My Life

Our bowels have GPS, and they’re off by at least a mile. 

Don’t believe me? Think back to the last time you were on your way home and the need to poop hit you. It wasn’t bad, just your body saying, “Hey – nothing urgent but, FYI, we’re ready to move when you find the appropriate place and time.” 

Then you got about a mile away from home and your body said, “Phew! We made it. High fives all around, everyone. Now…release the hounds!” 

And you freaked out! “Wait, WHAT?! We’re NOT home yet! We’re not in a bathroom! STOP!”

“Whadaya tawkin’ about,” your bowels replied. “We’re home. It says so right here on my GPS: ‘You have arrived at your destination.’ And not a moment too soon, I might add,” they chuckled.

And you squeezed your butt cheeks so tight, trying to prevent an accident in the car. Then the relief of making it home without making a mess was swiftly replaced with fear at having to get out of your seat and walk into the house. As much as your bowels believed you were already in your bathroom, you are equally convinced that the pressure of you sitting in your car is the only thing holding your poop in. 

You’re not alone; it happens to all of us! Our bowels make a conscious dcision to prematurely engage their release button when we get within a mile of our homes. They don’t mean to cause us such distress. They just have defective GPSes. 

Jess-ism #1

I’m starting a new feature on the blog: Jess-isms, pearls of wisdoms from me. Most days, I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water as a woman, friend, wife and mostly as a mom. However, I do receive compliments on B’s politeness, consideration, maturity & wit, my cooking, my marriage and womanhood. I’ve never been one to hoard tips and tricks, so I’m going to share what I know with y’all. Here’s the first one…

Jessism #1

Id, Ego & Super-ego – Sigmund Freud

 

 

I earned my coffee this morning!

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I’m not a big coffee drinker. In fact, I just had my first cup less than 2 years ago. But this morning was one of those days I needed a cup of coffee. I have my period, so I’m not just the usual I’ve-been-a-mom-for-12-years-I’m-in-my-40s-I-stay-up-way-too-late-at-night-because-it’s-the-only-time-I-can-be-alone tired, I’m also bloated-can’t-sleep-from-the-pain-irritated-already-don’t-push-my-buttons-finally-fell-asleep-right-before-dawn-then-the-hubs-rudely-woke-me-up-and-I-have-a-ton-to-do tired. Needless to say, I wanted a cuppa.

The hubs likes dark roasted coffee, but it’s too much for me. However, since I rarely drink it, I refuse to buy K-cups for myself. So, we learned this lovely money-saving tip from my ILs last year and have been doing it ever since: we use each K-cup twice. He makes himself a cup of coffee before heading off to work and leaves the K-cup in the machine. Should I want a cup of coffee, or if B’s asthma is flaring up or he is sick, I’ll use that K-cup to make a 2nd cup of coffee and then discard it. If the K-cup is still in the coffee maker the next morning, the hubs knows it’s only been used once, makes himself a cup with that same K-cup and then tosses it. I’m OK if you think that’s gross. However, by the 2nd cup, the grounds are weaker, so it’s not bitter to me and I don’t get heartburn. Plus, I am now paying 50% less than you for K-cups by using them twice. BOOM! Anywho, back to me and my all-that kinda tired from paragraph one…

Make the cuppa, got a spoon and then grabbed the bottle of French Vanilla creamer that the hubs had left next to the coffee maker. It. Was. EMPTY. *deep breath* I’ll just go get another one from the fridge in the garage. The hubs always lets me know when he opens the last bottle of creamer so I’ll get more. He will go into withdrawal if there is no creamer in the house, I tell myself to keep calm. Hunt down house & garage keys and some outdoor shoes (I was wearing my indoor shoes and they cannot be worn outside), unlock the back door, walk through yard to detached garage, unlock garage door walk over to fridge and open it up. NO. CREAMER. *deep breath #2*  Stay calm, stay, calm, I tell myself. We’ll just use some sugar and milk. It’ll be fine! Yes, I talk to myself in the plural sense. It takes a village to keep this lady a calm, productive member of society on the outside.

Lock up the garage, walk through the backyard to the back door, enter the house, lock the back door, take off outdoor shoes, slip indoor shoes back on, walk into kitchen and open fridge. *deep breath #3, this time through clenched teeth* The deep breath didn’t work. I yelled, to no one in particular, “YOU’VE GOTTA BE KIDDING ME! THERE’S NO FUCKING MILK IN THE HOUSE?! I WAS JUST IN THE GARAGE AND THERE ARE TWO GALLONS OUT THERE!” I had hoped that tirade happened in my head but, no, the immediate pausing of Phineas & Ferb on the TV and B running into the kitchen confirmed that came out of my mouth. *deep breath of shame #1* B offered to go out and get the milk since he was the one who used it all up and did not replace it, as he should have, but I rewarded him for paying attention to my tirade but sending him back to Phineas & Ferb and went back out to get the milk myself.

Hunt down house & garage keys (I had actually left them in the back door for convenience’s sake, but didn’t remember doing that) and thankfully my outdoor shoes were by the back door as well, unlock the back door, walk through yard to detached garage, unlock garage door walk over to fridge and grab a gallon of milk. Start leaving the garage and then decided to check the expiration date of the milk before going any further. *phew, we’re good* Lock up the garage, walk through the backyard to the back door, enter the house, lock the back door, take off outdoor shoes, slip indoor shoes back on, walk into kitchen and over to my coffee cup. Add 2 spoonfuls of sugar (no judging), some milk, stir and take a sip.

This was the second best cup of coffee I’d had in my life (the first being my very first)! Fresh, smooth, clean, without any chemical aftertaste. *Ahhhhhh*

I have drunk this cup while typing all tis out for y’all. Now I can tackle the things I have to do today that warranted the coffee. Enjoy your weekend!

Blessings by Laura Story

Have you ever heard the song Blessings by Laura Story?  If not, click on it, above, and listen to it before reading on. I’ve always loved that song. I don’t know why. Maybe because I’ve always liked the “sad” songs since I was a kid or maybe because what she is singing about resonates with me. But even though I love this song, I didn’t really understood it for the longest time. What blessings could possibly be found in our worst pains and losses?!

Then one day, a couple of years ago, I was in the car, this song came on the radio, and I immediately thought of Janet (not her real name). God connected the dots for me right there and showed me an example of what blessing could come out of Janet’s cancer and her family losing their child, sister and mother.  Before receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis, Janet did not have the most positive attitude. She was not happy with her situation when she compared it to others’. Sometimes she felt others had an obligation to share their blessings with her because she didn’t have what they had. She focused on the things she didn’t have instead of the things and people she did.

When her cancer was discovered, it was pretty progressed and doctors were not optimistic.  But you know what?  Janet didn’t wallow in self-pity, didn’t wonder “Why me?” or get angry at God.  She had an amazing transformation in attitude, spirit and heart after her diagnosis.  She realized every moment on this earth and all the people in her life were precious and she wanted as much time as possible to let them know that and to show God she could praise him in the storm. She wasn’t going to accept defeat and die without a fight.

It took the knowledge that her time left on earth had an expiration date of months, not decades, to change.  Janet had a love of life and appreciation for each day and those with her like she’d never had before.  She praised God in private and out loud to whom she came in contact.  She went through ugly treatments and terrible side effects saying, “God is good!”, being grateful for medicine that helped her fight.  She turned it all over to God and trusted Him to get her through this.  And, oh boy, did God do amazing things in Janet! Her tumors started shrinking.  Doctors could not explain what was happening, but Janet knew. She was given more time to enjoy life since she was finally enjoying it they way God wanted her to. She lived so much longer than any doctor expected! And when the cancer started progressing again, quickly, she made sure she said everything that needed to be said to those she was leaving behind.

Her inspiration to all of us for having joy in her heart while going through treatments was a blessing.  Her example to her daughters of how to face fear, illness and the unknown head-on, with God, family and friends by her side was a blessing.  Her girls memories of their mom’s final months were of joy, love, believing in and receiving God’s healing, not the negative, unhappy woman she was before, and that was a blessing.

I wish she could have lived longer to do all the things she wanted to with her girls, and see them grow up and become moms of their own. Even though her life was cut short, at the end of her life she was blessed with an inner peace and love, something her family had wanted for her for so long. She was a wonderful example of hope, the power of prayer and how God is always waiting with open arms when we are ready to turn to Him.

Why am I writing this post now?  I was doing housework today with music on in the background and this song came on.  And them another example of a blessing came into my head.  Shortly after turning 2 yrs old, B became very sick. After he was released from the hospital, he was still ill, but we were sent home with diagnoses, medicines and machines and we had to learn to care for him. He was too sick to go to daycare some days and when he was well enough to go, they could not administer his meds per their policies.  I don’t blame them!  I asked my parents to watch him while I worked and they graciously said yes. Then, after a month of watching B, my mom sat me down and said she and my dad could no longer care for B. It was too much.  My dad had recently retired and they wanted to travel. They wanted to enjoy their grandchild and his needs needed to be met by me, his mother. She told me I needed to quit my job and take care of my son.

We were still paying medical bills from his hospital stay and now we had to go down to one salary?!  How would we make ends meet?! But it was the right thing for B so we did it.  And it was tough!  It’s still tough, 10 years later, to make ends meet on one salary. But they always do meet. We don’t have everything we want, but we always have what we need.  And the best part? We have a healthy, happy young man whom I’ve had the privilege to homeschool the past 5 years. That’s our blessing.

A couple of other examples popped into my head and then a voice said, “You should go blog about this. Others need to know, too.” Yes.  I heard a voice.  And I know Whose it is. He’s spoken to me a couple of times in the past few months and gave me instructions. Things I didn’t want to do because I was scared.  But after the fact, I knew He was right and I should have done them. I believe my fears would not have come to fruition because He put the opportunity there to begin with. He was going to hold my hand through something to show me I could do it but I didn’t want to trust Him. So today, I’m listening to Him and acting on it.

Have you received a blessing from tragedy, loss or pain? A heart attack could scare someone into changing their eating and exercise habits. Surviving a car crash, even though months of hospitalization or physical therapy is needed, could stop someone from ever texting and driving again. Did you ever see the movie Mr. Mom? Dad losing his job and staying home with the kids while his stay-at-home wife reentered the work force. Dad got to get to know his kids, make memories with them, and both parents got a greater appreciation for what the other did. A terrible accident or illness to a child, forcing a “super mom” to admit that she can’t do it all and a workaholic dad to get into the parenthood trenches and help, instead of just being the paycheck.

“The song Blessings really came out of a redefining of the word blessing that’s been going on in my life for a few years now. I grew up hearing that word blessed…I think subtilely I began to see blessing as something that was centered around health or prosperity. Which was hard these passed few years when I was facing a situation with my husband’s health. We were praying for healing and God, for whatever reason, wasn’t answering our prayers the way we wanted Him to. So, was He blessing us? That was our question….It’s just us investigating this idea of, could God possibly be blessing us through not giving us the things we’re praying for…Even though we do have more questions than answers at this point in time, I do know this: that there is a blessedness that comes through waiting on the Lord. There is an intimacy in our walk with the Lord that comes through walking through that valley. There is a reliance on His Word that we only know when everything else in life fades away. And so, in that sense, I truly feel like I’ve been blessed.” Laura Story

I wanted a sign.

5:25am  As instructed, the hubs got me up before leaving for work.  (Last night, while we were cleaning up after Bible circle, I said to the hubs, “Don’t forget to wake me up before you go to work tomorrow.”  He replied, “You mean…wake you up before I…go-go?”  “Yes,” I laughed. “Wake me up before you go-go!”)

5:34am  I sit down at the computer, pull up a particular site and have a credit card at the ready.  Registration for the Fall semester of amazing homeschool classes begins at 6:00am.  One of my friends described it so accurately yesterday: a shark feeding frenzy.  You have to be up and hope you are quick enough to get your kids into the classes they want.  Why?  Although there are a good number of companies and individuals who are catering to homeschoolers now, the majority of them offer core subjects (Math, Language Arts, Science), gym and tend to cater to the younger students (up to 3rd grade).

The place I am talking about definitely offers core subjects, but also electives in languages, art, music, cooking, computers, architecture, making this planet a better place, and so much more!  There is hands-on and interactive learning and live performances of historical characters by professions actors who work in museums.  These are not classes doing “school” at home; this is HOMEschool!  These are classes we’d want to create for our kids if we were subject matter experts and had the resources.  These are classes our kids beg to take, are so excited to get to and you know what?  There are no tests!  It is purely for the love of learning and advancing themselves in a topic they are passionate about!

5:56am  Had to refresh the registration page, just in case it went live early.  Classes are only once a week, but they happen to fall on a day that has other obligations for us, so it can be a hectic day.  Especially for this mama, who is an introvert and does not enjoy being around people.

5:59am  Be back soon…

6:00am  DAMMIT!  So many people trying to register, I can’t get on!

6:06am  I got to the registration page and managed to enter one class to my cart, but the other one won’t.  I’m just getting this swirly thing, telling me the computer is thinking…

6:12am  Still can’t get the 2nd class in my cart.  I’ve tried checking out with the one class so it is secured before it fills up, but I can’t get to my cart.  Their site is so overwhelmed with parents trying to register.  I’m messaging with a friend who is also trying.  She almost made me pee my pants with laughter when she references the “swirls of death”, taunting us, leaving us in limbo, wondering if we’ll ever get our kids in these classes!

6:33am  FINALLY got second class added to cart!  Trying to get into the cart to checkout now…

6:43am  CHECKED OUT, PAID AND CONFIRMATION EMAIL RECEIVED!!!!!!  If B wasn’t still asleep, I’d be whooping, doing a happy dance and singing the Hallelujah chorus!  I don’t know how people can work on the stock exchange floor day in and day out; this was so stressful!

You know, as I was hitting refresh, refresh, refresh, and getting the message, “error in connecting to server” over and over and over again, I kept wondering if maybe not getting into these classes was for the best.  I hate Wednesdays, mostly because of these classes. I started to hope that he didn’t get into the classes.  But as soon as that thought took seed, the website worked for me and I got both classes into my cart and was able to check out.  So I did.

Near the end of our Wednesday night Bible circle, before we break out dessert, we take turns telling our prayer requests and thanksgivings.  Last night, my thanksgiving was that yesterday was the last day of these classes I shlep B to every Wednesday, then rush home for flag football practices/games and then Bible circle.  I was thankful that this was the first Wednesday all school year that I did not think about drinking (or actually pour a drink) as soon as we got home!  The relief I felt that it was over!  Then the hubs mentioned that I had to be up at the crack of dawn this morning for Fall registration and one of the men in our circle asked me, “Then why do you do this?!  If it’s so stressful and it makes you want to drink, why?”

It was a very valid question with a very simple answer: for my son.  It’s not his fault that his mom is an introvert who wants to hermit all day.  I refuse to let my anxieties cripple his life and his opportunities.  There are certain subjects that I can’t teach him and I won’t hold back this child who loves the classes, the teachers and the other students there with him.

But I did put my foot down for this coming Fall.  We won’t be there all day.  He can’t take whatever classes he wants – one starting at 9am, another at 2pm and he’ll take some other classes in between or just play with the other kids.  I really wanted to be out of there by 2pm, but I would push it back to 3pm if it was an important class.  I was firm on that.  So, the last class I just registered him for ends at 3:30pm.  ;o)  He really wants to concentrate on his acting, so he’s taking back-to-back acting classes.  I’m OK with that.  We’ll only be there for 2.5 hours and I don’t have to pack lunch.  I have two friends there that I can talk to when I want to and who don’t mind if I go off by myself (I could have more friends, if I wanted to, but I choose not to socialize.)

7:47am  The registration website is down, due to “unprecedented traffic”.  I’m glad I got in when I did.  It was a sign.  :o)

My Separation Anxiety

My boy is going to a sleep-away camp this Summer for the first time and I’m a wreck.  I don’t know why, though.  I’ve never had separation anxiety before, never had a problem being away from him for hours or even days.  In fact, when the hubs and I go out alone together, he’ll ask a few times, “I wonder what he’s doing now,” or say “I miss him,” and my response is always, “Who? Oh, right, we have a son…”

I’m not worried he’s going to have a bad time.  He’s going to have so much fun with all the activities available to him and he’s going to be there with several of his friends.  I’m so excited for him to go and experience this!  I never went to sleep away camp, but the hubs did and has many fond memories and friendships that lasted for decades afterward.

B is convinced that he’s never going to college and I’m sure that going to camp is going to change his mind.  The freedom (i.e. no mom or dad correcting him, pick his own activities, get himself to where he needs to be) in a controlled environment (i.e. counselors in charge and there for help, curfews, bunkhouses and dining halls provided, etc.) is somewhat similar to college and and see that going away is fun and maturing.  This is a big positive to me of him going.

I’ve left him with friends, family and even strangers (Sunday school, Summer day camps) for years and haven’t had any problems once I met them, talked to them about his allergies, found out who will be holding his epi-pens and their knowledge and comfortability with administering them.

Over lunch this afternoon, we talked about the things that he needs to stay on top of that can be hit or miss at home without being reminded: putting on his deodorant, wearing underwear daily, wearing clean underwear.  I let him know about the number of people per room and that they will share one bathroom.  I asked if he had any questions or concerns at this time and he didn’t.  I told him I did: him getting sunburned and mosquito bites.  He replied, “Yeah, you’re right.  I’ll bring sunscreen and bug spray with me.”  “That’s a good idea, but you can’t just bring it; you have to use it.”  “Oooo-kaaay, Ma.”  I give him credit for not physically rolling his eyes, but I heard it in his voice.  ;o)

I also told him that I was worried about ticks.  So many people where we live have Lyme disease and we have been lucky so far.  I told him that we’ll go over thoroughly checking himself and give him a hand mirror to look at places not easy to see (armpits and manly bits).  I was asking him to think about whether or not he felt comfortable asking his friend who is rooming with him if he could check B’s hair for ticks at night and B would check his friend’s hair when I lost it.  I just started blubbering!  What is wrong with me!

Is it that this is another milestone that drives home, once again, how quickly he is growing up?  I don’t know how I’m going to handle not talking to him every day!  He’s not allowed to take his phone.  If they find out he has one it will be confiscated.  Do they have pay phones the kids can use? Can I send him with a calling card so he can call if he wants to?

We both need this and I hope all my blubbering and worrying ends once he’s down there.  Although, the drive home after we drop him off will be the worst!

My one, and only, speeding ticket

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As I’ve shared with y’all in previous posts, I was a goody-goody.  I did not put one toe out of line, or even consider it, for fear of doing wrong.  So I don’t speed.  Well, let me qualify that: I’ll go up to 5 miles over the speed limit, especially if I’m on a highway and other cars are flying by me at much higher speeds.  I don’t want to be a safety hazard on the road.  But that’s it – 5 MPH over the limit.  However, I am also Irish and have a temper and have been known to act rash once or twice.  I know, shocking, right?!  😉

I was 20 years old and doing my last semester of college, my co-op semester, in Rhode Island.  My Nana & Papa lived in Vermont and, when I would get the urge to run (if you’ve read my post My Greatest Regret, you’ll remember why I got those urges), I would sometimes drive up to their house.  I’d drive from Rhode Island, through Massachusetts and into Vermont.  It’s really nice driving north, because the speed limit in Vermont is higher – 70 MPH.  However, driving back south sucks.  Slowing your car down from 70 MPH to 55 MPH at the Massachusetts border feels like crawling the rest of the way home.  To make matters worse, shortly after entering Massachusetts, the road went down to an undivided road of only one lane each way.  It never ceases to amaze me how many people can drive 10 miles over the speed limit on a divided highway but then slow down to 10 miles below it when it becomes undivided.  *sigh*

So, on this one particularly beautiful, sunny, Summer day, I was the first in line of many cars stuck behind a car going 35-40 MPH in a 55 MPH zone for 20+ miles.  And there were plenty of times when the double solid line in the middle of the road changed to a dotted one to allow passing.  Unfortunately, there were always cars coming in the opposite direction during those times.  I was already anxious because I was heading back to work and dealing with my own demons inside, and this white-haired head in front of me that was so short it had to look through the steering wheel not over it, turned that anxiety to anger.  So, as soon as that road opened up to a 4 lane divided highway, I swerved around that driver and punched it!  FREEDOM!  My mood instantly changed to relieve and then giddiness and I started laughing.  I had felt trapped inside of me for almost 2 years and being behind that driver made me feel trapped in my car, too.  But no more!  I was free and I was going to get the heck away from that car so I could stay in the lead.  I felt fantastic!

For all of 1.4 miles.

I saw something in the road ahead of me.  I was in the fast lane and tried to figure out what it was before deciding to move over to the right or not.  Was it a dead animal?  As I got closer, the something got bigger and it most definitely was alive.  It was a crazy man, standing in the middle of the fast lane with his hand in the air in the “HALT!” position.  I am a smart enough driver not to slam on the breaks and possible cause a skid out that would hit the crazy man or flip my car.  So I slowed down as fast and as safely as I could and got into the right lane to avoid him.  You know what that crazy man did?!  He stepped into the right lane in front of me!!  WTF?!?!

I was still slowing down quickly so I could come to a stop and pulled into the shoulder.  As I passed crazy man I got a good look at him.  He was bald, crazy mad, and wore a uniform.  Turns out it was a Massachusetts State Trooper uniform.  As I put the car in park and tried to regulate my breathing and heart rate from the scare of him in the road, he stormed up to my open car window and leaned it.  He started yelling at me!  And he spit when he yelled.  I will never forget that face.  His head was perfectly round and his baldness gleamed in the sun.  He had a small space between every single one of his teeth and he had a mole on his left cheek that was so big, no matter how hard I tried to keep my eyes locked on his, they kept wandering over to it.

He just kept a-yellin’ that I was clocked at 72 in a posted 55 and that he was going to arrest me for driving without a license, car theft and attempted murder of a government official.  OK, let’s break down all those charges:

  1. 72 in a posted 55: I guess the most common excuse this particular trooper had heard for speeding on this stretch of road was that they had no idea the speed limit had dropped from 70 to 55.  So he always referred to it being posted and always spat on me during the “puh!”.
  2. Driving without a license:  I used to look significantly younger than my age.  You have to be 18 to buy lottery tickets and clerks didn’t stop carding me until my third trimester of pregnancy at the age of 30.  To make matters worse, I didn’t wear makeup and for some strange reason, I decided to wear my hair in two, braided pigtails, one above each of my ears on that particular day.
  3. Car theft: He thought I was 14, not old enough to have a license, so I must have stolen the car for a joyride.  HA!  Me – go on a joyride?!   I couldn’t help it; I giggled at that.  It just made him madder.
  4. Attempted murder of a government official: He was referring to himself.  I tried to kill him when he stepped onto the road in front of my car going 72 in a posted 55?

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  So I looked away and started to collect my driver’s license and registration, to prove that I was a legal driver of my father’s car.  He flipped out!  “PUT YOUR HANDS UP WHERE I CAN SEE THEM!  DO YOU HAVE ANY WEAPONS IN THE CAR?!  WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”  Good Lord!  I was all alone, on the side of this deserted highway, with an armed crazy man and I was scared.  Then I thought, “Hey!  Why is this road deserted?!  What happened to all the other drivers in that long line of cars behind me?!”  Just then, they all drove by, nice and slow.  I guess they all drove that road enough to know that there was a speed trap where the road opened up because none of them had taken off like me and passed the short, white head.

I had to sit straight, with my back against the seat and my hands in the air.  Then slowly slide the top of my body towards the right and even more slowly open the glove box.  Then I had to get back from it so the trooper could inspect the box for weapons.  @@ (It’s easy to roll my eyes now, but back then I was really scared!) I gave him my driver’s license and registration and, before heading back to his cruiser to check my info, he told me it was in my best interest not to run.  As if I would.

He let me sweat in that car for quite some time before coming back with my speeding ticket for reckless driving, because going 72 in a posted 55 was reckless according to the state of Massachusetts.  He seemed irritated that my info turned out to be legit and let me know that although he was not arresting me for attempted murder of a government official at that time, he did have the right to press charges in the future.

I was a wreck the rest of the way back to work, traveling 5 miles below the speed limit the whole time.  And that is why I don’t speed.

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