Friday, August 28, 2009

Random Nonsense- It's What I Do Best

I've been trying for the past week to read "To Kill A Mockingbird", by Harper Lee. I decided to read it because it's one of the 'Great American Novels', a book that one 'should read in their lifetime'. I have not seen the movie yet, either. But Lord help me, half the time I'm ready to just throw the book down on the ground and stomp all over it. The three kids, Scout, Jem and Dill, annoy the hell out of me. Nosy little nitwits. Why can't they just leave Boo Radley alone? If I had been that much of a bother when I was a kid my mom would have beat the tar out of me. Never mind that she was the Gladys Kravitz of our neighborhood, and always watched and speculated about the neighbors. I don't get it. I don't know if I can finish the thing or not.

I am thoroughly sick to death of hearing about Michael Jackson. Whatever he was or was not, it's kind of late to speculate on that now. I was a huge fan of his music, and obviously, somewhere along the way, he got on the wrong path. But just bury the man and shut up already.

I have decided that starting September 1, I am going to make a commitment to walk for 30 minutes twice a day. I'm in a rut, and I need to make some positive changes in my life. Taking better care of myself might be a nice start, huh?

I'm making a list of all the crap I need to do around the Casa, and honestly, I could almost care less. Cobwebs? Let 'em keep multiplying. Stained carpet? Whatever. It will all get done, never fear, I'm just feeling pissy because I'm the one that always has to do it all. Dont' mind me, I'm just wearing my cranky-pants!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Silliness and Nonsense

As my family navigates its way though the world of school sports, I'm finding that more and more, the adults often act more childish than the children themselves do.

I started out writing out the entire story in this post, but six paragraphs later, I felt I just couldn't subject you to this much stupidity and immaturity. Long story short- the Husband is coaching, Chickenhead is playing. A couple of other coaches got their panties in a wad over petty crap, tried to get the Husband removed, told lies, and ended up quitting and pulling their boys off the team when the Husband rightfully called them out on their BS. So apparently it's ok to teach your children that it's perfectly acceptable to lie to try to get your way, and if that doesn't work, you just get your toys and stomp off the playground and go home.

In other school-related news, Chickenhead will be taking music lessons this year. In our district, at the 4th grade level the kids can take beginner strings. The instrument choices were violin, viola or cello. Chickenhead chose the cello. I am so excited! I always wanted to learn how to play the cello. I may have to take it out and play it when he's not around. No, maybe not. There's a very real possiblity that I could break it. I'll just keep it in the case and stay out of the front living room where it currently resides.

My mom is doing better. She's walking around the nursing center with her walker now, not using the wheelchair at all. We went to the neurologist on Monday, and he's not certain that she has dementia or not. He's referred her to another doctor for neuro-psych testing that should determine it once and for all. We think she'll be coming home within the next week or two as well. She's still wanting to live on her own, and maybe once she's released from physical therapy, she'll be able to. Everything is one step at a time.

So, that's what's going on. I'm contemplating a makeover- new hair, new makeup, new wardrobe. We'll see what happens!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just Plain Nuts

The past week or so has been hectic. So hectic in fact, that there are a few days that I don't really know for sure what all I've been up to. With that in mind, here's what I do know:

I've decided to do a bit of digging around on the baby that my mom gave up for adoption. Am I going to tell my mom? No. Not yet, anyway. If I can find this now grown baby girl, and IF she wants to meet us, then I will tell mom. If she doesn't want to know who her birth mother is, or have a relationship with me, I'm ok with that, and I'll simply tell mom that I know about the adoption, and that she shouldn't feel shame or guilt for what she did. Mostly, I want to know if my sister (that still sounds very strange) was fortunate enough to be adopted by a kind and loving family, and if she had a good childhood and was happy.

Mom is still in the nursing and rehab center. We're not sure when she'll be coming home, but she's doing much better attitude-wise, and is working hard at physical therapy. My heart breaks a little every time I go to see her, though. She's gotten so old so quickly. She's become frail and in some ways, childlike.

This past weekend, we finally got around to going back to school shopping for Chickenhead. Dear Lord. A piece of advice- Do NOT go to Wal-Mart the day before school starts. It is not pretty. There was lots of shouting and crying and screaming and fighting, and the kids weren't behaving themselves, either. Thankfully, though, we made it and Chickenhead started school Monday fully kitted out. He likes his teacher, and best of all, his best friend AJ is back at our school. Seth & McLovin are back!

Chickenhead is playing football, and has practice three nights a week. If you've never been in the presence of a sweaty, dirty 9-year old boy, it's quite an experience. I usually just march him in to the laundry room to get the equipment off and the clothes in the wash, and then straight in to the shower he goes. If there were a way to wash him and his clothes at once, I would love it. The gear, oy. The 'gear' consists of nylon/spandex blend pants, two pair, a padded shirt, and padded arm protectors and knee pads. This stuff is expensive and high maintenance. It must be cleaned much as one would clean say, and heirloom wedding gown. Everything must be washed in cold water on the delicate cycle with no fabric softener. The pads must not touch when they are wet. How am I supposed to stop that from happening? The gear must be tumbled dry on low and removed as soon as the dryer buzzes. Whatever. I wash the stuff and throw it in the dryer and go to bed.

So, that's what's going on around here. Laundry, work, home, laundry, the nursing home, laundry, yardwork and laundry. If anything else happens, there better not be a load of laundry involved.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

(Mad) Men I Like- Jon Hamm

This Sunday night is the season premier of AMC's 'Mad Men'. If you haven't watched this teriffic ensemble drama, get the first two seasons queued up on your Netflix.

Set in the early 1960's, 'Mad Men' follows the professional and personal lives of the employees of Sterling Cooper, a fictional ad agency. The women are beautiful and dressed to kill, with bullet bras and cinched waists. The men are cool, and everyone smokes. They smoke a lot. This show should come with a warning from the surgeon general, they smoke so much.

But all that smoking doesn't take away from the delicious-ness that is Don Draper, the cool, womanizing ad exec played by Jon Hamm. Let's take a look!

Yes, indeedy Mr. Draper, I will hold all calls and grab my steno pad right away!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Answers. And Questions.

I've been debating for most of the afternoon and this evening over whether or not to write about this. I've talked with a couple of close friends and the Husband about it, but I'm dealing with some info that is tugging at my heart, making my head pound and causing me to question much of what has gone on in my life. Before I get too far ahead of myself here, let's go back to the beginning.

It was the spring of 1977. I was a chubby 3rd grader with long pigtails and a crush on Donny Osmond. My mom and I lived in a small yet cozy house. I'm sure she struggled financially, as she received no child support from my father, but we managed. Throughout the end of winter and the early part of spring, my mom started gaining weight. I recall saying something in a joking way, and she just laughed it off. I really didn't think much about it, being nine years old and stuff like that just didn't stay on my radar for long.

One night, my mom woke me up saying that she was sick, and my aunt was coming over to take her to the hospital. It gets kind of weird here, because there are some random details that I recall very clearly, and other things that I should remember, I just don't. For example, I remember wanting to wear a green dress with white polka-dots, but my mom said no. But I couldn't tell you what month or day it was. Anyway. My aunt took my mom to the hospital, and I went to stay with my aunt's boyfriend. We'll call him 'James' because I think that might have been his name, but I'm not totally sure.

James let me drink coke and stay up late watching TV. He must have sensed that I was worried about my mom, because he said that she would be fine just as soon as she had the baby. What? What baby? Maybe somewhere in the back of my 9-year old mind I knew James was on to something, but I decided that maybe James had had a few too many beers and he probably just didn't know what he was talking about.

The next morning, my aunt came to pick me up, and she took me home. I asked her if my mom had a baby, and she simply said 'no'. The next day, my mom came home, no baby. So, there. There was no baby, so obviously James had been hitting the Schlitz a little too hard and didn't know what he was talking about. Sometime after that, I remember my mom tearfully explaining that she had a tumor that had to be cut out of her stomach, and that she had been really sick. I suppose the story could have ended here, but it doesn't. As I got older, I began to wonder why, if my mom had a tumor, they had sent her home with a diaper bag filled with nursing pads and those gargantuan sanitary napkins women used to wear. What was that all about?

As years went by, I would occasionally come back to this event and wonder, 'what if'? Surely though, if my mom had a baby, I would know. I often thought about asking my aunt, and last year decided that I would ask her, but unfortunately she died before I got that chance.

With my mom's recent diagnosis with dementia, I began to wonder about this again. Today my cousin emailed me to ask how my mom was doing. I replied, giving her the update, and said that I missed her mom, because there was so much I wanted to ask her, that I never got to ask. She replied that my aunt would have answered anything I would have asked her. So I asked my cousin- did my mom have a baby in 1977?

She replied. Yes, she did, and yes, she gave it up for adoption. Between my cousin and I, there's not a lot of information to go on. My cousin thinks my aunt said the baby was a girl. Not knowing the date of birth, though, really gums things up. And, the hospital where my mom had the baby was torn down years ago.

I feel terrible for my mom that she went through this. I think there were several reasons she gave the baby up. First, I'm pretty certain that the baby would have been bi-racial. If so, my mom's family would have written her off completely. For her to have a child with a black man would have been the ultimate transgression in their eyes. I don't think my mom was even dating this man for very long. And, there was just no way she could have afforded to raise two kids. She could barely afford to raise me.

I understand so much more about why my mom is so negative and so bitter. This changed her drastically. I never really knew why my mom was so sad all the time, but I think a lot of it comes from this event. It explains so much. And even though I think I've known this to be true on some level, it's still a shock to hear that I was right about it.

I don't know yet if I want to find this person. I don't think I have enough information to even start a search. Somewhere, there's someone who may look like me, or maybe my mom. There's a 32-year old woman somewhere out there, who may have questions about who she is. Is she married, does she have a family of her own? Was she fortunate enough to be adopted in to a loving family? Or did she grow up in the foster care system, bouncing from house to house?

For a long time, I have wanted a solid answer to this question, Did my mom give a baby up for adoption? And now, while I feel relief to have the answer, I have more questions than ever. And I have no idea how I will get the answers.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Finding My Way

I'm going to start this post off with a disclaimer. I never intended this to be Kelley's Pity-Party Blog, and I will be trying very hard to keep it off of the road to that hoopla. Over the past week, whenever I would sit down to write, I couldn't do it. I don't want this to be just my woe is me, whine, whine, whine blog, you know?

So, first let's have a brief rundown of what's been going on with my mom. She's been diagnosed with dementia. But. I think this was more of a case of the drs at the hospital just wanting to move her along, already, so they could free up a bed at the hospital. We have not been told specifically what type of dementia, although I suspect it's more Lewy Bodies Dementia as opposed to Alzheimer's. I made an appointment with her neurologist for later this month so that we can discuss it in depth, and find out if she will be able to take the medications that will slow the progression.

On the other hand, though, I don't doubt that it is dementia. My mom's short term memory is bad, she has problems with finding words when she talks, and she has a lot of trouble with time, trying to figure out dates and times and when things happened, etc.

After a couple of really rough days, she's starting to adapt to the nursing center. She's got a routine there, and she's getting used to it. She still doesn't like it, she never will, but she's there, and she's willing to do the work she needs to do to get well enough to come home. Some of her complaints on day two of her stay were-

"This place is full of old people!" (really?)
"A bunch of foreigners work here, I can't tell what the hell they're saying!"
"The food is horrible, I refused to eat breakfast because it's so awful" (No. What really happened was she tried to go by herself to the dining room and got lost. Then when they got her to where she was supposed to go, she had New Kid Syndrome and none of the cool kids would let her sit at their table. I guess cliques never really go away.)

In other news around the Casa, school starts one week (!!) from today. I'm not ready, Chickenhead is not ready. Supplies? Nope, haven't bought them yet. Clothes? Well I heard that Old Navy has jeans for $10, so I guess we need to head over there. And the Foot Locker outlet store for some half price Nikes. Chickenhead might be ready for school by September if we're lucky. Just kidding! No. Really.

All in all though, we are all coping. Chickenhead misses his grandma, and doesn't like hanging out at the nursing center. All those old ladies are eyeballing his cheeks and he's afraid he's going to get pinched to death. The Husband has been incredibly supportive, and willing to head up to the center for a visit without me asking. I think we will all make it, in our own way.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Lost. That's what my mom seems to be right now. I haven't posted in about a week because things have been in semi-crisis mode here at the Casa.

This past Tuesday, my mom was in the kitchen with Chickenhead when she fell. She didn't hit her head, but when the Husband got to her, she did not know who she was, where she was, or even that she had fallen. She did not remember that she lived with us. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital, and my MIL came and picked me up from work. When I got to the ER, Mom still wasn't sure where she was, why she was there, what year it was, etc. Scans and tests were done, but none of them showed any sign of a mini-stroke.

The rest of the week has been a blur of hospital visits, making phone calls, copies of important papers, etc. On Wednesday when I went to see Mom, her physical therapist recommended a short-term stay at a nursing and rehab facility, to help Mom regain her strength. At first, I was in a panic. Growing up, my mom always said that she never wanted to be in a nursing home. Nursing homes were a place where you went to die, in her mind. But I knew that she would not get the care that she needs right now if she came back home. There was just no way we could do it.

Once I calmed down a bit, I spoke at length with the hospital social worker. She made everything so easy for us. She gave me a list of nursing/rehab centers that took Medicare, and got me in touch with someone who got Mom's application for Medicare taken care of.

The biggest issue in the past few days is Mom's increasing confusion. At times, she is unable to distinguish the difference between reality and her dreams or even a television show. One moment she will be completely lucid and coherent, fifteen minutes later, she doesn't know where she is, and is convinced that they are doing construction at the hospital in the middle of the night.

I can't begin to explain how troubling it is to see my mom, a once formidable woman, now at times child-like and unaware of her surroundings. Part of me wants to just sit down and cry, part of me wants to sit down and drink, and part of me wants her to just be the same woman who's driven me crazy for the past 41 years.

All I know right now, is that the woman I have always known as my mom, is not here. And I feel lost, too.