A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

First World Problems Defined

There are those moments, usually moments of great need, when you turn on your coffee pot only to learn that it's planned obsolescence chip has activated and once again you must give Walmart or Target some of your money, IMMEDIATELY, to acquire a new one.

Since buying a Keurig I hadn't thought much about that being a possibility. I spent a third world country's GNP to aquire it, and the damn thing had better work as far as I'm concerned.

So you can imagine my delight when the other morning, I pushed the button and walked away - returning to find THIS.
OMG SCREW YOU KEURIG REALLY ?

Well it seems that our Keurig has gotten clogged by us making hot chocolate and other kinds of milky drinks in it. THEN WHY DO YOU MAKE THEM KEURIG? Grrrr.

So I ran hot water threw it a couple of times and got a better cup. My awesome husband seems to have sorted out he can put vinegar through it and we'll do that.

Seriously, I have an expensive, fancy coffee pot that doesn't like to make some of the drinks that make it fancy. NICE.

This is officially a first world problem. I think I should be ashamed to have it but I'm not.  At least I don't have to live in a world where my phone doesn't fit in my skinny jeans.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Round Two Again

Mammogram testing round two sends you to the hospital outpatient center, which was where I went this morning. You're supposed to be 30 minutes early, but I have to confess I wasn't feeling it. So I got there almost on time, and no one was waiting so it's not like it was a big deal anyway.

I verified who I was and was taken from this tiny room back to the bigger, ladies only section of the imaging center. This time I enjoyed a coffee, Lorna Doones and graham crackers, compliments of the Center for Women's Diagnostics.
That really is a superior shortbread cookie, in my opinion. Pecan Sandies are the worst cookie on the planet. This cookie opinion piece is off topic but it's the sort of stuff I was occupying my mind with while I tried to sort out if my locker bracelet thing would tighten (it didn't) and if there was anything to read (there wasn't).

I went back for the "better" machine to do a check of the right breast. The image from the previous center was up and I wish to hell I could've had an image of it. It looked CRAZY. I can see why they refer me if that's what they get with the FIRST machine. Huge white mass of ...MYSTERY. I mean it just LOOKS like doom.

The better machine apparently provided better pics however many were required. And more were required. And more again. Then I went back out to sit, and have more cookies, and wait. Then they come to say "Hi I'm here for your ultrasound" which I had suspected I was gonna have but didn't really know for sure.

After the girl slathered me up with goo and shoved a wedge under my shoulder, thereby dislocating it from what I could tell, and forcing my arm back in a direction it doesn't go, she got to work looking for whatever was in the mass of mystery. After about 30 minutes and my shoulder going numb, she told me she had to go get someone else to take a look, because she was new to this facility.

I didn't actually believe this lie. I thought "Oh hell here we go something IS wrong dammit." But an older tech came in, took one look at me and said "Let's get some towels under your arm, that has to hurt." I instantly liked her better. She started doing the tests again, and did the entire series over, but she TALKED. She told the other tech "This is a better shot, this shows that it's just it's just dense tissue. See that? Look it's an artery - that's nothing see? Ok look this is just dense tissue here. This is what he wants to see." etc.

In essence, SHE told me it's just dense tissue and I'm fine.  She even said "This all looks really good." and smiled when she left.

I have orders to go back in six months but this time they aren't "watching" anything and I don't need to go see the boob doctor. Which is good because he was kind of weird, I thought.

So I'm fine.

I intend to stay that way.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Soccer Warriors

The cold let up long enough for us all to go out to watch Julia's last soccer game of the season. For a day that started out at 26 degrees that was a pretty nice surprise.
She was one of the youngest on her team, most of the other girls were in Kindergarten, more mature for sure, and it was hard for her sometimes to understand that they didn't want to hold hands or hug all the time.  We're going to have to work on keeping our hands to ourselves before we go to school. But she came a long way this season, Suddenly midseason the girls were PLAYING soccer not just following one kid who could handle the ball. She even got some goals this season, on purpose!
The obligatory party afterward, with cupcakes and treats. Yes there were participation awards and while I am generally against those, I have mellowed a bit. Everyone gets one, everyone DID participate and we aren't shouting "You're a winner" so I think I am not being a hypocrite on this one. Mostly not being a hypocrite.
Anyway she's four. Who am I to tell her she's not a winner?

Friday, November 14, 2014

And Another Mammogram...And Other Stuff



I knew in my heart, after last time, that they were going to call me back. I had my first mammogram a few years ago, and then I got the OH SHIT COME BACK WE NEED TO SEE YOU call. I went every six months for screenings for what turned out to be dense tissue and a cyst which went away all on it's own. 

So I donned my pink gown (above) and went in for the ten minute process that was my mammogram. I grabbed a water from the fridge (they owed me the water for the indignity of the nipple stickers and the manhandling even though the lady was nice). I hurt and I was suddenly overcome with nerves. 

Getting a mammogram is the "let's see if you have cancer" test. When you get your pap smear they check for cancer and my doctor at least checks on your overall female health. But the mammogram is, at least to me, cancer or not cancer? That's more than a bit nerve wracking.

I can't completely blame the mammogram and the impending call, but I woke up at 4 am in excruciating pain, with what seemed to be an ulcer. My husband sat up with me while I waited for medicine to work and I watched the Smurfs with him. Eventually he put me back to bed.

When I woke up, I had the phone call waiting for me in my voice mail. "We need to see you at the Outpatient Breast Imaging Center" ...MONDAY. Yeah yeah I know the drill. Yes I know where to park. Looking forward to your snacks and beverages.  

I slept most of today, overcome with aching in my stomach and what I realize now is stress. I'll get referred back to the Boob Doctor as he's lovingly called. I shouldn't be stressed. Everything is fine. I'm sure it's fine.

I hope it's fine.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Time for a Mammogram

Alright I slacked off mightily. I was going every six months for two years because of a small cyst they were watching (it was nothing). But then I forgot. It seems I hadn't been for my annual in a couple of years and so that means I hadn't been for a mammogram. Oops.

I'll go back tomorrow. My prediction is I'll go tomorrow and then I'll get the OH SHIT call to come back because I need MORE tests with the different machine and we'll start the dance again. I won't freak out this time, I'll just go, and know that it's probably ok but they need to check because that's safe.

There isn't any breast cancer in my family, which means nothing except I'm not predisposed to it. I could get it. So I'll go and get my check and I'll do what needs to be done. My friend Michele Kocinski faced the bad news with amazing bravery, so I will use her as my example if I ever got such news.

I hate it. It's a pain in the ass. Yeah it hurts and it's embarrassing and weirdly dehumanizing to me. You have a stranger stick metal stickers to your nipples sometime, and manhandle your boobs like you aren't THERE and tell me it's not.

However, it's important. It's "this could save your life important". So I go. If for no other reason, than what you see right here.
I have every reason in the world to do it. So I'll go and I'll be glad I did, even if I don't enjoy it.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

A Pool Party In November

I heard on the news this morning that there is a Polar Vortex of Doom coming our way before the end of November. I guess it's a good thing then, that our local park had a pool and pizza party for special needs families now, as we'd have all frozen running to our cars afterward were it later in the month.
I said to the family, everyone get in the pool so I can take your picture. Then they promptly went and got as far away from me as they could.
Jerks.
The loved it though and it was a great night for just swimming and playing with the family. I love watching my children when they are having so much fun that they can't stand it. The event was in the shallow pool for the safety of all of our special little guys. I think we were tied for loving the lazy river vs. the big slide. Louis love of the big slide was HUGE despite his initial misgivings. We laughed because he's now at that age, afraid of it - but once he does it, he's the king of it. He's going to love the water park this summer.
I had a big fail while I was there, and now I'm all regretting it and stuff. There was another family there at our table while we ate, they had what I thought was about an 18 month old baby. I kind of wondered what the babies disability was, but the whole place was full of disabilities and it seemed weird to ask "So what's wrong with YOUR kid? Let's tell disabled kid stories."
But as I was packing up, she asked me if the boy were autistic and so I said yes. She then asked me "So how did you know?"
I told the story, one I've told for years here. Then she says "He doesn't talk" motioning to the baby on her lap, which didn't strike me TOO odd as he looked like a baby still. And then she said "He's going to be three." Oh. Yeah. That's wrong.
I asked her if she belonged to Spectrum, I talked to her about how to join, and where she got tested (same place we did). She has him in Babies Can't Wait which is great so we sit and talked.
But then I failed, because I could've given her my contact info and I don't know why but I didn't. It didn't OCCUR to me. I should have.
She's at the start. She has in her arms a baby, a baby who is three. It's going to be so different and hard when that baby is five, and six, and seven. There will be progress but still she'll be reminded that her ten year old is still a baby, in so many ways. I feel really bad I didn't give her someone to reach out to, at least to remind her to contact Spectrum and join. We smiled and chatted about what he can do well, she told me can spell. I was reminded of Miles, who even now can read and write.
So we had an excellent evening, a perfect family evening of fun with cheap pizza and lemonade and swimming. That's the best part. Swimming and swimming and swimming. It was over too soon but it felt like it went on forever. At least, this morning that's how my body feels lol. Part of that was because I went down THIS slide more than once.
My body disliked it every time, man I don't take the jolts and bumps like I used to. Even better was when I hit the water the fist time, my boob popped out. Thanks for failing me swimming suit. It was dinner AND a show for those still eating. My solution was to go again. Why? Because YOLO.

Thanks for the party Bogan Park. It was excellent.

And Danielle with the three year old, I hope I see you posting on Spectrum. Because I'm going to reach out and say hi and give you my contact info. I'm sorry I didn't do it before.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

The True Story Of The Worst Cake

There are adages that would indicate that all cake is good cake. After all, it's cake. HOW could it be bad? I personally believed in this rather willingly until this past week. You see, my husband found a recipe and since it was almost his birthday I decided it would be PERFECT to try out this really yummy sounding recipe for his special day.
He's not a big fan of box cakes, or even CAKE for the most part, so I welcomed the idea of making him something special or different.
He found the recipe here.  It was originally published HERE. This is not an indictment of either site or their authors. This is however, a story of the WORST cake.

My first point of suspicion was that boiling was going to magically remove the bitterness from the skin but hey I'm not a home economics expert so I rolled with it. We followed the instructions and boiled, removed seeds, and pureed the tangerines.
First hint something was wrong, was this - it did NOT smell amazing. Meh is how it smelled. Taste? OMG it tasted like bitter death. BITTER FUCKING DEATH. It was gross. It wasn't like oh yum taste these tangerines, it was like THIS IS HORRIBLE.

We put it in the fridge overnight, as it said we could, hoping some sort of change would take place.
I was a good little baker and creamed the eggs and sugar properly. I folded in the dry ingredients so gently my mother would be proud.

And when it began to get more thick, I added the tangerine puree of death. After getting it blended it to perfection, we tried the batter. My hopes were, a lightly sweet tangerine batter.
It tasted horrible. The bitterness had not subsided. We added more sugar. And more sugar. AND MORE SUGAR. We continued this until we got a sweet tangerine batter with a hint of lingering bitter. It occurred to me that Alton Brown would tell me that I've now altered the chemistry of this cake and baking is a science and you can't do what I just did but I say I KNOW THIS ALTON BROWN BUT IT'S FOR HIS BIRTHDAY AND I AM OUT OF TIME!
I had this hope, at this point, that somehow baking was going to carmelize something and this cake was going to change. This cake was going to be amazing. It was going to work out. IT HAD TO WORK OUT.  I mean, chemical things happen when food is cooked. The properties change, things meld with other things, and so I felt like it was possible that something was going to happen to make this cake the AMAZING cake that had been promised.
I think my first clue that I had a problem was that the house never smelled good. I was promised amazing tangerine smells. It came out of the oven disguised as a proper cake. I dusted it with powdered sugar, wrote 46 in the sugar for his birthday and plopped on some candles. We sang and served cake.

I gave a gentle warning "There is a chance it's terrible. I'm not sure how it turned out."

He's sweet, he took a bite. And then looked at me and said "It's awful." He finished his piece while I took a tiny bite confirming it's status.

This is, in fact, the WORST cake ever made in our house.

We've discussed how we could change the recipe to make it not vile. It's a good recipe I think except for a couple of fatal mistakes that are insurmountable. It needs changed a bit so we might play with it. Maybe.

It was a lot of work for a terrible cake, I tell you what.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Fright Fest Revisited

I hadn't traumatized my children recently so decided we should go to FRIGHT FEST at Six Flags. I confess, I love it when they flood the park with fog and the monsters come out. Of course, the mom I was 12 years ago would've said OMG TOO SCARY FOR A FOUR YEAR OLD. This older, less uptight mom said, meh she'll be fine.
We're at a weird age. We can do some big rides - like wooden coasters. We actually ALL did a wooden coaster but I think Charlie and I know Julia thought it was too much. But Charlie is too big for little guy rides, which he really kind of likes.
So we ride what we can, and we wade through the spookies and embrace the last day of the spooky season. It was a great day out, especially for the SUPERGIRL.
She did inform us that there were too many monsters. And no, I don't know how she did that with her foot.
It was great and we took advantage some of the special assistance pass for our special little guys. It really helps, but we don't always need it. We try to gauge the situation. It's a definite good resource though for special needs families.
Best part of day? Well they WERE playing White Zombie on the Carousel. Or maybe it was the bacon maple funnel cake. It's really a tie.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Halloween Happens

We do like Halloween. Last night the temperatures where dropping, and the mountains were getting snow, but we managed to go about threatening strangers until they gave us candy in relative precipitation free weather. We made our rounds around the neighbors that we like (NOT YOU NEIGHBORS WHO ARE AHOLES) and we brought in a mighty haul of sugar laden goodness.

I feel bad, in past years I've managed to muster the strength to do stuff ALL WEEK the week before the big night, but this year I was like eh, there will be candy on Friday. I need to get on my A game and do the more thematic mommy stuff. I did manage to dig out the Halloween books for story time each night.

That feel like a mommy victory.
LAME.

Julia's little friend from next door came over to show off his Ninja ways, which obviously were apparently anyway. Ok not really the kid will never be stealthy enough to be a Ninja. They were both so cute and excited to show off their costumes, it was adorable.

The magic of Halloween is something I don't forget even from when I was a kid, maybe that's why I love it so much. I love to see what everyone else will be, and the excitement everyone shares when the big night finally arrives.

Halloween is magic.

After we went to so many houses that Julia said "Can we stop now?" we made our traditional post trick or treat pilgrimage to Chillis, the COLDEST restaurant near the Mall of Georgia. It could be raining ice and this place would have on it's AC. I think we just go to see how cold it would be, really. Also because we had free kids meal coupons. We had about five years worth of Halloween Meals for free. We're now out, so hey NEXT YEAR WHO KNOWS what we'll do.
 Also thanks Chillis for putting electronics at the table. I know it might be hard to believe but not everyone allows electronics at the table. Some of us expect our children to look up and converse with the family. They won't be mentally scarred by doing it one time but still, DO NOT WANT.
All in all, Halloween Happened. There were costumes and giggles, and some screaming when dogs came to the door (Miles). There was candy, and excitement, and cold and fun.

I'm going to check that one off as a success.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Everyone Knows What Autism Is

I think most people genuinely believe that, with no ill intent. It's untrue of course. But thanks to Rain Main, everyone THINKS they know what autism is. First of all Rain Main is make believe, so there's that. Plus, I've seen a LOT of autistic kids in the past ten years. I never once met a Rain Man.

Most people's first exposure to autism was Rain Man though, which never occurred to me until recently. A Tom Cruise film gave the nation the WRONG idea. It was a good movie, to me, at the time. It's probably still a good movie. I'm not sure, I haven't seen it since the twins have been alive. Perhaps I would feel different about it. But I understand why, looking at the Rain Man, you'd think that Autistic kids are just a bit challenging and quirky. Maybe need a bit of looking after.

That'd be so easy wouldn't it? Most days I'd give anything for them to be like the Rain Man.

My first exposure wasn't the Rain Man, it was someone's kid where I grew up. Their kid was autistic, and he sat facing the wall staring off into space, sometimes he'd rock. That's what he did the couple of times I saw him. That was autism to me. I suppose that with that burned into my brain from such a young age, anything better than that is DOING WELL in my book.

There are a lot of people on TV I've seen lately who after a long, casual conversation will pop out with "I've got Autism Spectrum Disorder" and the media jumps all over it. The wave it around "Look here we have some Autism for you to see".

But they don't bring the cameras to the severe autism classrooms where the ten year olds are in diapers,and don't do two way conversations. It doesn't make for good TV I suppose.

I've been thinking lately though, that instead of making everyone feel good about Autism, about how not scary it is and oh look here is another person on a TV show who is on the Spectrum, maybe they SHOULD scare you.Maybe it should scare the fuck out of people so that they're aware, so that they understand that sorting out why this happens and what's to be done MATTERS.

You look at a BRILLIANT mind like Stephen Hawking and you think OMG FUCK ALS IS SCARY. LOOK WHAT IT DID TO STEPHEN HAWKING. You see the ALS challenge and see beautiful people posting videos and you see omg THEY ARE GOING TO END UP LIKE STEPHEN HAWKING. It scares you. You donate money. Because you don't want the people you love to suffer and die from ALS.

Autism doesn't kill anyone, so it's never going to be as scary as something terminal. But it wrecks lives. It changes futures. And it destroys dreams. One in 68 children are diagnosed with the autism spectrum disorder. Maybe it's time we gave it some honest, not so pretty attention. My children's future is that I'll take care of them, or their siblings will. At some point they'll end up in a home, which is ANATHEMA to me but I know it has to happen some day. They'll never fall in love, have children, have jobs, have their OWN lives. They have no future other than existing and being loved, which is ok by me but I'd kind of hoped for more for them.

Maybe my wish today isn't directed at you. It's directed at the media. Stop making Autism pretty. Stop showing it's pretty face all the time. Show what it's like at it's worse, and all the in between. Let everyone know what autism really is.

That's probably too much to ask so early on a Tuesday but I ask anyway. A bit ranty I know. I might need more coffee.