The latest and greatest...
Over the last few months, we've worked with Kayley's teacher, a school psychologist, and a family therapist in attempting to find a definitive answer as to whether Kayley has ADHD. While there is no definitive answer possible, as it's impossible to see brain chemistry in action, all the "experts" are quite certain she has ADHD. In a sense, I feel relieved to a certain degree because now we know what we're dealing with and for me, it's always been easier when I can put a label on things. We're still seeing a family therapist once a week, and probably will continue that schedule for a couple more months at least. Our visit with the pediatrician is later this month and we'll see what he says about a double-blind medication study. If Kayley ends up taking meds, I'm leaning toward Strattera at this point because it's a newer, stimulant-free drug that is showing great promise in some kids. We'll see what the doctor thinks and weigh our options when the time comes.
Kayley was lucky enough to be offered a spot at the Pocatello Community Charter School. We put her name on the waiting list when we first arrived in Idaho and they called last week to offer her a spot for the upcoming school year. We visited the school again today for registration, met her "crew leader" or teacher, saw her classroom, toured the school, etc. It really is a phenomenal place and I'm incredibly excited for her to have the chance to attend. It'll be a different environment for her -- mixed grade classrooms, lots of fieldwork, school uniforms -- but they do soooooo many great things with the kids, I think she'll love it once she gets adjusted. As an example of the really cool things they do, get this! In the coming schoolyear, the third grade "crew" will spend a week camping in Yellowstone National Park learning about the ecosystem there. I was completey wow'ed (and jealous!)
We had Jesse's second MRI done in Salt Lake City in April and, whaddyaknow? His brain is perfectly normal according to their neurology team! Woo hoo! Turns out, after looking at the MRI scan he had done in Omaha, the SLC team said the first MRI was normal, too. While I am thrilled that he's healthy, I'm incredibly frustrated that we went through a year of tests, expenses, and worry over an MRI that had been misdiagnosed back in Omaha. So... where do we go from here? We're happy we have a healthy boy and are trying to move on with our lives but are also exploring the possibility of at least trying to recoup the medical costs we incurred after the initial incorrect diagnosis. More to come...
Obama will be our next President and, as a supporter from day one, I am thrilled about that. Will Clinton be the VP nominee? Hmmm....
We just got back from our first "fun" return trip to Omaha. It was nice to see our families again, but I was sick the entire week which put quite a damper on things. Not until the evening before we left did I feel better. Bummer. I was so disappointed that I didn't get to see more folks, not even my best friend, so I left feeling pretty sad. But, after the ugly, icky Omaha humidity, I was ready to come back to Idaho where it's nice and dry. Aaaah.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
The latest and greatest...
Friday, March 07, 2008
I'm feeling overwhelmed as of late. With the move to Idaho, a new job, and the death of Dave's father all within the last 3 months, along with trying to balance the financial responsibilities of two homes in two cities and the health problems of our children, there are days that it just seems like too much to handle.
I'm fighting to keep my depression at bay. I tend to isolate myself from others, especially during the times when I need the most help. I've been in therapy long enough to know that I need to take some time for myself or talk to someone or make a change in my life to enhance my ability to deal with "this stuff" but it's difficult to do, even when I know what I need to do. My therapist in Omaha strongly encouraged me to find a support network here and, slowly but surely, I am getting there. It's tough because we're not surrounded by the old safety net anymore and, while we're enjoying ourselves in Idaho, it's really difficult to get through some of the hardest days when you feel so alone.
We're going to have Kayley evaluated for ADD because she is struggling badly in school. Dave and I are having a great deal of difficulty relating to Kayley right now (actually, we've struggled with it for several years) because neither one of us ever had trouble with school. We loved school, loved to read and write and learn... even as adults, we consistently thirst for new knowledge. Not Kayley... everything is too hard or takes too long or is too boring and she has absolutely no interest in learning, reading, writing, etc. We just don't understand that mentality and quickly lose our patience with her. We have a lot to learn and are trying hard to make a connection with her so we can help her succeed and feel good about what and how she is doing. But... we are having a tough go of it.
We need to take Jesse to Salt Lake City for an MRI to check the condition/progression of the brain disorder that he was diagnosed with about a year ago. We don't have an appointment set up yet, but it will likely be in the next couple of weeks. We're also having him tested for Celiac Disease (an intolerance to gluten) this week and should have preliminary results soon... if Celiac is confirmed, we'll have another challenge to overcome, but at least it's something we can deal with. He has a heart murmur as well, but his pediatrician is simply going to monitor it for now as he thinks it will resolve with time.
Zach is healthy and happy and trying to overcome the potty-training hurdle. He turns 4 later this month and we'd love to have him fully trained by then, but I'm not certain if we'll make it or not. He's trying though. As our middle child, and with the other kids' issues, I'm worried that Zach is feeling neglected. We spend so much of our time focusing on Kayley's behavior and schoolwork and Jesse's health concerns, that I'm afraid he is overshadowed at times. He's got a beautiful soul and is a wonderful boy -- I worry that we don't do enough to nurture him.
If you have a spare moment this week, please send some positive thoughts our way... especially for our kids.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Last weekend I put an exhaust fan in the ceiling for my wife's grandfather. While my wife's brother and I were fitting the fan in between the joists, we found something under the insulation. What we found was this:
A JC Penney catalog from 1977. It's not often blog fodder just falls in my lap, but holy hell this was two solid inches of it, right there for the taking.
I thumbed through it quickly and found my next dining room set, which is apparently made by adding upholstery to old barrels:
Also, I am totally getting this for my bathroom:
There's plenty more home furnishings where those came from, however I'm not going to bore you with that. Instead, I'm going to bore you with something else. The clothes. The clothes are fantastic.
Here's how to get your ass kicked in elementary school:
Just look at that belt. It's like a boob-job for your pants. He probably needed help just to lift it into place. The belt loops have to be three inches long. And way to pull them up to your armpits, grandpa.
Here's how to get your ass kicked in high school:
This kid looks like he's pretending to be David Soul, who is pretending to be a cop who is pretending to be a pimp that everyone knows is really an undercover cop. Who is pretending to be 15.
Here's how to get your ass kicked on the golf course:
This "all purpose jumpsuit" is, according to the description, equally appropriate for playing golf or simply relaxing around the house. Personally, I can't see wearing this unless you happen to be relaxing around your cell in D-block . Even then, the only reason you should put this thing on is because the warden made you, and as a one-piece, it's slightly more effective as a deterrent against ass-rapery.
Here's how to get your ass kicked pretty much anywhere:
If you look at that picture quickly, it looks like Mr. Bob "no-pants" Saget has his hand in the other guy's pocket. In this case, he doesn't, although you can tell just by looking at them that it's happened - or if it hasn't happened it will. Oh yes. It will. As soon as he puts down his matching coffee cup.
Here's how to get your ass kicked at the beach:
He looks like he's reaching for a gun, but you know it's probably just a bottle of suntan lotion in a holster.
How to get your ass kicked in a meeting:
If you wear this suit and don't sell used cars for a living, I believe you can be fined and face serious repercussions, up to and including termination. Or imprisonment, in which case you'd be forced to wear that orange jumpsuit.
How to get your ass kicked on every day up to and including St. Patrick's Day :
Dear god in heaven, I don't believe that color exists in nature. There is NO excuse for wearing either of these ensembles unless you're working as a body guard for the Lucky Charms leprechaun.
In this next one, Your Search For VALUE Ends at Penneys.
As does your search for chest hair.
And this -- Seriously. No words.
Oh wait, it turns out that there are words after all. Those words are What. The. F***. I'm guessing the snap front gives you quick access to the chest hair. The little tie must be the pull tab.
Also, judging by the sheer amount of matching his/hers outfits, I'm guessing that in 1977 it was considered pretty stylish for couples to dress alike. These couples look happy, don't they?
I am especially fond of this one, which I have entitled, "Cowboy Chachi Loves You Best."
And nothing showcases your everlasting love more than the commitment of matching bathing suits. That, and a blonde girl with a look on her face that says, "I love the way your junk fights against that fabric."
I could go on, but I'm tired, and my eyes hurt from this trip back in time. I think it's the colors. That said, I will leave you with these tasteful little numbers:
Man, that's sexy.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
More about our move from Omaha to Pocatello...
We had planned to leave Omaha on Thursday, December 20, but we didn't hit the road until Sunday, December 23. Why the delay? Loading the moving truck took waaaaaay longer than we anticipated, we were trying to figure out what to do with all the stuff we couldn't fit in the moving truck, we still needed to spend some time with Dave's family, and we were just too exhausted to drive.
After losing my wallet and looking everywhere for it (but never finding it), we finally got underway late Sunday morning. I was crossing my fingers for an easy, police-free trip, as I had no wallet, no credit cards, no ID, no drivers license, nada. Ugh, what a way to start the trip.
Dave drove the Penske rental truck with his Blazer in tow behind while I drove the van with three kids and two dogs. Luckily, Dave agreed to take the cat in the moving truck with him. I'm not sure who had it worse. :)
Anyway, we had decided that we would stay together on the road, at least within a couple miles of each other. To be on the safe side, however, we had purchased long-range walkie-talkies a few weeks earlier so we could at least talk to one another if the need arose. I, of course, was way too anxious and impatient to stay behind Dave and the pokey rental truck, so I pulled ahead of him a few miles. Stopping at an I-80 rest area, I figured he'd catch up to us and we'd be back together again, right? Well...
Lesson One: when you agree to stick together on the road, stick together... really... stick together.
Lesson Two: life isn't going anywhere... don't be in such a hurry. Be patient!
Dave caught up and passed us while I was taking the dogs out to pee. I knew that we'd be back on the road shortly and we'd catch up to him in no time, so I didn't worry whatsoever. After the dogs peed, the boys had their diapers changed, Kayley and I used the facilities, and I stretched my legs a bit, we were ready to go. Huffing down the road at 75mph, I thought I would catch up to Dave within a few minutes since he had just passed us a short while earlier. After a bit, however, I still didn't see Dave and thought to myself, "Wow, he must really be making good time with that big yellow moving truck!" I tried reaching Dave on the walkie-talkies, to no avail, as we were too far out of range. (Long-range, my ass.) I increased my speed to about 85mph in an effort to catch up with him. Heh heh... little did I know that Dave had already pulled off at an exit to refuel.
Remember when I mentioned that I lost my wallet? As my "Low Fuel" warning light came on, I remembered that I had no cash... no credit cards... nothing with which to buy gas. And... Dave (who had all the cash and credit cards!) was still nowhere in sight. Crap. I was able to make it a few more miles down the road to an exit with a gas station. I figured I would simply wait there and continue to try raising him on the walkie-talkies. Again, nada.
I waited at the gas station for about 45 minutes before realizing that, if for some reason Dave was behind me on the Interstate that whole time, he would be going by my exit soon. The walkie-talkies weren't working for shit and he would never see where I was parked or know that I had even taken that exit. Sigh.
I decided to head back out to the Interstate and park on the shoulder of the entrance ramp. If Dave were going to pass me, he would at least see me sitting there. Besides, I figured I would have better range with the walkie-talkies out on the road anyway. So... the dogs and kids and I sat on the entrance ramp... and we sat there... and we sat there... and we sat there. I was trying to reach Dave via the radios (again, long-range, my ass!) every couple of minutes, but the only answer I ever received was silence. Silence. Silence. Silence. Gettin' the picture?
It was getting dark and it was cold, so I had to keep the van running so the kids could stay warm. As we sat and waited, I watched the dashboard message center count down the miles I had left before I hit empty. 12 miles to E... 11 miles to E... 10 miles to E. I was really starting to worry because we had been sitting on the entrance ramp shoulder for nearly 1 1/2 hours and still there was no sign of Dave.
I played several scenarios and weighed our options over and over in my head. I could get out and try to flag down another car to help us. But... what would they do? I didn't have any money to offer someone if they stopped. Besides, there are always those crazy axe-murdering types looking to prey on a Mom and her scared kids. Scratch that idea. I could try to make it to the next exit where we could at least hang out in a truck stop or diner or gas station. We'd be warm, off the road, and relatively safe. But... I didn't know how far down the road the next exit was. What if we didn't make it and got stranded on the Interstate with no gas to run the heater? OK, scratch that idea, too. Alright, I got it... we're not going to panic, we're not! We'll just sit here on the shoulder and idle the van for as long as we can. When it runs out of gas, we'll all just huddle up together in the back seat, cover up with a blanket, eat some snacks, and wait for someone to come. Someone would come to help, right? Anyone? Dave?
Lesson Three: always be aware of your surroundings. Know exactly where you're at, know where the next exit is and how far you have to go to get there. Be aware, be aware, be aware.
After what seemed like an eternity, Kayley said she heard a crackle on the walkie-talkie. Silly Mom didn't believe her -- I mean, after 1.5 hours of trying (unsuccessfully) to get Dave on the radio every few minutes, why would I think he would be in the area at that point? I just knew that he had gone on to Wyoming, thinking all along that we were ahead of him and having no clue that we were stranded behind him somewhere. "Mom, I heard something on the walkie-talkie!" Kayley shrieked. Uh-hmm.
"Daddy, is that you?" she shouted into the radio. Crackle, crackle, snap, and pop... there was Dave on the other end. He tracked us down and I had not ever felt so worried and angry and thrilled and scared all at the same time. He led the way to the next exit, assuring me that I had enough gas to make it, and I swore I wouldn't let him or that big yellow moving truck out of my sight for the rest of the trip.
Lesson Four: always make sure you have some money when you're traveling... always, always, always.
Lesson Five: always, and I mean always, have a plan to contend with emergencies. If you get separated from your party, what will you do? Where will you go? What time will you meet? What will you do if your plans fall through? Do you have a backup plan? If you can imagine the worst that might happen, it might happen. What will you do if the worst happens?
Lesson Six: pack a car emergency kit. Sure, you may never need it... but, what if you do? Will you be prepared?
In the end, we made it to Laramie, Wyoming after 10 or so hours on the road. Initially, we had planned to stop earlier in the evening, but had lost so much time with the aforementioned fiasco we thought we ought to make up a bit of time and mileage. Anyway, by the time we hit the Wyoming border, Dave and I were both so excited to be out of Nebraska, we decided to keep going. It was dark, the kids were asleep, there wasn't much traffic on the roads, so we figured we'd keep on keepin' on. It was a long and lesson-filled day, but we both felt terrific that night when our heads hit the pillows.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Wow! I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted anything here. A lot has happened since August...
After years of postponement, Dave and I finally decided to take the plunge and make a move out West. We've wanted to live in or near the mountains for as long as I can remember and, for one reason or another, we always found an excuse not to follow our dream. Finally, after a lot of soul-searching, I tossed the idea out to Dave and said, "Why do we keep wasting time? We're not getting any younger, you know. Why don't we just pick up and go?" So started our latest adventure.
We knew we wanted to live close to a University in the Rocky Mountain states. We researched a number of important factors -- local economy, job growth and unemployment rates, crime, housing prices, cost of living, schools for the kids, etc. -- and developed a "short list" of potential cities to explore further. At every turn, Pocatello, Idaho came out on top.
We continued researching Pocatello and surrounding cities in Idaho and fell more in love with the prospect of moving each day. Although we hadn't planned on moving until Spring or Summer 2008, I started looking for jobs right away since it can take months sometimes to find a decent opportunity. Idaho has a central application registry for state jobs and I submitted my information there as well.
Lo and behold, I got a call at the start of September... Idaho State University had seen my application online and were interested in talking with me about a potential job. During the next few weeks, I had a first, second, and third interview and finally received a job offer on October 31.
The mad dash to move our family to Idaho began, as I was to start my new position at ISU on January 2. We had about 6 weeks to get the house fixed up and ready to sell, pack and load our stuff, move our family 1100 miles, find a place to live, unload and unpack our stuff, and get settled in for a few days of rest before I started work.
Whew! We made it, but it was utterly exhausting. I think we were running on auto-pilot most of the time... we just kept plugging away until the big day arrived. We left Omaha a couple days later than planned, on December 22, and arrived in Pocatello around 9:30pm Christmas Eve night. I'll post more details about the move in another entry... let's just say that the move was definitely an adventure and leave it at that for now.
More to come soon! From Pocatello, signing off...
Friday, August 24, 2007
He has called us at 10:02pm if our dogs were still outside in the yard barking. "It's after 10:00! Can't you bring those dogs in?!" Sure, Ed, sure.
Once, I had to make a late night trip to the ER with one of our kids. I left the dogs outside in case they had to pee while I was gone... no one likes a big puddle of piss in the middle of their living room. Anywho... it was around 12:30am when we finally returned home. Of course, as I'm getting out of the truck and carrying our little guy inside, the dogs are yapping. Once I get inside, I let the dogs in as soon as I can. As I'm bringing the dogs inside, the phone rings... guess who?
"I can't get any sleep with those dogs barking! You've got to take them in at 10!" he insists.
"Ed, I'm sorry the dogs woke you up. I just got home and brought them in as soon as I could," I replied. Needless to say, I was really biting my tongue and trying to be pleasant and neighborly, but it was difficult.
"Well, why didn't you bring them in earlier? Why do they have to stay outside so late?" he asked.
"They don't typically stay out so late, Ed. But, I had to take our son to the Emergency Room tonight and I wasn't sure how long I would be gone. I didn't want them to piss on the floor, so I left them outside. Again, I'm sorry if they woke you up. I'm sure you understand that the dogs were not my first concern tonight," I responded. (Biting my tongue really hard at this point and feeling the stress of the night's events building inside me.)
"I just don't understand why I have to keep calling you about this," he barked. (No pun intended.)
"You don't have to keep calling, Ed, and honestly I wish you wouldn't. I made a trip to the ER tonight which is why the dogs were out so late. I thought Zach was really sick and I'm sorry I didn't take the time to consider your needs over my son's," I barked back.
"Well, is Zach okay?" he asked.
"Yes, thank goodness. It's nothing serious," I said.
"Good. Just keep the dogs inside at night, will ya?" he asked before hanging up. Grrrrr.
Occasionally, hubby and I get to venture out into the world by ourselves. Without the little anklebiters along, we can stay out later than we normally would. Of course, as mentioned above, no one wants to step in a big puddle of pee, so we usually leave the dogs outside while we're gone. One particular night, we got home about 11:30pm and as our feet hit the steps on our front porch, Ed opens his bedroom window and hollars out, "You guys have to keep those dogs quiet! They start barking and then our dogs start barking and I can't get any sleep!"
Will do, Ed. Sorry, Ed. (Kiss my ass, Ed, is what I'm really thinking.)
We foster bassets and beagles that have been rescued. Our first foster dog was a rambunctious basset hound named Humphrey. Humphrey was a 10 month old pup who liked to play and romp and bark. Our dog, Ripley, is an old lady by comparison and most certainly does not like to play and romp and bark. Her lack of interest in Humphrey's antics only made him try to get her attention that much more. So... Humphrey is carrying on one evening when Ed comes out of his house wearing his pajamas.
"Stacey! Stacey! Take those dogs inside, will ya?" he yells across the fence.
"Yeah, I can take them inside when I go in," I replied. I glance at the time and note that it is only 9:30pm.
"Well, it's after 10 and that dog just keeps barking. I'm tired of hearing it," he says.
"Ed, it's not after 10 yet... it's only 9:30," I said.
"Look, I don't feel good and I'm trying to get some rest, but I can't with those dogs barking. Can't you just take them inside please?" he asks.
"Fine, I'll take them inside, Ed. This is getting ridiculous!" I snap as I go in the house with the dogs.
FINAL STRAW! This afternoon, my two oldest kids were playing in the backyard. They were screaming and laughing and carrying on -- just what kids are supposed to do, right? Apparently not. My children were told not to scream anymore because the noise really bothered Ed.
Shut your fucking window then, if you don't like it. It's 3pm in the afternoon and if my kids want to play together in their own backyard and if they want to scream their bloody little heads off, they damn sure are going to do just that.
I've simply had enough of his bitching and moaning and complaining about the dogs (of which some complaints I truly can understand). Now he seems to be moving on to my children. I'll tell you what, jackoff, leave my kids the hell alone. If you have an issue with my kids, you come talk to me... you most certainly are not their father and you are most certainly not welcome to tell them to be quiet and quit screaming.
THEY ARE CHILDREN, FOR GOD'S SAKE! THEY ARE GOING TO SCREAM! AND IF YOU THINK THEIR SCREAMING IS BOTHERSOME, JUST WAIT UNTIL YOU HEAR THEIR MOTHER!
Okay, so I probably wouldn't say those words exactly, but you get the jist. I've had it with Ed, I've just had it with him. Again, I willfully acknowledge that we have inadvertently left the dogs out after 10pm and, yep, you guessed it -- they barked. I understand this is an annoyance and I understand the concept of quiet hours. I don't have a problem with that and will accept responsibility for being an inconsiderate neighbor and pet owner at times.
But, give me a break already. There are worse things in the world than a barking dog or screaming, playing child. Aren't there? Am I being unreasonable? Do I not care enough? Sheesh... he's tired of the noise coming from our yard and I'm tired of the noise coming from his mouth.
So, Ed... shut yer hole.
Usually, I feel very distanced from the violence in the rest of the world. For me, that is a good thing I suppose because I don't think I could live another day if I felt a raw connection to the suffering and senselessness that surround us.
Sometimes, however a particular story breaks through the wall I've built around myself, touches my soul, and affects me in a profound, lasting way. This is one of those stories.
This video clip moved me, angered me, and broke my heart and I couldn't keep from sobbing as I watched. This could be one of my little boys... in fact, he reminds me of Zachary in some ways. I can't remember feeling this much heartache over a story in a very long time.
When I read this follow-up piece, I cried again... only this time, the tears were joyful and my heart was filled with hope. There is still good in the world. Even in our darkest hours, the light of love and compassion and kindness shine through.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
I'm not a violent person by nature, but tonight I am so disgusted and angry... no, not angry... rageful is a better word, that I could smash her fucking face in. Who, you ask? A fucking crazy lady that lives two houses North of us.
Apparently, about a month ago as my 7-year old daughter rode her bike up and down the sidewalk, the red-haired crazy lady was on her porch watching Kayley ride by. She walked from her porch to the driveway next to her car and Kayley stopped, thinking that perhaps she was going to talk to her. (Note, the crazy lady had helped Kayley once previously when she took a spill on her bike, so Kayley thought she was a pretty nice person.) Anyway...
The crazy lady proceeded to lift her nightgown/housecoat/mumu, whatever the fuck she was wearing, and exposed her naked self to my daughter. She apparently was rambling on and on about things Kayley couldn't remember and finally said something to the effect of, "Go ahead and call the police. Now you better get home!" Kayley, scared to death, rode her bike straight home and came inside.
Kayley was terrified to tell us what happened because she thought we would be angry with her for some reason. Instead, thankfully, she confided in her Aunt Renee tonight who, in turn, told me. Kayley and I then talked for a long time and I was finally able to convince her that it was okay to tell me what happened. She was trembling, scared to death, knees pulled up to her chest, hands covering her face... it just broke my heart.
I called the police and filed a report for lewd conduct. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, there is very little they can do at this point. They indicated they would increase patrols in the area and advised to avoid contact with the crazy lady - DUH - and to call them if there were additional problems so they could intervene. I truly understand that their hands are tied, but it still pisses me off.
The crazy lady is the "black sheep" of our block: she's had a registered sex offender living in the house before (but he is no longer there), her son is a juvenile delinquent who has vandalized houses and cars along our street, she regularly screams at her dog which she keeps tied up in the backyard, screams at her son, calls him an idiot and a fucking moron (among other things)... she truly is mentally unstable and it would be a miracle to ever have a normal conversation with her.
Hubby said that this only reinforces the fact that she is sick and needs some help. While I'm a definite proponent of getting help with mental illnesses and assisting those less fortunate, getting her help is the last thing on my mind tonight. Unless, of course, helping her means crushing her face with a cinder block.
You can bet that I am going to watch her like a hawk from now on and the minute I see something out of the ordinary, I'm calling the cops. For Christ's sake, we live across the street from an Elementary School and have kids all up and down our street... if she's done this to my child, I'm sure there are or will be others. I will be watching, you crazy red-haired bitch. Fucking fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.