A Small Whirlwind

Whew!

I have a few minutes to sit and catch my breath and write.

Jordan came home for a week to get his drivers license-he had about a week’s worth of actual behind the wheel driving experience and figured he was a pro and that it was time to bite the bullet.

He arrived on a Saturday morning, got his permit on Monday and went driving with me afterwards (talk about scared Mom mode…), had some professional drivers training on Tuesday, and took his test on Wednesday.  Talk about a whirlwind week;  I don’t know how we managed but he was confident and I had coffee so we got through it alive.  He went back home pre dawn Friday and is now the proud owner of a California drivers license!  My first kid to drive legally!

The Monday after Jordan flew home the kids all started at their new school.  This has been another tornado adventure, let me tell you, but we all love it!  I’m sure I’ve mentioned previously that they’re attending a school geared towards the arts-Hannah has Choir and Dance classes in the morning while the boys have Band.  Matthew plays guitar while Elijah is learning bass and I believe that after all of the practice they’ll be having, these kids will have some serious skills.   The school also has a recording studio where the teachers and students can collaborate and actually produce music.  Not many schools have such opportunities for their students.  It’s an exciting time!

The oldest was released from jail yesterday after being incarcerated for a month.  He is being allowed to do Drug Court which means he’ll be drug tested several times each week, must attend drug classes, and he also has to do community service which will all be checked on by a judge each Friday.  He’s staying with my mom who was nice enough to offer up her home-she’s subjecting herself to random house searches by probations…I had already refused to allow him to stay here.  I just can’t have his anger outbursts, drugs, and homeless “friends” hanging out here.  I’m done with that.  If he fails, he faces 4 years in prison.  I hope he can finally get his shit together because he’s running out of options and bridges to burn.

I had a chat with my husband about different ideas to try and he suggested I start a podcast.  So I’m trying to come up with what I’d like to do with it-what my topics should be, a name, and what kind of microphone I need to purchase.  I’m very new to this form of expression but I think it will actually be fun-there are endless possibilities.  No politics, just something interesting and entertaining.  I’ll also have to hone my editing skills…lots of new things on the horizon and I love it.  I’ve been stuck in a rut for so long.


My first time in the car having Jordan drive.  I was scared shitless.


Hannah in front of her Middle School after orientation.


The 3 of us went out for Pho-we’re goofy.


We went to the Guitar Center so they could mess around a bit.


First day of school, 2017!


Jordan bought a new car!
See? I told you it has been insane around here-I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Advertisements

Timeless Children’s Books

Have you thought about the books you read as a child that helped shape the person you are today?

One of my most fond memories is of being in first grade, sitting cross-legged on the floor, listening intently to my teacher read The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeMy imagination soared as I followed the quest of the Pevensie children to defeat the White Witch and deliver Narnia from eternal winter.  I was right there as Edmund was tempted by Turkish delight (which, in reality, tastes nothing like I’d imagined), ultimately betraying his siblings by helping the White Witch.  I cried when Aslan died.

This story is what made me become a reader;  I couldn’t get enough.  As the years went on I read the series several times and tried to get my own kids to read it.  I suppose they have different tastes but I do highly recommend you read this to your own children.  I think it would be a great bonding experience and will certainly keep their attention.

At age ten I was obsessed with horses, like many young girls are.  I’m not sure how I found it but I imagine I discovered Black Beauty on a trip to the book store with my mom and anything with a horse on the cover caught my attention.  It was a thick book but that only meant longer for me to stay transfixed in a story.  Thankfully, my mom never discouraged me from any book-either for being too long or for troubling content.  I had free reign over books.

The story of Black Beauty and her many owners-from cruel to kind and gentle, stayed with me.  I feel that it helped nurture my love of animals and perhaps gave me a better understanding of how to treat them.  I find teaching children how to be caring towards animals incredibly important as it spills over into all aspects of life.  Black Beauty is certainly a character building story.

My love for horses found me yet another treasure in Can I Get There By Candlelight? My mom was a teacher at the elementary school I attended from Kindergarten through fourth grade and so I went to her classroom each day after school.  She had a fairly good-sized library of books and I found this story one afternoon.  I was hooked-time travel, horses, English gardens…everything I loved all wrapped up in one book!  I’m sure I devoured it in a few days.  If I can still recall elements of this story after 32 years, that should tell you something.  I suppose it hit me at just the right time and place I needed it, I just wish I could have gotten my daughter interested to read it.  We didn’t have tablets and Snapchat back then to interfere…

Here are a few more books I’d recommend to any parent to help grow their child’s love of reading:

  • Bunniculano child can resist the tale of a vampire bunny!
  • The Mouse and the Motorcyclean amusing story about a mouse who, well, rides a motorcycle.  My teacher read the first book to me and I read the rest of the series myself.  That’s how you build a reader.
  • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing-I could certainly relate to having a pesky younger brother and so this was another book I loved.  It’s the first in Beverley Cleary’s ‘Fudge’ series and very enjoyable.
  • How to Eat Fried Worms-there are so many ways to make worms into a meal if you’re trying to win a challenge.
  • Where the Red Fern Growsa story of perseverance and a child’s bond with his dogs.  Boy did I cry reading this one.

I suppose some of these books may be on a list of banned books but all I can say is that they’re treasures and I will always suggest them as an important childhood read.  Speaking from my experience, I believe they helped mold me into a kinder hearted person.

Wolf at the Door

When I think of meth, it brings to mind The Big Bad Wolf.

Knocking at the door, “Come out little piggies, come out!”

As I have images of this wolf, the Radiohead song Wolf at the Door comes to mind.  I love Radiohead and listen to them, oh, my kids would say far too often, but I find Thom Yorke’s voice soothing and their music is melodious and hits me where I like it-right in the heart.  So when I hear this song, it brings forth so many emotions tied up with my son.

Meth is certainly the wolf at the door.

He was doing so well.  He seemed like he might make it this time and be strong.  But after his legs healed he started having people hanging out next door after I told him repeatedly not to allow that.

“We aren’t doing anything wrong, I just want to hang out with my friends.”

I told him to go do that at their houses, if they had any, because I didn’t want it here.  I’m all too familiar with that scenario.  But he didn’t listen.  He was climbing in and out of his window, as well, which, as a condition of his return wouldn’t be allowed.

It all blew up like in the song- a flan in the face.

I sent him a text telling him, yet again, that I didn’t want anyone next door and that Matthew had discovered two people in the LOCKED patio and that it had to stop.  I told him I’d start calling the police if I found anyone there.  He proceeded to tell me to go ahead because they won’t do anything anyway.  I went on to tell him that maybe it was best, then, if he left, especially if he wasn’t interested in following one simple rule.  He told me he wouldn’t leave, no way, and I couldn’t make him.  I hopped in the car with Matthew because I was going to tell him to get out.  I’d had it.

I got to the house pretty quickly, fuming, actually, and found him sitting at the computer with a pissed off look on his face.  I told him that he needed to leave;  enough is enough.  He had not called his public defender to reschedule court, nor had he called the rehab facility whose program he needed to attend.  He was healed and taking advantage.

The wolf huffed and puffed…

Matthew said something to the effect of, “What’s your fucking problem?”

That was it and he jumped up out of the chair and got into Matthew’s face-he’s got a few inches on Matthew as well as five years.  It certainly wasn’t a fair fight but fists were flying and I yelled him to stop.  He wasn’t in the mood to listen so I got on the phone with the police and as he heard me call he yelled, “No, NO, NO!” and ran out the door.  I told them what happened, they came quickly, took mine and Matthew’s information as well as an account of what happened.  I’m fortunate to live in a city with a nice police department.

Since Matthew got punched in the eye, the officer suggested I have the fire department come out and see if he had a possible broken nose or any other facial fractures.  They were kind when checking his face and everything seemed to be intact, thankfully.  I declined a ride for him to the hospital-I live about five minutes from there so no need, especially since nothing was broken.

The police said they’d keep looking for him and they’d put a “Stop and hold” on him so that all officers would know to keep him.

Felony child abuse.

I’ve tried SO hard to get him back on the right track.  I tried to keep the wolf from the door but like the song says:

I keep the wolf from the door but he calls me up, calls me on the phone

Tells me all the ways that he’s gonna mess me up

Steal all my children if I don’t pay the ransom

And I’ll never see them again if I squeal to the cops…

He got picked up the next morning and is now in jail.  He has court tomorrow.  I fear for him in there-he’s like a little kid with a stunted brain who finds new knowledge impossible to retain.  He’s been there before, doing the same shit, only now it’s ten times worse.

I haven’t been able to sleep well since Sunday.  Matthew is very angry, rightfully so, and doesn’t want to see him again.  I’m just plain sad.

Meth is a wolf that will huff and puff and will eventually blow your house down

img_0268

I have to keep telling myself that this is not my son.  These are the words of an addict lashing out.  I’ll always love him;  he’s my boy, he just can’t live here and blow my house down.

(I asked my daughter to draw me a wolf for this post and this is her artwork!)

The Grand KPop Caper

Our son, Matthew, is a most determined young man.  He makes up his mind about something and puts those thoughts into action.  He’s unusual;  unique.   I like those qualities-they fit nicely in this family of ours!

Some years back, Matthew developed a fondness for KPop.  For those of you unaware, KPop is Korean pop music.  These groups are akin to our boy/girl manufactured bands and churn out catchy pop tunes complete with fancy dance routines and English phrases thrown in to delight their mainly Korean fan base.  The girls are pretty and the boys are stylish and always impressively dressed.

Matthew wants to be the next big KPop star.  From California.  Hey, stranger things have happened and looking at the website of the record company he is interested in, they don’t seem to discriminate based on ethnicity.  What does bother me, however, is their very strict dieting standards.  If he were to make it into KPop stardom, he’d be weighed everyday and have to focus on a minimal calorie diet.  He’s a growing boy and he’d never survive without Takis!

This boy has been teaching himself Korean.

He impresses me with his ability to pick up new languages.  He goes back and forth between Korean and Japanese but seems to have kept his focus on Korean, lately.  We watch Korean dramas together-he’s gotten me interested in them, surprisingly, but they’re quite good and entertaining.  My favorite one was Hey Ghost, Let’s Fight, also called Bring it On, Ghost.  I’m currently watching a comedy on Netflix called The Sound of Your Heart-it’s a good Mom/Son bonding experience and I’ve gotten some great belly laughs from this show;  it’s hilarious, really.

Not only is Matthew teaching himself a new language and watching shows based in another country, he’s teaching himself guitar.  His ease at learning new skills and the determination with which he approaches these skills is mind-boggling.  I wasn’t like that at his age…I wrote boring poetry and read Stephen King novels.  Whoopty-friggen-do!

All I can say is, I hope he achieves all that he can dream and I’ll never tell him he won’t succeed.  I try to stay positive and encourage him and who knows, maybe we’ll see him on stage somewhere!

He’s quite the character and I find myself laughing at his antics.  He’s a natural performer.


 


This last picture was taken yesterday.  He insisted we find somewhere pretty in order to take some photos he could use to send to the KPop label.  He needed a head shot, waist shot, and full body shot.  We took a lot of silly pictures and had fun-it was hot and we almost had to run for the hills from a bee hive, but we did it and had fun in the process.

Here are some random scenery pictures-it was very green and pleasant to view.



(The bees were in that tree!)


Same book, new chapter

It has been a busy two weeks as I’ve crammed in as many dentist appointments as my kids’ mouths would allow.  My husband started with a new company after quitting a truly corrupt and vindictive one and that meant we were on a serious deadline for what we could have done with our insurance.  I was able to get three kids in for cleanings, fillings, and extractions.  The kids may be unhappy with me now, but they’ll thank me later.

We’re starting the next chapter in our family and I’m optimistic.  Although we would love to have Robert home each night, he’s not at a point where he can do that just yet.  Since his experience is with entertainment transportation, and that seems to be where the money is, that’s where he’ll stay for the time being.  I do hope that it opens the door to other opportunities leading him back home that would allow us to do family activities.  I know that’s his desire, as well.  But for now,  he keeps on truckin’.

The two youngest kids will be starting a new school in mid August and I’m so excited for them!  We’ve homeschooled for the last four years (and I’ve not done what I set out to do) and I believe we have a close bond because of it.  I think their time with me out of the public school setting has allowed them the freedom to further explore their interests and talents.  Hannah has developed a love of dance, art, and theater,  Elijah has a comedic wit about him that he’s been allowed to nurture, and Matthew has cultivated his love of music and languages.  I honestly believe that having the kids away from the constant scrutiny of their peers has allowed them to strengthen their foundation in order to pursue what truly makes them happy without worrying about criticism.

I do have some concern about the influence the new kids will have on mine but I think that may be overshadowed by my joy in knowing they’ll develop friendships.  I’m hoping that since this school is geared towards the arts the kids they befriend will be more quirky and less materialistic.  It remains to be seen.

Robert has a new job, the kids have a new school, what do I have to look forward to?  My goal is to write more because I enjoy it and to look into possible freelance opportunities.  I think it’s a great way to get my feet wet and I won’t know unless I try, right?  Hopefully I can couple my writing with my weight loss trials, as well.  I’m failing at it and I’m sure others are too, so maybe our commiseration will lead to success!  Well, that’s what my fat ass is wanting anyway…

I have goals.

I’m also determined to declutter my life.  I have too much stuff and not enough space to store it.  Our belongings invade my space and it bothers my brain-it’s hard to focus when nothing is where it should be.  So I’d like to throw a bunch of unecessary crap away.

I have a dumpster and I’m not afraid to use it.

Clothes, papers, shoeboxes;  just junk  I don’t need and want to be rid of.  I’m about to throw two of my thrift store chairs out and get a couple of bean bag chairs or something.  My animals won’t stay off the furniture so there’s no point in having anything nice since they hair bomb it.  Sweetpea decided she couldn’t get a good enough cubby hole in our big comfy chair so she ate a good chunk into it.  Foam balls everywhere.  Our kitten, Phillip, loves to use this foam as soccer balls so I find them all over the house-even in my bed.  Can you picture it?  Lord help me.

So here we are, standing at the precipice.  We can embark on this new adventure knowing it may have its tough spots but if we keep our eyes on the prize,  I think it will be worthwhile.

You can count on Mom

I got a call last week from the oldest son wanting me to pick him up because he was hurting and hungry.  Many emotions swam over me at once-panic, dread, sorrow, heartache…my child has been in trouble for so long and it’s impossible for me to turn my back when he clearly needs me for the most basic essentials.  I drove about a half an hour to a sketchy part of town and waited for him to come out to my car.  The first thing I noticed was how gaunt his face looked.  His pretty blue eyes did not shine and he was very pale.  He was looking far older than his mere twenty-one years.  He put his back-pack in the trunk and off we went.

Not knowing what to talk about, I left it up to him to speak first.  He started telling me about how bad his legs hurt and how his head had been throbbing for days.  He looked like a lost puppy.  I didn’t bother asking him if he was hungry, instead driving straight to a drive thru.  He wanted a double western bacon cheese burger.  I got him the large combo and he was done with the fries within five minutes.

We got to the house and I suggested he shower and take a long hot one to wash away some of the filth that had surely attached itself to his wounded legs.  He happily obliged.  As he showered, many questions went through my head:

  • what am I going to do with him?
  • how long will he stay?
  • is he going to try to break into the garage again?
  • when are they going to have room for him at rehab?

I needed to get some laundry done and seeing as I’ve been house sitting for my mom, I could do it at her house.  I told him that if he wanted to sleep here  he should get me the sheets and blankets off his bed because I hadn’t touched anything since he’d left previously.  His friend had given him some skateboard guts so that he could put his back together and he wondered if I’d take him to the skate shop so they’d put it together for him.

We got that done and I wondered if he’d turn around and sell it for drugs.

He left for awhile, happy, because he had a functioning skateboard again.  It’s nice to see him with a genuine smile, even if it’s small because he’s exhausted.

Please don’t go get meth.

I got all of his bedding and clothing washed and left it folded in a bag in his room.  I didn’t want to do too much because I didn’t know what to expect and didn’t want to be disappointed.  And, as sorry as I felt for him, I didn’t want to bend over backwards just to be shat on again.  He didn’t come home that night but showed up the next morning, put his sheets on his bed and promptly went to sleep.  I asked him one time if he was doing alright and he said sleepily, “I haven’t been in a bed in so long.”

I checked on him periodically but he slept for almost five days.  He got up to use the bathroom occasionally and I gave him a gallon of cran-raspberry juice to keep by his bed so he wouldn’t drink out of the container in the refrigerator.  I didn’t see or hear much from him but I was content knowing he was safe and not in jail.

He wasn’t getting beat up by the police.

I assume that those five days were spent detoxing from meth and who knows what else. He swears he has not, nor will he ever, use heroin.  Who knows.  I told him they make that shit with so many chemicals that he may have inadvertently used it at one point.  Of course, that’s a great way to get people even more hooked, right?

His legs are infected and draining. I brought him some antiseptic liquid that his supposed to clean the wounds and relieve some pain but if they still look the same tomorrow I’ll have to get him in to see a doctor.  I’m not quite sure why the hospital spent thousands getting him cat-scans but wouldn’t bother to bandage his bleeding legs.  He went directly to jail after the hospital and staph is a popular infection to pick up-especially having open wounds.

I try to make sense of the nonsensical and it leaves me frustrated.

For now, he is at home and I’m thankful.  Relieved.  He’s my firstborn.  I had so many dreams and desires for him as I cradled him all those nights, years ago.  My only wish now?

Stay alive.


I didn’t post the other pictures showing the infected areas because they aren’t pleasant.

My Rocky Bottom

The oldest boy texted his dad informing him of his latest arrest.  Apparently,  he tried running from them, well, biking from them.  He didn’t get far before he was tackled, body slammed, and face planted into the asphalt.  He said his fingers got pretty messed up and somehow his leg had incurred an injury which he says was a cut to the bone.  They took him to the hospital where he received a cat scan which revealed a concussion and they wouldn’t stitch his leg wound.  And now I ask, How far down is rock bottom?

California has had its teeth pulled regarding drugs.  An individual can walk up and down the street carrying meth, a pipe, various other drugs and their paraphernalia with nothing more than an officer checking for felonies and then being transported to the jail overnight and released the following day.  It’s nothing.  It doesn’t count.  The state voted to reduce drug charges to misdemeanors so now they are nothing more than the equivalent of a traffic citation, only there don’t seem to be any fines.  How would they pay them, anyway?  California would rather make up the difference on me for not having my dog licensed on time.  $300 for failing to register your dog vs. getting a talking to by police for carrying meth.  Make sense?

These kids need help.  No, I don’t want to see them in jail, but I’d wager that most of them are dealing with psychiatric issues that need to be dealt with and I’d think the state could come up with a few rehab facilities that are set up like jails only not actually jails.  Keep them confined but get them clean and feed them.  But our governor would rather waste billions on a stupid bullet train that will never get built.  It’s hard to feel hopeful for the future when you see these young people with no options who will continue to spiral down until their crimes turn violent and they end up in prison or dead.  I’m no bleeding heart, but damn, there has to be something.

This has been my morning-well, in actuality, the past five years of my life.  Worrying about my oldest son who seems hell-bent on self-destruction with no way to get him on the right track.  He’s brought the criminals around who have inhabited the garage next door.  Saturday I discovered a blanket thrown over the outside security light and a blanket on the grass covering a block of cement that I’m sure someone was going to use to break the back door.  I called the police about it and they sent a giggly woman who spent a grand total of two minutes checking it out.  She happily returned to flirting with her partner before they drove off.

I didn’t realize that the rock bottom being referred to was my own.