Monday, October 7, 2013

One Way Ticket to Middle Age

This is no ordinary concert pic taken with a smartphone.


This, my friends, is a symbol of my lost youth.  The loss of hip.  Coolness has left the building.  I am no longer bringing sexy back. Metamucil is my new BFF.

So.  Yes, I am a 40 year old chubby Caucasian.  I also love me some R&B.  Rap, Hip Hop, these are MY JAMS.  Sky King just closes his eyes and does a slight head-shake that to me says, "Man, my wife is badass, and I'm lucky to married to such a hot thug-ette." Or something.

So, when Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z announced their Legends of Summer Stadium Tour, I was like, OMG!  Who's in?

Sky King did me a solid by getting in on the pre-sell, and even got some decent seats.  And, offered to go with.  THAT is the part that showed me how much he loved me.

We decided to make a weekend of it.

I had to find something appropriate for the occasion.  This brings Princess into the mix.  Princess who thinks her Momma is younger, thinner and richer than she really is.  She dragged me into Buckle, a store that seems to cater to young country and sparkle-loving people.  But, the sparkles is what drew her (and, let's face it, me) in.  I was looking for shiny and slightly slutty.  Princess was looking for rock-star-chic.

We found a sales person to assist, and we ended up with a pretty wrap top that had some sheer parts, and some sparkly parts.  It was significantly low cut, so I knew Sky King would approve.  Top it all with jeans, boots, and a new 'do, and I was ready to rock rap.

On the night of, SK made it clear that, the second I was too tired, we could head back to the hotel.  Such an accommodating one, he is.  Not to mention, he didn't know a single Jay-Z song, and a scarce few JT songs. Add in some bad hearing, and stadium acoustics that could drown out the collective grumblings of the worlds' hipsters when faced with nothing but instant coffee (or is instant coffee now a "thing"?) and we have a recipe for Middle Age Disaster.

Let's just start with, you know this is not your crowd when your hubs gives up his coveted Muni seat to a drunk chick that may or may not vomit into some dude's hoodie before we reach our stop.  Using a knee to keep her from sliding into a pool of floppy human, while chivalrous, is a true sign these Are Not Our People.  Her "friend" that was likely assigned to the Drunk Girl really didn't take her job seriously. ("hey, babysit me tonight, because you KNOW how I get after seven redbull-and-vodkas and nine bong-hits, mkay?", "OMG, we are TOTES gunna have the bestest time EVER", "LOL", "I know, right?") Likely, this is the convo they had the next morning:

Drunk Girl: Hey.  how did we get home?
Loser Friend: I totally got us on the bus, and this cute little old couple gave you their seat, and I kept making sure you stayed hydrated.  They were super-rad, but I have no idea why they were on the shuttle from Jay-Z. Maybe some old guy like Barry Manilow was in town...
Drunk Girl: You're the BEST.  Totes the BEST.  And, my wallet, phone and keys are still here!  You, like, ROCK.
Loser Friend: I know, right?!?!?!  Let's go to Denny's--don't forget the flask of vodka....

Ah, to be young again.


So there we are, Sky King pretending he can hear, understand and identify rap lyrics (Holy Grail, OMFG, amiright???).  Me, pulsing with the crowd, hoping that Candlestick isn't due for an earthquake because I really do NOT want to die like this.

When the FUCK did it become a THING to stand the entire concert?  Don't these bitches get tired?  I see them in their $20 stilettos and I KNOW that shit is rough on the feet.

So, I would stand up, do my best Hip Hop Sway and Pulse, while taking breaks to sit amongst the people that can manage to engage in complicated dance routines in a 2 foot square space.

A few songs before we thought it would be over, we made a break for it, hoping that we would not stand for fifteen hours waiting for a bus to get through the streets of SF. Yes, I am now that person.  "Hey kids, I know this is the best part of the drive-in movie, but if we leave RIGHT NOW, we can miss the traffic, which is EVEN MORE FUN than Iron Man 15!!!!"  If you have ever been to Candlestick, you know that there is truly only one way in or out of the area, and it causes a traffic jam that even the best cabbies avoid like a case of burning gonorrhea. 

So we find ourselves on a bus, IN SEATS (Woot!) headed for the hotel.

On that ride, I had time to ruminate on the situation.

1. The concert was fun, especially since I had vowed to not consume any liquids to avoid any bathroom lines (why can't venues recognize that women need approximately 45 times more bathrooms?)
2. The acoustics SUCKED (or maybe my old ears heard it wrong?)
3. Despite the VAST numbers of Middle-Aged White Folks that also love Jay-Z, this is not my tribe.

These people are hip.  They stay up past 9:15, even on work nights.  They enjoy crowds of sweaty drunks (because they are ALSO sweaty drunks) and they don't mind standing in line to use a bathroom, only to recognize they broke the seal, to then get in line for beer, to then stand in line to pee, lather-rinse-repeat. 

These people are not like me.

I get back to the hotel, sleep til 10:45, stagger on pained feet to the nearest place to shovel food in my face, tour the City with my beloved, then hit the sheets at 7:15 at night in the motherfucking afternoon because I am OLD.

Lyme Disease took my groove.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Today's Post Brought To You By The Letters F and U

I'm mad.  Like, stab-members-of-the-CDC-in-the-eyeballs-with-Chinese-throwing-stars-while-simultaneously-burning-down-the-homes-of-all-their-loved-ones kind of mad.

Typically, I'm more, yell-profanities-and-make-an-ass-out-of-myself-through-bad-behavior mad. 

But I'm done.  DONE.  Stick a fork in me.

Yesterday, after much fight, I lost a big battle.  The war is not over, but I am sitting around stewing in my misery, sad, crying, frustrated.

Here is a summary of what Lyme disease (contracted in the mid-80's) has given me:
  • constant joint pain
  • somewhat constant muscle pain
  • an almost regular limp
  • Skepticism---imagine someone with a debilitating illness, yet they look fine.  Healthy, maybe a little chubby (OK, A LOT), good coloring, keeping her hair, etc.  But she tells you she has this awful disease, and she can't work much, nor commit to much.  And, she will likely act like a total flake, committing then forgetting.  But she blames it all on a disease that has no mainstream support or treatment.  Yeah, THAT.  I can see it in people's eyes.  The ones that knew me before are less skeptical.  But new people, it's hard to open with, "Hi, I'm Aimee.  Don't bother telling me your name because I have a weird disease that makes me depressed, in pain and forgetful. Nice to meet you."
  • 4 (and counting) "Temporary" handicap placards, one right after the other, waited in line for at the DMV, every 6 months
  • touch sensitivity, so when people lean on me, hug me, jokingly tap me, or pretty much any other contact, it has me saying "ouch" or worse (not the greatest, when you're a mom of kids who like to snuggle, and a husband who likes to "snuggle" too)
  • a veritable potpourri of over 40 different pills to take throughout the day, set by a timer on my smartphone
  • Regular doctor appointments-I see my Lyme doc monthly, my therapist at least weekly, my acupuncturist at least monthly (more when we can afford it), the pharmacist every couple weeks, my primary a few times a year unless things get really bad, and various people for consults (surgical, etc).  When I'm not at an appointment, I am working on scheduling one, filing forms to insurance reimbursement from one, or appealing the denial of one claim or another
  • I avoid people---I have become withdrawn, anti-social, and irritable.  
  • I am tired.  Not, need-a-nap tired.  But fatigued-lay-on-the-couch-and-barely-schlep-to-the-bathroom tired.  It's different, and it's exhausting
  • Planning---whenever the rest of the family wants to do something, I have to think about whether I can, and what I need to do, to be able to do something.  Cross Country Meet? I need a chair, shade, and possibly full coverage for my skin, in the sun, for several hours.  A weekend away? I travel with 3 inch memory foam, a wide range of clothes, and extra medication so that if I have to be around people for longer than a couple hours, I can hang with the extra stimulation.  Lord help me if I'm light sensitive that week.  Disneyland? I have to borrow a mobility scooter, and after 4 hours, I'm a wreck.  Basically, my Lyme disease needs tons of accommodations.  
  • Pity-people I love, that used to rely on me, respect me, and expect great things from me now have lots of pity.  I have less invites than I used to, and it's hard to explain to people: "Please still invite me, even though I usually say no".  It sucks, having a friend that takes so much work, ya know? But it also sucks being left out.  I can't win.
  • Side-effects-at any given time, my meds (which change monthly, sometimes more often) cause me to be sun sensitive, alcohol sensitive, angry, grouch, bloaty, feeling slightly drunk, dizzy, spacey, imbalanced, and incapable of losing weight.
  • Also, I have to detox---Lyme disease causes some nasty side effects WHEN THE TREATMENT ACTUALLY WORKS from which I need to detox-dry brushing, using a personal sauna, lemon water all day, and Epsom salt baths are a few of the things I have to stop living my life to deal with.  And, I should be detoxing daily.  A good friend detoxes for over an hour, EVERY DAY.  It's a fucking part-time job.
  • I've lost much of my cognitive function.  I forget names of people, offending them at every turn.  I forget appointments, I forget obligations, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.  And, the kicker is, that used to be my THING.  I was thoughtful, planned elaborate surprises, remembered to get everyone to sign the card, blah blah blah.  Now, I can't introduce people without looking like an ass.  And that's one of the least annoying things about my memory loss.  How hard do you think it is to explain to your staff why the phone got shut off?  Twice?  Not very confidence-building, I assure you.
The list goes on.  Ironically, I can't think of anything else right now.  HAHAHA.

If you love me, know me IRL, care about me in any way, do this ONE THING for me.  Watch this movie:

This is Under Our Skin, a documentary about why I can't get the treatment I need.  Last year, we went out-of-pocket over $12,000.  I am one of the lucky ones: I found a way to HAVE that much to spend.  Not everyone is this lucky.  To date, the biggest killer of people with Lyme disease, right before cardiac issues and stroke, is SUICIDE.  People give up.  They feel like they have no hope.  I get it.  I really do.  Luckily, I have an amazing team of people that hold me close, check on me, keep me in their hearts and prayers.  And, I have a job still.  I don't work at it much, but I have the distinct luxury of being a business owner, and having a ROCK STAR husband that has picked up my slack at work (along with some amazing people AT work-you ladies and the BOMB).

One last favor--- share this movie.  Share it with the people you love.  Share it on social media.  Share it with your favorite congressperson (is there such a thing these days?)  Lyme disease is in ALL 50 STATES, and the CDC recently admitted that annual new cases number at around 300,000.  I heard a person with HIV once admit he was glad he didn't have Lyme disease.  Can you imagine a disease that is degenerative, that slowly (sometimes quickly) takes everything away from you, all the while the agencies that should be supporting you are telling you it's all in your head, doesn't exist, or is not treatable?  And this isn't just happening here: Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries and continents are having the same problem with identification, treatment and acceptance. 
But, I am dejected, ignored, dismissed by the IDSA and the CDC, who won't acknowledge what I have, or work on an appropriate treatment.  So, I see a doc that can't take insurance for fear of scrutiny, and my treatment is WAAAAAAAY outside the scope of what is "acceptable" in those damn IDSA guidelines.  Having friends and family support you is HUGE, I know people that don't even have that (who would fake this? Who would pick this life???).  But without aggressive treatment, I don't see how I will ever get into remission.

Remission.  Yep, not CURE.  You see, when Lyme disease has been spending a couple decades burrowing into your tissues, heart, muscles, and brain, remission is the hope.  And there isn't a simple test---it's more, "can you live with this crap?"  "I guess so"  "Congrats!!!  You're in remission!!!" 


I promise, I will work hard to do a funny post, soon.

Kisses (and gentle hugs),

Monday, September 2, 2013

Monkey Boy, Crackin' Me Up Since 1999

I know, I know.  It's been a while.  I said that last time, too.  Life is weird, busy, erratic, and I'm moody.  Get over it.


Things have been moving along at warp speed.  Princess is growing more and more precocious, and is working her way into having a dog-----Being to Lord-ette of Dog Town is IMMINENT.  She's already knitted the damn dog a hat, for cryingoutloud. (Let's all have a collective moment of silence for the poor over-loved doggie that will soon be ours, shall we?).

My health still sucks, but there have been leaps forward, and setbacks.  Incidentally, this summer storm we are currently in the middle of apparently affects my joints.  Fuck you, Rain.

Monkey Boy has gone from an 8th grade class of 30-ish, to a Freshman class of 500+, with marked success.  He's growing, maturing, becoming a relate-able human. It's been a pleasure. He's also crossing into Real Life socially.

Monkey Boy has jumped with both feet into the realities of Dating Life.

He has a true, official, holding-hands-on-the-couch, not-eating-food-in-front-of-each-other GIRLFRIEND.

I'm proud of him, on so many levels:

  • He took a risk and "asked her out", before school got out, risking rejection (he typically has a very small group of friends, and is more quiet, less social, rarely has friends over, so this was HUGE). 
  • He has had to be assertive to spend time with her (he's 14, and she's a year younger, and lives about 20 minutes away, so they both need to step it up with their communication if they are EVER going to see each other, so transportation is by parents)
  • He's learning to negotiate the fine art of dealing with a girl (it's never too early for him to learn, "Happy wife, happy life", amiright?)
  • He's truly happier as a person, is nicer to his sister, is more patient in general.  This relationship thing has really allowed him to do some maturing.
Back to the story that was intended:

All of their time together is supervised: movies with an adult, errand running, meals out, hanging out at one of the homes, etc.  And, Girlfriend has two younger siblings----we all know siblings make the BEST chaperones!  Anyway, the sibs all go to school together (Princess included), and the little girls have grown close.  Last night MB was out with Girlfriend and family for a family party than ran into the night (when I am tucked deep into my Sleep Number, dreaming about pastries). 

I get this text:

MB: Andrea (little sis of Girlfriend) wants to have a playdate with Princess
Me: (I don't know why the vibration of my phone woke me, but it did) We cN woek soemthing ojt
MB: R u drunk?
Me: I ws slecpng jerkface (made SURE to spell jerkface right!)

Meanwhile, we are now in that phase of life where I get to start saying, "wake me when you get in, okay?".

Any tips, besides putting the younger sister in between them on the couch?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pity Party for One, Please....

Today, I went to see Dr. Lyme.

I had lots to report.

Since we began the process of looking for, financing, and closing escrow on what Princess calls, "Our Forever House", things have gotten dicey.  Symptoms I hadn't seen in MONTHS were back.

Once things settled down, some of the nastier ones went away.

But, some remained.  You know, like strange bugs in the rice.  One day they appear.  And, until you feed the rice to someone you don't like, you're stuck with weird bugs.  Or something like that.


My fatigue is kicking my expanding ass, and my hands are starting to become more and more useless.

But I should be better.


I mean, I have been on antibiotics for 19 months.  MONTHS, people.

azith. doxy.  clarith.  amox. rifampin.  levoquin.  injectibles.  gulpables.

stomach aches.

And all the other joys that go with prolonged antibiotic usage. So, on paper I'm fine.  Just ask the IDSA asshole that refused a PICC line---he says "there's nothing more I can do, you've had all the drugs I would recommend.".  Fuck that guy.

In the meantime, I am SURE I get the side-eye from people that still don't know why I'm hardly ever at work.  When will I get used to working 10-15 hour weeks?

How about never?

All I want is remission.  Unfortunately, there's no test for that.  No, "if your blood work comes back between 50 and 75 whatevers, that's remission, and we will change your treatment and stop taking so much of your disposable income."

Instead, it's more like, "When you get to a place where you don't want to spork your eyeballs out CONSTANTLY, we will give it a couple months.  If a major life event doesn't put you into an emotional, financial and physical tailspin, THAT'S remission.  Enjoy."

So, for those keeping score, I'm still doped up on a variety of drugs.  I still hemorrhage cash into various doctors' student loan debts, I'm still virtually worthless at work (because when I AM there, I get tired, and can't hold a convo for more than 10 minutes without looking like a lobotomized sloth that mistakenly took Ambien instead of caffeine pills).

I still work minimally, ----can we all just take a moment to pause for my awesome job? Because if I didn't have the job I have, I'd be sitting around, applying for SSI, and waiting for my "settlement"----there's just no way to be sick and keep a roof over my head when my disease doesn't officially exist, ya know?

I AM improving.  Just not at the rate that would please an over-achieving workaholic energizer bunny.  So I'm trying to be that, less.

And, writing-wise, I haven't been feeling it.  I don't know if it's a lull, or writer's block, or just an issue of being sick of writing about the same old crap.  Health, blah blah blah.  Pills, blah blah blah.  Fat ass, blah blah blah.

I will try to do better.

Fortunately, I have this great therapist that has taught me to not beat myself up over every little thing.  It's like killing kittens, then hitting up the confessional.  Fail to write? I'm okay with that.  Forgot pills out of a passive-aggressive rage against the Lyme machine?  I'm okay with that.  Gobbled gluten with horrid gastrointestinal results?  I'm okay with that.  Easy-peasy.



Monday, July 1, 2013

Monkey Boy Scores

Yes, I know.  It has been ages.  I'm not dead.  I am, however, severely undermedicated, so this makes for a less-than-funny FFW.  I will try harder, sooner.  But there are no promises in life.  Deal.

Before I get seriously into this post, I would like to offer up a definition, for clarity.

FFW New Edition Dictionary
"Grind on"- (verb)-the process of a girl rubbing her breasts on your chest

You will see why I needed to define this, in a moment.

A couple months ago, Monkey Boy attended a Middle School Dance.  The flyer announced "formal dress encouraged".  Apparently, this means, "formal dress for everyone but the baddest mother fuckers around, y'all can hang in swim trunks".

So, I said, "If you want to get a new outfit for the dance, I need to know by Wednesday night, and then only if all your homework is done".

I guess the prospect of new gear was quite the incentive (I wish I could offer him new digs EVERY week, but alas, good grades and not screaming for homework to be completed are not the rewards in my future, at the cost of $75 per week...).

So, we headed to the mall.  On the way, negotiations began.

MB: I want a new hoodie.
Me: You have plenty of hoodies.  I'm willing to buy new shorts or pants, and a new shirt.
MB: How about shorts, a T shirt, and new shoes?
Me: New shoes under $45?
MB: Possibly.....what if the shorts are on sale?

....and so on.

I have recently morphed into a at-least-they-are-clean-and-dressed type of parent.  Sky King disagrees, and really wanted to see me coming home with a shirt with a collar, and chinos for Monkey Boy.  But, he wasn't the one stuck at the mall with a teenager.  I was.  So it was my rules.  Which are more lax than his.  Whatevs.

We came home with:
A new "DC" T-shirt (black and aqua)
A new pair of Board Shorts (gray, black and aqua)
A new pair of Nikes (He had grown a full size since the last shoe-buying expedition, so I eased up on the budget)

Now, he originally wanted a particular pair of shoes.  But they didn't have his size (because the whole world it out to get him).  Luckily, there was an upstanding young sales associate (who would be virtually unemployable if not for the advent of Zumiez, Tilly's and Spencer's Gifts) with stretched earlobes and a comb-over that rivals anything Kurt Cobain could have come up with, waiting to assist us in our time of need.  He precariously climbed a 40 foot ladder (is it legal to work while high on the latest synthetic marijuana substitute?) and procured a fabulous pair of shoes that had an amazing heat-sensitive "Swoosh".  Basically, "mood Nikes".  All wrapped up by a guy who deliberately chose to wear cut-off jorts.


Later, we got this text once the dance had ended and he was safely tucked in at a friend's house:

Us: Have fun?
MB: yep.  This girl grinded on me then left and after a while she came back and did it again and did it again im happy


Now, in my mind, my precious little (at 5 foot 7 and growing at an alarming rate) baby got dry-humped, at a Montessori-school dance, in full view of several staff members.  And, being the hip badass mom I am, I cringed.  And, because I fully embrace inconsistencies and double-standards when it suits me, I thanked my lucky stars I wasn't the mother of the girl.

All kinds of things flooded my mind.  And I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth, and the idea that my son got to third base at an 8th Grade dance. Truly, I KNEW things were headed downhill, rapidly.  My boy was growing up.

The next day, he came home from spending the night at a friend's house.  "How was the dance?" I inquired.  He repeated his story, complete with ear-to-ear grins.

I asked further-"so, she rubbed her privates on yours? At a dance?"

He looked confused.  "No, her boobies! What did you think I meant?"

I said, "Well, I thought 'grinded on' was, you know, south of the border."

He looked at me, with a snarled lip (almost in disgust, or maybe to imply that boobies are WAY better than vaginas).

Umm, yeah.

A boobie rub.  Still, I'm glad I'm not HER mother.

This is what I am left with:

New DC shirt: $15
New Board shorts: $32
New Nikes (with Mood swoosh): $68

Getting "grinded on" at a school dance: Priceless

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Monkey Boy and the Quest for Cash

Turns out, my boy has the same entrepreneurial spirit his parents both have, and both sets of grandparents have.

He works hard, and the rewards are rich, vast even.

It has occurred to me, that his job, at the ripe old age of 13, is keeping the change.

He works hard, every time I send him into the store.  Sometimes, it's only 31 cents.  Sometimes, it's a buck or two. 

I learned this after sending him into the dollar store, for a poster board for a project.  I sent him in with $1.25.  You know, to cover the tax on a dollar item.

Then, about 2 weeks later, I found the receipt.  The poster board was 69 cents.

Well played, Monkey Boy.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

V-Day Musings

Why? Why do we focus on love on Valentine's Day? 

Besides the need to spend too much money and time trying to one-up the other moms at school with our cake pops, hand-made Valentines, and time-consuming detectible treats that will roil in tiny stomachs all afternoon,  I guess I can go along with the expression of love.

Except that, I blew it.  I already got my guy a brand-new Spidey T-shirt, tossed the Amazon bag his way after getting home from work. He groaned, "Shit, now I gotta go to the store".  I assured him that all I really wanted was a petition to get a drive-thru Baskin Robbins down the road.  Or a Drive-thru liquor store (Why hasn't California gone that route?  I mean, get it together, Tree Huggers!)

So, that's the romance in my life (that I'm willing to brag about, since my parents read this blog.).

Instead, I will re-run my ALL-TIME favorite Valentine's story, from MANY years ago.  Long before the internet, texting, emails.  This was some old-school love.  (If you just GOTTA see the original link, click here).  Otherwise, here ya go:

I used to be a girlie girl, complete with ridiculous expectations about love, and relationships.  now, I am considerably more practical, and a conversation with Sky King might go like this:

Me: Hey-my birthday is next week.
Sky King: Yep.
Me: We are low on cash, so plan a dinner out, without the kids. That means, figure out a babysitter. No gift.  A card will be expected though.
Sky King: Consider it done.

a few days later...


 See?  Easy-peasy.  
I've adapted into a woman that is realistic, and has learned not to judge my honey's love for me based on what he does a few designated days per year.  Why do we do this, ladies? We set ourselves up.  Most guys show their love for us every day in all sorts of ways.  Mine shows me by being there for me, by showing up at the door when I come home from a hard day, and he has a glass of wine waiting.  Or by cleaning the house on the sly before I come home.  Things that really matter. But like many dumb girls, I used to expect roses, sentiment and thoughtfulness from boys that were only cognizant enough to mutter a few nice things like, "Nice cans", before trying desperately to get into my pants.

A long, long time ago, I was a cute little thing with big knockers and a habit of getting shitfaced between classes at college.  You, too? Awesome! We would have totally been besties! (Not really, I would not have liked the competition-I was insecure and had to be the cutest in the room).

Anyways-for some unknown reason, I spent a lot of time in committed relationships.  No, I DON’T know why.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  And while in these committed relationships, I spent much of my free time being the best girlfriend in the world. I would buy matching bra and panty sets, bake yummy goodies, and write thoughtful notes to sneak onto the hood of his car.  Basically, I was pretty much begging to be treated like shit from boys with red Solo cups full of MeisterBrau. 

During one of these relationships, I was smitten with a boy.  He was cute, aloof, and quiet.  Totally my kind of guy.  And, he kinda sorta liked me, which made him MY SOULMATE. So what happened?  He moved.  Away from me. Far far away from me.

Undaunted, I pined. I called, wrote, called, and called.  I would have emailed and texted, but that had not been invented yet, and a stalker of my caliber would have taxed that system right into complete digital failure, so I think it was for the best.

While I was pining, I was also being incredibly thoughtful. And when Valentine’s Day rolled on in, I was READY. I had been planning for quite some time.  I had done the prep work, the buying of the necessary raw materials. I was going to knock his socks off, which was going to probably cause him to jump into a car (he didn’t have one, of course) and drive 2000 miles to envelop me in his embrace, while he told me he would never leave my sight ever again. 

I got a big box-the kind that you use to fill with books when you move.  I filled it with food and fresh new towels (kind of mom-like. I won't even begin to go into what Freud would say) and a stuffed animal dressed up in the same gear my guy was going to school for. I baked batches of cut-out sugar cookies, complete with strawberry icing (his favorite) and writing on each one, professing my love for him in said icing. I wrote a long heartfelt poem for him. Then, I created something that was big at the time-it was called a treasure candle. Maybe you remember them? As it melts, different little gems and charms would be revealed, sometimes cash.  Remember these? You would have to burn it all the way down to find out how much money was buried inside:

Well, I made one.  MADE one.  Can you say, “bunny boiler”? It’s no wonder he moved. I would have moved to get away from me, too. 

And, as I was creating individual layers in the handmade mold, I stashed the poem I had written.  Then, I packed this box up and skipped down to the post office, making sure I picked the correct shipping so that he would get in on Valentine’s Day.  Not the day before, and certainly not the day after.  ON. THE. DAY.  (Wow, I’m really starting to scare the shit out of me.)

And then I waited.  Surely, with HIS pining and missing me and being homesick, he would do something totally remarkably romantic, like profess his love to me through song.  Or at least he would write something completely heartfelt.  I shouldn’t get my hopes up, because after all, he was a starving student. But true love comes through in remarkable ways-maybe he would even arrange for a mutual friend to pick some wildflowers!

I waited and waited and waited.  It was a Tuesday. Nothing came.  Odd.  I checked the local paper to see if he had put a lovely personal ad in. Nothing. Nada. I went to my classes, and zombie my way through a shift waiting tables.  I most likely spit in everyone’s “Couples Prime Rib” Special.
Then, on Friday, I got it. A package sent 2-day Air.    That.  Crammed into my mailbox.

I ran upstairs to my place to open it.
Inside, was this:

A greeting card inside an envelope (I’ll get to that in a sec)
A copy of the newspaper from his new town
A copy of a paperback I had already read

Let’s take this piece by piece, shall we?
The newspaper: It was dated Feb 15th. So, NOT the local “love” edition.  Fine. Maybe there is a picture of him in it for some reason? No.  Maybe there’s a regular personal ad? No. Maybe, there’s SOMETHING?  NO. I distinctly remember throwing it all over my minuscule living/dining/family room. 

Next, the book.  Well, I had freaking READ IT ALREADY.  So that got thrown, too.  Sorry, neighbors (thin walls). 

Last, the card.  THIS would redeem him.  I opened it.  I must have expected images of love: cupids, hearts, ribbons.  Pink, maybe.  So I was initially perplexed when the card had a picture of a cartoon dog on it.  Fine.  It says something mildly sweet on the front.  Whatever.  Then I open it. And out pops a tongue on a spring.  You know the cards, right? Sometimes you open a card and there is a flap, or a window, or something attached to a spring.  Fine. Whatever.

Down where you are supposed to write your deepest, heartfelt sentiments, what do I find?  His promise to love me forever? No.  His wish for a quick reunion? No. If this wasn’t a family blog, I would tell you exactly what he wrote (and by “family blog”, I mean a blog that my family reads, not one that is necessarily appropriate for your family-unless you are in a gang and consider your homies members of your family).  Let me just paraphrase, and tell you that his carefully jotted words consisted of where he would like that tongue, had it been his, to be. 

Later, he called.

Him: Did you get my package???
Me: Yep.  What was with the paper?
Him: I wanted to show you where I am!
Me:  Why in God’s name did you feel the need to remind me that I am 2000 miles from you?  I KNOW THIS ALREADY!!!! (By this time, I was most certainly shrieking)

And the conversation went downhill from there. At some point, he told me that he and his roommates had spent a couple hours torching the candle it took me 8 days to make, to retrieve the poem inside. I have no recollection of the rest of the conversation, which everyone including my therapist feels is best.

And, what did I do to repay my boyfriend for his amazing lack of romance, creativity and effort?

I took the sweetest revenge yet: I married him.
I hope you enjoyed indulging my desire to NOT drum up another sickeningly sappy post. 
Happy VD, y'all!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Busy Being. Or, How Can I Stop Being ME?

I have always been busy, as far back as I can remember.

I also have never had the desire to slow down.

Until now.

I enjoy my less-crazy life.  I have become one with my AMAZING Sleep Number bed.  I know the intimate details of my recliner.  I can sit, and just be.

But old habits die hard. 

Now, I have been working hard to get the Lyme out of me. And things are going well.  Well, not WELL.  I STILL have bitterness about the whole, "3-5 years of treatment, followed by remission rather than cure" bullshit.  But, as well as can be expected.

You see, I have been in treatment since Jan. 2012.  So, only 1 year.  And, my energy is at about 70%!  Big stuff, y'all.  Last year, I told Dr. Lyme I was at 10% for energy.  So, leaps and bounds, for reals.

But, not everything is coming back at the same rate.  Neuro stuff, still a train wreck of the gargantuan, midget-porn-meets-That-Creepy-Lady-with-the-catlike-plastic-surgery variety.  Translation=still working hard to remember where my keys are, then where my car is, and did I drive or take the bus.

But, since the energy is ramping up, so is the motivation to go back to Old Aimee.  (Not 40 year old Aimee, but batshit-crazy-plan-out-every-freaking-minute-of-every-hour-to-the-detriment-of-all-relationships-Aimee.) And then I plan.  I plan, and schedule, and look ahead.

Then, someone calls me.  Or I check my email.

And I realize I am back to double-booking.  And, triple-booking.

See, I co-lead Princess' Girl Scout Troop.  And, I own a business, which I go visit from time to time. More so when things are not going well. (I still have amazing ladies that keep all those balls up in the air like magic, so I am VERY fortunate.)  But, I micromanage my teen's homework, and I am the main motivator for a family of four.  So, me being all plann-y plann-y has gotten shit done.

Then, cue sickness.  Cue pity parties.  Cue pairing down of obligations.

But still, I must DO.  Do stuff.  Go places.  Have things happen.

And when I forget to note them in the handy dandy smartphone, the set of carefully poised juggling balls comes crashing down into my head.

For instance, Princess wants to go to Girl Scout camp.  Many of the other girls do, too. So we planned to attend an overnight campout, put on by others (instead of me doing all the work, brilliant, no?)  So I booked it. 

Also, I booked 7 nights near Yosemite at our timeshare. 

The same time.  Grrrrr.

And then.

I booked THREE THINGS for one day.  All happening in different counties.  Double Grrrrr. So, of course, I had to revamp, rebook, re-prioritize.

Hopefully, no one will hate me.

And it might just work out.

But in the meantime, I have to figure out how to not overbook.  Maybe I need to go back to the Rule of Three?  Maybe, because I'm getting energy back, I can up it to 4, or 5?

What do you say, Sky King?

:::crickets chirping:::

Until then, I could use some advice.  How do you NOT over-schedule you, and the whole fam damily? Spill those secrets!!!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Shopping With Your Teen: A Primer

Monkey Boy can be all kinds of joy----we recently had an amazing meeting with the school admin, to set up a 504 plan for when he goes to high school (this is a legal doc, stating certain accommodations that help him be successful---the school has been giving him what he needs with no complaints for so long, but transitioning to traditional public school could prove to be bumpy for a kid that processes things differently soooo.....).  We got tons of incredible feedback about his progress (huge), his personality (hilarious) and his smiles (giant and frequent).  It was a great meeting, and we were all lovey-dovey-proud-parent-y.

So when it came time to schlep to the mall to see Santa (for Princess), we let MB know that, even though he was fully committed to shorts and T-shirts, that we were going to expect a certain amount of compliance in finding a suitable jacket for snow and rain, and clothing that made him look less like a refugee.

You see, MB has a history with clothing.  He was borderline "on the spectrum" as a little guy--tactile issues with clothing was HUGE.  They way things fit, felt on his skin, etc. were always big issues.  Trying things on involved taking off your clothing in public, in a room with a door that is too short, and where you can hear strangers talking so THEY CAN HEAR YOU TAKE YOUR CLOTHES OFF.  A recipe for disaster on most fronts.  But, most kids need to try stuff on, unless there is to be a bunch of trips backandforth, backandforth.  I don't do BACKANDFORTH.  I get it right the first time (or right enough). So trying things on is MASSIVE on the scale of "shit MB hates".

There we were, surrounded by people that are otherwise unemployable, what with the stretched lobes and knuckle tattoos and ironic smiles.  And I gingerly suggested the possibility of pants.  Jeans, specifically, because I had just buttered him up with new Vans. I had him right where I wanted him.

We meandered to the jean stacks.  And stared.  First, he's thin.  And taller than me.  So, sizing is an issue.  I whispered a barely audible, "remember you've grown so you will have to go into the dressing room just for a couple pairs, to see".  Avoided eye contact.  Kept head bowed. Showed no teeth. Discussed pocket designs.  Faded vs. dark. (faded=bad) Skinny vs. slim.  (skinny=bad) Blue vs. black.  (black=bad).  Once I knew the rules, I loaded his arms, and sent him to the dressing room.

When he got in the room, I waited, talking loud enough so he could hear me, but not so loud that others could, too.  Next to impossible in a store designed for teens.  So, I did my stage whisper, which somehow didn't cause him to stage-whisper back, "Stop talking so loud---you're embarrassing me".  Basically, he only tolerates me being with him in a store, because I have the magic credit card that makes his wants, his possessions.  And why do I tolerate it?  So he won't look like a refugee every time we leave the house.  It's a goddamn delicate fucking dance, I tell you.

Then, there was a hiccup.  It seems that the regular 28s are so large, they DON'T WORK.  But, the shirt that is not a T-shirt, and has a collar and sleeves, is a win.  And on clearance.  So, I tell him to hang tight.  I find the Youth area, which also has 28s.  By some amazing miracle of youth cloth I haven't discerned, these 28s are different than the first set of 28s.  And, they fit.  But supplies are scarce, and I may have to offer up a black pair.  I slowly ease them over the top of the door, fearful of rejection, afraid my eagerness to find appropriate clothing will be seen as a threat.

The jeans are accepted, reluctantly.  I silently celebrate.  Because if I celebrate vocally, he will know he has pleased me, and a rapid attempt to STOP THAT will ensue.

He emerges with two pairs of jeans, a nice shirt that makes him look respectable, and a hoodie (like he needs another one, but it was on clearance, and it helps to cover all the name-brand shirts he wears to school that are against dress code).  AND, a hoodie-looking thing, that repels water.  BINGO!

On the way to the car, he goes so far as to offer sincere thanks.

It's only a matter of time before he becomes a full-fledged human, and these battles will be long since forgotten.

What battles do you know are coming, and dread, the most?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Journey to M

Maybe you have heard this song before:

I'm a fatass.  I need to stop shoveling food into my face.


Not here, or here?

I was so young, so naive, so full of hope back then.  :::sigh:::

Maybe you should start, I dunno, paying attention?


It's high time I REALLY recommit (for as long as possible, I guess----I'm trying to be realistic!) to being a better me.

I have made great strides in not being such a freaking bitch.  I am meditating more, and working on a lot of personal shit.

But the one thing I don't have on lock, the one area I am substantially failing, is weight loss.  A year ago, I was down 20-ish pounds. 

Well folks, I found them. Meanwhile, we continue to pay the gym to keep their doors open, without the hassle of them having to actually see our faces.  See how generous I am to the local economy?

Well, selfish Aimee is back.  Because I am sick of the XLs.  I want more Ms in my closet.  Less XLs, more Ms.  The hope is that the loss of hunks of fat will lessen the burden on my knees.  And the exercise will help my meds work.  And will make my sciatic nerves less bunched up and tight, causing acupuncture needles to wiggle, they are so inflamed.  (You're welcome for the visual of a bunch of needles, sticking out of my flabby ass, twitching as if the needles themselves have Parkinson's.)

So, I perused the online class schedule.  There is was: GIT.  Group Interval Training.  It's a class where you go in and hang out in a certain area for 45 minutes, changing machines and floor exercises in 2 minute, 2 minute, 1 minute intervals.  It doesn't get boring, you get to chat with your fellow chubs, and make jokes.  Like when the trainer says, "if you like running, these series of lunges are GREAT!" while I mutter, "If we liked running, we wouldn't be hanging out here, with cookie crumbs on our horrifically insufficient sports bras".  Or, when the trainer says, "there you go, nice and slow", and I snarkily reply, "slow? Yeah, we GOT slow----like a BOSS".

Is that just me?

Anyway.  I went.  I dragged Sky King.  We did the whole thing, and did not use ice cream as a reward, so all in all, it was a success.

Now, Lather, Rinse, Repeat. 

Wish me luck, and pray for my Lycra. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Shot In The Dark, So To Speak.


My stomach is trashed.  Each morning when I gobble down my pile of vitamins, herbal supplements, thyroid enhancers, mood elevators, and antibiotics, I get this raging sour stomach that lasts for about an hour, sometimes up to 3.  It feels like a cross between nausea, hunger and cramps.

It has gotten worse, the harsher my antibiotics have gotten.

So Dr. Lyme wanted to get one more round of oral abx in me before upping the ante. I just finished up, and it's on to Bicillin injections.  Twice a week.  Via a needle.  Into my ass.  To top it off, there was discussion about "doing them at home".


Yep.  Seems people like to take their drugs home, and jam needles into their own asses.  Or, they allow a loved one to do it for them.

Sky King?  Not a fan of needles.  Gets fully creeped out.  FULLY.  So, he was not at the top of my list.  Instead, one of my sister-in-laws had volunteered.  But I really wanted a back-up.  So, I of course went where I usually go for support: Facebook.

  • Rotten Friend #1---Anal
  • Rotten Friend #2---Is it safe to say it won't be the first time?
  • Rotten Friend #3---Aimee, I love your sense of humor. Thanks for tee'ing that one up for us.
  • Rotten Brother---Eewww my sister needs anal twice a week lol
  • Me---For once, I was serious :::smh:::
  • Me---Thank you all, most supportive people of FB. Wow. Sky King has agreed to take his aggression out on me, and will be learning how to torture me next week
  • Rotten Friend #3 (again)---Just make sure he pokes you parallel to the direction he's poking you. 
    So.  Sky King agreed to go and learn how to do the shots--we had spent some time online looking into techniques (the bicillin is thick, so a larger gauge needle is required. Also, the medicine goes into the muscle of the buttocks, and can make the area sore for a while).  He is typically needle-shy----can't stand to see needles going into skin, so it was kind of a big deal when he said he would do the shots for me.

    When we go in, we are armed with so much knowledge that Sky King is visibly nervous, and I am anticipating a painfully horrible experience.  I check in, and ask what the cost is to get the today's injection done there, with Sky King as a learning witness.  The cost?  $6. 

    Sky King hears this, whips out his handy-dandy smartphone calculator.  

    "23 weeks, 2 shots per week, that's 12 times 23, for a total of $276.  Done.  I will be the driver."

    You see, the shots are $70 per shot.  Plus $6 injection fee.  Sky King?  Totally down for the $6 extra per shot.  He barely made it through the tutorial, watching a three inch needle getting jammed to the hilt into the fleshy part of my upper hip.  So he figures, if $700 a month doesn't break us, $60 more per month to have the whole thing done by a professional is the least of his concerns.  

    But why shots? 

    Well, as I said before, the stomach is torn to shreds.  Also, my neuro symptoms are still pretty bad.  There seems to be a small amount of progress, but the shots get into the system better, they have a much higher absorption rate.  And so Dr. Lyme feels the neuro stuff will improve quicker, with the higher concentrations being in me all the time, without me being all passive-aggressive and refusing my meds when my stomach hurts. So, even though my energy is leaps and bounds better than it was, I still have a long road to getting my neurological stuff sorted out.  

    So, shots.  Twice a week.  Hopefully, less side effects.  :::crossing fingers:::

    Meanwhile, I have been enjoying a more normal existence, and haven't been blogging as much. Also, I have been working on being more positive and eliminating things that stress me out.  Turns out, ranting about other people being assholes is less stress-reducing than one would think. Which means I have less funnies to share.  

    I hope to work out a better life balance soon.


Friday, January 18, 2013

I'm The Best Wife In The World

I'm all about compromise, getting along, meeting the other's needs, etc. Basically, I'm one agreeable motherfucker.  I try.   I put forth EFFORT. This year, I have truly put my honey's needs before my own, and given him some excellent references and advice, as well as a viable game-plan, forsaking my desire to be swept off my feet by romantic fabulousness.

I'm a giver, really.

In years past, I have not done my best to fully express my Valentine's Day expectations. 

They vary year to year, based on what's going on, how much cash we have.  You know.  It's not SUPER critical that I get flowers and chocolate each and every year.  But this year?  I have a plan.

You see, I have this friend, that I secretly hate.  Not because she's taller, blond, and travels the world (she always brings fun things back, which is nice).  No. 

It's because she loves the Steelers.

But not just that:  She has this AMAZING yellow jacket, a windbreaker.  And the godforsaken thing is embroidered with all the dates the Steelers have won the Super Bowl.  ALL FUCKING SIX OF THEM. We have only five.  Not six.  Not okay.

Because of Kyle Williams, GOD'S TEAM (aka the SF 49ers) did not go last year. But when we go, we win.  It's our thing. 

This year is our year: I am certain.

And because I am AWESOME, I have taken the liberty of sending my dear Sky King a most helpful email:

"Dear Sweetest Husband of mine (I'm paraphrasing...)

Just order it in enough time to get the embroidered dates of each Super Bowl win:
and of course

When we win Feb 3rd, order that night, 2 day ship, secure embroiderer in the meantime, Feb 14th should not be a problem.

You're welcome."

See?  I'm smothered in Awesome.  I am one helpful agreeable fabulous person, aren't I?

Remember last year, when I blogged about a Warning to All Men in the Universe?  We just can't have a repeat of that.  Nosiree.

:::cue line of men wanting to marry me:::

Sorry, guys.  This pile of train wreck belongs to Sky King.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Trader Joe's And The Tampon Travesty

Maybe I spend too much time worried about feminine hygiene.

Maybe you don't spend enough.

Either way, I will try to remember that there are men that read my blog, and I will do my best to be sensitive to those without delicate ladybits.  Just as I hope you will continue to avoid extensive discussions with me regarding the daily trials and tribs of testicles. UPDATE: I hereby give full amnesty to my cousin's hubs, who had a cancerous nut removed, and has begun blogging about the experience.  He's funny, even without a nut, and you can harass/stalk him here.

But, I must be clear: Bleach has no place in my hoohaw.  I'm not a fan of bleach in general (did you know it will eat a hole in stainless steel???)  But bleach and extra sensitive internal parts?  Nope.  Not happenin'.  At. All.

Yes, tampons are bleached.  So they are whiter, minty-fresh, some shit like that.

But, there are alternatives:  NatraCare makes them, they run about $.33 a piece.  Seventh Gen also does some work with the unbleached, to the tune of $.45 a piece.  You take an average cycle of 5 days, 8 tampons a day, then factor in the one that gets rifled around your purse ultimately covered in melty gum, or unwrapped and exposed to some of the biggest debris fields known to man, plus the one that falls out of the applicator, and you could be talking an additional  $20 per month.

I'm sure you can shop around.  But, it's not really the type of item that can be purchased online, waiting 7-10 days for eternal absorption to arrive.  When you need tampons, you CANNOT WAIT.

That's why I was thrilled to find that Trader Joe's was carrying organic unbleached tampons.  They were always nestled amongst the lavender soap and Tom's toothpaste, a happy little stack of $2.79 boxes.  Quite the deal, for a bleach-free undercarriage.

But lately, I have not seen them.  Which is the thing about TJ's, right?  You could get totally dependent on a product---for instance, breaded calamari, or chocolate dipped fudge in a cute gifty box-----and then it is RIPPED from your life, with no thought, no warning.  Not unlike a cruel tampon alien abduction.

And, I was home, sick, when the NEED arrived.

I ask A LOT of my man.  But I truly try to not ask him to purchase things that will A) cause him extreme grief, and #2, make him use words like "freshness", "absorbency" or "with wings".  Except for that one time I texted him that I needed a douche in honey and vinegar, with the hopes that he would ask for help. I then had to clarify that is was the "sweet and sour" flavor.  That's when he realized I was fucking with him. But I digress.

But the other day, I needed his help.  So I sent him to the regular store, for the regular yellow and blue box.  The word, "applicator" came into play.  It was unavoidable.  I promise I did not giggle.  Or relish.  Or say a single, "muah ah ah".

Too much.

And all went well.

The next time we were at TJ's, I scanned, looking for my unbleached friends.  Nada. Nothing.

So I did what a good consumer should:  I went to the website.

**An aside---TJ's has their own private label-----AND, all the items under this label are GMO FREE!  See?  Educational shit going on. You're welcome.

I found their form for questions or concerns.  I filled it out, thusly:
What's up?  TJ's was an amazing source for unbleached (and organic, I think?) tampons.  I have not seen them in some time.  And, *gasp* I almost sent my husband there for them.  I can only imagine his horror upon finding the shelf empty, then having to actually speak the word, "TAMPON" in a public place.  Have you no shame?

Where they at?

They responded quickly, but with a very dry (comparatively) stock answer:
 Dear Mrs. Walker,

Thanks for contacting us. We have discontinued the Organic Essentials Tampons in our stores due to slow sales. Because our stores have such limited space, if an item does not meet a minimum sales volume, we will discontinue it in order to bring in something we think will sell better. I will pass your comments on to our buyers for consideration. From time to time, if there is enough outcry to bring back a discontinued item and we are able to do so, we will give it another run.



Am I the only passionate menstruater (Blogger says "menstruater" isn't a about "Menstruator"?) out there?  I KNOW this isn't the case, judging by the numerous Moon Cup message boards, and even groups that want to demystify menstruation.  Seriously?  "Taking back" menstruation is not about feminism.  Or if it is, I'm doing feminism wrong.  Which is apparently going to be okay for me.  Because eeew.

I don't sit in a meadow, reading poetry by Emily Bronte, in philosophical wonderment while awaiting my period.  Period.   I don't even revel in the womanly wonder of the ability to produce a child (albeit with some help).  And I have never ever felt compelled to wax poetic about cramping, flow, or other facets of the uterine expulsion.  I do, however, enjoy the joke about not fucking with something that can bleed for seven days and REMAIN ALIVE.

Accepting a period as shit you have to go through to enjoy the finer benefits of a vagina, and glorifying the praises of reusable washable menstrual pads are NOT two sides of the same coin. NOT EVEN CLOSE.

Honestly, all I want is pretty much a happy little device that prevents me from looking like a zombie is attacking me from the inside out.  And if that device also does not leach chemicals into me, all the better.  Oh, and price point? Let's get that to a manageable level.

Trader Joe's---please bring back the tampons.  I will stock up.  I will use yours, exclusively.   Hell, I will even do a free bloggy review for you, and my FIFTY-ONE  readers!!!  Most of them have vaginas, too, so there's that.

See?  Public Service.  Or, Pubic Service.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Men's Public Restrooms Have Gotten Cleaner---I Should Know

I AM very fortunate, especially as far as Chronic Lyme people go, to have so many of my symptoms decreased significantly: low energy levels, constant muscle pain, constant joint pain, depression, anxiety.

BUT. There is one that has gotten worse: my cognitive abilities.  Specifically, those that involve "auto-pilot", or things that, deep down, we have been taught through many years of social mores, are wrong, or incorrect.

For instance, I have been driving the route I drive, consistently over time, and looked up, and all of a sudden the path is completely unfamiliar and I doubt myself, and have to pull over to rely on GPS.  

Or, like using public restrooms.

First, let me help you to fully understand the complex mess of my brain inadequacies.

We ALL know I have never had much of a filter between my brain and mouth.  Combine that with a wide range of medications, and shit just gets funnier and more and more inappropriate.  Really, it's like a goddamn public service I provide.

A while back, Sky King wanted to go to a grown-up movie, with only me.  We ditched the kiddos, and ventured out.  It was nice---no germy hands in the popcorn, only $30 in concessions.  Truly, a night to remember.

After 472 ounces of Coke Zero, we both had to beeline for the facilities at the end.  I was fiddling with my phone, having missed 9 text messages (WTF???) and like a good obedient wife, was walking a respectable distance from my man (I almost said that without peeing myself laughing...). Unfortunately, he did not have the wherewithal to guide me to the women's restroom. Jerk.

Instead, he walked right in, and straight up to the urinal.  I, hot on his heels, followed him.  Pretty much right away, things seemed amiss.  I turned away from the urinals, and headed to the stall because something in my brain said that a urinal would not adequately meet my needs.

THAT is when I realized I was in the wrong place.  NOT at the sight of urinals.  Nope.  Not me.  Instead, I went toward the stalls (which are not as plentiful for men.  What the hell?)

Then, a massive fit of guffaws ensued, by me, as well as Sky King.  I blasted out the men's room door, laughing (almost to the point of peeing my pants) and ran toward the proper room. Fortunately, no one was coming out the door, or I would have blasted them, in my super-fast quest to erase time by running to the appropriate bathroom.

The only other witness, fortunately, was the ticket-ripper guy. And my husband.  Who has been sworn to silence. 

Unfortunately, he married a big-ass blab.

Like what you read?  Quit being such a blog-hog, and SHARE!  Find me on Facebook,

Monday, January 7, 2013

Toddler Bullies And Zero Tolerance

Many of you know, I work in a child care center. 

Now, I guess all of you do.


I get emails from people interested in our facility---they ask about enrollment, fees, wait lists, the usual. 

Sometimes, I get strange emails.  Emails that lead me to believe that some people are a little off (that's nice talk for batshit crazy).

It happened the other day, as a matter of fact.

I got the first email, requesting info.  No biggie:

Crazy lady:  I would like to know approximately how long your wait-list is as well as your current tuition rates.
Me: Attached is our tuition rates for 2013.
What is the age of your child/children?
(Already, a teeny little flag flew----why wouldn't you indicate the age of your child?  We don't have "a spot" available, any spot we would have would be very specific:  "we have a spot in our infant room", or "Little Johnny would have to wait until Spring for a spot in our Pre-K classroom".  This isn't a crane game situation, where we just chuck 'em in, and let the older ones sort it all out.  We are a SCHOOL.  Not an overhead bin in an airplane.)
Crazy lady: She is 19 months old. Does your center offer potty training or just diaper changing services?
Me:  (Wha?  Where would she send a child, where it would be expected that, one day her little angel would just arrive in panties, instead of diapers? am I over-thinking this? Are my teachers working too hard?  Or do they potty train out of laziness, not wanting to deal with diapers?  Flags are a-flyin' at this point.  Now, I want to meet her just out of curiosity.) Each age group works to potty train, with assistance from parents. Currently, our toddler room is full. However, spots do open up from time to time, so please fill out the wait-list if you are interested, to get your place in line. Attached is the wait list, you can email it over. Our Infant/tod program director is Ms. (redacted) , she is cc'd in this communication so she is aware you are interested, and so that you have her direct email for inquiry.
Also, you are invited to stop by at any time for a tour to see our program.
(The tour is where they get to decide if we are for them, and, sometimes most importantly, are they right for us.  I would rather have a family NOT enroll and potentially lose that money, than deal with someone that throws up red flags.  Not enrolling a potential problem for my staff is ALWAYS prudent.  No amount of money compensates for a crazy parent that expects perfection from group care.)
Crazy lady:  Ok great. What is your policy on bullying and violence? I stopped taking my daughter to her a home day care because there was another child, aged 2.5 that would viciously attack her.
Me:  (WTF?????  Viciously attack?  Are we talking full WWE moves?  Or, some sort of random violence thing where there was zero supervision?  Or, is this mom referring to a scratch or bite from a peer?  My inner CRAZY ALERT in bangin' like crazy---who gives this information over email?)
Instead, I wrote:
Zero-tolerance policies do very little to curtail undesirable behaviors, and as a learning facility, we work very hard to help teach children appropriate responses to all situations, social or otherwise.
While I understand that you have a very personal reason for feeling black and white on this issue, I have never, in 20 years, felt the need to dis-enroll a child over a behavior we ultimately will be able to assist with curtailing or eliminating.
Perhaps a one-on-one care situation would better suit your needs.
(I DID type it angry though.)
Crazy Lady: Yes I do have a personal reason and it's not against hitting, kicking, or biting which I know can be eliminated through socialization and behavior modification techniques. My daughter's eyeballs were severely cut from continuous scratching and gouging which thankfully didn't damage her vision. That is the type of violence that I will not tolerate. Thank you for your time.
Wow.  Okay.  I GET that she has a very strange, specific, negative experience in her history with care.  I DO get it.  But, here is why this person is not right for us:
  1. People that go into this kind of depth with a stranger are made of crazy.  They leave gooey crazy trails everywhere they go.  They often tell you things in line at the grocery store, better left for close confidants: " that is why I still buy adult diapers!  SUCH a good idea, right???"  I don't have time for the numerous meetings this parent will initiate.  Most will surround whether her little angel is getting exactly 23.4% of the teacher's undivided attention, or why she got less corn at lunchtime. Drama?  Already stocked up, thanks.
  2. Typically, parents come in for a tour. Especially people that work 2 blocks away and have been offered the opportunity to pop in at lunch really quick. Why is all this happening over email? 
  3. Zero Tolerance?  Mkay.  No.  We are dealing with children from the age of 6 weeks.  They spend up to 12 hours a day with me and my staff.  We are not waiting for little Susie to pull someone's hair a second time, then kicking them to the curb because of a "behavior management" issue. Kids bite.  Hit. Scratch.  Push.  Poke.  Use projectiles.  Truly, they are rotten little animals, that need guidance (I really DO say this with a shit-ton of love in my heart, REALLY). All these things are undesirable, but also "teachable moments".  I have NEVER, in 20 years, dis-enrolled a child for "bad behavior".  Kids do all these things for a reason.  Sometimes we just don't know what that reason is.  We WILL, however, do our best to figure it out, and work with the family to curtail it.  It's a learning experience, for all of us.
I GET that bullying is bad-it's awful, bad things happen, sometimes administrators ignore serious incidents.  But this is Pre-school.  Toddlers do not have the capacity to intimidate, coerce, or abuse others (Unless spit-up is a form of abuse.  Actually, now I may have to rethink my policy...) Toddlers don't make shivs out of plastic-covered safety spoons, in order to get more graham crackers, or a better spot in the sandbox. Toddlers don't push their friends up against the slide and say, "If you don't give me that paintbrush, I will make SURE your mom has more than one piece of you to pick up later today". 
These are young children, trying to learn social rules, striving to communicate ultimately without hair-pulling or biting.  They are testing limits, working to establish connections, and work through their days as little scientists.  They enjoy making things happen.  And pulling someone's hair makes something happen.  Your peer cries, a tall person will give you an unhappy face.  It's a process.  Ultimately, most children learn the results are not enjoyable, and the action will end. 
This is what we do.  We do not go into any relationship with a family, anticipating the need to have a "Zero Tolerance" policy about anything.  Each child is unique. 

Yes, we have bullies in the world.  People that use coercion to get a desired result.  People that use humiliation to get what they want.  People that treat others like shit, to bring them down to their level.  I know it's a problem.  But in order to truly be labelled a bully, there needs to be intent.  Maybe I am silly, maybe I know nothing about children (although all the fancy paper on my office wall says otherwise).  But as Mr. Rogers as my witness, I do not believe I will ever be in a situation where I feel that a child, under the age of 6, has even the capacity to bully.  Additionally, we work with children to help them achieve all the desired results for each age and stage---this includes NOT using coercion to get the last pink crayon.  Problem-solving is taught, children are encouraged to work their problems out, with each other, knowing a helping adult is nearby.  When there is conflict, a solution that pleases all parties (at least to some extent) is usually reached.  That's just how learning to be human works, folks.

So, No, CrazyLady.  We DO NOT have a Zero Tolerance Policy on bullying.   We do, however, have a Zero-Tolerance policy on crazy.  I have forwarded your wait-list to my least-favorite competitor.  You're welcome.