July 29, 2020

egg carton romance

Reg was born with eyes as blue as the ocean and a smile that revealed that he was definitely up to something.  Add to that his cute way of talking with a little speech impediment, and he could melt your heart.  Coach and I used to have to duck into the next room while the other parent was playing 'mad-at-you' parent disciplining him, because it was just THAT hard to get angry at him.  

As the youngest of four boys, I always worried that he would be mouthy.  I assumed I would be getting calls from the principal about him - little did I know that would be Tank's deal, even though Tank was the sweetest most sensitive child in the bunch.  

I didn't have to wait for Reg to start school to turn into a punk.  

I reminded him one night when I tucked him:  Daddy said no more flips off of the high dive at the pool.  It's too dangerous.  

He looked at me dead-pan: "Daddy doesn't know evewy-fing, ya know."  

He was four.  (and yes, he was doing flips off the high dive and all the older boys at the pool, like his older brothers' friends, egged him on to try crazier stuff and he never backed down).

When he was about to start preschool I tucked him in one night:

Me:  Hey, I found out your preschool teacher's name.  It's Mrs. McFadden.  Let's say God bless Mrs. McFadden when we say your prayers. 

*I knew, this woman would need help from the good Lord above if she was going to have Mr. Joe-Cool in her class.*

Reg:  Oh, OK.  I'n gonna caw her McFat.  God bwess Mrs. McFat!  Dere, I God bwessed her.  (uncontrollable giggles).

McFat happened to be Laddie's favorite insult that summer.  

The husband of one of the teachers got roped
 into being my garage sale partner.  He was
 a grandpa and he was a godsend.  Could not
 have done it without him.  When he wasn't
 taking orders from me, he was walking around
 the school taking photographs.  I guess
he was the official wedding photographer.  
Back when I ran the garage sale for our parish school, Reg's preschool-self passed the time while I was sorting smelly clothes in the gym by hanging out with a few of his classmates.  

By the way, I think if I asked my kids -they would count my garage sale organizing days as some of their favorite childhood memories.  They ran up and down the Catholic school hallways sampling the donated toys and playing hide and seek with the other kids whose parents volunteered.  It was mayhem and they lived for it.  

Grandpa Garage helper would send me envelopes
of all the photos he took.  Seriously, he
 was a gem.  We had some good laughs.  We pulled
 off four garage sales and raised over $40,000 - I think.
  Anyway, I was so worried I wouldn't be
able to locate these pictures for this post, but I
 found them with a bunch of other envelopes
 from my buddy.  All labeled neatly.  My house
 is covered in photos albums as I try to get
update them and I forgot about his
 pictures, so I have to add these into my albums. 
Anyway, Reg and this girl were smitten with each other, so the older kids that were dashing in and out of classrooms dodging parental control suggested that they get married.  A wedding was staged mid garage sale.  A kid officiated.  Plastic flowers were borrowed for the bride from the 'housewares' room.  I was not in attendance.  The older kids were all a twitter about it and Reg flat out told me on our drive home that he got 'mawwied' that day.  

Fast forward to Reg about 3 years ago:  This kid sort of seemed to lose his edge.  Maybe he feared verbal abuse from older, wiser brothers?  Tough crowd.  He also didn't land in the greatest of classes as far as boys go.  One kid, Mr. Macho, thought he ran the grade and everyone answered to him.  He and Reg were friends, but tough guy Reg sort of backed down a bit.  It boiled his blood.

A few years ago, Ed's high school water polo coach invited 10 yr old Reg to sit on the bench.  Chase lose balls, hand out water bottles, etc.   Ed would come home and say, "Reg, if someone talks to you - respond.  Don't just sit there."  We kept telling him to let his personality shine.  He walked back and forth on the pool deck when the teams switched sides and his upper body would not move.  He was like a walking statue, afraid to mess up.

Present day:  Reg graduated from 8th grade virtually in June.  We were grateful he had a phone during the pandemic, kind of.  He was able to stay connected to kids during e-learning, but holy cow . . . we've never had a phone addict till now.  Not my favorite teen-issue.  

Then Reg started walking down the street with my empty egg cartons.  He told me that a girl that lives 4 houses away (classmate of his) whose house is near the golf course (we are on an interior lot) was in need of egg cartons.  She was putting golf balls in them and selling them.  I think he learned of her need for egg cartons through social media.  

Guess who apparently had his original marriage annulled?  (Interestingly he has not seen 'wife' #1 in years, different schools once we left Catholic school, but they'll be attending the same high school and they recently connected on social media, oh brother).  

We encourage the older kids to invite friends here, so they aren't always going to other houses to socialize.  We like to know who they hang with, plus Coach has so many Dad jokes, it would be wasteful not to have kids show up to be subjected to them.  Also Coach worked hard to finish the basement so we could be part of the rotation of hip houses.  Hello, ping pong, fooz ball, air hockey, kitchen-ette, Irish dancing stage . . . in case friends are feeling jigg-ie.  Our 'happy to have your friends here' suggestions are often met with high school eye rolls.  

Imagine our surprise when all of a sudden, Reg announced:  Oh . . .  I think my friends will come over tomorrow night.  
Oh look, I actually spent 20 minutes
planting flowers earlier in the summer.
  Um, see how the box on the right
 looks sad?  That's because Reg's buddies
 knocked it over with a ball.  Tank, my
professional landscaper, scoffed at their
 attempt to clean it up. So, Tank took Reg
out the next day and replanted it.  It has
 come back somewhat, but the one
 on the left still looks better.
Why is this font so weird?

We looked at him with blank stares.  

Thankfully, Mr. Macho hasn't shown up when Reg hosts.  (Translation:  Reg and a handful of kids have sort of broken away from the group and are currently enjoying the social freedom of NOT hanging out with Macho.  They ride bikes to the park or to each other's houses or they all show up at our house).  

The first time Reg's posse showed up here, they played volleyball in the yard.  I brought out snacks and drinks and managed not to raise my eyebrows when I noted that there were girls in attendance.  One of the girls (insert drum-roll) . . . the egg carton girl.  

That night Coach and I had our first plans since the start of the pandemic.  We were going to meet his former office manager's new serious boyfriend at a fellow co-worker's house.  Backyard, social distancing, drinks, and chatting.  Just as we were about to walk out the door, Reg and his crowd marched inside and down the basement stairs.  

Coach and I froze.  We had to call Tank and Mini and beg one of them to come home while we were gone.  Tank obliged.  We told Reg his friends could stay until a set time.  Done.  As we left I cringed at how LOUD recent 8th grade grads could be.  Poor Tank.  

Our house is on the corner, so when I look out my kitchen window I see my backyard, AND I see the street that runs alongside our house, AND I now often see Ole Blue-Eyes walking along the sidewalk with one or two egg cartons in hand.

I honestly think that Reggie's interest in hanging out with this group of kids has more to do with the egg carton girl than it does with the fact that he can hang with buddies in the absence of bossy Mr. Macho.  The motivation really doesn't matter, but it is entertaining to watch Reg trip over himself to get us to agree to let him meet up with this pack of kids aka the chick he digs.  

Reg:  Um, I unloaded the dishwasher today and I put my laundry away.  Can I just read my required-reading-for-school book that is super overdue at the library later because my friends are hanging out at the park down the street RIGHT NOW?  

We agree reminding him he MUST read this book later.  

Ten minutes later Coach spotted Reg, egg carton girl, another guy and another girl riding bikes together through the neighborhood.  (for visual sake, picture this:  wind blowing Reg's long-ish hair, face split in an ear-to-ear grin, soft music playing . . . OK, there was no music - but you get the idea).  I'm no detective or anything, but this presents more like a double date than a group meeting at the park.  Am I right?  

We are unaccustomed to social lives revving up so early on in the life of a high school kid.  Coach and I are late-bloomer types.  If you need evidence of why I repelled boys in high school, I WILL post photographic evidence.  You've been warned.  

The first 4 kids have all enjoyed time with friends, but no one was really focused on dating this early - aside from Lad, the next three still aren't and I'm OK with that.  I have no idea how to handle the non-late-bloomer type.  Open to suggestions, but my plan is to just continue to toss Reg my empty egg cartons and chuckle as he does his statue walk down the sidewalk hoping not to show up on anyone's radar.  

We are off to KC this afternoon to visit Coach's sister's family.  I am sure I will have some stories to report since we are road tripping.  Oh, and we are taking 2 local cousins with us, and leaving Ed and Tank home.  So, I will catch up with you next week.  Hope everyone has a great weekend and I would love to hear your own personal 'first love' egg carton stories.  Do tell!

July 27, 2020

Reggie cell phone: Mama on a mission

Also pre-pandemic:  Reg was not invited to hang out with his friends when they had a day off in late February.  His classmates all have cell phones.  Reg was scheduled to get his phone in high school, like his siblings before him.  

Well, when the kid broke down in tears at the end of a day-off that he spent alone, I decided the original plan needed to be re-worked.  I told him that if the stars aligned, I would try to find the time to get him a cell phone the next day after school.  

The thing is, Ed's group of friends all had phones.  They never excluded Ed.  They told him their plans in advance, or had their moms text me.  Tank and Mini were the same way.  Well, especially Mini.  Her friends would not dream of hanging out without her.  Tank was a bit of a loner, liked hanging out at home and relaxing.  His best buddy invited him places though.  His mom and I would communicate.  

This group of kids in Reggie's class:  a different breed.  Reg tried to explain it to me.  It would be considered uncool to set something up in advance, to call a landline.  The thing implied here:  this one A-hole kid sets the tone, and no one wants to go against him.  Don't get me started.

At any rate, Coach and I agreed that our desire to remain consistent should not interfere with our kid's social opportunities.  So, I embarked on a mission to get Reg a phone.  Unfortunately this would include a visit to the 3rd circle of hell, also known as Walmart.

Our phone service is Family Mobile, also known as poop.  Just saying.

I am trying to remember the sequence of events here, because it was a while ago.  I think Reg went to school and told his 'friends' that he was getting a phone. 

Reg:  Yeah, they laughed and said they didn't believe me.  (How have you not blackened these kids' eyes by now?- implied, not spoken)

If there is one thing that will make things happen, it is tell me that the thing that I want to do WON'T HAPPEN.   Step aside, neigh-sayers.  

I went to Walmart with limited time right after school.  NEVER a good idea.  The usual guy, Mike, who knows stuff about phones was not at the counter.  Also NOT a good sign.  

I took my chances with Mr. Pokey.  I warned him upfront:  I have had trouble buying, replacing, troubleshooting phones here in the past.  I have a limited amount of time and I am hoping you can help me.  

from tenor
"Obi Won Kenobi, you're my only hope!" - also implied, not spoken.

He sold me a phone and tried to send me home. 

Me:  Oh, no you don't.  We are setting this puppy up here and now so I know it will work when I get home.  

I will record this here, so if it comes up again you can all remind me.  We cannot have more than 5 phones on one plan.  So, Mini was on her own plan.  It took awhile for the people to figure that out.  Mr. Pokey called customer service and handed me the phone.  I was on hold for 15 minutes.  The person was working on getting my phone to work when Mr. Pokey did the unthinkable.  

He hung up the phone.  

Me:  What the hell was that for?  

Pokey:  Well, you will just have to finish that at home.  I can't tie up the line.

Me:  I've been on hold for over 15 minutes and now I have to start all the way over.  Are you freaking kidding me?

Mr. Pokey shuttered a little.  As in:  Oops, I have poked the bear.

I stormed out of the store.  Did as he said, called from home.  The people on the phone explained that Mr. Pokey had not properly set up the phone, so I had to go back into a store.  There was no way to set the phone up from home.

Blood.  Boiling.  

I think I used more swear words than these customer service people had ever heard in a single phone call.  After congratulating me for this accomplishment, a manager was summoned. He was astounded at my struggle with anger management.  But I TOLD THE GUY NOT TO SCREW THIS UP FOR ME and he sold me a phone with a chip that wouldn't work (or a package or something, I don't recall) because he hadn't rung it up properly or something.  

Save me.  

I drove to Curly's volleyball game.  Reg was there, anticipating.  I told him that I tried and it didn't work.  He shrugged:  It's OK. 

But it wasn't OK.  It was killing me.

I had to get Reg to travel basketball - this was not a night Dad was helping me drive.  It was a Monday.  I would drive Curly to dancing at 7.  Race home, grab Reg, drive in the other direction to travel basketball by 8 (it was the last practice, and I hoped he could give kids his #), then drive back to get Curly at 9.  Coach would finish work at 9 and drive in the opposite direction from home to go pick up Reg by 9:30.  Just another relaxing evening. 

I took a big chance (at the high school dance with a miss who was ready to play. . .) - it's a song, rare for me to break into song I know, but couldn't be helped . . . there was a Walmart between home and dancing.  A different Walmart.  Maybe it was not filled with Doo-Doo heads.  

I convinced myself it wasn't worth it.  It might take too long.  I had to return whatever Mr. Pokey sold me by mistake before heading to the phone department.  Despite convincing myself to just drive past the Walmart, I found myself in the parking lot. 

I waited for 5 costly minutes in the return line.  The woman ahead of me had nothing in her hand but a piece of paper.  Layaway?  No idea but it was taking forever and when I asked "How long is this going to be?" the Walmart employee and Ms. Piece of Paper glared at me.  

I exited the line before things escalated and I had to turn them into dust with my lazer eyes, glare at me will you?  I stormed to the phone counter.   It was a young kid.  I told him my predicament.  Told him to just even exchange what I had so I didn't have to wait in the return line.  Begged him to help me.  I believe I also shared what little weasel-heads Reg went to school with.  

We figured out that our family has 2 accounts.  Reg needed to be added to the account where Mini, the cheese stands alone, is on her own.  The guy got me a SIM card or whatever.  He set up the phone while I waited on hold accessing the accounts and what-have-you.  I guessed my password to the 2nd family account on the first try.  The sky was opening and the roof was peeled back from that Walmart building and rays of light shone down on us.  I swear.  

I grabbed the phone and told the young kid that I was about to kiss him and that he was a prince.  I believe he blushed.  

I bolted to the car.  I called our landline using Reg's new cell phone.  He answered.

Me:  Um, I'm calling from your new phone (that just so happened to have been assigned a totally cool number that is super easy to remember).  


That is the somewhat happy ending to my kid's first phone and how nice was it for him to be able to connect with friends while in lock-down?  

So, should we just gloss over his COMPLETE AND UTTER ADDICTION to said phone that is presently making Coach and I pull our hair out?  Even though we read him the riot act:


Let's just leave it at the happy place where Walmart employees have downloaded a photo of me from the internet that they use in dart throwing contests, and my kid thinks I am a rock-star, shall we?

July 24, 2020

Fast Friday read: 3 pointers, ND socks, plenty in common

A few months before the pandemic, Mini did a project for BPA, business professionals of America.  Her group had to do a video attempting to gain more fundraising dollars for a high school group/cause of their choice.  They chose Special Olympics.  

The girls gathered video footage of people involved in the program, and Mini had a great idea to interview Bobby.  Bobby helped run the basketball camp at the high school back when Laddie and Eddie were tiny, grade-school participants.  He is now 30 years old.  I suspect that he is autistic, but I am not quite sure what causes him to be considered 'special'.  He is very high functioning and very passionate about the high school's basketball program (Special Olympic and otherwise).    

Mini came away with so much great footage:  Bobby imitating his go-get-um speeches at state in his heyday, Bobby referencing the importance of Special Olympics programs, and Bobby being Bobby.  

He is an amazing basketball player - like he hasn't met a 3 point shot that he cannot make.  Bobby shoots hoops at the health club we belong to during the kids' hours on Sunday afternoons, and he often chats with my kids - especially Reggie.  

During the interview process, Mini met Bobby's mom.  She told Mini that the league that Bobby now plays for (organized for special adult  athletes) is in desperate need of volunteers.  She gave us the number for the group that runs the games.  I called the woman and volunteered Reggie the next week as a ref.  

Reggie on the right after handing the
ball to a participant to be in-bounded.
I texted Coach while I sat in the bleachers the first night that Reg did this reffing thing back in February.  'I think this is going to be good for Reg.'  

I could tell walking in that Reg was a little nervous.  He asked me more than once what he should say to the guy in charge.  I was like:  introduce yourself and say that your mom talked to Karen, who asked if you would be a ref tonight.  

I ended up introducing Reg to the head guy and he was expecting my kid.  It was very low key.  

People, Reg is a great kid, but he needs to learn to be more assertive.  I have found myself lately telling him:  'Speak up. Ask a question.'  I mean, I would send him to school and say 'Give 'em hell,' but Tank already took that angle and got himself kicked out of school with less than an hour left, so I those are not the words I choose to encourage him with.  I have told him to tell the boys in his class to stop being A-holes.  I mean, come on, Reg, you got all these brothers to back you.  No one, and I mean no one should push you around.

I blame birth order.  As a little kid, Reggie was a hell raiser.  He answered to no one and let his voice be heard ALWAYS.  He is responsible for every gray hair on my head.  He was Mr. Spunky as a little munchkin, but we think having older brothers who regularly put Reg in his place has chipped away at his tough guy persona. 

ND fans!!!  What are the chances?
 The SAME socks!
Nowadays he seems to fear messing up.  In our family, there is always someone available to make sure you don't forget how you screwed something up.

Bobby's team is very high functioning, so there weren't many calls that Reg needed to make.  They pretty much played by the rules.  

On the way home, I asked Reg if he noticed anything unusual.  The thing that stood out to us both was that if someone fell down, every player raced over to help the guy up and ask if he was OK.  I think the experience was a great way to put things in perspective for Mr. Ultra Competitive.  

At half time, Bobby chatted with a few fans in the stands.  He pointed out in dramatic fashion that he had to keep his socks folded down because his coach was not a fan of ND.  He quickly rolled the socks up to show off the otherwise hidden ND logo.  

I could NOT believe it.  Reg had on the SAME EXACT pair of socks!  I had them pose for a photo after the game.  

Of course since Reg has claws apparently in place of feet, he put holes through the 8 pairs of ND socks he got for Christmas by mid-March.  

July 22, 2020

Now that's a happy birthday

Reg turned 14 on January 9th.  (Yes, that was a while ago - bear with me as I have a few upcoming Reggie anecdotes and I feel the need to bring you up to speed).  

After school back in January, he had a basketball game at his junior high.  His team was playing the other junior high in our town, so kind of a cross-town rival thing that we didn't have a prayer of winning.  Reg knew other kids playing on the opposing team from the area.  

Reg doesn't have a phone yet but he later told me that the kids from the opposing team were snap-chatting his teammates and talking trash.  One message said:  We are going to destroy you.  You have no one.  

Reg's teammate messaged back:  Oh yeah, we have Reggie Shenanigan!  

I am glad I didn't know about this exchange until AFTER the game.  I think it would have made me feel pressure. 

When Ed was in 8th grade, he had many athletic classmates - focused on basketball.  His team won most, if not all, of their games.  It was very exciting.  

Tank played basketball in grade school too, and two years in high school.  Unlike Reg and Ed (my sons who I apparently cloned from one another), Tank could not be bothered to spend hours on the driveway improving his game.  He was a bench-warmer in grade school, and it burned me up.  Not the NBA - let the kids play, damn it.  I felt the same way when Ed was a starter on a winning team, one of his buddies sat on the bench and almost NEVER played in the game.  Pure garbage.  I would have been fine with Ed sitting more often so everyone got to see some playing time.  

Reg's 8th grade team is the total opposite of Ed's.  There aren't many kids on the team who are into basketball.    
This is not a photo from 'THE
GAME' but Reg is wearing
 the white shirt guarding
 the guy with the ball. 

DIGRESSION:  (you've been warned) Weeks after Reg's birthday game (the point of this post), my dad wanted to attend my nephew's Alan's school basketball game.  Dad had been chauffeuring Reg to travel practices - probably out of guilt.  He had begged my brother, Mike, the travel coach to put the two cousins on the same travel team.  The practices were far from my house, but close to Mike's so Dad, who lives around the corner from me, agreed to drive Reg when Coach worked late.  That was huge.  

So, Dad wanted to pick Reg up earlier than normal on their way to the travel practice so they could watch  Alan's game AT HIS CATHOLIC SCHOOL.  

Me:  Well, Dad, Reg has a game after school at his PUBLIC SCHOOL just a few houses away from your home.  

Ya follow?  

My dad decided to attend Reg's game (first time, season almost over) so they could then bolt to Alan's IMPORTANT game.   (There are lots of family members mentioned here, raise your hand if you're lost.  I feel like I should draw a picture).  

Dad got to Reg's game before me and was sitting in the front row of the bleachers.  I climbed up to the top of the bleachers to find a seat.  At half time, Dad started climbing the bleachers.  

Nervous me:  "Dad, just stay put.  You don't need to climb up here."

Dad:  "I just want to ask you if they really don't have another kid who can play basketball in this entire school besides Reg?"

Me waving hands wildly to attract the manner police:  Can we get a filter over here in the front row of the bleachers, PLEASE?  

I shook my head at my dad.  "Hey, we are sitting here surrounded by the parents of the other players on the team, Dad," I whispered loudly.  Fortunately I don't think the other parents heard or if they did, they didn't care.  

Dad:  Swatting a hand at me, "I don't care."  Shock.  

I guess I should be grateful that in the 11th hour my dad a) went to my kid's game, and b) recognized that my kid is a great basketball player.  

***After the travel season, my brother, Mike, texted Coach to say that he always wished one of his kids was as athletic as Reg.  This was quite a compliment.  Reg had a blast on Mike's team.  Great teammates.  Great coaching.  Reg and Alan are great pals and watching them play together was fun.  

After growing up in a family where my brothers' athleticism was CONSTANTLY PRAISED, I must admit that it is quite sweet that my boys AND my girls are more athletic than any of my brothers' boys or girls (they each have two boys, plus two girls/one girl). But Dad's focus is still Alan's games, not Reg's.  Also, Dad never attended one of Lad's division 1 water polo games.  This is where as a fan I would yell 'scoreboard, scoreboard!'

Now the point of the post:  We had no hope of winning the game that this post is really about:  Reg's 14th birthday game.   

Ed was still home from college.  He helped me get to the gym with the two babies who had yet to be picked up after school.  He fed one a bottle in the front row of the bleachers, and I fed the other one a bottle standing off to the side.  

Side note #1:  Earlier during Christmas break, Lad and Ed went to watch Reg play basketball in a travel game.  Poor Reg.  He felt lots of pressure to perform in front of his college brothers.  His travel team faced off against a superior team, and Reg didn't play his best.  He was in tears by the time his brothers drove him home.  He had no other travel games on the schedule while they were both home.

Side note #2:  You know how certain classes of kids have their own flavor?  A weird mix?  Some classes super social and inclusive?  Some super athletic?  Some full of mean kids?  

Lad's class was full of mean kids, that I have previously described.

Ed had an amazing group of kids in his grade.  Tank had a few close buddies.

Reg's class is not overly athletic.  There are a few kids that are the center of his group.  One is just a jerk who thinks he is hot shit.  Another, a creep.  The rest mostly followers.  Reg doesn't really gel with them.  They talk about their sleepover at the lunch table in front of Reg when he wasn't invited.  They all have phones.  We don't get our kids phones till high school.  Ah, high school.  I cannot wait for Reg to attend high school with new potential friendships.  

THE GAME:  (ah, the point at last) So our team was losing.  By close to 20 at the half.  Reg made a couple of three pointers.  He got a few steals (his specialty).  We started closing the gap.  

Also not a photo from the game.  Reg
is behind the kid in black.
With a few minutes left in the game, they fouled Reg.  He hit both free throws.  They fouled him again.  I think it was a 3 pointer and he had 3 shots.  Then the kid on the other team who fouled him threw a chair on the sidelines and they called a technical foul.  Reg made 4 free throws in a row.  The place went wild.  

I stood there next to the bleachers and could barely breathe.  I was swaying back and forth even though I had put the baby in his carrier.  I was SO emotional - wiping tears off my face.  Ed rubber necked from his front-row, baby-holding seat to find me in my corner.  His face was lit up like the scoreboard.  I just shrugged at him and smiled.  I was like, "Holy shit, Ed - holy shit!"

My Mom was at this game.  She doesn't drive in winter, but she had walked.  That's how close they live.  Her face was BEAT RED.  

During a timeout, I noticed that the baby's mom had texted me to say she was at Reg's school to claim her kid.  I texted her back with shaking hands.  "Close game.  I will come out with the baby in a few minutes."

A teacher working the concessions patted my arm.  I turned to him and whispered in an emotionally squeaky voice:  IT'S HIS BIRTHDAY!

We were in the lead by a point with seconds left.  Their ball.  Ahhh.

They turned the ball over.   Reg got the ball.  He either made a basket or got fouled again and made those baskets.  I don't remember.  I just know that he was on fire from the line after driving to the hoop and drawing foul after foul.   The crowd was going NUTS!  

The buzzer went off.  Game over.  I started to grab the carrier to take the baby out to his mom.  She was standing next to me.  I hadn't even seen her.  She was like, "Oh my gosh, Ernie!"  Her eyes were all teary too.   

So often I grab the video camera and video the kids' games.  I didn't have the video camera.  Just a bottle, a baby, a stroller, etc.  I wish we had a recording of the game, but regardless I will never forget.


July 20, 2020

thanks, bites, and bits

Just a quick thank you for the kind words and supportive sentiments you shared last week.  Since few people in our 'day-to-day life' even know that we are considering adoption, stumbling though the process these last few months with so many emotional moments has been challenging. 

The current, occasional feeling of being in a dark tunnel is unfortunately reminiscent to me of having a miscarriage.  The possibility of expanding our family (when we were much younger) was something we kept private, and when those hopes and dreams ended in miscarriage over the years six times it was heart breaking.  It was a loss I avoided talking about openly because I wanted to avoid the "WHAT?  DON'T YOU HAVE ENOUGH KIDS?" comments (not that people would have said this AFTER a miscarriage, but if they had known that we were even considering more kids after 2, or 3, or 4, etc. they would have weighed in. People are weird, in case you haven't noticed)

I also kept the miscarriages quiet because I wanted to avoid the long stares later:  "Is she pregnant?"  Best to keep people out of the loop.  Have you ever known people who invited EVERYONE into the loop:  We're gonna start trying, we've been trying, So-I'm ovulating, etc.  Sheesh.  Not our approach. 

I had a few close friends that knew how sad I was back in the day, and I am grateful to have close personal friends who I can share this process with now.  Still, there is a side to this that is just flat out lonely and painful and full of 'what ifs'. 

I appreciate that I can share with all of you, it wasn't easy - and I was hesitant because it's A LOT.  So, thank you!

Guess what else makes for a memorable summer . . . dental work.  My dentist has been after me to replace two silver fillings that were old and tired, much like myself.  He also wanted to bond a few teeth and build up my gum where my nerve was exposed.  The nerve?  OK, I'll stop.  

Guess who brushes with too much energy?  Aggressive brushing plus stress plus God knows what else, and my gums are receding.  

I finally scheduled the good times for last Thursday and I couldn't wait for it to be over.  

Warning:  this photo might be disturbing to those
of you with neat and tidy tendencies and'/or
 offspring.  This was taken AFTER I told the
children to remove their current toothbrush from
the bathroom.  Who the hell is failing to toss out
old toothbrushes until the bathroom because
over-run by an abundance of toothbrushes? 
While I was laying there in the chair wondering how much longer, I pondered my dental visits as a kid.  The goal was not to have a cavity, and each of us entered the waiting room after our cleaning to face the other siblings and their stares of:  "So? Cavity?"  Rarely a cavity between the 5 of us, which I find remarkable, but eventually I got one.  

Mom had spoken vehemently about the horrors of Novocaine for as long as I could remember, so naturally I opted to have my tooth filled without it.  I was maybe 10 or 11.

I know you were hoping for a photo of me with a
 droopy lip, but with no photos I found these
toothbrush-mystery photos as the closest link.  I am
 sure you will be relieved to know that I did not
 hold my breath as I waited for someone to admit
 to hoarding old, gross brushes because no one
 would ever step forward and I would surely
 have passed out and hit my head on the toilet or
 something.  I am annoyed, but I have survived
 the excess toothbrush elimination project.

When we moved away minutes before I started high school, we ended up at a new dentist.  Maybe a year later he had to fill my 2nd cavity.  I bravely waved away Novocaine, and he looked at me like maybe I was touched in the head.  He started the work and several reflex-induced punches and kicks later delivered by perm-wearing-self to himself and his assistant, he lowered his drill and asked me what my grudge was against Novocaine.  

"Oh, it isn't my grudge, it's my mom's.  She says it's bad.  Real bad." or something to that extent.  Not sure why in this made-up-dialogue I sound either uneducated or like I am from the hills and never been to a real dental exam before, but let's roll with it.    

Dr. Sullivan shot his assistant a look that screamed, "So, just as we thought . . .  her mom is a nut job," then he told me that he couldn't proceed until I agreed to be numbed with Novocaine.  Too close to a nerve, etc.  

I caved, and you know what - I can deal with a blubbery lip, because damn . . .  so much easier.  Can I get an amen?  

As the dentist was finishing up my work on Thursday, he put that black film stuff in my mouth and told me to bite down.  I believe he then sees where the black residue is left and then he files the new filling down to recreate a normal bite.

Well, I call foul.  People, how are you expected to bite down and be sure it is the real-deal bite if your mouth is all whacky-doodle?  I bit down, Doc filed away, and we repeated this little dance several times.  

I like my dentist.  I've been going to him since a year after college when I moved from my folks' house - back to where I lived as a young whipper snapper.  I suppose this will not come as a surprise to you, but I used to babysit my dentist's kids when I was in 7th and 8th grade - before we moved to the northern suburbs of Chicago for my hilarious high school years (buy the book someday, and you will enjoy the hilarity of my HS experience).  

I am hearing a collective 'Oh my gosh, is there anyone she DIDN'T babysit for?' from you, my devoted readers.  You know me so well.  Crazy, but one of his sons is now a dentist and has joined his practice.  And yes, I did tell him when we were reacquaintedSo, you don't remember me, but I used to change your diapers.

Anyway, I even blubbered at one point while numb last week:  Not sure I am biting like I normally do when I am not numb.  And Doc assured me my bite was perfect.  Oh, and he put this little foam piece in my mouth to prop my mouth open during the procedure and I told him that Coach might want me to bring a few of those home because they make it difficult for me to speak.  
Well, it is now Sunday night and the numbness has worn off and my bite is all-kinds-of-not-normal.  It is off.  And that is totally irritating.  To top it off, a few hours ago after I flossed I started noticing that I had sensitivity to hot/cold and sweet in the place where he did the work.  Come on now.  

I have been grouchy all evening.  Goes without saying.

I mean, I remain committed to my love for Novocaine, but not like I am jumping up and down to be a repeat customer or anything and I am not all that available to sit in a dental chair having just done my 2 hours last week - I am usually needed to chauffeur my offspring places.   Life might not be back to normal exactly but there is a definite busy contingent happening here.  

For the record - this happened to me years ago and Doc fixed it, and Coach says he is in the same boat right now having gone back a few times to have it adjusted and now he has just given up.  Silly me, I just thought he was at work all day.  

So, what hang-ups did your folks have that influenced you?  Did you eventually figure out that your parent was perhaps a bit loopy?  Or have you ever ended up with a screwed-up bite after dental work was done?  Don't be shy.