Friday, January 30, 2009

Trying to make it to Sea World

So February rolls around and as always happens to me, I get antsy...Spring fever, cabin fever, call it what you will, but the holidays were over, and it was a long way until summertime, and I was restless already. But my first order of business was picking up our (finally) completed homestudy and our profiles and sending them out. We mailed them out to the office of the attorney who handled Alex’s Florida end of the adoption, as well as to an unwed mother’s home in North Florida. That was it. We’re officially “pregnant”. We mentally settled in for what we thought would be a 6-month, 9-month or even a year long wait to adopt our next baby.

So to help pass the time during what I thought would be a long, long wait, I bought 2-year premium passes to Busch Gardens and SeaWorld. Alex was walking and talking and over two years old now, so I thought it would be a good time to start taking him to some amusement parks. After all, what good is living in Florida if we don’t partake of the wonderful parks, beaches and activities here? So we got our passes and planned a trip to SeaWorld for the following weekend.

The next weekend dawned with Alex jumping up and down in his crib, screaming over and over, “yucky pi-wo”, “yucky pi-wo”, “yucky pi-wo”, (for yucky pillow), over and over again. Turns out, he was right. He had thrown up, all over and everywhere, in his crib.

Now, Alex had never been much of a vomiter. Never had reflux, never a horrible spitter-upper as an infant, none of it. But this, this was bad. And it continued all day. It became projectile vomiting, something I had only experienced once with our grandson Jared when he was an infant and living with his mother and us after he was born. Alex, now, in this instant, put Jared that time to shame. We are talking target vomiting, Olympic event caliber. NASA’s shuttle launching could take lessons from this kid on hitting an obsolete target. I’d never seen anything like it.

Then it got real fun: hubby picked up whatever foul bug Alex had. Hubby tried to be brave and forge ahead with the day, but ended up spending the afternoon worshiping at the porcelin temple himself. So after who-knows-how-many rounds of cleaning up, I managed to get both of them to bed, and decided to relax and catch up on some reading. So....I settled down in Pete’s butt-magnet (recliner) with a good book and a bag of something I’d never tried before, but sounded delicious. Peanut-butter and chocolate Chex Mix. YUM! I love Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and I love Chex Mix, so this stuff sounded like a real treat! I kicked back, the house was silent, I read a little, munched a little, then dozed a little. I woke up about an hour later.....and....uh, oh....oh, no....please, no......HURL!

Maybe not so surprisingly, the peanut-butter and chocolate Chex Mix looked about the same when it came back

Yup, I had caught it too. Maybe it served me right for feeling so smug by actually sitting down to snack, read and sleep while my sick family slept. I don’t know, but whatever hit us...hit hard. It was thankfully only a 24-hour virus, but you’ve never seen a whole family so decimated in your life. About the time it hit me, Alex woke up from his nap and the worst of it was over for him, so he began trailing me around, and whatever happened to be my target with that particular hurl, Alex would jump up and down and scream, “yucky! Mommy! Yucky floor! Yucky blankey! Yucky table!” Oh, that day was looooooooooooong.

We recovered from our weekend stomach bug and I went back to work as usual. An uneventful week followed, we were all feeling fully recovered, and we decided to re-schedule our Sea World trip for the upcoming weekend. Friday morning, February 16th, one day before our scheduled departure for our first SeaWorld with a two-year-old adventure, I get the phone call that would again change my life forever. It was the director of the unwed mother's home that was helping a young college student with her unplanned pregnancy. The birth mother was young, unemployed, in college, and pregnant, and wanted to place her baby for adoption. And the director was asking to present us to this young woman as as potential family for her baby. I was told that the baby was a boy, and African-American and asked if that would be a problem for us. I told her absolutely not. She advised me that the baby was due in late March, and asked if that was too soon. WOW! That is soon...but I said OK. I then had some questions for her....what's the pregnancy been like, does the birth mother smoke, drink or do drugs, what is known about the birth father. She answered that it has been healthy, uneventful pregnancy, the birth mother does not smoke, drink or do drugs, and Caroline (the director) is sure of this, as she knows the birth mother's family. The only drawbacks were that the birth mother did not get prenatal care until later in her pregnancy, as she was young and living in denial about being pregnant for the first few months; and that not much is known about the birth father, as the relationship had been a short term dating relationship gone bad.

So YES! I told her! Please present us to her! She said that the birth mother was coming in on Monday, the 19th, to talk to Caroline again and Caroline would present our profile, along with any other families that wished to be presented, at that time. She advised that birth mothers usually take a week or so to make up their minds, and usually take home the profiles to get the opinions of family members or the birth father in making this decision. So she said she would call us, probably by the following Friday, to let us know the decision.

So it was with eager anticipation that we went into that weekend. WOW! In another month we could have another baby! I couldn't believe it! We had had our profile out for only a week, and already we had our first call! So it seemed even more important that we have this first (and probably only) theme park adventure with just Alex, and him having us all to himself, before the possiblity of a new baby comes home and he becomes a big brother.

The morning of our SeaWorld adventure dawns, and I'm so excited. We eat breakfast and began packing a diaper bag, etc. for a day at SeaWorld. I change Alex out of PJs after breakfast and when I take his clothes off: OMG! My baby was covered, all over this trunk, arms, legs and belly with tiny red welts of some sort! What the heck is this? He did not appear sick in any fever, no pulling at the ears or scratching of the throat, no coughing, sneezing, runny nose...but he had little red bumps all over him. I called to Pete and he came running....neither of us could figure out what this was. I called my Mom, the RN, to ask her opinion. I had her on the phone while I was looking Alex over yet again, buck-naked on the changing table and told her, "it looks like bug bites all over him." And it did. Like he had been swarmed with mosquitoes overnight and they had all but carried him away. He was red and bumpy everywhere.

Mom had no clue, and based on his lack of other symptoms, I thought it might be an allergic reaction to something he'd eaten the day before; but to be on the safe side, I call Peds After Hours. They agreed with Mom and me and said to just give him some Benadryl and if anything else cropped up, call back. So that's exactly what we did: gave him some Benadryl and he slept most of the day and night, while we racked our brains and finally determined that there must have been something in the pot of vegetable stew we'd had the night before that caused this reaction in him. So there you have it: our SeaWorld adventure was off again this weekend. But the funny part was that for the rest of that week, Alex kept telling people (using the saddest, most pitiful face imaginable) that he had bugs! He had listened far too well when I had been on the phone with my Mom, telling her the welts looked like bug bites, because he made sure the rest of the world knew we had bugs and that they'd bitten him all over his body (gee, thanks, Alex....makes us look like terrific parents).

Well, by Sunday morning Alex was all better, but to play it safe, we stayed home anyway. We decided to try again for SeaWorld the following weekend. We felt it was even more important to go and show Alex how devoted we are to him, and really spend some fun family, quality time with him, before our next baby arrived, hopefully the next month. So we made our plans........

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Year 2007!

Well, the new year had begun: 2007!

It began with our annual New Year’s Day combined birthday celebrations dinner, wherein we celebrate all the December and January birthdays that run together and sometimes get overlooked with the busy-ness of Christmas and then the rut of post holiday blahs. Included: Aunt Chris’ birthday (December 16); Alex’s birthday (December 28); Mom’s birthday (January 1); Dad’s birthday (January 7); Adrian’s birthday (January 10) and my birthday (January 15). So to cover all this, we headed to one of our favorite restaurants, Romano’s Macaroni Grill.

Macaroni Grill offers a wonderful loaf of bread for dipping in the tasty olive oil and spices they bring to the table. And while this bread is delicious, it’s a little different from my mother’s bread. I may have written previously about my mother’s home-made-from-scratch-sourdough bread. She makes loaves and loaves and loaves every week, and we get our bread fresh out of the oven almost daily. Alex loves it; he shoves it in his mouth by the fistful and calls it “Maw-maw’s Happy Bread”...I guess coz it makes him happy to eat it. Whatever the reason, he can shove almost an entire half-loaf in his mouth at once, that’s how soft and delicious Mom’s bread it. The dipping bread at Macaroni Grill, however, is a little crunchier for dipping. Alex didn’t realize this, and spent the entire night repeatedly trying to shove the whole round loaf in his mouth. Despite Alex’s table-manner-lacking display, a great time was had by all.

However, a sad, sad decision had to be made the next day, saying goodbye to a beloved member of our family. My cat, Chloey, left us after we made the painful choice to end her suffering. She had been diagnosed as having kidney trouble about 18 months earlier. At that time, the vet did not sound optimistic about her chances of survival. I was determined, though, and did a little research on my own. We ended up bringing her home and giving her twice daily sub-q injections of fluids to help flush out her kidneys, as well as keeping her on a very strict diet. To the shock of our vet, over the course of a few months, she greatly improved, and within about 8 months, her condition had improved to the point we only had to give her injections a couple of times a week. She lived for an additional 10 months after that a very happy, healthy life. Then, around Thanksgiving, she crashed again and it was back to the twice-daily, and then on to 3 times daily injections. She recovered only slightly, and then, sadly, her liver started shutting down as well. She lost a lot of weight and began having trouble walking and meowing. We knew the end was near, and we kept her comfortable over the long new year’s weekend. But on the morning of January 2, she was ready to go, and I had to be ready to let her go. She left our lives that afternoon, in the doctor’s office, 11 happy and loving years after she had come into our family. She was a solid white Angora, as soft and prissy and precious as you could ever imagine, and still, to this day, she is horribly, terribly missed. Her official name was Clarissa Grace (Chloey) but she was also called “PP” for “pretty princess”; and our family is not the same without her.

Later in January, we got some great news: we were going to be grandparents again. Matthew’s wife, Emily, was pregnant. Their oldest, Colton, was 4 ½, and they finally decided to add to their family with another baby. And, within the next few days, we got the news that our second adoption homestudy was finalized, and to put it in adoption lingo, we, too, were now expecting.

I remember feeling so very sad for Matt and Emily...I had had two miscarriages in years past, and the heartbreak of a miscarriage can be crushing. Especially when you had tried so hard and so long for a baby of your own. I was glad those days were behind me...not having a baby days, just the trying to get pregnant days. I was “out of that box” and into another...and I was relieved and happy to be pursuing adding to my own family again as well.

We began talking to Alex about a new baby, asking him whether he wanted a brother or a sister. His reply? “I want a dump truck.” This went on for a few weeks, and his answer never varied. He wanted a dump truck. I began cleaning out Adrian’s old room in preparation for the future arrival of Alex’s new sibling, and found an old, life-sized doll that had belonged to Adrian, left forgotten in the top of her closet. I decided to break Alex in with that, and I began carrying around that baby doll, so that he’d get used to seeing me with another baby. The first time he saw me with it, he pointed to it and stood on his tippy toes, indicating he wanted to see what it was. So I sat on the couch and held the bundle towards him and he said, “baby?” I said, “yes.” He very gently pulled back the blanket I had wrapped the “baby” in. He looked in, pointed to the baby’s head and said “hat” (the doll was wearing a cloth cap on her head). I said, “yes, Alex, baby has a hat on.” He looked again, pointed to the baby’s cheeks and said, “hot” (the baby doll had very pink, very rosy cheeks). I said, “yes, we need to keep the baby toasty and warm.” He looked some more, pointed to the doll’s blue-yarn hair and exclaimed, “boo hair”. To which I replied, “yes, she has blue hair, but our real baby will probably have yellow or brown hair.” He kept looking, gazing, gently touching the baby doll. So I then asked him what he wanted to name the baby doll. He looked back at me, thought about it a moment, and answered, “DUMP TRUCK!” After that, he never showed any interest whatsoever in the baby doll, no matter what I did. I’d ask if he’d like to help me bathe the baby, feed the baby, or cuddle the baby and he would reply with a firm, “NO! Want to dig dirt!” Alex, he’s all boy, isn’t he?

Now, you can't imagine that I let a new year start out without some random, odd event happening, can you? So here's that latest installment in my oddities collection: We were scheduled for our physicals for our adoption home study. I remember distinctly that it was scheduled for a Tuesday afternoon. Mine was at 1PM, and Pete's was at 3PM. However, on the Monday morning just prior, and upon arriving at work, I bent down in the parking lot to pick up our office's daily copy of the Wall Street Journal. When I did: SNAP! I don't know what happened, but it must have been something in the way I bent over, but I pinched a nerve in my back. Oh, the pain I was in that day. And I hated to go to the doctor, because I was scheduled to see him for my physical the very next day! So I just kind of suffered through with a heating pad and Advil that way, waiting anxiously to get to see the doctor on Tuesday.

Tuesday dawns and the babysitter lined up to watch Alex while Pete and I went for our physicals bailed on us. Last minute, too. So, since our appointments were back to back, we decide we have no choice but to take Alex with us and take turns watching and entertaining him. We figured that would not be too hard to do, since our doctor's office is near the hospital with the duck ponds close by.

Me first! I went in for my 1:00 with the doctor, and I get my physical and he writes me a RX for a pain reliever for my back. Now, this man had been my doctor for 12 years at that point in time, and he knew I was highly allergic to codeine. Also, he makes it a habit to ask his patients of any allergies before he writes any RX. I can't remember what the RX was for, but I'm sure it was something that did not contain codeine.

Next up: Pete. He goes in for his physical now that I'm through. Alex is getting antsy so I walk him out to the duck pond behind the doctor's office. Now, I like ducks. I really do. I've even had ducks as pets. A whole slew of them. Love ducks. But you gotta remember: Alex had just turned 2 at this point, and I was dealing with that insufferable back pain. So while I'm happy to have Alex occupied and enchanted with these ducks, he's getting pretty close to the pond as well, and that was making me nervous. That, and all the duck poop everywhere. The ducks must have been fed well the last few days, because the amount of duck poop all over the ground was staggering. And for those of you who've never seen duck poop, it's silver-green, slick and slimy. So here I am, nearly immobile with back pain, and trying to keep up with a two year old who is apparently on a mission to hunt down and pet every last duck out there. I start with the verbal barrage: "Alex, come back here. Alex, don't. Alex, stop. Alex, don't go near that water. Alex, get away from the water." On and on I go, tiptoeing carefully in, on and around this field of duck poop. Well, one particularly gargantuan mallard caught Alex's attention and off he went. He was bound and determined he was going to "get that duckie." So Alex charges after the duck, heading straight towards the pond, and despite my back pain, I take off after Alex. And next? You guessed it! I slip and fall and slide on my back and rear on all that duck poop! Straight towards the pond. I got caught up on a tree stump and settle there, Alex turned around and looking at me and saying, "Why you sitting down like that, Mommy?"

Oh, the pain, the smell, the humiliation...even if it was only in front of my two year old and a bunch of ducks. No one else was around, as far as I could see, with the exception of anyone looking out of the office windows nearby and seeing a middle aged woman covered in duck poop all over the back of her WHITE jacket.

I managed to get up and drag Alex, screaming and crying, back towards my doctor's office. Luckily, Pete's physical was over and he was headed towards the duck pond anyways looking for us. We go back into my doctor's office where I clean up as best as I could without changing clothes all together. I took off my jacket, which is where must of the duck poop was, and just stuffed it in a bag, probably unsalvageable. I went home, changed pants and socks and shoes, and prayed the odor of duck poop was not permanently embedded in my skin.

I then took off for the pharmacy to drop off my RX for the pain reliever for my back. I was in so much pain now, I decided to wait for the RX. They finally (40 minutes later) call my name and I pick up my RX, pay for it, and an headed out, already digging the bottle out of the bag. I notice the name of the drug on the RX, and while I can't remember now what exactly it was, it sounded close to codeine, which worried me. So I headed back to the pharmacy counter and started to inquire. Well, I had to wait so speak to the actual pharmacist. Another 20 minute wait. My back is now killing me....I'm in tears with the pain. I talk to the pharmacist. I explain my allergy to codeine, which should have been in my records there anyway, and even if not, they ask about allergies when you drop off any new RX. She explains to me that this is not actual codeine, it's just "sort of like" codeine. And it's not so much what she said, but how she said it, you know what I mean? In a very condescending, "you be a good girl now and just take your medicine" type of voice. Now I was crying and sniffling because of the back pain, all hunched over and everything, but for heaven's sake! I was 40 years old! I went on to explain my allergy to codeine and that I was worried that taking something "sort of like" codeine would have the same effect as codeine itself. She asked me to described my allergic reaction...did my throat close up....chest pains...couldn't breath...what exactly was my reaction? I told her exactly what happened the one and only time I ever took codeine: I had violent, gut-wrenching vomiting and a blinding headache. And I mean blinding literally, my vision was very dark and cloudy for a few hours, along with the projectile vomiting. And this....woman....(can you hear me gnashing my teeth?) then asked me, "was it really vomiting, or did it just upset your tummy a little bit?" And she rubbed her hand in a small circle on her own belly to illustrate, much like I have done with any of my boys when they've complained of a tummy ache. But: they're babies! Here I was, a grown woman, and this bee-yotch was treating me like a difficult school child, I guess because I had the gall to question her pharmaceutical judgment about medicine prescribed to me! You know what? You're damn right...anytime I have a question about a drug anyone wants to give me, I'm gonna have the audacity to ask about it if I think I might have a reaction! I was furious! I stormed out of there and was by then ready to jump off a cliff I was so tired and in so much pain.

I ended up calling my doctor's office and he prescribed me something else...which I had called in to someWHERE else. That turned out to one of the worst day of all that year. What a way to start 2007! And come to find out, when I went back to work and told everyone my sad, miserable tale, one of the women I work with is friends with that particular pharmacist! Small world!

So our new year was off to a start. Good or bad, call it what you will....just a month out of the box, and it’s already had it’s share of both good and bad news. But that’s life, right? That’s families, marriage, jobs, friendships, and just life. You gotta take the good with the bad, and everything in between. Turns out, LIFE was about to start happening to us, the good, the bad and the in between, in SPADES. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

EPISODE 5 It’s Terminal...

....but not the way you think. This episode occurred while dating my current husband. So, while it was long after the end of my first marriage, long after the Vodka Collins era of my life, and after my crazy had ended, it still goes to show that I simply must be a magnet for oddities, even when they are not the result of alcohol, roommates, or exes.

It was Spring of some year back in the mid 90s. Pete had to fly down to our vacation island house and property on Union Island in the Grenadines. I can't remember why, and it was going to be only a short business trip. But I was disappointed that I couldn't go, and probably ticked off for some other reason that has long been lost to my memory.

I was driving him to the Orlando airport. We stopped for dinner somewhere. We got into an argument at dinner and it never really let up once we got back on the road for the airport, which made for a long, miserable trip...not one you want to make just before sending your boyfriend off on a jet plant for a long, Caribbean weekend. The fight was a bad one...I remember us even pulling over to the side of the road to argue several threatening to get out of the car...etc., etc. Stupid stuff. With it being that bad, you'd think I could remember what the fight was about, but I cannot.

His flight did not leave until 7:00 the next morning, which meant he had to be at the airport for check-in at least 90 minutes before departure (5:30 am). So our plan was to spend the night in some decent little hotel somewhere, grab some sleep, and then I'd drop him off at the airport before heading home the next day. However, with our little fight, stopping for dinner, and our constant pulling over to argue on the way there, it was LATE when we got to Orlando, and we could not find a hotel room. At least, not one within reasonable driving distance from the airport, that did not charge $350.00 per night. We drove around checking different hotels for about an was now after midnight....we only needed the room until about 4:30 or 5:00 AM...there was no way in hell we were going to pay $350.00 for about 5 hours of sleep! It must have been spring break week, or there must have been a convention in town, but we just could not find a room except for the airport Hilton that, while convenient and would have allowed us to "sleep in" until about 5:15 AM, still with taxes and surcharges, would have cost us close to $400.00 to spend a few hours sleeping.

So we ended up parking in the short term parking garage at the airport and trying to sleep in the truck. 5 hours of sleeping in a truck. Not comfortable...especially when you're still ticked off and seething. We finally quit arguing, but were physically and emotionally drained. We bumped and hit the stick shift and the horn several times, trying to get comfortable and nap just a little bit. Security came over at one point to see what was going on. We didn't exactly fess up that we were trying to sleep there all night, so we just said that we have arrived at the airport for our morning flight WAAAAAY too early, and we going to just sit there and keep from roaming the terminal.

5:00 AM arrives and we get out of the truck. We head to the bathrooms to try to freshen up. Coming out of the bathroom, I find a Coke machine. I'm dying of thirst, so I get me a tall, cold bottle of Diet Coke. Not a can, and not a plastic bottle, but one of those tall, glass, "old-school" coke bottles. Pete goes to check in at the American Airlines counter, checks his bags, and we have a little time to kill before he has to board the plane. We walk around some, and are trying to not argue, but whatever the devil it was that had gotten into us the night before, came back again, and we started arguing again. Here we are, two grown adults, walking around the airport, arguing. Security kind of keeps an eye on us (and this was pre 9/11). We realize we're being given the fish eye, so we go into an empty alcove where the pay phones are to continue our "discussion" there. It's really just a long hallway, with a couple of drinking fountains, the row of pay phones, a tiled floor, and sounds echo loudly in there, we discovered. But we're whispering and are trying to keep our voices down and at one point, I reach with my glass Diet Coke bottle to put it in my very deep jacket pocket. I was tired of holding it, especially since when I argue, I like to use hand gestures a lot (wink). Apparently, my jacket pocket, while large enough, deep enough and wide enough to hold the bottle, was not where I thought it would be, because I tried to put the coke bottle in the pocket without really looking. Just sort of felt around for the pocket with my hand and when I thought I had found it, I dropped the coke bottle in....or so I thought.

I dropped the bottle straight on the tile floor. It sounded like a bomb going off! Miraculously, the bottle did not shatter or even crack. It landed standing straight up on the floor. But it being heavy glass, and then hitting that tile floor in the empty alcove, it sounded exactly like a bomb or a gun going off. And here it was: us! The fighters! The ones who had spent the night in the parking garage, and after a night of no sleep and arguing, we looked like hell!

To say security came running is putting it mildly. We were surrounded almost immediately with everyone except maybe the Department of Justice. Security, cops, airline name it. It took quite a while for the excitement to die down...they wanted to make sure no one was hurt, no guns or bombs had gone off. And here I am, trying to explain that I had simply dropped my diet coke bottle. They were all a little skeptical at first...I mean, who wouldn't be? The bottle didn't break. I still had the bottle, but I was trying to tell them I had dropped it, and it had made the horrific, Earth-shattering sound, and not even a crack to the bottle itself? It was odd, even I have to admit that. And I don’t know if it being so early in the morning made things better or worse. Worse, perhaps, because so few people were around to absorb and muffle some of that sound when I dropped the bottle; better, perhaps, because there were fewer people to observe us in one of our many moments of shame.

So they do everything but give us a body cavity search. They check Pete's boarding pass to make sure he really is ticketed to fly out...they take down our info and want my truck tag number to make sure I leave when I say I will. Short of arresting us, I don't know what else they could have done to us. I was embarrassed, to say the least. All this fuss over dropping a coke bottle!

By the time they finally ensured the security of the MCO airport from the two wack jobs that were US, it was time for Pete to head to his boarding gate. So off we went. He sent his carry on bag through the X-ray machine and we said our good-byes. In spite of our fighting from the night before (and from a few moments earlier) I was going to miss the old fart, and so I started crying. Really, it was from pure emotion and exhaustion, but I cried nonetheless. So we stood there for a few moments, me crying, him consoling me, just holding each other, quietly and more calmly than we had since leaving for the airport the night before. He finally breaks away (run, Pete, run) and gets on that tube-tunnel-whatchamacallit that would deliver him to his boarding gate. So I stand there with silent tears and watch him leave, thinking back over the last few hours.

I sort of noticed out of the corner of my eye a family of about 7 or 8 all saying good-bye as well. They were Hispanic and everyone was talking at once. Some were grown ups, some were a little kids. A couple of them, like me, were crying, as well. It was a loud scene, all of them talking in Spanish, all talking at once, with a few wails from a couple of the kids thrown in to boot. But I really was more intent on my own thoughts at the moment. Until....

everyone but one of the Hispanic family members went through the boarding gate. Everyone except what must have been the husband/dad/grandpa. An older gentleman, at the very least. He was gushing the tears, huge, hiccupping sobs that went on and on. He could not seem to get ahold of himself. His family was gone now, through their own, tube-tunnel-whatchamacallit that would take them away from this sobbing older gentlemen left now standing beside me at the security gate. He was really upset. He was wailing, moaning, clutching a handkerchief, and began clutching his chest.

Yup, clutching his chest. A let out a sob, gasped, threw a hand over his heart and then turned towards me, began speaking to me in Spanish (which I know very little of) and sounded like he was pleading somehow, "Por favor, por favor" and then grabbed my arm and fell to the ground. I managed not to fall with him, but he was now lying at my feet, a glazed look on his face, sweating, can't breath, and good ol' me, standing there.

Somebody noticed this scene and for the third time in 6 hours, security was called and found me! I was just sort of standing there, with this man prone at my feet, and he kept clutching at my feet and legs and talking to me. I don't want to even think what the police must have thought of me by this can imagine. The questions, the accusations, me trying to explain that I didn't do anything...I didn't even know this man, and I certainly didn’t shoot, assault or harm him in any way!

They quickly realized this man was having a heart attack, and EMS was called. They wouldn't let me go for a while. They had a few more questions to ask me. Finally, they believed that I had just happened to be the one lucky enough to be standing there when this complete stranger keels over of a heart attack at my feet. When I was finally allowed out of there, I beat it the hell out of there before I was accused of high jacking a plane next. Who knew what my next adventure would be. Never was I so glad to leave a place in my life. It had been one of the most surreal night of my life. And me, the most innocent thing you could ever imagine in your life (wink).

You can rest assured that when it was time to pick Pete up from the airport, it was worth the extra $50 to have him take the extra flight back to our regional airport. It was a long, long time before I set foot in the Orlando airport again. Can ya blame me?

Friday, January 16, 2009

EPISODE #4: (Another night of Vodka Collins, a/k/a S*#T happens)

This is more my roommate’s story, but I was involved, and I haven’t seen the girl in ages, so I’m telling it!

It’s still the same roommate, and I was still married to the same guy. Like I said earlier, this was a crazy time in my life. I wanted out of the marriage, and was going back to relive my teen years that I had spent married and tied down, so a lot of wild things were going on in my life.

My room-y had a new boyfriend, after her split from her live-in. He was older, and, come to find out, married. And had no intentions of having my roommate as anything other than a little piece on the side.

We were in a bar a few nights later (oh, no, not again) and we’re hashing this over. “Hell hath no fury” and all that. The boyfriend had kind of a blase attitude about their relationship and didn’t think much at all about what he was doing to her. Just, “oh, well, S*#T happens.” So in our Vodka Collins induced commiserating, we kept dreaming up revenge scenarios. For instance, cut his gonads off and tell him, “oh, well, S*#T happens”. Or, slash his tires on his precious Ford Bronco and tell him, “oh, well, S*#T happens”. Or call his wife, tell of the affair and say, “oh, well, S*#T happens”. You know, stuff we wish we had the gall to do, but didn’t. Just the Vodka talking.

So we’re leaving the bar, not even late that night, and I wasn’t even really drunk. Just feeling good. Good in that “pissed off woman with a mission” sort of way. Sisterhood, revenge....we were feeling invincible. We walked out of the bar and take a short cut around the back. The bar was undergoing some renovations, apparently to the bathrooms, because sitting right there in front of us as we rounded by the back door was a toilet. Just appearing as if my magic out of nowhere. A used, discarded porcelin toilet bowl, sitting right by the dumpster. Kind of how my roommate felt: S*#Tty and used and discarded.

You can practically see the light bulbs going off in our heads. You guessed it: we hauled that toilet bowl home, in the trunk of the car, and got to work on it. We cleaned it up a bit, and then went to “Spencer’s” in the mall, where they had those bumper stickers from long ago, red bumper stickers with white lettering, spelling out “S*#T HAPPENS”.

Well, it sure did that night. We bought a bumper sticker, brought it home and slapped it on that toilet, and then in the dark, misty hours after 2AM, we hauled that thing to room-y’s boyfriend’s house, and left it in their driveway, right in front of the garage door, where either the boyfriend or his wife would be sure to find it when they came out for the paper the next morning.

We didn’t stick around to see the fireworks. We hauled butt home and celebrated with another Vodka Collins. The next morning brought the news that wife-y had not been too pleased with what the cheating husband had quickly explained must have been a prank by his hunting buddies. But no real damage occurred. And then a sobering thought: he let us know how close we had come to real trouble, because his house and property was wired for security with laser lights, or some kind of invisible lighting around the perimeter of his yard, and he does not know how we managed to pull off that stunt without triggering the silent alarm, and the police! GUH! That would have been, well, S#*TTY!

But: all’s well that ends well. Their relationship ended. She went on to meet a really nice, young, unmarried guy that was crazy about her. I don’t know what ever happened to that married man. Nor do I know what happened to that roommate....haven’t seen her in years. And when I look back on that prank, I get chills. I was really in a bad place at that time in my life. Crazy, drinking and partying too much, pulling stunts and pranks like that. Thank God I grew up and learned some valuable lessons without having anyone get hurt.

Monday, January 12, 2009

EPISODE #3: (I swear I’ll never drink like that again)

Still married to the same guy....only he has a new job where he travels quite a bit. He’s gone for days and sometimes 2 or 3 weeks at a time. We were sort of unofficially using that time as a trial separation. My best girlfriend at the time had recently split from her live-in boyfriend, and so to help me with expenses, and to keep me company, she became my roommate.

Now, as I stated, I married very, very young. I was not even old enough to drink when I got married. So between that, and my brother’s life-altering and completely disabling accident the next year, I completely missed out on the whole teenage rebellion thing that most kids go through right at the end of and just out of high school. I saved my rebellion, hell-raising antics for the end of this marriage that was doomed from the start.

So one night room-y and I decided to throw back a few of our new favorite drink, a Vodka Collins or two (or three or 20) and then go bowling. Off to the bowling alley we went, where I became the rebel of the evening and had a few more drinks. We ran into my room-y’s new boyfriend, and the party started from there. I’ll just cut to the chase now and tell you that I got drunk. Plastered, snockered, S**T-faced, bombed, call it what you will....I was Drunk!

So there’s a group of us all hanging out, and various people fade in and fade out of the group over the course of the night. At one point while a bunch of all are all just shooting the breeze, some guy sticks his hand out to me, and says, “by the way, Hello, I’m [...blah, blah, blah....whatever his name was.” Trying to hold my act together and not appear as bombed as I was, I stick my hand back out to him and say, “Nice to meet you, my name name is.......oh wait, I knew it a minute ago.” Believe it or not, I was so drunk, I DID NOT KNOW MY OWN NAME! My roommate and her boyfriend had wandered off to make out somewhere, and the particular individuals around at that point were all new to me. So I had no one to ask what my name was. CRAP! Well, so much for first impressions. The poor guy...well, to be honest, I was drunk, and reeling, so I can’t even tell you what his reaction was, or what he did or said after the humiliating revelation that I DON’T EVEN KNOW MY OWN NAME! I do remember taking off trying to find room-y so I could find out my name. And then I remember being in the restroom with her, and her trying to get me to get my act together.

Next thing I remember was leaving the ladies’ room and going back out into the bowling alley. Our little gang was at one end of the bowling alley. WAAAAAAAY over at the complete opposite end of the bowling alley I spotted a kid I had gone to high school with. I had been a senior when he was a freshman. We had been in some class together...I’m guessing it was a science class, because I was horrible at science all the way through high school, and it’s not a stretch to imagine that I was still trying to master Freshman Biology while a senior in high school. Now, I’m still around 21, 22 years old at the time this story took place, so I’m guessing this kid was now a senior, or maybe just had graduated the year before. But this one young man in particular was etched in my memory, and the more I think about it, the more I believe it must have been a science class we were in together, because the particular thing I remember about this fella was that he had three nipples! And I knew this because he shared that information with the class. He had a large, dark skin tag on his chest that looked exactly like a third nipple, and even showed it to us. I remembered that very distinctly. I was....stumbling out of the ladies room, after embarrassing myself by being so drunk I did not even know my own name, and a unique name it is to remember, right? I was so bleary I could barely see straight, I was tripping and fumbling around, I must have looked like the Exorcist and smelled like a brewery, and did not know who I was, who I was with, or how I got there. BUT! I aimed my bleary gaze all the way across the bowling alley and sure as shootin’, I recognized that third nipple guy, from yards and yards and yards away, and 3 or more years ago! And I made no hesitation to start hollering for him, from all the way across the bowling alley: “Hey! You! You there! You! Three nipple guy, I know you! You! Remember me? From class? You, there you, guy with 3 nipples! Remember me? Hi, how are’ve you been? Still got those 3 nipples? Those nipples doing OK?” I mean, no one could shut me up. My friends were trying to hold me back and stop me from staggering over there and making even more of an ass out of myself. So I managed to hop up on the row of chairs nearby and began waving my arms around and continued my screaming for the guy with 3 nipples.

Good grief. Someone should have just clubbed me on the spot.

My room-y finally decided we’d better call it a night, so she dragged me out to my car. She flung me into the passenger’s seat and left me there, passed out, so she could go back in and say goodbye to our friends and make sure neither of us had left anything behind (like a warrant for my arrest, maybe, or an alcohol rehab admission form, possibly)? While she was gone, I decided she had left me there to rot in my own drunken rotten-ness while she went back inside for some more tonsil hockey with her boyfriend, so I decided to go after her. I got as far as getting the passenger door open, when I promptly fell out and hit the pavement, and fell fast asleep.

Thankfully, room-y did not take too long to return to my car, and found me. She had to go back in, though, to get her boyfriend to come out and help her get me picked up and loaded back into the car. We finally made it home where room-y managed to get my shoes off and dump me into my bed. She stayed up watching TV in the living room for a while. My husband, who had been at a concert that night in Jacksonville, came home around 2 or 3 in the morning. Room-y had fallen asleep watching TV, and upon hearing his car pull up and the door slam, woke up. She heard him come in and he came to chat with her a bit, assuming that I was in bed. What he did not assume was that noise, that high-pitched, ridiculous sounding, sing-songy noise he heard was his wife. Well, room-y did. And she did knew I was brewing up some trouble. She did everything but try to seduce my husband in order to keep him from going into our bedroom and finding me dead drunk. Which is exactly what he did. He came in to find me buck naked except for my socks, bra and underwear, and I was tip-toeing around the edge of our water bed, drunk and singing to myself. And what do you think happened when he asked me what the hell I was doing? I asked him, “Who the hell are you?” Yup, still pretty drunk...not sure at that point if I knew my own name, but my amnesia at that instant was real....alcohol induced, but real....I did not know who he was. My own husband, of 4 or 5 years at point, and I didn’t know his name. My own name, a unique one at that which had been the only name I had ever gone by for 22 years at that point....couldn't remember that either. But a ramdon, 3-nippled classmate, whom I barely knew from high school 4 years ago? Not a problem. Knew him like a brother.

P.S. I’ve never drank like that ever again.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

EPISODE #2: (One really stupid way to try to leave your lover [or husband])

After returning from the Atlanta area to our hometown to live, the marriage to my first husband began to fall apart. It was really going from bad to worse over time, and I wanted it to work, but I seemed to be the only one working it. He wanted to remain married, but he did not appear to want to put in any effort towards making the marriage work, much less flourish. He was content to stay married, and stay miserable. I hated the idea of divorce, but I also hated the idea of living with him as the marriage was at that time.

Now, I think I’ve mentioned before, and maybe you’ve picked up from prior posts, that I am a bit of a drama queen. So it should come as no surprise what I tried to do. I had recently watched a Lifetime network movie where someone had amnesia. It was interesting, and I’ve always been fascinated by the workings and intricacies of the human mind. So this movie was running around in my head for a few days when I went to pick up my husband after work one evening (we only had one car at the time). I was a little late picking him up and he was royally PO’d. Royally. I show up and he’s got his A-hole attitude ON! We get in an argument and he refuses to get in the car with me, so I take off. I was about a quarter of a mile away, even less than that, when on of my tires has a blow out. BAM! I hit a tree and wreck the car! Hubby saw the whole thing happen. I hit my head and face on the steering wheel when the accident happened and was kinda hurt, but not badly, as I was in a mall parking lot, and wasn't going very fast at all. I got out of the car and saw hubby running towards me, and even from a distance, I could see he was more mad than worried about how I was. So I thought to myself, “jeez, what a jerk! I wish I’d never met him.” And then: Bingo! An idea popped into my head. I decided to have amnesia, just like that movie I’d watched a few nights earlier.

So hubby jogs up to me, and I am dazed and disoriented and confused. He asks if I’m alright. I ask, “What happened?” He tells me he doesn’t know, he just saw me run the car into that tree over there, and why the hell did I do that? What the hell was I thinking? What kind of idiot am I? And on and on and on. I was getting PO’d at him for his ‘tude, but I had to remain quick on my feet and not blow my chance here. So I just kept up the confused act, and then began throwing in, “who are you?” At first he didn’t buy it. But the more I played it out, the more he began to get worried that I really did not know who he was. He was torn between being mad at me for wrecking the car, and being worried about my apparent amnesia.

The mall security showed up, and they called the police. The police showed up, and I just kept up my charade. I had everyone going. The police were very concerned about me. They were trying to point out to my husband that from the angle of the car hitting the tree, the blown out tire was not caused BY the wreck; rather, it was a tire blow out that must have caused me to lose control of the car and therefore, hit the tree and wreck the car. But he was still angry, not entirely convinced that the wreck was not caused by my angrily driving off and leaving him standing there. So he was still pacing around, muttering and ticked off, and between that, and my act of who am I....what happened....can someone take me, I don’t know who he is and I don’t want to go home with this angry man, the police would not let my husband take me home, which made him even angrier. I was not bleeding or in any real pain, and I was refusing medical treatment, even just a quick once-over by the EMTs.

So hubby finally had the bright idea of calling my parents, both of whom are RNs. They arrived, full of parental concern of course, and once I began thinking about it, and realizing I had to go somewhere, if I wasn’t going to go home with my husband, I “remembered” my parents. So I got in the car with them. Not only are my parents RNs, but you just can’t bull shit a bull shitter. I was upset and adamant about not needing to go to the hospital, insisting that I just wanted to go home with them. I was hoping they would just take me to their house for some chicken soup and TLC. WRONG! They started mumbling in the front seat about taking me to the hospital..and I remember this....they SPELLED OUT the word hospital....H.O.S.P.I.T.A.L. I was mad that they wouldn’t go along with my wishes (my charade), so I just hollered out from the back seat, “I have amnesia...I’m not illiterate!”

My game quickly deteriorated from there....especially with my momma. She just kept (rightfully) insisting that I needed to be checked out, just a quick once-over, and I knew that the hospital would find nothing wrong with my brain to account for my amnesia, other than youthful stupidity. And the one thing you don’t want to do, is piss off my momma. So I quickly had a series of flashbacks, crying and exclaiming, “oh, I remember, I’s all coming back to me, I remember”.

Well, Mom and Dad knew better, and hubby really did, too. He just didn’t want to admit he’d been duped even just a little bit. This was really the beginning of them realizing that my marriage was not working out. I stayed with them that night, and went back to my home with my hubby the next day....and we kept plugging away at the marriage a while longer. It was really a crappy thing to do on my part, I can admit that now. But at the time, I was only 21...old enough to know better, yes, I know....but it does make for some interesting blogging now, doesn’t it?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Episode 1: Personal Drawers

Before I began my journey into 2007, because it was such an eventful year, I thought I’d reflect back on some tidbits of my long ago past. You know: back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth (well, more accurately, when I was married to my first husband, and the marriage was coming apart). It was a crazy time in my life...I had married young (while still in high school and to answer the unasked question: NO, we were not pregnant, just young and stupid love).

(A Personal Drawer Means Just That)

We were living in the metro Atlanta area and I was working for an attorney whom shall remain nameless. He was young, only about 26 or 27 at the time, and had taken over his father’s law practice. He was also newly married to THE MOST proper Southern Belle you can imagine. She was so polite and correct and sugary sweet it made my teeth hurt just talking to her. And he was just as exacting and PC and precise and “by the book” as she was. I mean, you look up “Mr. And Mrs. Perfect America” in the dictionary, you see their pictures.

So, it came as quite a shock one day when I found what I found in his office. Now, I am not a snooper, so I was not mucking around anywhere I should not have been. He was in state court one day, and called me in a panic from there because he was missing an important item from the file of the case he was in court about. I looked here, I looked there, I checked files and offices, and his exact words to me were, “tear up the carpet if you have to, but FIND THAT [...item]”! So I went back to his office, as he remembered distinctly reviewing this document the night before while sitting at his desk. I started rummaging once again through his various desk drawers and started emptying them one by one, looking frantically for this document. From this one particular drawer, that appeared to be a “personal” drawer (i.e., cough drops, kleenex, tooth brush, sinus medication, inhaler, etc. among the items in the front part of the drawer) I kept looking deeper and further back in the drawer.

WHOA, HOA! OMG! Was this EVER a “personal drawer”. The first thing I found was a receipt for a post office box rental in another town, and it was not the town in which he lived. Now, that in and of itself was not so shocking. But, he had a PO box for the office, and I knew his home took mail delivery, so at first I kind of wondered what he needed another PO box for, especially in a town about 20 miles west. But...whatever. So I kept looking for this particular item he needed for court.

Hello! I found copies of order forms from what must have been what I’ll call here “men’s magazines” where he had’s just say....personal pleasure items....all for delivery to this post office box in that next town over. OK, I’ll spill it...he ordered a blow up “companion” doll, cuffs, whips, chains, and items that...let’s just say that they resemble and are supposed to function the same as a particular part of the male anatomy. EeeeeeeeWwwwwwww!

OK, now I have worked for lawyers my whole life. My brother is a lawyer, and some of my dearest friends are lawyers. And I know how they save EVERY scrap of paper, EVER, EVER, and ALWAYS. But to save copies of the entire pages of the order forms where he ordered his kinky toys? Picture it: he filled out the order form WITH HIS OWN, REAL NAME, with the PO box rental as the address, and instead of just photocopying the order form part at the bottom corner of the page, he copied the whole, entire pag, pictures and all. I assume this was so he'd know and have a picture of exactly what it was he was ordering. I did not find the toys themselves, nor did I find the magazines which these order forms came out of.

All of which leads me to believe two things: 1) this stuff, and the magazines from which he ordered them, were not going to his home, or being enjoyed in the company of his lovely young wife; and 2) he must have a room, an apartment, something, somewhere where he was keeping these items.

Another interesting thing to note: this was back in the day before cell phones, so if he had a little “sumpin, sumpin” going on on the side, she certainly wasn’t calling him at the office during the day. Cause I answered the phones all day from 8 to 5, and never once did I answer a call that even remotely sounded suspicious. And if he’s cautious enough to have “her” (if indeed there was an ongoing “her) never call the office during working hours, then why leave all these receipts and order form copies, photocopies no less, straight from the magazines, in his office drawer?

So anyways.....draw your own conclusions, as I did. Actually, I did not want to think about it that much, but I just could not help myself. It was the proverbial train wreck that you can’t help yourself from rubbernecking to see. It haunted me for days and weeks. I could not go into his office for months afterward without feeling awkward.

After my discovery, I just put everything back where it belonged and kept looking for the item that had been the purpose of this mission in the first place. Turns out, boss man had it in his possession all along. He’d simply looked over it the first time he searched his briefcase. From that day forward, I always made sure he had EVERYTHING EVER he could possibly need, when he left the office to go to court. Do you blame me?