Saturday, November 2, 2013

It's Been A Long Time So Why Not Just Jump Right In

This post started out on Facebook:

"I found myself wondering today what people would think of me if I shared what's really going on in my head. Pretty sure my parents did a great job raising me: If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
Some days I wonder, where's the fun in THAT?"

Quoting myself.  Now that's fun.

After a busy weekend of activities for my twenty-four year old, youngest daughter who has Down syndrome, I found myself tiredworn-outexhaustedreadytodrop, a bit crabby and thinking about my life  (instead of hers). 

I know that she is the heart and soul of our family.  THE heart and soul.  Without her, my husband and I wouldn't be us.  Or would we?  Without her, the sun wouldn't shine as brightly.  Or would it?  Life would be boring.  Or maybe it wouldn't.

So as she reaches out to a milestone birthday just a little more than a month away with way more enthusiasm for it than I,  I find myself thinking.  Way.Too.Much.  I am freaking out.  Just a bit.  It's part of the maturation process, I am sure.

Where the hell did those twenty-four years go?  I swear, if one more person tells me what a great mother I am, I will weep.  For I fear that I am not.  That I never will be.  And I try every day to be.  I'll settle for good.  Great should be saved for mothers that aren't sitting with a cup of tea on that rare occasion when they have a moment to themselves, thinking, when am I going to get my life back?  

I've discovered that I don't like my friends so much anymore.  Yes, you read that correctly. It's because I am jealous.  I am jealous of their weekend plans with their husbands, sans adult children in tow.  I am jealous of their trips to the drug store, the grocery store, all on their own.  Jealous.  Of everything they can do, that I cannot.  

I am no longer the friend that you could call and say, 'hey, want to go to the mall for a while?'  Nope.  Can't do that.  I have to have someone stay with her.  Or I have to take her with me.  Don't get me wrong, I want to take her with me.  Most often I'm the one that wants to stay with her. In fact, I often prefer her company to that of others.  She's funny, witty, smart, clever, engaging, and entertaining. She doesn't have many complaints. She's a bright light in a long list of dark days.  She is an inspiration to me.  She is so much more than Down syndrome. She is also a child in a young woman's body;  it's not something you can overlook or forget.  

I yearn for an evening of appetizers and cocktails with adults.  In a bar.  With no time limit on when we get there or when we get home. (and maybe even a hangover in the morning) Without having to ask 'are you going to be home so I can go out?' or plan who will stay with her and what's on the agenda for the next morning.

I think it would be really nice if my friends took a serious look at me and just knew that sometimes I need help; that they could help me and that I would accept help. If only they would offer.  One time many years ago a friend told me she'd have my daughter stay over one Saturday night so that The Husband and I could go out for an evening or for a quick overnight stay out of town.  I was so appreciative of the offer.  But I would have appreciated it more if she'd actually, you know, followed through.  

Friends (and relatives) mean well.  They say nice things.  They tell me how great I am.  How "you do so much for her."  How she's so wonderful.  Did you know?  I am an inspiration.  Ha.

What I am is a sixty-year-old woman woman watching her friends send their children off into the adult world, dating their husbands anew, starting anew, traveling, retiring, attending college, downsizing, wintering in warmer climes.   I am happy for them.  But what about me?  

I promise, this isn't a pity party.  It is is a moment of darkness in an otherwise wonderfully funny, always interesting adventure growing up with a daughter who has Down syndrome.  We've grown together and because of that I am truly a better person than I ever could have been without her. I wouldn't want her to be any different or any other way. She has taught me so much.  She has been the inspiration of my days.  

Have I done enough for her?  Hell, I don't know.  I'll keep working on it. 

I'm sure my life will turn up again one of these days.  

* Cross posted on:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

And That Cat.

Lucky Kuzzeefowndus

We had a little cat problem over the weekend.  Lucky was out of sorts and letting us (me) know it.  In all the wrong ways.  If you're a cat person you know how they are.  And what those wrong ways may be.

It started with short bursts of attack mode -- on the dog.  The dog isn't much bigger than the cat and now that I am looking at the two of them together, I'd say Lucky is taller than the dog.  The poor dog spent most of Friday, Saturday, Sunday and yesterday in hiding.  He'd be under the bed, the sofa, a chair or the table.  If he happened to be out in the open when the cat began to saunter his way the dog hastily made his way to cover.

Lucky was bound and determined to fill each day with some form of angst.  I caught him attempting to tinkle on and in spaces that are not tinkle-safe.  For him mostly, for a cat who tinkles outside the box pays handsomely.  (okay seriously, what can you do other than mutter and clean it up? But you get my drift) He even saved a hairball or two for me.   I feel blessed I tell you.  Blessed.

He loves cellophane wrap and since I had a number of gift baskets wrapped and ready to go ... yep, he thought it was a good idea to chew the edges of the wrap.  At 2:00 am, 3:00 am, whenever.  Do you know how loud cellophane wrap is when wrinkled and chewed in the quiet of the night?

I began to think his behavior was related to a change in his location within the house. By Sunday I was sure he hated me for moving his UGG box to the office counter top from the kitchen counter top.  But I did explain it was only for a few days and I made sure he had extra treats.

You guessed it.  He didn't care.

Home from work yesterday, not feeling well, I had time to pay a little closer attention to his meanderings and malingering ways.  I began to notice that he was squatting, attempting to tinkle in corners, on the sofa (that didn't go over well) and ha!ha!ha! in the dogs bed.  Each time I followed behind him with a paper towel.  Hmm.  No tinkle. Well, not really.  Less than a dime-sized drop and some of them were pink.

Uh-oh!  A visit to the vet is in order.  

This morning I made an appointment and since I needed to get into work I asked Hubby Dearest to do the honors.  Which he did. Quite willingly.  He called me after the appointment to tell me that the veterinarian gave the cat two vaccinations that were due and talked about x-rays, which he declined, and urinalysis, which the doctor didn't do.

"She said he has a small bladder but they could put a needle in and get some urine."
Well, did she?
"No. And I don't know why.  We talked about changing his food back to what he had before."
"Urinalysis.  But she didn't do it but I don't know why."
You don't know why?
Any medicine?
"No.  Nothing."
"Just change his diet back."


So, how's the cat now?
"Still trying to pee."
Ah.  I see.  I will take care of this when I get home later.  Thanks for taking him for me.  And for picking up the new food.
"No problem"

Home from work I pick up the phone to call the vet's office to see what can be done about Lucky and his misery.  He is obviously miserable.  Can't settle, can't eat, can't pee.

Ring, Ring.
Attitude answering. How may I help you?

No exactly what I was expecting.  I was simply going to ask if I could bring the cat back over to get the urinalysis done when Miss Attitude started sniping at me, "He refused all offered treatments!"  Dr. O offered x-rays and urinalysis and he refused them"

Me:  Okay.  (taking a calming breath) I am not going to get into a pissing contest with you.  I have been a client of Dr. Wendy's for many years.  So many years, in fact, you weren't even born.  So. When can I bring the cat back over to be seen?  Because he is sick and I sent him there to be treated and all he got were two vaccinations from Dr. O that could have waited until he was feeling better.

I wanted the cat to be seen and treated and all I've gotten is your attitude and a sick cat returned to me.  I want him better.

After some back and forth it was agreed that I would drop the cat off and pick him up before they closed tonight.  They would x-ray him (yeah, yeah) and do urinalysis (provided he had any urine) and they would treat him with something.

I'm pretty sure they would treat him with anything just to shut me up.  Whatever.

An hour after drop off, a call from Dr. O came through.  She had given the cat some pain med, some anti inflammatory med, gotten his 'radiographs' which showed no stones or blockage and she was going to put him on fluids because he seemed dehydrated and had no urine to test.  Maybe he'd have some after he had some fluids.

Yeah.  And maybe he wouldn't.  Which would mean another trip back to the vet's tomorrow.  *sigh*

I arrived to pick him up before closing and Dr. I came out to see me.  There are three docs in this office and I prefer only one.  But a vet is a vet when your pet needs one.  She explained that they were able to get a wee bit of urine from Lucky and they were sending it off to the lab.  Results will be in in the morning and they will call me if he needs medication for a UTI.  In the meanwhile, Lucky and I can go home and wait for their call. Try to watch what he eats and drinks and if he isn't doing either of those things you need to get right back to us.

So, here we sit ten hours later. Waiting.  Me.  And that cat.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Limping Along, But In A Good Way

I'm essentially over my angry tirade of the other night. Or rather the anger.  But.  There is always the fall out to contend with. 

With Miss Emily I spend hours of every day listening to her chattering along in the background.
She's not background noise exactly.  But it is like that.  When she's not home the house seems eerily quiet and sometimes borders on uncomfortable silence. 

She has many conversations with imaginary people.  I used to think it was unhealthy or something was 'wrong' with her but over the course of many years and many of her conversations I began to realize that her one-sided, easily understood conversations are her way of coping with events in her life.  They also entertain her.  And me on occasion.

The last few days' conversations have been difficult to get through.  She's working through it with comments like "OTL?  No, hasn't called yet.  He'll get over it".  Thinking to myself, 'yeah, he'll get over it, but will you?'  Of course she will. 

Miss Emily rallies herself and moves on to, gosh, I don't know what:  school, television shows, being  a superstar with Cd's, perfume, tee shirts and concerts. She'll live in LA and she'll date Nick Jonas.  Don't tell OTL.  He doesn't need to know.

Go figure.  Anyone who has heard her sing knows that she can't carry a tune in a paper bag, but God bless her for her enthusiasm and effort.

For my part, I just sing along. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's My Party & I'll Cry If I Want To

Ah, life.  On the one hand I celebrate all the wonderful things I enjoy every day and then there's this other hand.  It's tight fisted and mean and when you pry those fingers open what you find in the palm is not-so-great.  In fact, it's pretty lousy.

I am a most patient friend.  I am a thoughtful (albeit occasionally forgetful to be thoughtful) friend.  A solid friend.  A friend who is there when the chips are down more often than when the chips are up.  I love my friends for all the right reasons and I ignore all the wrong reasons.

I am fiercely loyal.  F.I.E.R.C.E.L.Y.  Fiercely.

Fiercely loyal. That is, until you mess with Miss Emily.  Mess with her and all bets are off.

For two weeks now Miss Emily has been planning on having a few friends over to celebrate her birthday.  Miss K., Mr. R., another Miss K and of course, her One True Love.  All of her friends have their own special needs and so when things 'crop up' I handle them (the things) delicately because understanding is not always the first strong point to be noticed.  I mean nothing bad by that comment.  It's a fact of life that you have to listen, judge, pay attention and think quickly and on your feet so that all bases are covered and everyone understands what happened or what is going to happen. 

So imagine this afternoon when Miss Emily gets a phone call from her One True Love. (Silly girl is fiercely loyal like her mother.  Trust me, it's really a curse) and he tells her that:

We break up.  You annoy me.  You bother me.  And, well, then he hangs up. 

"Hello?  Mother of One True Love?  You couldn't have called me yourself?  You couldn't have the common courtesy friends of over twenty years extend to each other and picked up your friggin' phone?"  No? Well, great.  Go pound sand. 

Gotta let the anger go.  It's counter productive, isn't it?

Modus operandi status quo.  Eff you.

I consider the possibility that Miss Emily may not have understood what he said, but in my heart of hearts I know it's true.  How do I know?  Well, One True Love's mother, just two weeks ago told me they would be down for her birthday celebration and they would stay over.  I stupidly thought she'd come through, but should have known better.  History repeats itself; earlier this week I sent messages and called and haven't heard anything back, so I knew, I just knew, that this would probably happen.  When I tried to discuss it with Miss Emily before this afternoon, she wanted nothing to do with it so I had to let things unfold the way they had to unfold even though it was making me anxious and worried and, yep, angry.

Give me a second while I FLOG MYSELF before I go on.  Let me BERATE myself for thinking, yet again, that this woman cares at all about Miss Emily and me.   You know.  Her friend.

Her One True Love is not the young man he used to be.  He's mean to her and nasty to her and although he'll tell you he doesn't want to hurt her feelings, he does it routinely, glibly and without a bit of hesitation. He has turned into 'all about me' selfish and it is not pretty in the least.  He didn't know how to be this way before and I know he learned it from someone.  Who wants to take responsibility?  Yeah, I didn't think so.

Did I mention One True Love has DS too?  So I extend an awful lot more patience, kindness and understanding than I would to say, that idiot my oldest daughter used to date.  (yeah, that one)

His mother will make excuses;  he's not the same since his surgery. He's really not doing well, Kath.  Okay, that may be true, but, um, you aren't the same since your divorce and that's really when he started to change.  When you and Knuckle Head couldn't see beyond yourselves to know how you were affecting One True Love. 

Whoops, a little anger creeping in there ... stop it.  A little more SELF FLAGELLATION please.

When Emily told me first and then her sister what he said and then asked, "Where's One True Love now, Mom?"  My heart skipped a beat or two.  I tried to gently lead her into the One True Love isn't coming most likely conversation and all that got me was a beautiful, fiercely loyal young woman reduced to tears.

Thanks a boatload One True Love and your mom. 
Thanks a boatload.

Life changes and things happen and we sort through, we work through, we understand, we don't understand but we accept it anyway.  Let me ask you this:  Why?  Why accept what is completely unacceptable?

Insert more FLOGGING right here.

For his part, One True Love, for a long time was a sweet little guy until Mom and Dad got too busy one-upping each other with work hours and outside friends and what-have-you.  Until One True Love was left, very often, unsupervised in some naive game of chance, which didn't always work out well.  For him.  And then it was all about his being a victim.  And I'd have to agree that yes, in many ways he was (or is) but not of the world ... more a victim of his parents inability to, um, I dunno know exactly.

This has happened more often than not in the last year or so and about a month ago I had to take the phone from Miss Emily and tell One True Love not to call her.  I told him that he upset her and she was crying and there was no reason for him to keep calling her over and over to, essentially, just be a prickly little bahstard.  No. No. I didn't name call.  I was calm and nice and kind.  And I let his mother know what happened.  She finally sort of discussed it with me via e-mail.  Way to go.

Shame on me.  I'm being judgemental.  It's easy to be that way when you aren't walking in someone else's shoes.   But you know what?  I don't care.  I'm sitting in my chambers right now and I am thinking about what sentence I am going to impose. 

Sadly, whatever the sentence, it will have the most effect on Miss Emily and on her family.  We are the ones who will pick up whatever pieces have to be picked up and we will work to build her self-esteem back up.  We will be there for her and we'll even be nice about One True Love because that's what Miss Emily will expect from us.  We'll be nice because she'll want us to.  You know.  Because she's fiercely loyal.  Just like her mother.  Poor girl.

Let me go outside and find a nice willow tree SWITCH.

At the moment I am not a woman who wants to say I will never let  Miss Emily see One True Love again.  I am not a woman who wants to throw away a friendship of over twenty-years.  A friendship entrenched in the 'battle of special needs' and you know, trust.

But, um, I think I have to.  I think I have to let it all go.  I absolutely have to do what is best for Miss Emily.  And sometimes, doing what is best for her hurts.  A lot.

I'm no stranger to pain.  Good thing.

Pass the Willow Switch, will ya'?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Here we are!  Back for another run at blogging.  I'd like to tell you I don't know how so much time passes between posts but the sad truth is that Facebook really does, er, occupy quite a bit of my free time.

That and my bug-a-lug; my side kick, my favorite person to hang out with.  Hands down. It's Miss Emily.  I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, ahem, you know who you all are, but well, it's true and I know you'll get over it.  

There's a certain quality about Miss Emily that I don't easily see in others.  She has an openness and an  honesty and a 'here I am and I'm fine with it you should be too' attitude.  She makes me smile.  Even when she justwon'tstoptalkingorshakinghercheerpompomatmyelbow day. I still smile. Inside. Outside.

My life has depth that I would not have known possible were it not for the arrival of Emily. Sometimes I don't pay close attention to the emotions of that depth.  But when I do those emotions flow from my core and they, the emotions, bring out the best in me.  The long and the short of it is that Miss Emily makes me a better person.  In spite of myself.

That is why I believe God chose me for Emily.  Or maybe He chose Emily for me.

Our lives have laughter and humor and a significant amount of craziness that follows us around and I swear I am the one who carries it with us in an invisible back pack that I am unable to remove because, well, it's invisible. I wouldn't change any of the crazy because that's where most of the humor lies.  We all know we need a good, solid, ridiculous laugh for ourselves now and again.

I spend an exceptional amount of time sorting through the misinformation that Miss Emily provides.  For instance she will tell me, quite confidently, that she has not been weighed at her day program, when I know that she is weighed every month.

"Really Emily?"  "Really Mom."  Ten minutes later (or maybe ten days) she'll bring me the slip of paper the nurse dutifully jotted her weight on.

She hasn't changed much since she was a little girl.  She has a smile that brings joy to others and a feisty little streak that makes one stand and contemplate what's going on in total consternation.  How can one short little person bring so much to the table of life?

It's a Gift.

And so, as Emily reaches forward to her twenty-fourth birthday, "two more days, mom", I am reflecting on what gift to give to her but remembering more importantly what a gift she has always been to me.

Miss Emily is, without a doubt, a homemade chocolate pudding, just warm from the stove, with rich buttery flavor and melting whipped cream on top.  She is the deeply rich chocolate flavor in my life and the burst of sweetness in every day.

She is more special than her special needs could ever be.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Social Grace. Say What?

There remains a segment of the population who adhere to the strict rules of the social graces. These people no longer fit in the 'norm' as it were. They are not rude, they will hold a door for the opposite sex, an elder, a youngster, a woman with a stroller. They will offer you a cold drink, a hot cup of tea, a snack. They'll provide you with a smile and "Hello. Nice to meet you." while making eye contact and shaking your hand. They will not say what is really on their mind in instances where doing so would be rude, offensive or hurtful. The old adage 'If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all' still applies in their lives. I love these people.*
Are you one of these near extinct individuals? I am. Or rather I thought I was until I realized over the course of the last few weeks that I am fighting a losing battle with myself and those I encounter on a daily basis. Those simple acts of kindness, politeness, courtesy seem to have become the latest fatality in a world that seems a bit upside down. Upside down, that is, for people who have become, perish the thought, their parents! It bothers me no end that I am regularly the victim of rude, uncaring people. It bothers me more that I'm beginning to fight back. With my mouth. Oy.*
Ever the optimist & happiness spreading fool (that's a subject for another day) I have found myself letting things slip. Out.Of.My.Mouth. It has become no easy fete for me to zip my lips and walk away; from rude, unfriendly, uncaring people. *
Say what? Yes. Me. Tsk.Tsk.Tsk. I am no longer the daughter my mother and father carefully raised to be the hostess with the mostest or the girl everyone loves because she is always, and I mean always, nice to others. Plaster that smile on your face Chicky and suck it up, me. Nope. *
I just can't do it anymore. *
A few weeks ago I had to go in to the local Verizon Wireless store with a phone that was not working. After careful discussion and questions asked and answered a new phone was ordered. I knew the guy lied to me. Knew it. But I didn't want to believe it. Twenty-four hours later my refurbished, not new, phone arrived and I promptly called the store. I was treated to a young woman who told me, "I don't know why he told you that. He KNOWS we never send new phones." And that was that. She didn't want to hear about my complaint and didn't seem inclined to want to resolve the problem. So I kind of blew up at her. Alright, that's a fib. I did blow up. I was loud. I was rude. I was demanding. I probably ruined her day. *
I'm not calling to apologize. I took my phone problem to another local store where the problem was promptly, efficiently and courteously corrected. So, yeah. I have a new working phone and a large stone of guilt hanging from a chain around my neck. Know what I mean?*
Then, I went to Lowe's. I ran in to pick up some suet, a pair of work gloves and a live wreath for the front door. I quickly picked up the items and went to the self checkout area. Where the computer promptly did not like my scanning abilities. Or the bar codes. I'm not sure which. The female employee who was working the self checkout area was assisting another woman, but she looked up and told me she'd be with me in a moment. *
I am nothing if not patient. So I waited. I looked around, added a magazine to my items. In the meanwhile the employee is calling the office for help. She looks up and tells me, "I really can't help you. I have a severe allergy to greens!" My brain kicks in with 'what the hell are you doing working in a store that sells greens then?' but my mouth does not open and I suggest that I'll move back with the wreath if she will come over a reset the computer, which she agrees to do. In the end, the computer just would not work for me and I eventually lost my patience, but not my social graces, and left the items for another day.  *
The list of encounters that end up badly for one or the other of us involved is long this month. At the car repair shop. The bowling alley. Papa Gino's. *
Today a coworker told me I'd "hit the nail on the head" when I commented that I don't appreciate people coming to me with a big smile on their face and their false greetings and social graces when in fact all they want is for me to do something for them. Fix a problem. Order supplies. Check their payroll. What-have-you. *
Say What? Hit the nail on the head? "Yes. That is exactly the problem. People either don't know, don't remember or don't care about being courteous and thoughtful any more. I'm not saying you have to like everyone you meet or work with, but if you practise the very act of being kind, caring, courteous it makes not only your own day, but others peoples days much nicer too."*
Sure does. *
Social Graces: *Social graces are skills used to interact politely in social situations. They include manners and etiquette, deportment and fashion. These skills were once taught to young women at a finishing or charm school. The focus of social graces has changed over the last century, recently with an emphasis on business etiquette and international protocol. * excerpted from Wikipedia.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blog Business

As I've tried to jump back into blogging, er, more steadily, I find myself thinking about the blog roll I have over on the side, 'Blogs of Interest to Me'. I scroll down the list and recognize that fully half of the blogs I used to follow are no longer on that list because I did some housekeeping a while back and finally decided those folks weren't going to be blogging again anytime too soon.

Seems my list is getting shorter and shorter because, well, dang, there are a number of blogs in the list who have not updated in two years. Two years is a long time to be away from your blogging friends but I know some of the reason is the AOL Toss we got and some of the reason may be blogger logistics and let's add living life to its fullest to that list.

But I really wish some of you would come back to the fold. The reason your blog remains on my list, even in an inactive state is because some of you were the first on-line friends I had relationships with and as foolish as it seems, that was and remains important to me.

Further blog business requires me to now find a little extra time to add some of my blog friends back on the list and also add some new blogs as well. Come one, come all! And to those of you who are formerly AOL-J and are on the 'Formerly AOL-J' list on Facebook, yippee! It's so easy to find you!

I am trying to back off a bit from Facebook, not because I don't love it because anyone who knows me on or off Facebook knows that I love it - for whatever reason or reasons. My dear, dear sister-in-law (and friend) refers to me as a Facebook Freak. Be that as it may, it's fun and inexpensive entertainment and a great way to keep in touch without burning a hole in my brain from over use of the phone.

Of course, one could argue that letter writing the old fashioned way would keep us in touch too. Which reminds me that I owe Deb a return letter from just about a year ago. And that birthday card I was going to send my cousin? Yeah. No. E-mail is just as easy a way to keep in touch but it's not as much fun as the immediate satisfaction of Facebook. I guess I look at Facebook as one gigantic nationwide chat room or instant message session.

I've added the 'Follow By E-mail' option to my side bar and I've attempted numerous times now to add a favicon so that when my blog name appears in your favorites list there's a picture instead of the orange 'b' in front of the name, but I either can't make the picture the correct size or it ends up not being square. :::sigh::: Just one more thing to learn.

I haven't tried and I don't intend to try the new blogger lay out. I've worked through the many changes on FB this year -- with more in our future -- and I'm done learning any new tech-type things until January 1, 2012 unless I am forced to.

There seems to be an ongoing struggle between myself and blogger about highlighting text and changing the font, the color, the size ... I'm pretty sure I'll figure that out somewhere down the road quite by accident. I seem to find out how to do things by 'Eureka!' moments, friends sending the directions or suddenly my brain clicks and there it is. Just like that.

I tried the Monetize your blog thing for a little while but found it too distracting for my taste, so that's gone. There are folks who use it and it seems not at all distracting to me on their blog. What's up with that?

Do you find it cool to know where your visitors are from? Or would just rather know how many people visit your page? Does it matter either way? I kind of like to know where folks are visiting from rather than how many. Seeing different cities, towns and countries reminds me of just how small the world really is. Or maybe, how big the world really is.

Blog Business. I'd better get on it. Then get back into writing. Really writing.