Please Just Don't Pee on my Pants

The trials, tribulations and successes of a teacher on her own journey towads independence.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Building Forts

I'm wandering through a new book today. The directions said to pick a number between 1 and 47 as there are that many chapters. I picked chapter 16 which takes an adult (or at least someone over 10) through a trip of fort building. It made me think of all the forts I built when I was young. Some with my big brother that we would share and play board games in, color in, listen to music in and just talk. He was always fun to play with and has always been a hero of mine. Except for when he wasn't then the fort would be plastered with a sign that said "Boys Go Away and Stay Out!)

Then it made me think of present day reality and the huge complicated forts my children make in one of the bed rooms upstairs. It just about drives me totally nuts because of the total chaos that they leave up for a week at a time in the summer. I hear them playing and laughing. Mostly I just let them be... simply because I can't find the intricate way they have created to get into their fun world of escape from reality.

I am sitting here and thinking - geee you know what... maybe I should turn the couches around for a day, get some sheets and blankets and make a fort for all of us. We could watch movies, color, eat junk food and just be plain old silly. For me do nothing that needs doing for the day except sitting in a fort and playing with my kids. What a wonderful escape that would be from the world. I think I'm going to give that a go this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes... but I'm looking forward to the surprise on their face and the fun in the fort.


Monday, August 16, 2010

The End of Day One

The End of Day One

Yes, we really are only at the end of day one. We were in a fairly crummy hotel probably not in the safest part of town; but we were able to afford a suite. The idea, or at least the adult thinking, was that the kids could crash in the “living room” part of the suite while Terri and Gretchen got to sleep in the “bedroom” part of the suite. Of course, this proved to be interesting.
After 7 showers, wet swim suits, wet towels, wet floor and wet clothes that all had to be hung up on the rail outside the hotel; it was time for dinner. You got it PBJ. For that is what we planned to live on for the four days we were on the road. We fixed the sandwiches, this time without the added sand – more or less anyway. For some reason when one goes to the beach in a van the whole van becomes engulfed in some kind of sand storm.
Everyone fed and clean it was time for a movie and to settle down. All the kids were stretched out on the floor with tons of pillows and blankets; the movie was started along with mass amounts of construction. For those of you who have never traveled with 7 children be warned; fort building becomes a huge construction project and can take hours. Then the arguing starts over who gets to sleep in what fort. Obviously they didn’t need the movie or the tv, the kids had plenty to do on their own.
We checked on them several times knowing that trying to put an end to the fort building would cause us more grief then it was worth; so the kids finally settled down way after 10:00. I don’t really know what time the drifting began, but slowly the “bedroom” space was invaded. First it was Jacob – he couldn’t sleep, so now there were three of us in the bed. Then was Lorenzo – he had a bad dream and could only be put to sleep by my singing “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer” which I kept falling asleep in the middle of singing and he kept waking me up. Of course, the words I sang were in the wrong order. Eventually he gave up and went to sleep. Now there were four of us attempting to sleep in the bed; Jacob and Lorenzo very comfortably I might add. The third to join was Eliza. She is just a mama’s girl and couldn’t stand to be that far away from her mom and still be expected to sleep; never mind it was less than 10 feet and on the other side of the wall. So she joined the bed sleeping across the foot of the bed. I do believe Terri slept through the night. I on the other hand went and joined the rest of the kids in one of the forts. Day one and night one were done and we had all survived somehow.


Car Insurance Incident

Car Insurance Incident

On the way to San Diego at some point water had spilled onto Gretchen’s cell phone. Being newly divorced she knew her John, her ex (now referred to as JBJ or JMFBJ) depending on the level of assholeness he is currently showing to the world. Upon arriving at the hotel after leaving Death Cove Beach Gretchen knew she needed to provide access to her children for JBJ so off she went in search of a cell phone.

She did find a cell phone shop, probably one she already had a contract with since she doesn’t remember signing any new paper work. But this is when she discovered the van borrowed from FF had no insurance. You see as she was pulling into a parking spot the gentleman in the next car swung his car door wide open so Gretchen hit it with the van. Of course there was no damage to the van – his door still closed though. Looking through the glove box it was discovered that no insurance card existed, or at least it wasn’t in the glove box. I did find an outdated registration. At that point I decided I would be better off with the honey technique then the pissed off mom technique. So I got out of the van full of apologies. Gave the man my driver’s license number and the outdated registration so he could get the address off of that (never mind no one lived there any longer) assured him that the vehicle was registered but I couldn’t find proof of that at the moment. He thank goodness decided that was enough, pulled out more than slightly pissed off as I ran into the phone store to solve my own unique problems.

Upon returning to the hotel I explained to Terri that FF had no insurance on the van. Great! The kids just wanted to go swimming even though they had just survived a brush with death and Death Cove Beach… so off to the swimming pool the nine of us went.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Death Cove Beach

Death Cove Beach

So yes, the two families did eventually arrive in San Diego, CA. Before even checking into their hotel they decided to go down to the beach. Upon arriving the loaf of bread they had planned on using for PBJ that day fell on the ground into sand… 10 second rule applied… sand sandwiches were interesting. They had a certain grainy texture.
After feeding the children a half way decent but interesting meal the crew went on search for the beach that Terri thought she remembered. After climbing rocks along the coast for about a mile she decided the beach had been moved. Not that we were in the wrong area, but that specifically someone had moved the beach of her childhood. The two happy families did finally stumble onto a Cove type beach and the kids were excited, climbed and jumped down from the rocks and into the water before we knew what was even going on. By the time we got down to the sand it was obvious that Joe was in dangerous waters, close to rocks and big waves. The three little boys were being sucked out by the current. Franz grabbed one of the younger boys and threw him out of the water while I went after the other 2 younger boys and Terri went after Joe. With the two little boys clinging to my legs I was struggling myself when Terri grabbed on to me for her own safety. Somehow she had reached Joe and had his hand… and there I was like a train ready to drown. We all escaped death that day – Lord only knows how. Upon getting back on the sand Joe, being autistic, immediately took all his clothes off because he couldn’t stand the sensory input and puked. Yep threw up right there in the sand in front of all those big strong surfers who didn’t help us a bit, didn’t offer a hand, nothing. Assholes.

Now that I look back on the complete situation I realize that there were no surfers in the water. They knew darn well that water wasn’t safe, but gave us no warning it. Now it feels like they were thinking “This is gonna be good; let’s just watch and see how this goes down.” I have no respect for those surfers who stood around and watched as two fully capable but struggling women tried to save their seven kids. Not one of them offered a hand, not one of them went near the water to pull someone out. How can they honestly live with themselves?

After walking/hiking the mile back to the car with 7 terrified children, one naked; we loaded up the van and decided that we had experienced enough of Death Cove Beach and were heading to the hotel where at least the water was a bit less threatening.

All just part of the flow of life.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

When does life really begin has always been a question of great discussion. There are those that believe life begins at birth, others that life begins at conception, and others that life begins with cognitive thought. Then there is me. I think life really begins once one turns 43. Why 43 you may ask, what is so special about that number? Well life changes at 43. In my case I have been divorced, lived high on the hog and in the mud under the hog. I’ve had three children, have the stretch marks and c-section scars to prove it (as well as the three children). I was raised by a mother who self medicated herself with alcohol, then prescription medications for pain. Then she finally overdosed on her pain meds because they didn’t work and she had forgotten if she had taken them that day. I grew up with a dad completely addicted to soccer. That was his way to escape from whatever reality was throwing at him. I remember when I was three and he didn’t come home from work as he had been in a bad accident on the LA freeway. I didn’t know what happened or where he was; but when he did come home he looked like a robotic monster all wired together. My superhero was taken away from me. I’ve been to Libya where we had to fight for survival and food; Yap where at times we had to shower out of the rain water bin because there would be no water on the island (yes surrounded by water) for three months of the year. I have been to court to fight for the right to live my life in my way; without abuse and constant degrading. I won that fight, then lost that fight and had to re-battle before finally declaring victory over the war. Judges aren’t really as smart as they like to pretend they are. Most of the time they don’t even hear what is going on since their mind is consumed with their crap from their own lives. I have read tons of self help books that I have torn up and thrown away; all of them trying to improve on who I am by making me someone I am not. I have been diagnosed with bipolar co-morbid with high anxiety disorder. Been to ER three times for my own safety and admitted to a psych ward once. I have been deceived by those I love greatly and brought back by those I hardly know. I now, after 43 years have the ability to look back at all of that and say “life is a journey, it is what it is.” And so begins the story…
Many people say I have lived a hard road. I don’t see it as any harder than anyone else’s road; just a different trail, a different path through a different part of the woods or on a different sandy beach. We all have hard times when we have to pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and say suck it up sister and get your ass moving – that is just life. Sometimes easier than others. What you have in your hands is a collection of thoughts through my life and my eyes when the flow of life has challenged my inner being.


Constipation stops up the world with all kinds of shit. There is work shit, kid shit, divorce shit, money shit… and it all gets stuck deep in the bowels of your own living hell, until you end up in the hospital. Then the doctor does x-rays, examinations, tests and more tests and comes back and says, “All you need is a good shit.” No kidding…That is what this writing is about – cleaning out all the shit and moving on with life. Recovery and celebration… getting the flow re-established.

Gretchen and Terri didn’t even know that they were drowning in their own bile when they set off for San Diego with their combined 7 kids, an ex-husband’s van which they didn’t know had no insurance or current registration, heading for the one hotel room they thought they could afford… thank the money shit gods for credit cards, or at least back at that time… now the credit card gods have fallen so far below hell they will never recover – lesson learned.

The morning they were loading up the van to get on the road it was noticed that the spare tire had metal thread showing through; of course the ex-husband currently and forever more named FF had forgotten to mention that. The ladies sat and discussed the pros and cons of leaving the spare and taking it with them. The room was needed for the peanut butter and jelly that they planned on living off of for the next 4 days so the spare tired was left behind – lesson learned, if you don’t have it; you will absolutely need it.

The kids loaded up and they headed down the road only a short 3 hours behind schedule. The ladies actually thought they were doing pretty good.
It became quite obvious about an hour into the trip that the kids needed something to do in order to not kill each other, so to protect our sanity we stopped at Wal-mart and picked up not one; but two portable DVD players that could be hooked together so there would be not arguing over who could see and who couldn’t, and several movies. Of course there was arguing over the movies so one of us became the instant movie control freak. Not an easy task by any means – lesson learned, no solution is as easy as it appears to be.

We were once again on our way only a short 6 hour drive from putting our feet in the sand and salt water of the Pacific Ocean. How hard could this be, we are two grown women, independent and brave… we could do this. We in fact could do anything we put our mind to and yes, we did eventually all arrive in San Diego, CA.

My Rant About Cable TV

When I grew up we had a tv in the living room and every Saturday morning my brother and I would see who could be the first to wake up in order to control the three channels we had.... the news, the cartoons, or the home interior/exterior rebuilding channel. Of course we were fighting over the one and only cartoon channel, but we had to have something to fight over... and back then tv was free and there were no remote controls You actually had to get up to change the channel or turn the volume up or down. Then came six channels - 2 cartoon channels so now it was really important to be the first one up because we also had the remote to fight over... nevermind the other one would just get up and change the channel - we would scream and yell at each other until our very wise mother told us to get the hell out of the house and go play in the street or throw quarters at cars. (I said she was wise, never claimed her suggestions were safe)

Up until 3 days ago we had three tvs in the house... now we have one. I pay 65$ in order to even watch the local 3 channels that were free when I was 6. What else do I get for my 65$... I get the same cartoon channel on 4 different channels all in English, then I get two of the same cartoon show in Spanish. Then there are the 45 info mercials trying to sell me shit (yes shit) that not I nor anyone else needs. In order to lose weight - you eat fewer calories then you burn, throw in some exercise for good measure and off you go... but that takes determination and work and we want the remote control to remove our bellies since the remote control put our bellies there in the first place.

There is one channel that actually plays soccer games with English comentators that I can almost understand. Two channels that play soccer games in Spanish. The home make over shows that play on two channels and one in Spanish... and I get all this for the very (un) reasonable price of $65 a month... I'm thinking today I'm pulling the plug on that horse shit - there are better things to do with $65 a month, like playing a board game with my kids, actually having a conversation with them about their day and their homework, taking them to the park, or taking them on an actual hike, picnic adventure when it isn't 105 degrees outside.

Which means - yes another change for my family to adjust to, but let's be real and clean out the bullshit... as far as music and radio - that is a whole nother rant... we don't have radio either, but I do have a collection of cd's that are acceptable to me for the developmental level of my children... sometimes their friends think I totally suck, sometimes, most times my kids are happy for the structure and limitations.

So stand up, change something, anything, but don't let the rest of the world dictate to you and your family what you need, don't need... or how to grow your family in their best interest.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer Almost Over

So tomorrow is the last day of summer for the year. Can I possibly say YEAH! loud enough. I am happy the kids will be going back to school; but I will also greatly miss the sound of their laughter, the sound of their poking sticks at each oth er just to drive me crazy... I know that wasn't the reason they were poking sticks at each other; but it was effective. I will miss the late nights snuggling and way too much Disney TV - yes it is driving me crazy. I do wish I had the money to take the kids on a vacation; they deserve it and have earned it... situation money... which they have also graciously accepted and understood - they have taken the idea of no money much better than I have. We did do some things that cost no money... park time, skate time, bike time, playing in the rain until we were filthy. We got a puppy to keep us company and everyone is pitching in to take care of the dog - potty training is a challenge... but we may actually be making progress. Are there times that I am overcome by the children and their stuff - absolutely. Sometimes their "joking" was more then I was willing to tollerate and it has taken me until the next to the last day of summer to decide it is white noise like one hears constantly and needs to be turned out unless loud shrieking is contained - even then it is questionable... the basic guidline I have learned at 43 is if it isn't bleeding, broken or now one is barfing life is probably just fine. They are just kids being kids and they are more then ready for Thursday to get here so they can see their friends. Of course, not so they can learn, but for social reasons... kids will be kids.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Working with Bi Polar

This week I was given the amazing opportunity to work with a fabulous and talented group of staff and teachers at Visions Unlimited Academy. I quit working there last year when I was diagnosed because I needed time to get used to the life I now knew I was going to be living. As August came I really, really desired to be back in the classroom working with kids and hoping to change at least one life in some little way this year. Of course the doc said "no way" and the boss said "no way"... and after two days of training teachers I was frustrated to admit they were right. I may be on the road to recovery - but I'm still on the road. I worked the week with the staff and teachers and had a fantastic time, but at a high cost to my wellbeing; and the patience of my children. Now the training is over, and I will be dropping in to coach when these wonderful teachers need some assistence... that I can do and do well... full time - no way. Bi Polar changes your life in more ways then one expects and even when one is feeling well the pain of bi polar is just around the corner and takes just about nothing to kick into place. Painful but so true.


Real Love in a Real World

Most of the wonderful people who know me know how much I love Greg with all my heart. He is a very kind, loving and amazing man. Being in a long distance relationship with anyone would be a challenge, but speaking with him and hearing his voice and being able to laugh with him makes it just a little bit easier. What do I miss about being able to be physically in the same house as Greg? The easy things, the things that so many people take for advantage. The ability to just see him walk across the room, or standing in the kitchen doorway, waxing the car or mowing the lawn... just being with him doing regular life stuff. Watching tv together, having his head in my lap at night when we watch tv together and loving each other.

I'm so lucky to have such an amazing man in my life and I hope that so many of you don't take what I have to work for so hard - easily and discount all the moments you have - when the moments are fewer and farther between perhaps they mean more - but in real life they shouldn't... Love while you get to love, appreciate each other for all the small stuff as well as the other stuff. Love just because we have the ability to love.

Peace and Love,