Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Didn't Write This...

but it's really good. I found it a bunch of years ago in some magazine and saved it. Hope you enjoy.

What do you call someone who not only disregards the flashing lights of a cop on her tail, but thrusts her arm out the window and flips him off?
A. a hardened criminal
B. a drunk driver
C. a crazy person
D. a cop's wife

Last week my husband and I attended a retirement send-off for one of his buddies' you know, one of those tedious, yet engaging, serious, yet goofy dinner roasts that lends itself to the recounting of the retiree's war stories. As a few of us couples sat around shooting the breeze at the end of the night, one of the wives recounted a war story of her own. Driving home from work one day, Cindy noticed in her rearview mirror that a motor officer was following her. Thinking it was her motor cop husband, she shrugged it off, though she wondered what he wanted. Before too long the officer turned on his strobes and signaled her to pull over. At first she was a little miffed, but not one to pass up a chance to have a little fun with her husband, and noticing few cars were on the road, she thrust her arm out the window and gave him the one-fingered salute. Even as the officer passed her she still believed it was her husband, since the uniform PD shirt, knee-high motor boots, helmet and sunglasses made the guy look just like him. Finally she stopped at a stoplight, but not until the cop approached her car and she saw him face to face did she realize her miscalculation. Of course the back pedaling began as the embarrassed cop's wife fumbled sheepishly and explained her mistaken assumption to the officer.

We all had a good laugh over our feisty friend's story. And, even though the rest of us winced at the thought of what she did like most people, cop husband or not, we still get rattled when we see those overheads in our rearview mirror. It's this very kind of gutsiness that makes the typical cop's wife different.

So, what is it like to be married to a police officer? Is it all high drama, with your days spent hero worshipping after his "shoot em up and book em Danno" shift? Do you find delight in sewing on his new arm patches, polishing his gun belt and knitting him badge-shaped slippers? I think not. But being married to a cop does color life in unique ways.

Strength and Solid Identity
Though it's true that any of us could lose our lives at any moment, not everyone who sends her husband out the door wonders if tonight's goodbye kiss and "be careful out there, hon" will be the last exchange they'll share.

For the cop's wife, it's these everyday realities that build strength of character and establish a firm identity. Someone summed it up well by saying that in a law enforcement marriage, there is no room for someone who is emotional, clingy or needy. Because a cop's wife's role often requires her to be self-sufficient, she needs to be sure of who she is. Of course her identity isn't derived solely from who she is to her husband. She has her own career, too, as a teacher, health care professional, administrative assistant, finance officer, full-time mom, or cop or other criminal justice professional herself, but never as a defense attorney.

A Call to Duty
Whether she works outside the home or in, the demands are many and the rewards are few, especially in the early years. Her husband helps out as much as he can, but her own "call to duty" requires that she juggle everything from household tasks, while keeping the kids quiet so Daddy can sleep, to playing chauffeur to those junior athletes and pediatrician's patients. Assuming responsibility where her husband cannot, she is the family's consummate chief cook and bottle washer.

Her children grow up learning that Christmas is not December 25th, but instead the day their dad is off duty to celebrate with the family. She's never been with him on New Year's Eve - a yearly marker that to her, is symbolized by the presence of riot gear, more training and an extra measure of worry and solitude.

A cop's wife learns to accept irony as part of her existence. Every time she makes a special dinner, in hopes that her husband will be able to steal a half-hour at home, he ends up working a double-fatal pileup or getting a drug bust. Yet the evenings she's sure the same thing will happen, she makes grilled cheese sandwiches and opens a can of soup for the kids only to have him come through the door beaming, "Hey babe", and lamenting, "It's deader than a doornail out there." Shift work can make her and her husband mere ships in the night, often not having days off together for years at a time. The time they are able to snatch together is often a voyage of calm, storm, calm, storm and more storm as they navigate through the relational stresses inherent in law enforcement marriages.

His "Pillar of Strength"
Over time, she becomes the crucial voice of awareness and balance for her husband. A passage in Vali Stone's Cops Don't Cry recounts a wife's story about how her husband was affected by a disturbing case involving the brutal abuse and murder of a baby. The parents, arrested for the homicide, were completely unremorseful. The officer, consumed by the case, visited the baby every day until she finally succumbed to her injuries. It took a couple of months before this officer's wife noticed changes in her husband: "He watched television all the time, didn't want to go anywhere, developed black stains under his eyes from lack of sleep, and he wouldn't talk much." Finally noticing bruises on his arms, she panicked. At first he was reluctant to tell her what had caused them, but he finally admitted to self-mutilating, a response to his emotional pain over the case. It was this officer's wife's concern that caused him to finally seek help.

Awareness of the "Dirty Side of Life"
My friend, Jan, says that before she was married she would probably have let in anyone who came to her door and put on the coffee to boot. Now she's more aware of her surroundings, more skeptical and more shrewd in her business dealings. Her views on hot-button issues like homelessness are perhaps less sympathetic than most people's because of her husband's inside view. Early in her marriage she might have blurted out to anyone that her husband is a cop, but no more. After years of doing the "restaurant seating dance" at eateries, she knows to defer to his need to sit where he can have the best possible vantage point. And, if somebody stares at her husband in public, she wonders if it's someone he's arrested, and she keeps an eye out for trouble.

Cop Humor
Isn't it ironic that those who usually have the most cause to cry are the ones who are expected not to? Cops, soldiers and health care professionals, for example. One coping mechanism cops use is humor. It's raw, dark and seemingly insensitive, but it can be a necessary tool in dealing with the tragic, corrupt and macabre aspects of police work.

I'll never forget a little exchange my husband told me about years ago: Gathering evidence and taking photos at the scene of a fatal accident, one officer, tweezers in hand, picked up a small chunk of brain tissue that had landed quite a distance from the crash. A second officer hollered to him, "Whatcha got?"
"Piece o' brain," the first answered. Then, without missing a beat, the second one weighed in with mock wistfulness, "Yeah, a mind is a terrible thing to waste."

A cop's wife picks up this sick humor, too. I'll never forget what "Kristen" said at her husband's 30th birthday party. Complaining that his pay and benefits were not commensurate with the danger and sacrifices of The Job, she threatened that if he ever had the nerve to die on her and leave her to raise their kids alone, he'd better do it on duty so that she could at least collect the meager life insurance payout. And, if perchance he were to die off duty, she had full intentions of stuffing the 6'4" 250-lb. lug into his uniform and dragging and hoisting the deadweight into the patrol car, which was always parked uphill on their street. Sick and callous as it sounds, it was her way of dealing with her frustration over the insulting pay and the possibility of losing him. It was also right in line with the type of dark humor she'd learned from her husband.

Not All Grit and Grind
Being married to a cop does have its advantages. After all, not everyone gets to have her driving critiqued by someone who's an expert in EVOC and traffic law. Knowing the inside scoop about high-profile cases is another benefit; you get a more informed perspective than the watered-down, politically correct version found in the newspaper. And, it's kind of amusing to hear about the local windbag politician who was stopped last week at 3 a.m. with two blonde tootsies in his car.

"Kim", another cop wife friend, pointed out that it's kind of nice to have her own police officer in the house, though he did nearly shoot their teenage son, whom he almost mistook for a burglar, when the kid was trying to sneak in late one night.

For me, the early years were the most challenging, and now that my kids are older, life isn't nearly as demanding. I'm glad we've made it this far and I believe more strongly than ever in the work my husband does serving our community. Another wife quoted in Cops Don't Cry says, "If I had to do it again, I wouldn't change a thing. I couldn't possibly live without the excitement and insanity of a police life. Anything else would pale in comparison."

So, with all of this in mind and more, it stands to reason that the correct answer to the multiple choice riddle at the top of the article is both C and D.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I am feeling really good. I'm still sore from the ET tube and my strap muscles in the sides of my neck are a little rough but otherwise I can't complain. I've had a bit of a cough but nothing too bad.

I was telling my bro tonight that he must have been right all these years. I suppose I do have ice water running through my veins. The doc said when they cut into my neck, I didn't bleed. They were amazed considering they had to do a 'deep neck dissection' and go really far to the left side of my neck. Of course he could not stop laughing.

So.. I ate an entire McRib sandwich, half a rotisserie chicken and half a container of mashed potatoes. I followed that up with a large chocolate shake. Man life is good!! I can't believe how much better things are already. This damn thing has been sucking the life out of me for two years and I am just so so thankful the little alien thing is out of me now. I can breathe and I can swallow which means I can EAT!

It's been great chillin with the hubs just watching movies and vegging out. Feels like we're in college again :) I'm sure he's loving the fact that I still have no voice!

Now I'm just waiting for pathology to do up the report so I can see if there was anything sinister. Not likely but I just want to breathe that sigh of relief. It'll be ready in another 2-3 days.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Still Alive

Hello out there. I made it through my surgery yesterday just fine. They kept me overnight and I got home today. Meadowlark, you were so right about the anesthesia! My anesthesiologist was a retired Navy Captain and was amazing! The sweetest, gentlest man ever. I kept my mouth shut and acted like I was some kind of professional but he knew I was shaking in my boots.

They did all the preop fun like making me get naked underneath a piece of paper and then wheeled me back to the O.R. I remember the one doc telling me they were gonna put squeezy boots on me and then as they asked me to slide from the bed to the operating table, the sneaky anesthesiologist plunged the propofol! I was out as my head hit the table. Never even saw it coming it was fantastic! I woke up asking the nurse, "Did I just wake up?". She busted out in a chuckle and said, "yep". It was great. I let out a big cough which was kind of gross but then they gave me a 2 of morphine and started wheeling me for what seemed like miles through the hospital to my room. Never got sick. Never had any bad feelings. Just got good at laughing at myself repeating the same things over and over and saying, "I feel like I just told you this..".

The only thing I have taken since that initial morphine is straight liquid tylenol. I'm feeling really lucky about how everything went. It's kind of like a nasty case of strep throat. I ate angel food cake and ice cream yesterday. And a bunch of other junk, too.

I'm glad to be back at home and to see my little boys. The hubs was such a huge help taking care of me and is getting used to me not really having a voice. It comes and goes.

I'm looking forward to doing a bunch of nothing for the next 2-3 weeks. I needed the break from work anyway :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I Am Thankful

I'm thankful for friends and family, ghosts from the past, unexpected run-ins, things that go my way and sometimes things that don't; the ups & downs, the good, the bad and the ugly and all the things I continue to learn each day. I suppose after 31 years I'm also thankful my brother and I never actually managed to kill each other despite our countless attempts. I'm thankful that I have memories of my little sister asking me, "Why are you taking ALL of your socks?" when I moved out on my own. I'm thankful that my kids forgive me when I am not the best and that my husband does the dishes (although we still argue about how the dishwasher should be organized--if he would just do what I say...).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Poop in the butt is a crisis

Mr. Pants is in that lovely season of life called potty training. He is three. We have been trying the underwear training pants. This is not fun. This is quite disgusting. This child will happily pee into the toilet. He will actually pee anywhere we ask him to.

On the other hand, this child refuses to poop anywhere except in his drawers. Seriously, let me take a minute to share his brilliant creativity with you. While the "poo", as it were, is always contained in the underpants - he has many hiding places where he goes to complete the mission. Here is the list:

Under the coffee table
Behind the pantry door
In the corner with a laundry basket over his head
Behind the far end of the couch
Under the kitchen table with all the chairs pulled in

My personal favorite is number 3 on the list. Really, who does this? Never in all my life, and even when I was 3, did I ever think to do my business with a laundry basket over my head. I have no clue how this idea got into his little brain.

Now, I am a very patient mom. But there is something about this poop challenge that is making me insane. Why, you ask? Because he will look right at me through his grunting and tell me he is not pooping. Then as soon as he finishes he will look up and tell me "We need to change my unda-wear". What?? NOW it's a crisis??

I've tried all the old trusty things like bribes, threats, positive reinforcement (I said bribes already, same thing), books, videos, etc. I don't push too hard and I don't do that cutting him off at the pass thing. Apparently I just don't understand the psychology of pooping.

I know, I know. We'll get there.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Holidays... Eh

So this post is not meant to stick in anyone's craw. Just this little thing I go through around this time each year. Let me tell you a little something about me. I am not creative. I am not artistic. I am really not even thoughtful. I'd like to be all of these things, but the truth is.. I'm just not.

I don't see things in July and think they would make a wonderful Christmas gift for so and so. I don't fill my home with the joyful scent of all things baking. I decorate in the most basic way and it's not because I don't enjoy decorating. I just don't know how. I think I was born without that part of the brain.

On the rare occasion I do decide to decorate or what have you, the cat knocks the ornaments off the tree (it's my husband's cat.. ) or my kids destroy something or make a totally different use for these things. Like replacing baby Jesus with R2D2 in the nativity scene. (ok I don't actually own a nativity scene, but this IS something they would do if I did)

Does this make me a grinch?

I am not good at gift wrapping and I hate crowds of people. It gets all hot and nasty in the stores and you can hear people hacking and coughing and sneezing.. and hoards of people on cell phones talking too loud like they don't understand volume control. They step all in my personal space and overshare way more information than I ever wanted to know about a complete stranger. Fights over parking spaces, people wanting to return stuff for sale prices... need I go on?

If you really want to know me, my doormat says it all.

"Martha Stewart Doesn't Live Here"

Somebody say a little prayer for me that I can become a better "holiday" person. And yes, I did just put that in quotes.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

December 1st

Hi all. Where have I been, you ask? Gearing up for surgery.. FINALLY. After much unneeded freaking out over a surgery I knew was inevitable, they actually set the date. So.. on December 1st I will undergo a Sistrunk Procedure. It's quite interesting. I will have to go under general anesthesia (completely out) for about an hour long surgery. I will then wake up, breathe on my own and get kicked out of the hospital the same day.

I have never been put under for anything in my life and however stupid it sounds I am totally freaked about it. I completely trust the doc. I will be at one of the best hospitals in the nation. There are teams of anesthesiologists who will be in the surgery center that day.. so what is my problem?

I think it's the after effects I am worried about. I don't take medicine, I have never taken pain pills.. well ok once I took a Tylenol 3 for a burn on my hand. I would never be a good junkie. Sheesh.

Anyway, not that I really am up for hearing horror stories, but please - anybody out there who has been under general anesthesia, would you please tell me the brutal truth about what to expect when coming to? I can't imagine what it's going to be like. I've heard it's kind of like having a hangover but seriously can someone educate me? And yes I asked ten billion questions during pre-op testing and they all give the standard "it'll be fine" without elaborating.

I know you guys & gals will give it to me straight. Thanks everybody.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Do You Ever?

Do you ever get tired of knowing what 'really' happened? Some days I just want to slap people who comment on criminal cases they see in the news. They love to speculate and go over their 'CSI' theories when in reality they are completely, totally and entirely off-base.

It's hard some days to stand by and bite my tongue.

Anyone ever feel this way? Am I being over the top? Do share...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Time to relax

We told The Dude that this year we needed to cut back on his activities. He was playing soccer, baseball, basketball and doing boy scouts and playing the whistle and the fiddle and doing dance at his Irish school.

It was getting to be too much. While I love the talents he possesses and am so proud to see him engage in group activities, it was getting to the point he could not be himself.

We were missing family time together, meals together and most importantly - time for relaxing. It's hard enough with daddy being gone as much as he has to be and it was just really hard to do everything by myself.

I didn't want to end up eating and doing homework in the car every night on the way to run somewhere. I want to go back to being a mom, NOT a chauffeur. Plus I want The Dude to have time to relax. He was involved in something every night of the week and usually Saturdays and Sundays, too.

We gave him the choice of what he felt he could sacrifice and explained that with the increasing amount of homework, we need to put that as a priority.

We also tried to explain that time with family is very important. We don't all have to sit and stare at each other every evening, but that time together needs to be priority.

I was so proud of him for not even wincing about giving something up. He almost seemed relieved. I've finally gotten over feeling like a bad mom!

And all this time I was agonizing over asking him to let something go, he freely and willingly did! I'm really looking forward to more time with my little ones!

Plus, those damn drive through dinners were getting really old!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Space Camp

It's Friday afternoon and I am at Space Camp (ok not literally)

I am sitting at my very unimportant desk job making entirely too much money for what I do and I am bored to death. I don't want to be here. And while I'm on it, it's not just today. It's every day.

Most days I take my dear sweet time getting my butt out of bed and getting ready for work. Then I pull into the parking lot and glare at the building with sleepy, resentful eyes. I say out loud to myself, "I cannot go in there today". It's like slow death... by butterknife. And before anyone comes off with it, I KNOW I should be thankful I have a job in current economic times, that there are millions of people who can't get a job, etc. I never said I'm ungrateful or unappreciative.. I recognize that I am in a much better place than a lot of people.

But I hate this job. I suppose part of this stems from the fact that since the fourth grade I thought I would be a Special Agent with the DEA. Working for one of the country's largest marketing firms doesn't exactly compare. I spent years preparing myself for what I thought would be a career of my dreams. I took nine years of Spanish so I could become fluent. I joined the Police Explorer Post at age fourteen. I was a good kid who stayed out of trouble and kept my nose clean.

I started working at age fourteen at a car wash and then when I turned fifteen I was the burger girl at Burger Thing. Plowed through school and graduated early at seventeen. Moved the hell out and went straight into a full time job at the exact same company I am working for now... FOURTEEN YEARS LATER.

Hindsight is 20/20. I know I let my own stubborn ass lead me to where I am now. I'm also honest enough to admit that even with excellent strategic planning, life happened. There is some truth to "having the world by the tail", but I let myself get comfortable and I let myself find excuses.

I had the chance to become a dispatcher when I was quite young and I decided that working rotating shifts was a lot different than my existing job which was a straight day gig with weekends off. I was a total moron. Then I was offered a job traveling all over Central and South America putting my awesome Spanish skills to use and like an idiot I let my insecurities get the best of me and decided to pass it up.

Here I am in damn near middle age and I feel like I can't even tell you what I'm about. What I'm good at, what I like, what I want, etc. I'm a freaking mess. I'm kicking myself. I played it "safe" and it's the biggest regret of my life.

The one thing I can say is that through all of this I found the hubs, we had The Dude and Mr. Pants and they are truly the biggest representation of who and what I am. I love my family and I would never be able to go on without them. Now I look at my kids and realize I am SO totally NOT the example for them I thought I would be when they were just hypothetical beings.

I think I need a reset button.

Know Yourself

Know Your Purpose: Know Yourself

"A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself. He makes his failure certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it. "

I figure at best, and if I'm lucky, I'm halfway through life already. And when I think about the first half I realize that I spent entirely too much time wandering around like a lost male refusing to ask for directions- all the while insisting things were going exactly as I had planned. I wasn't honest with myself.

You've probably sensed by now that my writing can get a little deep, which is also why I tend not to write as much anymore.

I've spent the last two years going through some grueling medical stuff. Things got really dark, really scary and really frustrating.

One day two years ago, I was eating pizza and all of the sudden it was as if my body had completely forgotten how to swallow. It was like I was an infant and someone just shoved a huge slice of pizza in my mouth and I had no idea what to do with it. I could chew, but could not swallow. I felt what I can only describe as a cross between choking (cough cough) and suffocating (as if I had inhaled the food into my lungs). It was pretty intermittent for several months and I just made sure to always keep something to drink with me whenever I would eat anything.

As time rolled on, it became more frequent and eventually became constant. I could not eat applesauce, mashed potatoes or even soup. It was ungodly how sad I became. I felt abnormal, I felt doomed and I certainly knew something was wrong with me.

I went to my primary doc who told me I had anxiety. I pleaded that she run some tests just to cross things off the list so she checked for asthma and for arthritis. All came back negative. Getting through the day at my desk job became extremely difficult as I would experience bouts of lightheadedness and near fainting just sitting doing nothing.

I stuck with that doc (had been with her since I was a child) and after months of no improvement followed by months of no offer to help I switched docs. I don't believe in doc hopping but I felt I had no choice. Found a doc who came highly recommended at the local teaching hospital and went to her. Right away she was suspicious of my thyroid and so she ordered thyroid labs and a barium swallow study.

Both tests came back with nothing. Thyroid was perfect and barium swallow showed no abnormal structures in my esophagus. I did find that I was severely deficient in Vitamin D (I had virtually NONE) so I started a supplement per her request. Three months went by with zero improvement.

I wanted to come back and beg for her to check further but she was on vacation. I saw her partner instead and he was very patient and understanding. He thought maybe I was having some sort of bad, obscure allergic reaction to something and put me on a strong antihistamine and a steroid. Let me just say that outside of feeling dryer than a bucket of sand and mentally disturbed, this did nothing for me. I persisted. He sent me to an ENT specialist (known around the world - VERY talented). Went to the dang ENT and he looked at me and gave me that "there's nothing wrong with you" look and said that the only things he could do would be quite invasive (tube through my nose and down my throat, etc.). He suggested a Neurologist.

I went to the Neurologist who ruled out MS, myashtenia gravis (a rare muscle disorder) and some other stuff he said I'd "probably never heard of and hopefully never will". God love him, I'd seen him for years when I was younger for bad headaches and was so glad he did the ruling out game with me. He could find nothing. I thanked him and went back to wanting to find a cliff to jump off of.

Circled back to my primary doc and explained to him that if he took a look at my history just from this current calendar year, he'd see I've lost 30 pounds. I was only 130lbs to begin with so 30 pounds was a HUGE amount. His eyes got as big as dinner plates. We reviewed how for two years now I cannot swallow and half the time cannot breathe. I showed him the area of my neck where I 'sensed' this coming from and lo and behold he grabbed a knot on the midline of my neck BIG ENOUGH TO HOLD ONTO. I thought he was going to pass out from the shock. He asked, "Have we CT'd this?". I told him NO that nobody had done any sort of imaging and that lots of bloodwork had been done by various docs but nobody actually looked to see what was in my neck.

He immediately referred me to the 3rd floor for a ct scan. Insurance refused because they are a bunch of assholes (sorry) after I waited TWO hours. They insisted I have an ultrasound first to make sure I wasn't some crazy woman with no need for a ct scan. Anyway, got the ultrasound and I'll be damned if there isn't a lumpy area in my neck with minor lymph node involvement.

Now, I didn't freak but only because my labs had all shown normal blood counts as recent as last week, so I didn't really believe it was the big "C". The doc --who was way hot by the way, looked like Matt Damon--, turned the ultrasound screen around and showed me the two little masses and said, "This is a Thyroglossal Duct Cyst and this is a lymph node that is really pissed off about the cyst being there."

I was so relieved it wasn't cancer and honestly was relieved that for the first time in two years I knew without a doubt I was NOT crazy. I sort of chuckled through my tears and told the doc he could say there was a hotwheel stuck in my throat and I wouldn't care at this point. He just smiled and reassured me that everything was going to be just fine. It's a simple surgical extraction that takes about an hour under general. He told me I would wake up a brand new woman.

He had the second doc come in just to give some additional input on the report and they took lots of extra ultrasound pictures and measurements. By the way, strangest compliment ever from a hot doctor. He said I have a beautiful neck. How sweet. At that point I stopped being pissed that insurance refused a ct scan. SEE everything happens for a reason :)

So here we are. I am going back to the head and neck/ENT specialist this Wednesday. I'm hoping he will assign me a surgery date. While I am terrified as hell about going under general anesthesia I want to wake up and go eat a fat steak for dinner!! My bro promised that was going to be my reward. The hubs said he has certain other plans.

This condition is a congenital defect that occurs between 4-7 weeks in utero. How crazy is that? Your thyroid starts out up in your mouth and descends down this thyroglossal duct. The thyroid gland lands just above your collarbone and the duct or tract is supposed to virtually disappear. Well, although my thyroid went where it should have, the duct never disappeared and some leftover tissue and other yummy stuff has built up in it causing this thyroglossal duct cyst. Due to its location, it presses in not only on my esophagus but on my trachea.. which is why I could NOT BREATHE!!

So here is why I believe it is important to know yourself. I recognized very early on that I had lost all ability to be myself through this ordeal. I lost my temper, I turned into a lump of pathetic spaghetti... I stopped showing love and affection because I was so caught up in being mad and depressed all the time. Physically my body was giving out from the malnourishment and constantly fighting to keep infection at bay. I became someone I hated. I started to cave to the idea that I had cancer (my dad died from it) and that one day I was just not going to wake up or something horribly sinister like that.

I know now that persistence was key. Sure, I'm sad that it took lots of pain and anguish and tons of time and money, but what's most upsetting is what it did to my family. I wish I could have been more of an optimist. I wish I could have taught my kids that the most important thing is never giving up. I suppose I did, but not with much grace. I put so many of my dreams on hold, indefinitely, because I couldn't think of tomorrow.

What I have now is the long list of things I want to do, feel, see and experience in this lifetime. I understand what it truly means to be thankful. I have experienced the real meaning of love from a husband and family who stood by me, put up with me and encouraged me to press on and get answers.

And I cannot omit mercy. Mercy has many different definitions, but my personal favorite is "the easing of distress or pain".

I am so thankful for the love and mercy I have been shown. I have found myself again and I surely understand my purpose. I was put here to be a wife and mother. I vow to never let anything get in the way of that ever again.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Childbirth (PG-13)

You know how they're sure Christ wasn't Irish?
They couldn't find three wise men or a virgin in all of Ireland.

The husband is Irish. Come on, he's IRISH. They are good at many things, but they are experts at few.

1. Drinking
2. Fighting
3. Storytelling
4. Playing musical instruments
5. Being policemen

Ah.. so the littlest one is 3 now and the time is upon us that my husband is dying for more kids. We have 2 already. I'm down for having as many kids as he wants, as I want lots, too. I don't mind poopy diapers, teething, drooling, fevers, diaper rash, sleepless nights, mass confusion, delirium, etc.

Kids are worth every ounce of pain in the butt they can be. I have realized since having kids I would make a fantastic Marine. I can multi-task on no sleep, no food, and with someone screaming in my ear all the time.

I remember with the last little one I happened to go into labor during an evening when multiple tornadoes had spawned. Apparently my children insist on a grand entrance. I knew I was in early labor, so what, like any woman I decided to go shoe shopping at Marshall's. Turned out to be not such a great idea. I got to the store (through the tornado and torrential downpour) only to end up LOCKED inside the store. No joke. Their company policy is to lock all shoppers inside and move them to the back of the store away from glass during tornado sirens.

We were all herded to the back like cattle and at that moment I sort of raised my hand and said, "Um... excuse me. How long are we going to be locked in here?". The store manager who was NOT thrilled at this question just rolled her eyes at me.

It was then that I busted out the cell phone and as we all stood there in the dark I said, "Hi sweetie. Where are you? Oh you're at the jail with a warrant arrest? Oh.. uh.. ok..". The hubs knew something wasn't right so I broke the silence with.."Well, there is no reason to panic but I am in labor so I just wanted to let you know".

The store manager happily escorted me to the front of the store and led me out like an unwanted customer! I was never so happy. Can you imagine? Locked inside Marshall's in the dark in LABOR??

Anyway, of course when I broke the news to the hubs he drove like a madman through the next tornado to try to get home to me. Thank God for the police car that day.

He met me at home where I had the genius idea of trying to shower- in the dark- with NO electricity- in late JULY. Yeah, gotta love the pregnant brain. Then I rushed around trying to find my hospital bag in the dark. It was like 8,000 degrees in our house because apparently during the previous several-tornado-hours I was out shoe shopping, the power went out. Lovely. Just what I needed.

So we rushed to the hospital and went through the whole hours-long thing where they make sure you aren't some paranoid first time mother with gas, and then finally got admitted to a room.

For some reason I seem to have a life filled with Twin Peaks experiences. I got into the room and no joke the air conditioning was out. I thought it was strange and when I asked if it was just me noticing it was AFRICA hot in there, the nurse told me that all the power was out and that the hospital was running on generators. Yeah.. that's exactly what you want to hear while you're in labor in July.

So anyway... I was about ten days early and was really wanting to get things going so I tried to be a good student and put my Bradley Method classes to work. Ok, scroll up and remember I said my husband is IRISH. Bradley is a method of husband-coached childbirth. Seriously people, put down your drinks because you are going to either choke or pee in your pants when you read this.

As I began to writhe in pain, wishing for death, my husband decided to be a 'good coach'. He was taught in Bradley class that he should think of some really special, fond thoughts that could help me find a place of peace and relaxation. The teacher had suggested talking about a second honeymoon, visualizing the place, the romance, the relaxation, etc.

So what does the hubs decide to do? He leans over all sweet and snuggles up to my ear. I then hear the following words whispered into my ear: "Pretend you're riding your bike. It's a Huffy. You're doing a wheelie."..... I couldn't tell you what he said beyond that because I was laughing so hard the nurse outside in the hall thought I was on hard drugs! God love the man. He is just hilarious.

Labor was moving along and then I got hung up around 4 centimeters. The hubs was terrified of falling asleep during the lulls in my agony so he pressed on, delirious. He kept trying to tell me how proud he was of me and how wonderful it was going to be to meet our baby. So, like any good wife, what did I do?

I asked him to get into the jacuzzi tub with me in our room. And I proceeded to make the water 8,000 degrees. I was in labor and from all the sweating and agonizing somehow I became chilly and thought a hot bath sounded soo good. Here I am weighing in at a huge amount I shall not disclose because I am far too vain, and I look at him and ask, "Well, aren't you going to get in and rub my back?".

I could tell he wanted to die, right there in the hospital bathroom, right at that very moment. There was no way in hell he wanted to get any closer as he was already dying from the steam and the lack of air conditioning in the whole hospital. (Of course I had no recollection of any of this until watching the video a year later)

But since he is an amazingly awesome husband, he sunk into the tub trying to hide the fact that he felt like he was being burned at the stake. The nurse came in a short time later (notice how they don't really care if you are concerned with modesty of any sort?)

She must have noticed my husband falling unconscious or something because it was then she suggested we should get out of the tub. She said, "I think you've scalded your baby long enough..... and your husband, too". I know my husband wanted to give her a high-five, but he acted like everything was just great.

We meandered back into the room where I put on my ugly mu-mu gown and began bouncing on the exercise ball. I can only imagine how terribly unattractive this must have been to my husband. I looked heinous but he stayed by my side and made sure I didn't fall off and give myself a concussion. He was great. The contractions were NOT.

They decided after many hours and unsuccessful attempts to get me really moving to start pumping me full of pitocin. I would rather have my fingernails removed without anesthetic than go through that ever again.

My poor husband saw me do everything short of spinning my head all the way around and spit pea soup. It - was - NOT - pretty.

I wanted him to feel proud being the coach, the hubs, the tough cop who could handle anything. That's what the Bradley Method is all about. The hubs taking charge, the hubs running the show. My hubs... he wanted to run... OUT THE DOOR!

I was all screaming and crying and then thirty seconds later I would be fine and nearly dozing off to sleep.. only to be hit by another contraction and all of the savagery would start again. I probably reminded him of the worst bi-polar citizen he had ever dealt with while at work. It's the only way I know how to put it from his perspective. Sheesh.

He was getting used to dealing with my kicking, pushing, throwing, cussing, etc. (oh did I mention he had short change the day or two before labor? yeah worked midnights then switched to afternoons and wham I went into labor) The poor guy was barely conscious and trying to hold on..

but the end was nowhere in sight. Every time he would get comfortable I would start yelling about how I needed him to help me move my HUGE FAT BUTT into some other unattractive position so I could yell about my misery some more. And he did it all with kindness and compassion.

Soon a team of nurses made their way into my room. Seriously, I thought something must have been wrong. "Did I yell that loud?", I thought to myself. "Are they kicking me out?". Sheesh.

Nope, turns out it was a group of doctors and students who wanted to use my nether-lands as a practice arena. I was so mentally and physically exhausted I just said, "ok". I figured there I was sprawled out like a bad science experiment - why not?

The first gal "checked me", then the next, then the third.. by that point I was irritated and my husband was in complete shock. He had never witnessed anyone put their ENTIRE FOREARM into any part of my body and when we got to person number 3 he thought he was hallucinating.

I was irritated and I am not the nicest person when in that state so I made the following inappropriate, smart-alek remark, "Well gee folks, while we're at it why don't we set up a number dispenser in the waiting room and we can just let everybody have a turn".

Uh... yeah doctors don't share the same sense of humor as me. Didn't go over so well. But it did get them out of my body parts and out of my room.

Next thing you know I passed transition and was unconscious for a couple of peaceful minutes.. who knows, maybe I passed out from the pain. Anyway, it felt like sleep and I woke up to the doc coming in telling me to push. So I pushed and he asked if I wanted a break.. told him "nope" and pushed two more times. He told me to catch the baby.

I grabbed my baby, terrified he would slither out of my hands, and brought him up to my chest. I was expecting him to be ugly as sin like some kind of slime-covered alien, but he wasn't.

He was PERFECT. He was BEAUTIFUL.. and he looked exactly like the hubs. He had a little swoop of brown hair perfectly swirled into a quiff on the top of his head. All the nurses busted out laughing at how he was born looking like he had just come from the barbershop.

The hubs stood there in awe, crying like a school girl. I asked for a kiss. We hugged, we laughed, we cried. It was one of the best days of my life.

11 "Don't-Tell-the-Wife" Secrets All Men Keep

To all my gals out there.. I happened to find this hilarious and insightful. Hoping it will bring some humor to your day. Enjoy!

By Ty Wenger

I was in the ninth grade when I learned a vital lesson about love. My girlfriend at the time, Amy, was stunningly cute, frighteningly smart and armed with a seemingly endless supply of form-fitting angora sweaters. And me? Let's just say I was an adolescent Chris Robinson to her budding Kate Hudson -- and well aware of my good fortune.
Then one day, as we stood in line for a movie at the mall, Simone Shaw, junior high prom queen, sauntered by. Suddenly Amy turned to me. "Were you looking at her?" she asked. "Do you think she's pretty?"

My mind reeled. Of course I was looking at her! Of course she was pretty! My God, she was Simone Shaw! I paused for a second, then decided to play it straight.
"Well, yeah," I chortled.

Five days later our breakup hit the tabloids (a.k.a. the lunchroom).
There comes a time in every man's life when he discovers the value of hiding the grosser parts of his nature. He starts reciting the sweet nothings you long to hear: "No, honey, I play golf for the exercise." "No, honey, I think you're a great driver." "No, honey, I wasn't looking at that coed washing the car in the rain."

We're not lying, exactly. We're just making things...easier. But Glenn Good, Ph.D., a relationship counselor, disagrees, and maybe he has a point. "These white lies are pretty innocent, but they can turn confusing," he says. "Many women think, If he's lying about himself, is he also lying about something else? Is he having an affair? To establish trust you have to tell the truth about the innocuous stuff."

And so, in the interest of uniting the sexes, we've scoured the country for guys willing to share the private truths they wouldn't normally confess. Some are a bit crass. Some you've always suspected. Some are surprisingly sweet. (Guys don't like to reveal the mushy stuff, either.) But read on, and you may discover that the truth about men isn't all that ugly.

Secret #1: Yes, we fall in lust 10 times a day -- but it doesn't mean we want to leave you
If the oldest question in history is "What's for dinner?" the second oldest is "Were you looking at her?" The answer: Yes -- yes, we were. If you're sure your man doesn't look, it only means he possesses acute peripheral vision.

"When a woman walks by, even if I'm with my girlfriend, my vision picks it up," says Doug LaFlamme, 28, of Laguna Hills, California. "I fight the urge to look, but I just have to. I'm really in trouble if the woman walking by has a low-cut top on."
Granted, we men are well aware that our sizing up the produce doesn't sit well with you, given that we've already gone through the checkout line together. But our passing glances pose no threat.

"It's not that I want to make a move on her," says LaFlamme. "Looking at other women is like a radar that just won't turn off."

Secret #2: We actually do play golf to get away from you
More than 21 million American men play at least one round of golf a year; of those, an astounding 75 percent regularly shoot worse than 90 strokes a round. In other words, they stink. The point is this: "Going golfing" is not really about golf. It's about you, the house, the kids -- and the absence thereof.

"I certainly don't play because I find it relaxing and enjoyable," admits Roland Buckingham, 32, of Lewes, Delaware, whose usual golf score of 105 is a far-from-soothing figure. "As a matter of fact, sometimes by the fourth hole I wish I were back at the house with the kids screaming. But any time I leave the house and don't invite my wife or kids -- whether it's for golf or bowling or picking up roadkill -- I'm just getting away."

Secret #3: We're unnerved by the notion of commitment, even after we've made one to you
This is a dicey one, so first things first: We love you to death. We think you're fantastic. Most of the time we're absolutely thrilled that we've made a lifelong vow of fidelity to you in front of our families, our friends and an expensive videographer.

But most of us didn't spend our formative years thinking, "Gosh, I just can't wait to settle down with a nice girl so we can grow old together." Instead we were obsessed with how many women who resembled Britney Spears we could have sex with before we turned 30. Generally it takes us a few years (or decades) to fully perish that thought.

Secret #4: Earning money makes us feel important
In more than 7.4 million U.S. marriages, the wife earns more than the husband -- almost double the number in 1981. This of course is a terrific development for women in the workplace and warmly embraced by all American men, right? Right?

Yeah, well, that's what we tell you. But we're shallow, competitive egomaniacs. You don't think it gets under our skin if our woman's bringing home more bacon than we are -- and frying it up in a pan?

"My wife and I are both reporters at the same newspaper," says Jeffrey Newton, 33, of Fayetteville, South Carolina. "Five years into our marriage I still check her pay stub to see how much more an hour I make than she does. And because she works harder, she keeps closing the gap."

Secret #5: Though we often protest, we actually enjoy fixing things around the house
I risk being shunned at the local bar if this magazine finds its way there, because few charades are as beloved by guys as this one. To hear us talk, the Bataan Death March beats grouting that bathroom shower. And, as 30-year-old Ed Powers of Chicago admits, it's a shameless lie. "In truth, it's rewarding to tinker with and fix something that, without us, would remain broken forever," he says. Plus we get to use tools.

"The reason we don't share this information," Powers adds, "is that most women don't differentiate between taking out the trash and fixing that broken hinge; to them, both are tasks we need to get done over the weekend, preferably during the Bears game. But we want the use-your-hands, think-about-the-steps-in-the-process, home-repair opportunity, not the repetitive, no-possibility-of-a-compliment, mind-dulling, purely physical task." There. Secret's out.

Secret #6: We like it when you mother us, but we're terrified that you'll become your mother
With apologies to Sigmund Freud, Gloria Steinem -- and my mother-in-law.

Secret #7: Every year we love you more
Sure, we look like adults. We own a few suits. We can probably order wine without giggling. But although we resemble our father when he was our age, we still feel like that 4-year-old clutching his pant leg.

With that much room left on our emotional-growth charts, we sense we've only begun to admire you in the ways we will when we're 40, 50 and -- God forbid -- 60. We can't explain this to you, because it would probably come out sounding like we don't love you now.

"It took at least a year before I really started to appreciate my wife for something other than just great sex; and I didn't discover her mind fully until the third year we were married," says Newton. "But the older and wiser I get, the more I love my wife." Adds J.P. Neal, 32, of Potomac, Maryland: "The for-richer-or-poorer, for-better-or-worse aspects of marriage don't hit you right away. It's only during those rare times when we take stock of our life that it starts to sink in."

Secret #8: We don't really understand what you're talking about
You know how, during the day, you sometimes think about certain deep, complex "issues" in your relationship? Then when you get home, you want to "discuss" these issues? And during these "discussions," your man sits there nodding and saying things like "Sure, I understand," "That makes perfect sense" and "I'll do better next time"?

Well, we don't understand. It doesn't make any sense to us at all. And although we'd like to do better next time, we could only do so if, in fact, we had an idea of what you're talking about.
We do care. Just be aware that the part of our brain that processes this stuff is where we store sports trivia.

Secret #9: We are terrified when you drive
Want to know how to reduce your big, tough guy to a quivering mass of fear? Ask him for the car keys.

"I am scared to death when she drives," says LaFlamme.
"Every time I ride with her, I fully accept that I may die at any moment," says Buckingham.
"My wife has about one 'car panic' story a week -- and it's never her fault. All these horrible things just keep happening -- it must be her bad luck," says Andy Beshuk, 31, of Jefferson City, Missouri.
Even if your man is too diplomatic to tell you, he is terrified that you will turn him into a crash-test dummy.

Secret #10: We'll always wish we were 25 again
Granted, when I was 25 I was working 16-hour days and eating shrimp-flavored Ramen noodles six times a week. But as much as we love being with you now, we will always look back fondly on the malnourished freedom of our misguided youth. "Springsteen concerts, the '91 Mets, the Clinton presidency -- most guys reminisce about the days when life was good, easy and free of responsibility," says Rob Aronson, 41, of Livingston, New Jersey, who's been married for 11 years. "At 25 you can get away with things you just can't get away with at 40."

While it doesn't mean we're leaving you to join a rock band, it does explain why we occasionally come home from Pep Boys with a leather steering-wheel cover and a Born to Run CD.

Secret #11: Give us an inch and we'll give you a lifetime
I was on a trip to Mexico, standing on a beach, waxing my surfboard and admiring the glistening 10-foot waves, when I decided to marry the woman who is now my wife. Sure, this was three years before I got around to popping the question. But that was when I knew.

Why? Because she'd let me go on vacation alone. Hell, she made me go. This is the most important thing a man never told you: If you let us be dumb guys, if you embrace our stupid poker night, if you encourage us to go surfing -- by ourselves -- our silly little hearts, with their manly warts and all, will embrace you forever for it.

And that's the truth.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Things I realize

Some days I feel like I don't have to time to think at all, and other days I feel like ALL I do is think.

Well, today is one of those days I've been thinking a lot. I'm at a weird point in my life (ok maybe I'm getting old) but you know, I'm not the naive, spring chicken I used to be and I find myself feeling so much more self-aware and so much more aware of the world changing around me.

I saw this really handsome old guy today at lunch. When I say "old" I mean probably in his seventies. His silver hair was combed really nice and looking freshly cut, though I suspect that's how it ALWAYS looks. His face was clean-shaven. He wore a nice white button up shirt with a t-shirt underneath and his shirt was tucked in to his nice khaki slacks. Anyway, I noticed he was by himself and there was nothing really blocking my view so I just sat and watched. He ate well and seemed peaceful. I felt lonely watching him though. I wondered if he had a wife, or children or had ever been to war.

I realized about that time that when his generation is gone, so many things will be lost or forgotten. I am willing to bet when he was a boy, that man carried his lunch in a lunch pail - if and when he was lucky enough to have any lunch. My kids wouldn't even know what a pail is. He probably carried his books to school in a satchel. Again, my kids wouldn't know what that is. He probably wore britches with knee socks pulled up. And if he dared act up at school, he probably got a paddling for it from the teacher.

I also realized while watching him that when his generation is gone, so too, will be the definition of real men. Now this is sort of a rant here, but bear with me. You rarely see facial hair on old men, but you almost always see it on younger men. Old men were taught to shave by their fathers or grandfathers and it wasn't optional, it was expected. They'd use the old style whipped up lather with a scalding hot towel and an old stainless steel triple blade razor.

They always smelled clean, and by clean I mean like SOAP, not cologne. Men these days smell like a cologne factory with all the fancy body washes and all.

Older men always wore an undershirt which these days has become a t-shirt. Most men now days wear one to paint in or lounge around the house in.

And ah, my biggest peeve about younger men.. the avoidance of tucking in the shirt. Old men tuck in their shirts and make sure their 'gig-line' is tight (that would be, making sure the buttons on the shirt are aligned with the button and zipper of the pants they are tucked into and the belt buckle is also in alignment). And older men always, always wear a belt. These days I'm willing to bet most men rarely if ever tuck in their shirt or wear a belt. My daddy used to tell me, "If those pants have got belt-loops, you wear a belt.. those loops aren't for decoration."

Ok and now not to sound like some 1950s Indiana housewife, but he was probably the boss of his family. What I mean by that is he probably did the managing the money, the WORK, the providing, etc. These days many men seem lost without their wives. The wife these days is the manager, bookkeeper, banker, etc.

These are the things that will be gone when the greatest generation is no more.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Life is good

My husband and I have been through SO much these past few years. More than a lot of people could imagine going through. I think the only thing that compares to the stress is trying to care for a sick child. Thank GOD that has not been something we've faced.

It's easy to find faults in each other. When we are young we start out thinking that the husband will wear a halo and the wife will have wings of an angel. Then real life happens. It gets tough, it gets ugly and most of all, it gets unfair. I think our biggest strength was rolling with the punches.

We could never have anticipated the things we were faced with. By only worrying about what was truly in our control (our actions & reactions) we learned to grow as people and as a couple. It's tempting in difficult times to think things will never get worse. It's tempting to think we've paid our dues and things will turn the corner. THAT is exactly when something worse DOES happen. Surrendering it all and realizing that the only you can do is have the right response when whatever happens, happens, is so very important.

It's easy to think life owes us something. It's easy to think if we make all the right moves and decisions, tragedy or disappointment will be averted. Not so. Every day life reminds me that I am not in control of IT.

Rather, I am in control of myself, my impressions and my actions and reactions. Epictetus, an ancient philosopher, said: "Make the best use of what is in your power and take the rest as it happens". I really lean on this quote for strength when times are tough.

There are so many cilches I could throw out, like you can't have rainbows without rain or you can't know happiness until you've been blue.

I just wanted to pause for a moment and say that as trying as times have been, as stressful as our marriage and family life have been; I wouldn't change a single thing that's happened. When something "bad" has happened, we find something good. Not just something we convinced ourselves was good, but truly good. Like jobs changing mid-career... suddenly we have TONS of family time we never had before. Weekends off, time to go places and take vacations together. Even just being able to sit down together and watch a movie.

We learned to laugh through the tears, to turn scowls into smiles and to hug each other and say something nice at least once a day that we really mean!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


If you haven't heard of it, let me recommend a great book that took me by surprise: BETTER OFF: FLIPPING THE SWITCH ON TECHNOLOGY by Eric Brende.I won't give you all the details because, well, read it yourself :). I can tell you that this book is about a graduate student who decides to try an 'experiment' of sorts. He moves into a house he rents from the Amish. He decides to live without electricity or modern technology like a telephone or television.
The point of his journey is to find out how much technology is too much and how much is too little.I've done a lot of contemplating and I happened across this book at such an interesting time in my life. It is amazing how so many of the questions I've been asking myself are situationally depicted in this book.I grew up in a very conservative religious family "in the woods". My husband refers to my upbringing as a cross between "Little House on the Prairie" and "Amish - light". It is true. We had electricity and a telephone in the house. And no, we didn't have dirt floors. But we lived a truly simple life. A life that taught us not to bury our roots in the world.
I was thinking about how the world went and got itself in a big damn hurry. There is so much 'convenience' now that life is almost on auto-pilot. Got me thinking about the "old days" and exactly how much times have changed. Here's a blast from the past for you.We had an old dial television with UHF (some of you younger than 30 are scratching your heads right now) and you had to use the rabbit ear antenna to get the picture to even half come in. When you finally got a picture, you realized there wasn't anything on there worth watching anyway! And forget about a remote control.. Shock & Awe.. you actually had to GET UP OFF YOUR BUTT and walk to the television set to change the channel or adjust the volume with the dial knob.Our dad had an old stereo unit with a turntable so we could listen to his Jim Reeves vinyl record albums, but it did also have a tape deck. (This is something that really jumped to mind the other day when my eight year old asked if I would buy him an iPod.) When I was a young girl, if we wanted to have a recording of a song we had to go the store and buy a blank tape. Then we'd have to stay up late and pop the tape into the tape deck and wait hours on end for the dj to play the song we wanted to hear. When it finally came on you usually missed the first few bars of the song and when the vocalist started singing the darn dj would talk over half the song. Forget the instant gratification of today where you login, click and instantly get your song on iTunes.There never used to be such a thing as a debit card. You either had cash or you wrote a check. And if you dared use a credit card, they would bust out this archaic heap of metal that looked like it was made to remove your leg or something. The cashier would have to pull out this carbon slip and smoosh your credit card on top of the carbon paper and run this sliding bar across it a million times so it could make an imprint of your credit card. Again, we have arrived at instant gratification: swipe card, push buttons, get your stuff.. goodbye.There never used to be such a thing as paying at the pump. You had to actually get YOUR BUTT OUT OF THE CAR and go in and pay the guy for your gas FIRST and then go back out and wait for them to turn on the pump. Then you'd stand there for what seemed like forever especially on cold days watching the rotary black and white numbers roll round and around in the pump. But not today. Now it's swipe card, push buttons, get your gas.. goodbye.

---Side note on this topic - now at some gas stations you have to give them your drivers license and get a pump start card in order to even pay with cash. Who ever thought we'd see the day where you'd have to 'apply' to buy gas?? Amazing.And ah.. the internet. You know we still have these mysterious places called a LIBRARY, but you'd never know it thanks to the internet. When I was a kid if you had to do a research project or find a certain book you had to GET OFF YOUR BUTT and actually GO TO THE LIBRARY building. Once there, you had to be very quiet and (shock and awe) be courteous toward other people. You'd have to go to the back of the room and in these humongous file cabinet looking thingies you would pull out a drawer to reveal the card catalog. (again, people under 30 scratching their heads now) You had to understand an actual method or system of organization in order to find what you needed. You had to know how to alphabetize and hunt the aisles to find what book you were looking for. Today if you need to do research you probably hop on Google or Wikipedia and BAM, there is your information. Don't worry about whether or not it's accurate or true. It's instant- so who cares, right? You didn't actually have to DO anything to get what you needed. Amazing...... and while I'm on the subject of the internet: I remember the days when you had to GET OFF YOUR BUTT and pick up a pen and piece of paper and WRITE IN COMPLETE SENTENCES if you wanted to send a note or a letter to someone. Then you had to actually GET OFF YOUR BUTT and WALK to the MAILBOX at the end of your street or driveway and WAIT for the mailman to come and get it. Then you'd have to WAIT for it to go through the mail and get to the person you wanted to talk to. But not anymore. Now we have EMAIL. Great. The tool that does the grammar and spelling for you without you even knowing. If you type a word and it is misspelled, it fixes it before you realize exactly how retarded and uneducated you really are. And for those who aren't smart enough to know if their sentence makes any darn sense, they choose the 'grammar check' function and BAM, instantly your sentence makes sense. You can now write (or shall we say TYPE) a letter and not have a single bit of sense in your head and come out sounding like a CEO.I also remember the days when phones never had call waiting. If someone was trying to call you and they got a busy signal, THEY ACTUALLY HAD TO WAIT. And forget caller ID. There was no such thing. (This is also what makes prank calls a thing of the past..) but anyway... I remember times when the phone would ring and I would just PRAY that it wasn't the school principal or somebody worse. We didn't have answering machines or voicemail back then either. You couldn't sit back and wait to see what somebody wanted before deciding whether or not you wanted to 'bother' with actually speaking to them. You had to take your chances and PICK UP THE PHONE AND ANSWER IT.Cable tv and DVR and satellite tv.. forget it. It practically didn't exist. If you ever knew someone with satellite tv, they were probably rich and they also had this enormous thing in their backyard as big as the St. Louis ARCH called a satellite dish. It looked like something from a science-fiction movie. (See the paragraph way up above about the old dial televisions.) And if you wanted to know what was going to be on TV you had to GET UP OFF YOUR BUTT AND GO TO THE STORE AND BUY A BOOK CALLED A TV GUIDE. Side note... they NEVER used to have the kind of filth you see on tv today. Right down to the commercials. You wouldn't see a woman in her underwear on tv back then. I'm not a total prude, I'm just saying.Washers and dryers the size of a Cadillac. You know, even the lady with 18 kids survived without a front loading washer and dryer (that would fit all her dang kids IN it). That woman does at least 12 loads of laundry a day and up until a year or two ago she did her laundry like most of us have always done. Little by little and slowly but surely. Bigger does NOT = Better.Anyway, as technology evolves we become a slave to it. We allow ourselves to rely on computers and appliances and fancy gadgets and machinery which is no more convenient than when we did things without it. We no longer have to put thought into anything it seems and we don't have to contemplate, wait, or do much for ourselves. We have become lazy and so have our kids. At least our parents had sense enough to teach us how to do for ourselves. We can shop online, pay bills online, work online and for Christ's sake we can even get a college degree online. We get mad at our computer when it doesn't go fast enough.. HELLO PEOPLE IT'S GOING TO OUTER SPACE. GIVE IT A MINUTE. We have so many buttons and do-hickeys on our cell phones you have to work at NASA to understand them all.Here is where my blog takes a turn.. kids these days..... sigh. Now that I have kids of my own I can't believe how things have changed. I'm going to rant about the non-technology related things for just a second. What peeves me beyond belief is that I can no longer bake cupcakes for my kid's birthday at school. I have to buy commercially prepared, individually packaged "healthy" snacks which are then served with PLASTIC GLOVES. Now come on, I know some people are gross and if we saw inside their houses we wouldn't WANT to eat anything they made. However, when did we start birthing kids in bubbles? As kids, we all played in the dirt, ate stuff we dropped on the ground and ... shock and awe... SHARED food and drinks. We all survived too. And none of us got fat because we were all LOCKED OUTSIDE ALL SUMMER and told to go PLAY. Playing did not consist of sitting in front of the television set nor did it involve playstations, x-boxes or gameboys. It meant climbing a tree, playing tag, hide and go seek or riding your bike. When you got hot, you found a shade tree or hid in the garage for a few minutes to catch the breeze. You didn't get called in till supper. And you actually had to WASH your hands because there was no such thing as germ-x.--Oh and back then there was no urgent care. And unless your eyeball was hanging out, you didn't DARE enter the house while bleeding. Here's a little anecdote for you. My cousins (who loved to torture me) knocked me out of the tree one day. I bonked my head on the way down and was bleeding a little. It wasn't like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD or anything but there was some red stuff. Anyway, they went racing into the house to tell my Grandma I was bleeding while I staggered through the front yard half conscious. She slid the kitchen window open and hollered to me "pinch it together and wash it with the hose". Yep. Somehow, magically, the cold hose water was supposed to make me stop bleeding from the head. You didn't go to the hospital unless a limb was protruding from your body - LITERALLY.So still on the topic of kids. What I don't get is how the public school system so closely mimics the prison system. The kids go to school and are LOCKED IN. This blows me away. Parents can't even visit the school without standing before a security camera and buzzing to get into the darn building. What the heck? Then, the kids are fed some of the most horrible food known to exist. Looks and smells like toxic waste. Their reading materials and learning activities are restricted to only those things 'approved' by certain folks in the school system. While I understand that this does in fact 'protect' a lot of children, it sounds an awful lot like prison, doesn't it? They can't even have windows in the classroom anymore because it creates 'distraction' for the kids. That's because they all have ADD, ya know. (sarcasm)And ah.. we've arrived at that point. Kids have become retarded and it's all our fault. We did it. We made them this way. It's that "MTV-cell phone-microwave-oven generation" as I like to call them. Have you ever tried to read the text message or instant message conversation of a teenager these days? It's like they have their own language now. Ppl = people? ttyl = talk to you later? I mean what gives? No wonder they can't write complete sentences. THEY DON'T KNOW HOW. Please somebody tell me what a 15 year old needs a cell phone for? At that age all kids do is sit and listen to each other breathe. There is nothing SO exciting that it can't wait until the bus ride to school tomorrow. Personal computers and even laptops for kids? Why? What possible use could a young kid have for a laptop computer? Are they watching the stock market? Creating a resume? I don't get it.Let me leave you with this story. This story is about my sister, who we'll call Lucy. Lucy is 20 years old. Keep that in mind while reading the rest. She went to the local pharmacy and her car battery died. She called and asked if I could come give her a jump. I said sure and asked her to get the jumper cables out of her trunk.

She tells me that she can't get the jumper cables out of her trunk because her "remote thingy on the keychain won't work since the battery died".
I asked Lucy, "See that little round circular looking key on your keychain?"...
"Yes", said Lucy.
"Go to the trunk and tell me if you see a lock."
"Yes, I think I've found a lock", Lucy replied.
"Insert that little round circular looking key into that lock.", I instructed.
And would you believe that funny looking key that had been on her key ring for FOUR YEARS actually managed to open the trunk?And that folks, is exactly what I'm talking about.