Thursday, April 1, 2010

One of THOSE days!

Today started out like any other, really it did.... but before long I realized that I was not going to accomplish anything I planned today. 
First, my son needed my 2008 AGI for his financial aid application for college - go figure - I haven't filed that return yet... why? Well, simply because they owe me money, and I haven't had the time or inclination to do so... This is not usually a problem as I can lay my hands on pretty much every Form W-2 I've ever gotten... but wouldn't you know when he needed it it wasn't there... So... I quickly logged on to my former employer's payroll site to print it out... Oops, I've been gone too long to access it. Now I need to call them - no phone number in sight! So, after my son got off the phone with his enrollment counselor, I finally found my termination paperwork that had the phone number. I called got the W-2 and thought - Whew - stress done! I can deal with that and go back to working on my bracelet project for the weekend trip. 
Queue the phone... school, Oh lord - this can't be good! It is our daughter - she's decided she wants to come home because her teacher is acting like... get this - A TEACHER! 10 minutes worth of arguing later - she is staying at school, and I've got to get this bracelet done... after I get the laundry on the line. 
So, I head to the washing machine to take the load of sheets I washed last night out to the clothesline... only to find them SOAKING in the tub... WTF?
So I fiddled with dials and knobs and tried to get it to drain, nothing... no spin, no drain... DAMN! Now, for some people this might not be a problem, but for me this is tantamount to a major catastrophe... there are five people living here - two of them teenagers! Our daughter changes clothes no less than three times on any given day, and our son, well - let's just say his clothes walk to the washer and help themselves to  a bath about once a month... 
Not to mention the sheer volume of unwashed blankets and stuff from winter that I refuse to wash because I can't hang them out on the line... that is saved for spring cleaning. Everyone in our house has at the very least three blankets at the beginning of winter. As long as they stay off the floor, they last through the season until wash time comes again. I refuse to pay exorbitant electric bills to dry a comforter for two hours when it takes about 30 minutes on a nice day in April. So I've got a LOT in my laundry room right now... this is NOT amusing. 
Hubsy was gone to the tax office to file our homestead exemption that our town had not funded for the two years prior, and it had to be done today, or we'd rack up another $2,000 tax! He also had to dispute the assessed value, since they've got it listed at TWICE what we paid for it... so he's not here and I have no clue how to get all the water out of there!!! 
I removed all the sheets and stuff - geez that's some heavy lifting... and had them in a basket draining into the machine when he got home. 
Good news! We don't have to pay the entire tax bill this year, we just need to pay half of it and the house won't be auctioned off! BUT the washer is still broken. 
So off we go to see about a new (read - new to me or used) washing machine that's within our budget to purchase. Of course the first place we stop has none, because apparently this 'cash for clunkers' thing the government is doing for appliances requires that the old appliance be destroyed?!?!? WTF? So we head out to the other shop down the road... We walked in the door, told Joe what we needed, and he said "What would you like to pay?" WOW! So for $150 we got a washing machine that not only matches our dryer, but is actually the top of the line for that particular model year! It's a whirlpool and has more bells and whistles than my DVD player! 
So Joe says it'll be here by 5, so off we go to Walmart to pick up dinner, and a few things I needed to make dessert for our weekend away...

We get home, and pull the old washer out - only to discover the floor under it is soaking wet, mold is growing up my wall, and one of the pipes is leaking everywhere!!! 
Queue pissy teenaged girl! PJ wants to know if she can go out with her boyfriend a second time this week, since she won't get to see him all weekend... Now, she not only went out last night (our rule is one night out, home by 9 and one night he can come over till 9) she was out till 10 (with permission), and was 5 minutes late at that!  I told her no, and was then blamed for intentionally not remembering forgetting it was Wednesday instead of Thursday. Much door slamming ensued, and she complained for about an hour... UGGH - this is not my day.
So... off to Lowes we go - to get new plumbing for the whole damned mess! $32.00 later we get home, and move the washer out, only to discover that it's been leaking out the bottom - for I don't know how long! Lord, the darned thing was worthless anyway so I guess it was only a matter of time!
So... now the new plumbing is in, the new washer is working great, my son was accepted to college, and my daughter has stopped hating me... for now anyway - I think I'm ready for a nice hot bath and my bed! 

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Living with SED

This is part II of my ongoing series - Living with SED. To see what came before - see Part I.

We seemed to sail through the first two years the boys lived with us - things weren't bad, but they really weren't all that good either. I grew resentful, and tired. 
Let me explain a little about that first, so you don't go thinking I'm just one of those moms... 
In 2005 my other half injured his back, at the time we lived in North Carolina. I was offered a job in Georgia in July, and we moved here at that time. Once we relocated, I worked about 60 hours a week during tax season from December until April. After a year or two I moved up, took a salary position, and worked 60-80 hours a week, all year long. Through all of this, Shawn was in so much pain and on so many pain killers that it was hard for him to do  much. He was able to prepare light meals, do some laundry, and help with homework and stuff, but that was about it - the bulk of everything was on my shoulders. 
The year after the boys came to live with us, Shawn was admitted to Miami Jewish Hospital's Rosomoff Pain Clinic. This was after two surgeries - the first a simple discectomy, the second a more radical full fusion from S1 to L4. Neither of them worked and we were looking at a 95% disability rating. Until his insurance company decided to try Rosomoff... and sent him down there for a month. During that month I did it all - laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, getting kids up and ready, weekend stuff, everything fell to me. Of course I had a sitter, and worked fewer hours at work, and more at home. But it wasn't easy, and again my best friend, bless her heart, saved my butt more than once. 
They flew me to Miami to attend his "graduation" from the therapy program, and we flew home together at the end of his stay. It was summer break and we were doing OK... but I was exhausted. 

Things moved along and the summer turned to fall, the kids returned to school. Fall turned to winter and Christmas. It was during this time that I was gripped with an unshakable bout of pneumonia. I was deathly sick and in bed until almost April. I worked about six hours a day during the entire illness. At one point, the doctor threatened to hospitalize me to keep me from working. During all this time, I was also trying very hard to maintain the house, while my dear other half, who had been bedridden up to this time, continued to stay by my side. Let me repeat - I was in bed, and he was by my side. Continuously. He didn't do laundry, cook, or clean except minimally. I was still trying to put in a full 40 at work and do the minimum to keep the family going on my own. Now, to give him credit so you don't all think I'm insane... He tried, he really, really tried. But when he got home from the hospital, I pretty much stopped doing most things. I left him with the chore of laundry, and didn't give him firm ideas of how it was done - so when a size L ladies sweater turned into a 2T sweater because he dried it instead of blocking it - I would lose it. Not that it was his fault, but that it happened to begin with. I loved that sweater! But the little things added up to big things, and because I was so sick, and on so many medications, my mental facilities were not what the normally are - and I became resentful. 
When I got back on my feet - minimally, I returned to the workplace, leaving him with EVERYTHING to do at  home, because by the time I got home, I was exhausted from trying to work sick. It was unfair to him, and the children, but I wasn't thinking clearly - months of mass doses of steroids will do that to a person. 
So, in February I decided to strike out on my own. For 5 miserable months we lived in separate houses. In March, Daniel had a mass meltdown at school. He threw himself away... literally, and they could not retrieve him from the garbage can. He just wouldn't let go and get out. By law, they were required to report this to the Crisis Intervention Team at his doctors office. Daniel was swept away in an ambulance and taken to the hospital for evaluation. The doctors did the evaluation, and decided he needed to be hospitalized for stabilization... I felt guilty... very, very guilty. So much so that I tried calling him every day - and every day he hung up on me saying I didn't want him. I cried myself to sleep at night as I realized that my decision to be "stress free" had caused this child so much heartache and pain. 
By May I had realized the errors of my ways, and that I was truly, madly, deeply in love with their dad... and I didn't WANT to live without them in my life. So I began the process of repairing our relationship. 
Daniels hospitalization didn't last long, and he was returned to his dad, a Zombie... by an orderly - without any medical advise from the staff of the facility... just - here's your son... have a nice life. It was then that we understood the lack of appropriate care for our child, and we began to take steps to help him. 

This is part II of an on going series about Living with SED - stay tuned for part III.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


If you had said to me 8 years ago - Hey, would you like three more  young children to raise up into adults?  My polite but rapid response would be not just no, but hell no!!! However, in most cases you don't pick who you fall in love with, and you certainly cannot choose to love a man with kids, if you don't love the kids too. 
Fast forward 8 years to 2010  and see my life now... I have 3 children ages 26, 22, and 19... and I have three wonderful step-children ages 16, 15, and 14. 
Notice the difference, my kids all had a couple of years between them. When the oldest was 16, the youngest was 11, and the middle child was 13. That was easier. The problem here is they are all going through the exact same stage at the same time... and it's making me insane!
Our dear daughter is working toward becoming and independent woman. She's doing a great job of it, all while making me crazy.  She is dating a young man who is 18 almost 19 and he's  a great guy - but he's got ideas about things... something we try very hard to keep our kids from having. (not really, please don't flame me) He has a job, a car, and a life outside of his home. He wants our daughter to have a job, a car, and a life outside of her home. We are not prepared for that... We are not ready for her to go to work and have her grades suffer for it. We're not ready to take the chance on wrecking a car, and we're certainly not ready for her to have a life away from us. 
But as adults we  know that she needs these experiences to become an adult. As parent's we worry that she'll follow the wrong lead, or go with the wrong person, and something awful will happen - even though we've taught her better. Because, inherently we don't trust ourselves. We doubt that we've done our jobs right, because as a teenager, well, she still makes mistakes. She still chooses the wrong thing sometimes. However, if we keep her sheltered, and don't allow her to make those mistakes, then well - we're doing her a disservice, how will she learn if we don't allow the lesson. 
On the other hand, our son Seth, would like nothing better than to sit behind the computer screen on roleplay forums, or in chat all day every day. He makes straight A's in school, but is minimally available at home. If you ask for something to be done (his laundry, dishes, bathroom cleaning) he either does it half-assed, or not at all. Or it turns into an argument that lasts for hours. While one of the most loving and peaceful children I've ever met, he is also one of the most insolent and lazy. He gets an attitude if you ask him to take his dog outside... ahhhh memories, I have a 22 year old sleeping on my couch while he finishes college that was the same way at 15... without the insolence. 
He is a responsible young man, when he wants to be. He is mature beyond his years but he also has his daddy's temper. Which means when he gets mad... he gets mad
Our youngest son, is the one that bothers me the most. Not because he's special needs, but because there is nothing I can do as a mother to help him. All we can do is love him from afar... his hospitalization breaks our hearts, but we know that it was the only way. We deep down know that he is great hands, getting better care than he ever has... but it's hard on us knowing that we his parents could not do what needed to be done. It's depressing. But then we look at the point that we did do what needed to be done - we reached out to his doctors, and took their suggestions at hand, and they recommended hospitalization.

Teenagers are exasperating, aggravating, and unnerving. They make parents cringe and cry... but they are the final stage to adulthood, and a direct reflection of us, as parents. We are proud of all of our kids, and sometimes we don't tell them enough... 
So today, I challenge you, no matter what the task, big or small - tell your kids you're proud of them today!