbors above us had her (and before you freak out, we lived in a tiny neighborhood well off any busy roads, she wouldn’t have gotten far before being discovered).

The husband from up the road brought our toddler back and despite our lack of parenting skills, still thought it would be a good idea for me to meet his wife.  It turns out she was also more comfortable being a hermit then living among people.  It seemed like we might be a match made in heaven–and we were.

The minute we met, we made a soul connection.  This woman and I had met many times in many lives before.  We knew each other immediately and completely.  There was no bumbling small talk, only a thirst to reacquaint with a long-lost loved one.  The irony turned out to be that the hermit in me was easily put aside and I wanted to spend every free minute with this kindred spirit, but the hermit in her was strong, and she resisted a bit, keeping her distance for weeks after each of our meetings.  I had many talks with my husband when my spirit would be stung because my new friend was always unavailable and I craved her company.

As the years passed, our friendship deepened and a strong connection was forged.  We laughed, we commiserated, we bitched about our husbands, and we sat next to each other’s hospital beds on the weirdly multiple ER visits that we both had.  Life was good.  No matter what was going on in our individual households, we were the support the other one needed.  I made her laugh and she provided a strong shoulder to prop me up when needed.  But then texting was created and something began to change.

Being that we were both inherently introverted, texting became an easy way to keep in touch without being face to face.  We were both busy, her working a job that sometimes required her to work a ridiculous number of days in a row, and me working with my husband, and raising two kids and a dog.  Texting worked fine for quite a while.  I would often query her on medical stuff happening in our house because I knew she enjoyed the human body and medicine, her dream having been to be a doctor.  She would offer advice, many times from experience and often good advice.  Other times she would send me Google links, usually ones I had already looked up, but I never acknowledged that because I appreciated her concern.

We would text each other looking for advice and talking about out lives.  My friend is a wonderful woman, with an overflowing basket of positive attributes.  She definitely has the stronger personality of the two of us, and is more of an intellectual.  I am by no means unintelligent, but I prefer to allow the quirky aspects of my personality be my signature because those traits remind me of my beloved mother.  The problem being that because of that, people don’t always give me credit for having some brain power.  Weirdly, my friend seemed to start falling into this category in the last year.

I can’t pinpoint when the shift in our relationship dynamic started, but I know it was somewhere around a year ago.  It was subtle at first and easily ignored, but soon the casual texting began to get contentious.  I would make a statement and she would tell me I was wrong.  I know I have made incorrect statements over the years, but these particular things I knew for a fact I was right, silly things like me telling her our neighbor was doing dialysis at home (which he had just told me he was doing but she adamantly told me I was wrong).  After defending the comment a few times I would just let it go because they were stupid, pointless things.  But as this happened more and more, I began to get annoyed and started defending myself even more.  I’m not sure if it is being menopausal or just getting to an age where when I am right, I’m not going to say I’m wrong, that was making me fight back.

My husband implored me to stop texting with her and just visit in person as our in-person visits were pleasant and normal.  He warned that this could cause a breach in our friendship, and I really tried to limit the texting.  I understood that texting leaves out facial cues and body language, and this was causing some serious issues, but when she texted, I couldn’t ignore her texts.  Invariably as we texted through the night, a mild disagreement would start and she would sign off saying she was going to bed.  Everything was polite but we could both feel the tension.  Not all the texts were testy, some were quite humorous and heartfelt, but the overall argumentative nature of the communications were casting a shade over what was once a happy relationship.

Another change over the past year which would seem minor but also seemed to have a wide backlash is that my daughter and I joined a gym.  This doesn’t sound like it should affect a friendship, but it did.  Previously, my BFF and I would walk our neighborhood quite regularly and this was our time to catch up.  Unfortunately for our friendship, my daughter and I are very regular gym goers, averaging about four times a week.  My daughter has dropped about thirty pounds as a result.  Me, well I am sporting a solid muscle pack under all the fat, but no impressive numbers on the scale unless you are impressed at how big the number is when I step on the scale.  The downside to the gym is that I’m tired at the end of the day, and a walk around the neighborhood is no longer appealing and I’m sure this had to cause some feelings of abandonment.

In an effort to get things back on track I decided to pop over to her house one night a couple of months ago.  She was absolutely thrilled to see me.  I was happy to see her also.  Her husband was home and it was a pleasant evening…until it wasn’t.  My BFF relayed a silly, harmless joke she had heard.  I don’t know if I was tired or was having a menopausal moment, but for an instant the joke didn’t make sense.  As I was having a brief moment of confusion, my friend told her husband laughingly that this is why she couldn’t talk to me anymore on text and had to tell me she was going to bed at night to end conversations.  Such a seemingly harmless statement that packed such a wallop when it socked me in the gut.  So my lack of intelligence was getting too much for her to handle?  That was the message that was received loud and clear, even though I doubt that was the intended message.

I had such a visceral reaction to her statement that the air was immediately sucked from the room.  The smile on my face became forced and it took everything I had not to walk out the door that instant.  I waited a polite period of time and took my leave, hoping that the friendship switch that had just turned off in my brain could be turned back on.  I raced to my car, shocked at the complete physical reaction I was having to what had been a fairly innocent conversation.  Though the conversation came off as harmless, the undertones confirmed the subtle messages that had been coming through the texts for over a year; she was the smart one and I was the bumbling one that she put up with because she loved me.

I knew in my heart that I needed to take a minute and let everything calm down, and I was sure I would move on just like I do with everything else that happens in my life.  I figured I would take a brief timeout and everything would go back to normal.  This would then become a memory I would never talk about with her.  The next day when her texts came in though, my stomach actually turned.  I replied politely but tried to keep communication to a minimum.  From the outside, this seemed like a trivial matter but for some reason it was physically affecting me.  I figured I needed to listen to my body because there was a reason it was reacting .  Knowing me, it would take a week and then things would go back to normal…except it didn’t.  Two weeks pass and I have zero desire to speak to her.  A month passes and still the feeling hasn’t remotely subsided.

I know my friend knows something is up and is frustrated because she doesn’t understand, and how could she?  Her BFF for twenty years is suddenly MIA with no explanation.  I know it isn’t fair but I can’t control the strong feeling I have when I’m in contact with her.

My husband asks me to talk to her and I know that is the reasonable thing to do, it is a piece of advice I would give to anyone else in the same predicament, but I can’t.  How do you go to someone and tell them that they are too overbearing?  Especially when you know the person will tell you it isn’t an issue with them but an issue with you?  Is it an issue with me?  It might be.  Maybe our relationship was always like this and I didn’t realize it until I got old and cranky.  But it doesn’t change that here we are.

She has asked me to walk several times and I have declined several times because I was tired or doing something else.  I can feel her frustration in our interactions.  The physical feeling has lessened and I’m trying to maintain some contact through light texts, steering away from anything heavy, but I still get the “hmmmm” judgemental response to something from her almost daily.

Today she invited me to walk and I told her I could after five o’clock.  I was planning to just tell her the basics.  She made a comment, I had a physical reaction to it so I was trying to take a brief time-out to get my shit together.  Unfortunately she wasn’t happy with my time-frame because it would be getting dark, so that walk and conversation didn’t happen.  So what happens now?

I can feel her slipping away and I don’t know that I will ever find a friendship like hers again in my life, but will our friendship ever go back to what it was?  Relationships change over time, did ours fulfill its purpose and is now fizzling out?  I’m not angry anymore, but I’m also not willing to go back to being the subordinate, I’m looking for a relationship that has us on even footing.  But honestly, by walking away for a couple of months I may have damaged the bond to such an extent that there is nothing to work with anymore.

So the question is, how will life look now if my best friend is not my best friend anymore…

Who Put These Fat Rolls Here?

Do you ever watch classic television and realize the fat character that everyone makes fun of is way skinnier than you?  No?  Maybe it’s just me.  I remember watching these shows when I was a kid and I laughed at all the fat jokes because obviously the actor or actress was large and deserved them.  Now I watch those shows and dream about being that small.

Fat is no stranger to me, we have danced with each other off and on my whole life.  For a brief six years I was a child of average proportions and off the chart cuteness, if I do say so myself.  But then something happened.  Maybe it was my mother’s plate-size pancakes, or it could have been dessert a few times a week, or it might have just been my calling in this lifetime to be a chunk.  Whatever the reason, my clothes grew steadily smaller as my thighs grew into their own zip code.

In school I was the fat girl.  If my memory was correct, I was the only fat girl.  There was one fat boy who unfortunately also smelled of his family’s dairy farm.  The smell probably edged him ahead of me in the being-bullied queue.  However that does not mean I wasn’t bullied, trust me, I was.  Fortunately the young heavyset, somewhat smelly boy got his revenge when he went on to win a gold medal in the Olympics.  I however, have not gotten my revenge.  I feel like telling those bullies that I’m married with two kids and a dog is not going to impress them overly much.  I mean I did self-publish two books, but with sales that can be counted on my fingers and toes, I might not want to lead with that.

For some years in my young adulthood I did get to bask in the glory of being a normal size after I broke up with sugar.  The odd thing I discovered is that you do not lose your insecurities along with the weight.  If you were not confident in yourself when your thighs touched, you will still not be secure in your worth even when the thighs don’t touch (which happened for like 30 seconds, and then I ate a cheeseburger one day and they were comfortably resting against each other again immediately).

Now that I’m an ancient woman in my late forties, my lower fat roll on my stomach decided it was lonely and invited a new friend to move in above it.  My body seems to be all about partnerships; thighs that are almost welded together, fat rolls that rest comfortably one on top of the other, even my upper back is trying to develop a symbiotic relationship with my lower back (though my bra must be the jealous type because it is always doing its best to keep them apart).

I keep waiting for the moment when I become accepting of the fact that when I wave at someone, my upper arm flap continues to wave long after I have said my goodbyes, but it just isn’t happening.  I have tried every diet out there, but the problem is, for them to work you have to stay on them forever.  I spent my entire life dieting (well not the first six years, lets not forget I was adorably normal-sized), and I’m sick of it.  But on the other hand, eating everything you want gets old too.  Sometimes I will fantasize about that package of gluten-free (I have Celiac’s disease so no Oreo’s for me unless I want to spend the next day with my face in the toilet hurling my guts up–nothing is worth that, I promise, and no, I do not lose weight from barfing), sandwich cookies with the delicious cholesterol-filled frosting that I will have after lunch.  The reality of the cookies is never as good as the fantasy, and for the seven minutes it takes to consume half the package (although sometimes I take the healthy path and only scarf down the frosting, leaving the calorie-packed now-naked cookies in the package), I’m lost in a sugar haze but then reality will hit me later, and I will be bummed that I allowed myself to be lured back into the sweet tentacles of gluten-free sugary goodness.

I keep eyeing this new Keto diet.  Everyone swears by it.  If you make it through the detox portion without murdering anyone and going to jail, they guarantee you will never have cravings for sugar again.  I don’t believe them.  Also, you have to do the diet forever.  The minute you start eating carbs again, you become Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and have to be rolled everywhere because you ballooned up so fast (before anyone protests that statement, I follow many Keto enthusiasts on Instagram and they all say the same thing).  I love watching people’s before and afters, losing 50 pounds in six months seems quite common with Keto.  I would love to lose 50 pounds but I don’t want to be counting every gram of sugar every day of my life.

I just want a miracle.  I want to eat like a normal person and have a a normal-sized body, is that too much to ask?  Apparently it is, so I will just take my mushy thighs, and belly rolls, and keep on living until one day I either get my shit together or scientists find  a miracle solution (seriously scientists, you will be super rich if you figure this out…there are a lot of us fat people out here who will shell out some cold hard cash if you figure out a way for us to get skinny–and no, meth is not an option–I saw a documentary and the meth-heads were fat, damn it!  Meth was supposed to be my fall-back weight-loss method.).

Anyway, Shirley Wilson of What’s Happening, I’m sorry I ever thought you were chunky…but don’t worry, karma was a bitch, and now I can only dream of being as small as you…

To Be Shit On or Not….

I was lucky enough to be driving today and have a massive egret or heron (?) fly over the top of my car. As I marveled at the magnificence of Mother Nature, the egret released approximately a quart of bird poop all over the road in front of me. It was impressive in its sheer quantity, and yet somehow I didn’t get a drop on my car which led me to wonder, was I lucky to not get hit with the tidal wave of bird poop or was that unlucky?

As a person who has had a bird poop on her head four separate times, I know that it supposed to be a symbol of good luck (I’m going to tell you, it does not feel that way in the moment).  Now many people would argue that obviously that isn’t lucky, just look at my last ten years, they would say.

Sure my oldest child lost her femur and her knee to osteosarcoma (bone cancer), and then when she finally finished active treatment for that, she was diagnosed as having bipolar.  My youngest child missed out on a year of her youth with me while her sister received treatment for the cancer, and then lived in fear for years of a teenage bipolar sister that was often out of control.  My husband worked his ass off that entire time, trying to provide for his family, but dreading the moment he would come home to a house filled with fighting.  I spent those years frazzled, trying to keep up with continuous medical appointments for the cancer and bioplar, shuttling the younger child to therapy to deal with her chronic fear of her sibling, breaking up fights and trying not to kill my oldest daughter myself.  I’m telling you, it was a lot to deal with, but then let me tell you what happened afterwards.

That young woman who was diagnosed with cancer at ten-years-old and then bipolar later on?  Well she grew up and turned into a really nice person.  She found a full-time job with benefits and moved to another city to live with her boyfriend.  Her boyfriend seemed like a nice enough guy, although being parents, my husband and I felt that there were a few red flags there.  I subtly hinted that to my daughter, but remained supportive of her choices.  When she had a terrible car accident just a month ago, and walked away from it relatively unharmed, I cried tears of fear and worry but did my best to be there for her.  You know who wasn’t there for her?  Her boyfriend.  Do you know what that young lady did when she realized that this young man wasn’t supportive of her?  She let him go, cried for three days, and then showed up for work on Monday and soldiered on, showing a strength that made me proud.

What about my youngest child?  The fearful one that draws a blank when you ask her about the year I was missing from her childhood…well that child is a popular YouTube artist with a very large following.  This same child is a straight-A student at an early college high school and is applying to colleges across the United States with a solid chance of getting into most of her choices.  She is happy and beautiful, inside and out.

What about that husband that lived in such a state of stress that he constantly felt that he was on the verge of a heart attack?  Well that man turned his hobby into a business.  Are we rich from it?  No, but does it pay the bills?  Yes, and he is much happier doing what he loves.  He still worries about his kids, but there is more joy then worry.

And what about me?  Well I have learned that I can’t control life, so I have been working on living each day as it comes.  Worrying about the future doesn’t do anything but give me grey hair, so I really try to live in the now.  Does that mean I never stress about my kids?  No way.  Every day I stalk my kids, constantly checking to make sure they are safe, because that’s my job.  But I have learned to not think about what they are doing tomorrow, or the next day, or next year (okay, that is a lie, I do think about my youngest next year at college, but I try to keep the panic attacks to a minimum).  Life has its moments, but I can truly say I’m happy–something I could not have said ten years ago.

So all that being said, I have lived a charmed life.  That is a lot of shit to go through and still be able to laugh.  So thank you bird poop for giving me the luck I needed to survive those tough years…but now I am left to ponder, was not getting pooped on today lucky or not…?🤔 (PS yes, I do have too much time on my hands when this is what I contemplate…)

It is Exhausting Being a Mom…

Today I bought the gingerbread houses for my husband and my youngest daughter’s overly competitive gingerbread house-building contest. I was driving home and thinking about what I still needed to accomplish to be ready for Christmas, and next thing I know, I’m panicking because my baby is going to leave for college in six months and won’t live with me next year at Christmas.

This is what they don’t tell you when you become a parent, you never get to stop being a parent. You wake up and look at the clock every day and mentally calculate where your oldest kid is in her day. Then you subtly send her a quick text mid-morning about nothing in particular to make sure she is at work safely. Then when she doesn’t answer within a half hour, you begin making up your cover story you are going to use for when you actually call her work, and then breath a sigh of relief when she finally texts back (and then you scold her for texting at work 😬). The process repeats when she leaves work for home.

Now next year I’m going to have to be coming up with excuses to call my youngest kid’s college. I will need to be on a first name basis with the dorm monitor and give them permission to just peek into my kid’s room and make sure she is safe. I don’t know, maybe we will have to rent an apartment right down the street—preferably with a direct view of her dorm window angled perfectly for my set of binoculars. I guess I should look forward to when my children move on with their lives because it is exhausting being a mom…

Can You Make the Appt for After I Lose 10lb?

Tis the season for sniffles, watery eyes and the always sexy, drippy nose.  Most of the time I am immune to whatever is going around.  I like to attribute that to the massive amount of Neanderthal that the DNA test said I carry in my genes (suddenly the beard and mustache that appeared at eight-years-old makes so much sense).  I figure the Neanderthal makes me a tough old broad (except when my husband wants me to help him with manual labor tasks, then suddenly I become a delicate Southern flower with not an ounce of strength), but this year, someone’s super-powered germs fought their way through my working-stock immune system and got me sick.

In true martyr fashion, I have used this nasty cold to my benefit when needed.  When I shipped an item to the wrong address on eBay, I assured my husband it was because of the brutal headache I was enduring, due to what I could only guess was a sinus infection (I actually wasn’t lying, I did have a headache that day), and after a day of chores, I played up my level of tiredness so that my husband would leave me to my beloved Words with Friends and not ask me to make him iced tea yet again in the evening (extra ice, extra water and three sweet n’ lows–now you can get it for him next time).  The truth is though, I am sick, but I really count on my tough Irish and Neanderthal ancestery to zip through this illness and have me back to bright-eyed in bushy-tailed in no time.

The problem is, this time, with this particular cold, it is dancing around the possibility of developing an ear infection to go along with my sinus issues.  I have been a mother for a million years and I understand that an ear infection is possibly an uncomfortable night spent on a heating pad, which can then be relieved with a quick trip to the doctor’s the next day to get some antibiotics.  But there-in lies the problem…a quick trip to the doctor’s office means that I have to stand on that god-awful lying scale (okay, it doesn’t lie, it tells the truth in glaringly upsetting numbers).

I don’t care how sick I am, I will avoid the doctor’s office at all costs because of that damn scale.  Because I am fat, I get weighed every time I go in so that they can “monitor” my weight.  This monitoring is so embarrassing.  It starts with me sitting in the doctor’s waiting room watching the clock with anxiety, dreading the moment when a pert young medical assistant calls my name.  She is usually is a size two, and has beautiful skin and large doe eyes that can never accurately guess how much I weigh.

When this lovely, petite specimen waves me to the scale, I kick off my shoes and then debate whether I should remove my socks also.  The socks are probably a solid ounce but if I take them off, I am risking picking up some foot disease off of the scale.  As I internally debate this, I then start to curse myself for not removing my bra.  Sure in any other instance, I would never be seen without a bra.  If my house was burning down, I would definitely stop and get a bra, because I do not want those firemen to see what having two children and gaining and losing a gazillion pounds in my lifetime has done to my boobs, but at the doctor’s office, I will shed that bra in a second if it means a lighter reading on that scale.

Once I have shed all the clothing that the medical assistant and the law will allow, I step on the scale.  Now starts the excruciating part, because weighing all of 105lb, the medical assistant can’t even begin to guess how heavy to start the scale at, so she will start it somewhere random like 150.  I close my eyes at the agony as the one side of the scale slams down and she begins inching it up ten pounds at a time.  160? No, move it on.  170? Nope, keep going….and this goes on for eternity until sometimes I just put my hand on top of hers and land the needle in the correct area.  I don’t have to see her face to know what she is thinking.  Fluffy judgement is oozing into the air as she notes the large number onto my digital chart…and part one of weighing-in is over.

Next comes part two.  This part is when the extremely fit doctor comes in and glances at my chart, skipping over my decent heart rate and blood pressure and zeroing in immediately on my weight.  It doesn’t matter if I am there for a broken rib or a raging cold, everything will be caused by my excessive weight in his opinion.  So then I will sit through a lecture asking how it is that I have gained four pounds since my last visit a year ago (I seriously do not go to the doctor unless I am forced too).  I will stammer and blush, and wish I were anywhere but that office.  Nine minutes later I will exit the office with an antibiotic prescription and zero self-esteem.

So here I sit, with an ear that is starting to shoot little arrows of pain into my skull and I begin to wonder if it is possible to lose ten pounds in the next day or two.  I debate whether it is possible to ignore the ear pain and pretend it isn’t there.  Unfortunately, as a kid that actually happened to me, and the burst eardrum that resulted from ignoring the pain was not something I want to experience again.  So I am going to have to pray that a miracle occurs and my hardy genes jump in and kill this virus swimming through my body or that miraculously I will become skinny overnight…or I am just going to have to go to the damn doctor…damn you, cold virus!