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!

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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.

A Quick Trip

I went to Vegas with the intention of hanging out in the casino with my husband, drink free.

I arrived, stitches hot from sitting on them for the entire ride, minus one quick trip to the only working rest stop along the way.  I was sore and in need of a painkiller-it was Tuesday and I’d only just had the surgery on Friday.

We got checked in, got up to our room, Robert jumped in the shower, and as I sat on the bed looking forward to a couple of days of relaxation-my neighbor called to tell me that our oldest son left the men’s home already after staying less than 24 hrs.  That kid knows how to shit all over everything.  My relief and lightheartedness was replaced with dread.  He was supposed to be in that home for a year-they’d let him live there as long as he didn’t use drugs.  He couldn’t manage one full day.

Instead of spending time visiting with each other and having a calm two days together, we focused on the fact that he’s forced our hand.  No more coming home for showers or food, no more loading up his phone with new music or checking his social media.  And definitely no more hanging out next door in the garage where the police have been closely watching for months in order to gather enough information to raid it.

I had also planned to stay on my diet while in Vegas.

This was definitely not on my low carb diet.

At least not the hash browns and pancakes!  I tried.

That evening we stayed down in the casino until late.  We played blackjack until our luck and my wine ran out.

The next day we spent our time at the nearby outlets and walked a few laps and bickered back and forth.  The stress of having an addict for a child dominates every aspect of your life if you let it.  We’re still grappling with it-I don’t want our limited time together to be spent arguing over things of which we have no control.  It’s not our fault-we didn’t cause this.

I’ve been trying to get him on this low carb diet with me.  It’s difficult for a truck driver to follow any sort of healthy diet but he does have a refrigerator, and once he cleans out the ice cream, he’ll have room for bacon and pepperoni.  I think he thinks I’m being pushy.  I’m really not trying to be, but as (almost) every wife wants their husband to be healthy,  I do try to give gentle nudges.  He’d probably argue that they’re more like karate kicks to the groin but…I’m still me.  I’m not the nicest, I suppose.  I blame it on my humor-I have inherited too much of my dad’s sharp tongue.

We enjoyed looking at things we don’t normally.  They have a store there, Le Creuset, which happens to be an outlet, as well.  And while their entire store was 40% off,  I can’t see myself ever spending over $300 on a cast iron pot.  They were gorgeous and we had fun imagining our new kitchen full of these fancy items, and Robert loved teasing me about leaving rotten potatoes in them to sit outside until he dumped them for me (yes, I’ve done that more than I care to admit!) retching the entire time-he has a delicate stomach.

The colors were rich and I fell in love with the plum-colored collection they had.  We discussed which color pepper mill we’d want and I told him it was up to him;  I’m not the one that peppers everything.  He’ll pepper food before he even tastes it-salt, too, but mainly pepper.  He finds it strange that I don’t.  It was nice to discuss housewares and idly pass the time.  I miss him.

I liked these:

After the iHop breakfast that morning hit my stomach like a ton of bricks,  I found myself hurrying to the restroom on more than one occasion and I have to ask-why can’t women manage to flush a toilet?  I don’t understand it!  Is it laziness, are they in so much of a hurry that they can’t possibly spare 30 seconds to step on a lever?  These thoughts were going through my head as I tried to maneuver myself onto the seat without letting my stitches actually touch.  That’s more difficult than it ought to be but considering the location, it’s my reality.  Forget a toilet seat cover-I tried and spent too long trying to carefully remove wet tissue from my stitches when they became wet after flushing.

I lead an interesting life.

We made our way over to In-N-Out and Robert easily talked me into trying a lettuce wrapped 4×4.  It’s four juicy beef patties with four slices of cheese wrapped in iceberg lettuce.  Of course,  we made it a combo that came with fries so it completely rendered the low carb burger useless, albeit, monstrously tasty!

I inhaled my burger and Robert kindly offered to eat my fries for me.  I declined his offer.

We drove around the area imagining living in the newly built gated communities.  I joked that we could move and not tell our oldest.

I left the next day and the trip home took an hour longer than usual because of an accident.  I played cat and mouse with a Ram for many miles because he cut me off and while his big truck has a bigger engine,  my lighter badass car can quickly overtake him.  I took every opportunity to pass him.  Jerk.  I have to find ways to keep myself entertained because the drive along the 15 freeway is ugly and I can only shift my leg around so many ways to avoid sitting on my healing leg.

The kid has court tomorrow.  We’ll see if he goes and if he does, if anything happens.  I’m doubtful on the latter.

 

I wacked my brain…

Sometimes I have so many writing ideas swirling around inside my head that everything becomes a meaningless jumbled mess.  I can’t focus one idea and turn it into typed words so I find that I need to clear everything out.  My mincemeat brain needs a break.

I started this morning with three goals I wanted to accomplish by days end:

  1. Get the dishwasher loaded and running
  2. Wash all of my bedding and throws
  3. Tackle some weeds with the wacker

I managed to get the dishwasher done quickly and this always brings relief.  It’s not that I hate loading and unloading it, it’s the moving and attaching that bums me out because something inevitably falls off the top onto the floor as I’m pulling the beast into place.  It’s a portable dishwasher-I’m happy to have it because I hate hand washing dishes.  I can never manage to get the temperature just right so I end up scalding my hands and fiddling with the cold which wastes more time than I’d care to spare.  Either way, what I’m saying is, the top of my dishwasher is always piled with crap but I did get it going and I didn’t forget to add the soap. Bonus.

I’m in a uniques situation, currently, which prevents me from using my washer and dryer so for the past two days I’ve inhabited the local laundromat.  This is inconvenient but for now, I don’t mind.  There’s a lot of hustle and bustle at this particular facility and I need to figure out the best time to do my wash-I chose a busy time these last two days but it didn’t seem to slow me up.  I was trying to visually rearrange the set up of the washers and dryers to better accommodate the large amount of people as I tried to squeeze myself between the folding tables and row of double-decker dryers.  Add the laundry carts to the mix and quite often you find yourself in a traffic jam.  I watched one woman cram a washer full of too many blankets and then chuckled to myself minutes later when that washer sounded ready to explode from the furious churning it was forced to do.  I try to find humor in the simple things.

Lastly, after leaving my Ryobi weed wacker battery charging throughout the night, I was pleased to discover that I hadn’t ruined the wacker by leaving it out in the deluge of precipitation we’ve received over the last couple of months. My mom told me I had probably ruined it but I responded  that I figured, since it’s an outdoor tool, it should be built to remain outdoors-rain or shine.  Maybe not quite Ark-onian levels of rain…but it started right up and I was able to tackle some weeds without being hit in the face more than three times with tiny pebbles.  Today was a good day.

I’m not sure if I was able to clear my mind enough to start my new little piece of fiction, and maybe it’s a bit more jumbled in there than when I started my day, but I have clean dishes, clean bedding, and a clean walkway that I was able to hose off after tackling some weeds.  So, even if I wasn’t able to clean up the spiderwebs in my brain, I was able to clean off the ones by my front door.  Baby steps.

 

Thrift Store Life

I buy my furniture from thrift stores.  Five kids, three dogs, and 6 million cats make having nice furniture cost prohibitive-not to mention the mental anguish it causes me to have something I enjoy ruined.  So, I usually grab a kid and head to our local thrift store when it’s time to replace something.  Our latest purchase was an olive-green wing back chair, circa 1965.  It had faint patterns woven into the fabric and as the clerk said, it’s got great bones.  No rips or tears that I could find and it didn’t smell of doctor’s office-I think I paid about $20 with the coupon I’d received in my email.  That’s a pretty good deal, in my opinion.

I already knew where I wanted to place this new chair-near the tv, close to the window, by the door.  I could find a lovely throw to place over the top and be able to sit there with my coffee and look out the window.  That was the idea.  Sweetpea, my ugly little terrier mix, had other ideas.  She promptly jumped up and made herself quite at home.  I yelled at her to get down but knew I had to temper my anger somewhat because, little did I know when I named her, all this dog would do is pee when she gets upset.  So I tried to raise my voice an octave and calmly say, “Sweetpea, come on, get down.”  She lowered her face into the chair and raised her beady eyes at me.  “Sweetpea, let’s go, get down.”  I snapped my fingers towards the floor to let her know I meant business.  Apparently she did too because she peed all over my new old chair and then scurried away.  This is why we can’t have nice things.

It would appear that not only did I need to buy thrift store furniture, I needed to keep the furniture covered in towels like my grandma.  She always kept her chairs and couch covered in towels to prevent wear and tear on her purchases-she was a product of The Great Depression so everything she bought she put a lot of thought into. Her pieces meant something to her.  Mine are utilitarian and though I try to find something cute and quirky, who would ever know because they’re covered in towels!  I’m overrun with animals who dirty my things out of revenge.

I would love to have my mom over to visit-she’d like to come by for a cup of coffee after doing her weekly bank business, but she insists on wearing black pants.  Harmless, yes, you’d think that were true.  Not in my house of three chairs-one each containing a Sweetpea, Baxter, and random cat.  Each chair has a towel, each towel has an animal, and under each animal is a towel covered in animal hair.  So my mom, with her black pants, would leave my house wearing not-so-black fluffy pants.  I tell her to wear jeans, she won’t.

The animals aren’t the only mess makers, however.  As I mentioned, I have five kids-one of whom has since moved away.  But even only four kids make crappy furniture a necessity.    My oldest son is a walking disaster;  his hands are always dirty and doesn’t see the need for soap.  He usually leaves his half drunk milk on the floor next to a chair and his cereal bowl with mushy Fruit Loops atop a guitar amp.  He’s nearly 22 and I feel for his future wife.

My 14-year-old son has an aversion to water so his feet are usually dirty and I can tell where he likes to sit since he leaves dirty footprints on a chair towel or pretty pink chenille throw.  I ask him why he doesn’t wash his feet and he likes to give me varying excuses ranging from “The water, it burns!” to “Notice didn’t get sick at Christmas, unlike the rest of you?  That’s because I’ve built up my antibodies.”  Clever dirty boy.

The eleven year old, my only girl, has developed an addiction to making slime.  She makes a new batch nearly every day, though I’m seriously running into an Elmer’s glue shortage in my area.  Did you know slime making is an actual thing on Instagram?  Hordes of kids and adults make it-some use glitter, paint, styrofoam balls…you name it, they’ll put it into the slime.  So, it should come as no surprise when I say that I have glitter everywhere.  Everywhere.  It’s on the tile, in the furniture, in the cat’s fur…I find little specks in my socks and on my eyelid.  The slime itself can usually be found next to the sink in random bowls I attempt to put into the dishwasher.  Dried clumps that were failed slime attempts and the really mushy ones that she plans to save but hasn’t yet transferred into her very own slime bowls. If I didn’t laugh, I’d cry.

I tell myself that furniture pieces are just objects upon which to rest or socialize.  They don’t have to be fancy, just sturdy, and can easily be replaced.  There will come a time when the kids are grown and off with their own families, my messy dear little dogs and cats will have left this earth, and it will just be me and my husband.  We can have expensive fabric chairs and couches if we wish, but I’ll always trade, in a heartbeat, those material things, for the messy little fingers and toes all over my olive-green, circa 1965, thrift store chair.

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(August 2015, my brood at my brother’s wedding)

My son, the Sailor

I traveled to Great Lakes, Illinois a couple of weeks ago to watch our son graduate Navy boot camp. I knew I’d be an emotional pile of Mom tears but I wasn’t ready for seeing my 18-year-old transformed from the young boy that had me hunting Pokemon at 9:30 pm in the park, to the man who stood before me in his uniform, tall and proud.  My son grew up in the blink of an eye, sadly.

The ceremony was beautiful, the parents were beaming, and we all shared one thing in common that day-our children were brand new Sailors!  I met many of Jordan’s boot camp buddies and their parents before we headed to the Navy exchange to buy a “Proud Navy Mom” t-shirt and hat.  I even bought two bumper stickers that I’m considering putting on my car that I swore would never have any stickers.  This is my son, after all.

I’m having a difficult time reconciling myself to the fact my boy has moved out and probably won’t be coming back other than on the occasional visit during leave.  He has his own life now out of state…away from me.  He’s busy and I don’t get texts back but I do know that he reads them.  When he has a spare minute he’ll “heart” one of my photos on Instagram which tells me I’m not completely forgotten in his new adventures.

I’m happy for him;  excited, really.  But that excitement is tempered with the bittersweet memories of my tiny baby boy and how I had him with me everywhere  I went.  I crave those times now, even more.

jordangraduation

I hugged him tight as I cried so hard.  He was gone for two tortuously long months.

jordandresswhites

We had to buy some Tide bleach pens because it’s very difficult to keep these white uniforms spotless.