Reporting for Duty

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I got served with a Grand Jury summons that I had already postponed. It isn’t that I don’t want to serve. I honestly think it could be a great learning experience. However, like a lot of people, I just don’t have time to spend a month away from work.

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I tried doing some research on line to see what was expected when reporting for Grand Jury. What does it mean? How do you get selected? How long is service? Are you sequestered? Or is that only in murder cases? What can get you excused? Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything useful in my quick searches. (side note here: Does anyone else just glance at the first couple of hits and if the answer isn’t there you don’t go any further? Or is it just me? Millions of hits and pages of results and if it isn’t the first five I move on. Probably why no one reads this blog!)

So, it was with great dread when I drove up to the courthouse ready with a million excuses and praying one would work. Since I didn’t have any answers I decided to document my day. This is for Grand Jury reporting in Suffolk County New York.

First I had to find the flipping place. Thankfully, 700 hundred of my friends were pulling into the same place. Parking was a breeze and Thankfully, it wasn’t too cold as we all stood in line like a bunch of sheep waiting to be counted.giphy.gif

When I finally got up to the front of the line I saw the security measures. They had a  bag check like the ones in the airports and the metal detectors. We were instructed to remove all metal and go through. I set the stupid thing off of course. I went through three times and finally the guy just used his wand on me. I was finally deemed safe and moved to the waiting area. GET THERE EARLY! I was ten minutes early and the seats were already filling up. By the time we started it was standing room only. GET THERE EARLY. 

Now started the waiting – which honestly is what I have established Grand Jury Selection to be…just a bunch of waiting. I brought a book with me, but found myself people watching more than reading. It really was close to 700 people. I have never been in a room with that many people before and I don’t ever want to again. I looked at my number, I was 692 out of who knows how many. Would they honestly need me by the time my number came up?Wait-Waiting-Now-waiting-Long-wait-W8-Line-Long-line-GIF.gif I was still so confused as to how this worked? Would I have to go in front of the judge…in their robes….! I started getting nervous.

Finally a representative from the court came to explain the process, and my questions were finally answered. The following people may be excused from Grand Jury:

  • People who would experience extreme financial hardship
  • Medical problems
  • Dependent caregiver
  • Full or part time school
  • Vacation already scheduled
  • limited working knowledge of the English language
  • Felon – although some felonies are okay…she didn’t specify which ones – so don’t assume that because you are one you will get out of it
  • Already done Jury Duty within the last 4 or 6 years depending on which kind
  • Over 70 and choose not to

A grand Juror decides which cases will go to trial. In Suffolk County New York you get $40.00 dollars a day for serving. The length is four weeks, Monday through Friday 9-5. There are multiple locations and you don’t get to choose which one you will go to.

She then asked for volunteers to come up who would then be selected to go. The volunteers, even if they weren’t selected, would have their obligation considered met and would not have to serve again for either 4 or 6 years – I can’t remember which.

So here I am thinking, no WAY is anyone going to stand up and volunteer for this. To my surprise, a lot of people did. Enough people stood up to volunteer that no one else was required to go and wait for selection. The rest of us were excused for another 6 months. Yes – you heard me right. If you didn’t volunteer you are just going to keep getting called in every 6 months or so. As the lady said, they don’t forget about you. Kind of makes you feel good knowing someone will be looking for you every few months.

Just when we were going to get excused, another person came out and told us that New York was is DIRE need of blood donations. So another group of us got up to donate. I did because, why not I love donating blood and I was already off for the day. (I have low blood pressure so I get woozy when I donate – tends to make doing it on my lunch hour tough)

When we got to the blood donation section (more waiting), we were informed that by donating blood we would be excused for TWO YEARS! Hell ya for being awesome people! I was so excited about this. My excitement diminished as we waited, and waited, and waited to be called up to donate. I was thankful there were so many people who wanted to, but also was done with all the waiting. When I finally got up I was told I could not donate because I had a cold. Information that would have been useful two hours prior. However, because I volunteered to donate blood, I was still excused from duty for TWO years. I’ll take it.

I walked out of the building and back to my car like a little kid with their chores done and fishing pole in their hand. CooperativeWateryDoctorfish-max-1mb.gif

The rest of the afternoon was mine….so what did I do with this freedom?

Went to work of course.

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How do you measure a year?

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How does one measure 365 days of life? As the old saying goes:”Life is not measured by how many breaths you take, but by how many moments take your breath away”. For a normal, every day Joe working, caring for family, moseying along, how many moments take your breath away in the course of a year? Say you are a, I don’t know, middle aged person at the end of your 30’s, with a school aged boy working a desk job and going back to school….you know, for example. How many moments in the every day take your breath away? I can personally tell you, more than 365.

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I think the term “takes your breath away” can be misleading. It should be more, how many moments make you thankful that you woke up. (although to be fair, that doesn’t sound as cool on a magnet).  Maybe you don’t scream from the roof top, “HOLY GOSH THIS MOMENT IS AMAZING!” but there may be a moment in your day when you pause and say, “Man I am  glad I got out of bed”. That feat can be harder for some than others. So don’t judge the effort that it takes one to get out of bed in the morning. I have had days where quite honestly the only reason I got up is to get Cody on the bus. After that, the day would just be following what comes next, coffee, shower, drive to work, work, drive home…etc. Those days, it is hard to find that moment where you are glad you woke up. You set yourself up on autopilot and just try to make it till you can go back to sleep again. You try to forget those days that can sometimes turn into weeks. Yet, if I think back to the year there probably was a moment in each day that I was thankful to wake up. Of course, for me, most of the moments are because of something that happened with family. Whether it is looking at Cody playing or making a silly face, or seeing my sister getting recognition at the hard work she does, or hearing the my husband is one step closer to getting his electrical license. Maybe it is a co-worker who got good news, or a birthday celebrated, maybe it is a simple quiet moment when everyone is inside, happy, healthy and at peace. Those moments I look around and say, thank you to the universe for putting me here.

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So how to you a measure a year? Do you measure it by the moments of thankfulness? Do you measure by big events? Do you count the days in a month or the months in the year? Do you not bother but instead look forward to the next year?  What makes a year anyway? A year ago from this date? A year ago from tomorrow? Your birthday? If you wanted to, you could stop every day and remiss over the past year. March 23rd you could stop and think to last March 23rd, if you were so inclined. So what makes New Years Eve so special? Because, as species we are recognizing another turn around the sun? I suppose that is as good a time as any to reflect, take a pause, to really think about the year and how you would hope the next would shape up.

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I don’t believe in regrets. I think what ever choices we make, lead us to the exact moment we are in for a reason. I don’t believe in resolutions either, they are too often broken and leave people feeling like they failed. I like to look back and be thankful for another turn around the sun, even on the hardest days, life is a gift. Millions of people didn’t get to wake up today, I did, for that I am thankful. I look forward to 2018 as a year where I continue to work on being kinder and more compassionate. I would like to be less angry with the world, less critical of myself. I don’t resolve to do these things, these are just think I am hoping to work on. We are all a work in progress after all. I would ask each person reading this to think of ways in which they make the world a better place. Be the change. Rise up and make a difference. The difference can be as simple as emptying the dishwasher for your spouse, or as big as saving a beached whale. It can be giving someone a hand after they fall, or walking instead of taking the car. Don’t make resolutions, don’t mourn for a year gone. Be thankful you are here, be hopeful for tomorrow and be kind to each other every day.

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*  Find a moment in each day that makes you thankful you woke up.

(Un)traditional Holiday

One of my earliest childhood memories is going to my grandparents house. They lived about mile a way from us, so we over a lot. I remember my grandmothers kitchen, with the fading linoleum floor and the super nifty secret room where the huge farm style sink was. The formal dining room table seemed, to me, to always been set and ready for a feast of kings. The whole house was a wonder with all the shelves, cabinets and mantles filled with objects depending on the season. Dancing Santa’s or running rabbits. Angels or turkey’s. In between the crystal, the Santa’s and the lace you could find a salt/pepper shaker or two (or a thousand). She collected them and for as long as I remember, we always looked for and gave her more. To this day I can’t see a salt shaker set and not think of her. IMG_4698

Of course holiday traditions, for me, always had my Grandparents in them. My Grandfather sitting in his chair, surrounded by grandchildren, my Grandmother fluttering from stove to table, my Aunts and Uncles chasing their little ones, and my cousins and I staring at the tree. Wondering which of the brightly colored gifts were ours. They were usually clothes, but to the kids growing up on welfare, those clothes were the coolest things. I loved getting new jackets and new pants…new shoes were the bees knees when I was a kid. Yes, I loved dolls and toys, but a new snow suit!! Homemade hats and scarfs from Aunt M! That was awesome.

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After my Grandfather died, the holidays died too. It sounds morbid to say that, but it is true. The heart kind of went out of it. I can’t explain it, because it was my grandmother that organized, prepped and cleaned the whole thing. My grandmother who saw to it that each and every kid got a gift. But it was when he died that after a few years, people just stopped going. My family would still go, but the days of a whole table just for pies, a bird bigger than your head, the special punch my grandmother would make that you would only drink once a year, those days were gone. Replaced with a half-hearted attempt until one day they stopped all together. That was one of my holiday traditions though. There was that and going to the rotary Christmas lunch. They would take the poor kids out of class and give us a nice turkey lunch and a gift. I thought it was the coolest thing, until I heard some kids whisper that it was for the “charity cases”. Still, it was nice getting a present.

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This year, as Cody gets older, I have been thinking a lot of my childhood. Specifically the traditions we had. My parents tried in their own way.  There were good years and bad and although there was never any real constancy we did have a few ‘traditions’ that, whether we called them that or not, we manged to do each year. I remember always having a fake tree – (though my sister remembers real ones – funny how that happens), my dad would spend a few hours trying to shove the branches in the right spot and make them stick straight after being stored for 11 months. We always trimmed it together. Well my sister, mom and I would. Dad would stroke his beard and give advice. ‘Never too much on side guys.” ‘Come on!’ ‘That is too much tinsel!’ We always got to open one present on Christmas Eve. We got to open our stocking before mom and dad came down stairs. Later on, my sister and I would open them in bed. We always got those Storybook life saver books and fruit. Like a banana or apple. Sometimes toothpaste if Santa was feeling minty. There was usually one big gift that either we would share, Super Nintendo! Or big gifts for each of us when times were good. Somehow, my parents managed. Through charity, or not paying the electric. They managed.

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So I have been thinking of that, and thinking of what Cody’s childhood memories will be of the Holidays. As a family, we too are scattered when it comes to traditions. We do however, have some traditions that have stuck. I always let Cody open a gift on Christmas Eve. We usually spend Christmas day bee-bopping from house to house. Lately that would include going to my sister’s friends and then going to my husbands parents for a Christmas dinner. Cody has been spending the last three years with Grandma and Grandpa on New Years Eve, which he really enjoys doing.  Leading up to the holidays, my sister and I have always taken Cody out shopping to one of the bigger malls in our area. When I was a girl, the village that we grew up in would do a week or two week long prelude to Christmas. There would be a tree lighting, parades, Santa on a lobster boat! Chowder and hot chocolate tastings. Horse drawn carriage rides. It is really quite magical. We moved to Southampton years ago and Southampton Village does a similar thing. There is a tree lighting, parades, Santa on a Fire Truck!  The whole village is lit up and again, it feels so magical. We usually try to go to the Christmas tree lighting, I don’t know why but it doesn’t quite feel like Christmas until the big tree lighting.

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This year we also added a new ‘tradition’ that will hopefully carry through for few more years. We cut down our very own Christmas Tree. Cody was excited and I think honestly, at the right age to start this. For years we have had fake trees that worked just fine, thank you. But I was outnumbered 3-1 (and I am sure that if the rabbit could vote he would have voted against me), so it was off to get a real Christmas Tree.

 

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Cody was excited to find the perfect tree, excited to cut it down and excited to trim it. Always a ‘tradition’ of ours is the trimming of the tree where we remember all the years through all of Cody’s handmade decorations. “This one was from Pre-K oh my gosh you were so small.” “Look at this silly one from second grade” Finally, the star goes on the top and Cody is the one to place it, as per tradition.

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It is a funny thing about traditions, some people have ones that they absolutely must do each year, and others go where the season takes them. I guess my family is kind of in the middle. As long as we are spending time together, that is all that matters. As long as Cody has a good holiday, as long as everyone is fed and clothed, as long as we have even just a little bit to give to others, than the holiday, for us, is perfect. When Cody looks back on his childhood memories, I hope his take away is that he was loved. That each holiday spent with him was the best holiday for all of us. Whether the tree was real or not.

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Happy Holiday’s from all of us! May your new year be filled with love, peace and joy!

The first overnight

Of course Cody has been on overnights before. Insane to think that he hasn’t spent a night away from me. He has been to his grandparents house…at least three or four times…in the last 11 years.

That being said, it should be no problem at all for me to send him off on a school field trip for two nights and three days. No problem at all. In a mere 48 hours…give or take, I will be saying goodbye to Cody as he is whisked off with his classmates for a team building/environmental/leadership trip. He will be hiking, looking at the stars, learning to garden, helping prepare food, and learning about the environment. Most importantly, he will have having fun.

The school gave us an intensive packet that needed to be filled out – complete with consent forms, medical forms, and a packing list. We have had meetings about what they will be doing, what is expected of the students and what is expected of the parents. The children are beside themselves with anticipation. Most of the parents are excited for some kid free or one less kid nights. I fall into the other category – the insane-over protective-holy goodness-I can’t believe this is happening-he was a baby yesterday-and now he is heading off into the world without me category.

Not to Cody of course. When ever I start my – “oh my gosh what the heck am I going to do with my Cody for three days.” I inevitably get someone saying “You don’t act like this in front him do you?” Of course I don’t! Around him, I am perfectly normal…well as normal as I am around him anyway. 4JeKV

This is all completely internal and while I am excited for him and his classmates, I tend to worry…a lot…I know worrying does absolutely nothing but age me and guarantee me a membership to the ulcer club, it is something I feel I am powerless to control. There are about five million things that I can think of that could go wrong and chances are not one of them will.

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However, about a million things can go amazingly and I am betting they all will. That doesn’t stop the little goblin that is my 3AM brain from whispering nasty little thoughts that involve stitches and casts.

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The meeting that I went too was very informative, not only were we reassured that there was an EXCELLENT medical facility right there on site, (see I am not the only parent with that question), the hospital was only 45 minutes away. Imagine that, just down the road really. We also got yet another packing list and the principal emphasized to pack light – they were only going away for a few days and didn’t need to be weighed down by unnecessary things. What he said:

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How I am packing:

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Of course to be fair, that is how I always pack. I am not one of those people who can go on a weekend trip and not take the entire medicine cabinet with me. You just never know! It could rain, it could snow, it could be sunny, there could be a million things and you must plan for each of them. I actual envy the people who can grab a bag (a real bag like a kids backpack), and just head out to the mountains. Or that nutter on the discovery channel that can survive a jungle with a penknife and ball of string.

The worrying isn’t the only thing, to be honest – I can be honest here. It is the crazy part of me that is just going to miss him like mad. Honestly he was clutching on to my jacket the first time I dropped him off at school and now he is doing what kids are supposed to do. He is getting excited about spending some time with his friends, away from home, on adventure. He is growing up and becoming independent (okay not moving out of the house yet). But this is what we are supposed to be raising them for. Wings and not chains and all the jazz. This is a good thing. I think the biggest problem for me, is I am going to miss him. Yes, even the annoying running up and down the stairs. The house will be so quiet…

…Until Friday at 5 -7PM when they arrive home and he tells me everything he saw and did on his first adventure away from home.

And I will listen to every word.

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I fell in love with a heartbeat. I wasn’t even sure I was ready to be a mother, but when I saw the kidney bean nestled in my stomach I was in awe, when I heard the rapid heartbeat , I was in love. FullSizeRender

I fell in love with a heartbeat on September 13, 2006. After losing my mind in labor, I looked down and this perfect little boy and felt his beating heart and the labor was forgotten, worth it, willing to do again a thousands times, because I knew my life would never be the same. unnamed (1)

I fell in love with a heartbeat when that boy turned one. Trying cake for the first time and wanting nothing to do with it. First steps , first words, first foods and new first experiences. Toothless grins changing to first and second teeth smiles, little hands always reaching for mine, usually sticky with some sort of food or drink. Feeling his warm squishy body against mine, feeling his heartbeat and thanking the universe for these moments.

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I fell in love with a heartbeat, that same sweet boy, now turning five. First days of school, first birthday parties , leaning to read and write and still needing mama to tie his shoes. There was never a moment that went by that my heart wasn’t filled love beyond measure. There was just five years of feeling so blessed that this amazing little boy called me mommy, reaching out for my hand, jumping into my arms, needing at least one more story at bedtime, and one more kiss goodnight. I enjoyed watching him explore the world and found joy and wonder through his eyes. My heartbeat was growing so fast.

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I fell in love with a heartbeat – now a preteen now eleven years old. Still such a little boy, yet turning into a little man. All legs and arms, he goes this way and that. Learning still about the world and himself. My heartbeat no longer reaches for my hand when crossing the street, he no longer waves enthusiastically from the bus, he no longer jumps into my arms. He does, however, still allows me to kiss him, still wants me at the bus stop, still needs me to tuck him in at night. My little heartbeat is getting taller, leaner, wiser, more serious, and often gets into moods that the five year old heartbeat never dreamed of getting into. Thankfully, he is also maintains the same sweet and silly personality that he has always had.

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Questions have consistently formed in my mind since I first heard that little heartbeat on the ultrasound. Was I worthy enough to be his mother? Would I do a good job by him? How did such a perfect little being come into my life? Am I going to do okay?

The questions stayed the same and were increased by new ones as he started to grow. Did formula effect him? Was daycare the right choice ? Should I have scheduled more play dates? Should I have hugged more or less? Am I doing okay?

When he started school I added more questions to my growing list. Did I enroll him in Pre-k too early ? Was he really PDD-NOS? Or ADHD? Did he really need help with speech, after all I understand him just fine. Am I doing okay?

Today while writing this, even harder questions get added to the ever growing list. Will he be influenced to try drugs? Will he be bullied ? Will he fail? Will he become depressed ? What can I do to prevent it? Am I doing okay?

But in the quiet of the night, by the light of the moon, I can go into his room, place my hand on his chest like I did when he was baby, and feel that little heartbeat beating away, and all is right in the world. All questions forgotten.  All is perfect, because my little heartbeat is safe and sound, happy and healthy, and for now, that is all that matters.

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I fall in love with heartbeat more and more each day.

There’s an app for that.

There are thousands of apps. Literally. Thousands. There are game apps and news apps. Apps for travel, apps for dining. Apps to help you raise your kid or spy on your dog. Honestly, if you can think of something, there is probably an app for it.

I find that I am at a weird age. I remember life vividly before internet, computers, hell even video games. Cell phones were out of this world to me when they were introduced. CD players were new, DVD was unheard of. I remember the battle between Blu-Ray and laser disks. I had a rotary phone and I remember getting my own phone line in my bedroom. It was Mindy’s phone line! I remember AT&T and MCI fighting to get people to come over to their phone company. Introducing night and weekends starting at 7PM. (ohI guess phone companies are still fighting…least that hasn’t changed)

giphyRemember long distance phone calls? The point is, I grew up in that sweet spot where my formative years were spend outside playing on a rusty swing set that would come out of the ground if you swung too high, and my early 20 were spent learning about the internet and cell phone bills.d644ff95a3796a16f7188a73ca75ea9d

My first “smartphone” was a blackberry we got in 2011. That wasn’t that long ago. 2011. Now, I have a computer in my pocket. I have all my contacts, a calculator, camera, (that actually takes decent pictures – and oh wait and has more megapixels than my super expensive camera we had when Cody was baby way back in 2007), the internet, games, and more apps than anyone could ever have imagine 10 years ago.

My rant about this is that I have a hard time assimilating to these apps. I love my physical calendar at work. I have to write my notes on a notebook. I need to write down my grocery list on piece of paper that will either be forgotten at home, or crumpled up at the bottom of my purse.

We have Amazon’s Alexia at home, and she is great…. really. We use her for loads of things. Cody likes to hear her say, “my butt”, and finds her super useful when he needs to know what time it is. (never mind the fact that all our phones and the countless clocks in the house all have the correct time…). She could be so much more though. I could use her to cook meals, I could use her to keep my calendar or shopping lists. I just can’t. And I quite honestly don’t know why. I find the same thing about using any new technology and I fear that I will one day be one of those people the young kids look at and say, “oh my gosh, can’t she just learn how to do it?”

I wonder if other people my age feel the same way. Do others have a hard time letting go of the “old ways” and embracing the new ones? Do others find that they have to force themselves to use the new technology and when they do it just doesn’t feel right? Does this happen in every new generation? Or am I a minority? I wonder.

 

Fearfully Familiar

In honor of my little baby sister’s 30th birthday – I present to you and essay I wrote in my composition class about her. The essay was a reflection essay, and what better reflection than growing up with someone you would one day call your best friend. I give you, Fearfully Familiar. Dedicated to my sister and my best friend.

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Fearfully Familiar

“I didn’t do anything!” Scissors tucked behind my hands while my little sister was crying and hiding in the closest. My mother saw right through me. “What did you do to your sister’s hair!?”

Well, she wanted a trim! And of course, her ten-year-old sister was the perfect choice. My skills were extensive and included cutting world famous Barbie’s hair so it looked like a blind person with Parkinson’s was her barber. I also did great work on cabbage patch dolls and shag rugs. I was a pro! It was artistic and an artist shouldn’t have to apologize for her craft. So what if half her hair was to her shoulder and the other half was up to her ear? Some day that would be the look…she was ahead of her time! Course none of this got me out of a firm spanking and the longest grounding I had ever had. I also wasn’t allowed to use scissors for…wait I still can’t use them…

You would think this would have set me on the good path; I would have seen an error in my ways and treated my dear sweet sister nicer. No. Unfortunately, this is the first of many things that would be told between bites of lumpy mashed potatoes around the holiday table for years to come.

Like many siblings, my sister and I spent a lot of time wondering who the favorite in the family was. It was clearly her by the way. If you don’t believe me I give you exhibit A, our names. My sister was named after the famed Greek profit Cassandra (Sammy for short).  I, on the other hand, was named after some actress on a soap opera my dad was in love with. I got stuck with: Melinda. (Mindy for short). She was also, shall we say, the good kid. Not that either of us were bad per se, but I gave my parents more gray hairs than she did. I barely graduated.  She graduated with honors. You get the picture. She was an easy baby, pretty easy going kid, and I guess maybe that drove me a little nuts. Maybe I was just doing what all big sisters do. I made it my mission to scare the living daylights out of her whenever I could, and that just happened to be all the time.

We lived in a quiet neighborhood on a dead-end street. The beauty of that is, there was never anyone around; the scary part of that, was there was never anyone around. This makes for a perfect setting to scare your little sister on more than one occasion. Any chance I got I would scare the kid. I must have gotten it from my mother who was, and is, a huge horror fan. As such, we grew up with horror classics like Freddie Kruger and Jason. While my friends were watching Carebears and Thundercats, we were watching the Twilight Zone and Tales from Darkside. Some kids got Disney fairy-tales; we got the original Grimm’s versions. I spun a great yarn about a lady who lived in the house before us. She was a sea captain’s wife and got word that his boat had sunk during a voyage. Overcome with grief she hanged herself over our staircase…she is still there…hanging from the ceiling. Sometimes, if you go downstairs late at night, you will feel her, a solid immovable force that will prevent you from going down the stairs. When it’s real quiet you can hear her rope rubbing against the beam. Sammy never went downstairs in the dark.

One day, when my sister and I were about nine and three, my dad had had enough. My family took our annual trip to see my grandparents, who lived way up near the Canadian border in a tiny little town called Lubec, Maine. The drive would take us around six hours. This was pre-iPad, pre-portable DVD players…the only entertainment was playing the license plate game and seeing how many moose you could spot. (I won – both games). The closer we got to that little town of Lubec, the further we got from any towns or even rest stops. There is a whole stretch of road lovingly called Black’s Woods Road. If you couldn’t tell by the name, more than one haunting story has been told about this road. Light has a hard time getting through all the foliage, so the whole time we were on that road, we experienced an eerie twilight feeling. When things got a little boring, I would tell my sister about the wicked old witch who lived in a shack in the forest. She would come out and eat little children who cried or bugged their sisters. When we would stop to picnic at Fox Pond my poor sister would take so much convincing just to get out of the car. The whole time holding her bologna sandwich mushed in sweaty hands while her head darted around at the slightest sound in the woods nearby. By the time we got to our cabin my mom and dad were furious with me. My sister had to be walked to the bathroom and back because I convinced her that a band of crazy lunatics escaped nearby and were living in the woods near our cabins. Giggling about my newest scare and feeling oh so smart and oh so brave, I went to the bathroom, alone, like a big girl. When I got back my dad wasn’t in the room. ‘Went to get ice’, was all my mom would say. I sat down on one of the double beds and a hand grabbed my ankle! I screamed bloody murder and was inconsolable for a good twenty minutes. It was my worst nightmare, thanks Stephen King! Was it Gage? Was it Chucky? Was it some vampire demon? Nope, it was my dad, getting me back. Showing me how awful it was to have someone you love, someone your trust, someone you look up to, scare the life out of you. To this day, no joke, I can’t stand to have my feet dangle off my bed and I still leap a little when going to bed in the dark.

I would love to tell you that I became a better sister because of that. I would love to tell you that I no longer scared her, let her play with my friends, and I never said a mean word to her. I would be lying. The last time I gave her a good scare she was well into high school (same staircase). I would scare her more, but she is immune to my tricks. There were other scary moments as we grew up together; unfortunately, they were a lot less funny, even if we can laugh about them now.

My sister and I really enjoyed chasing each other around our tiny house. Up and down the stairs, round the living room, on and on…it is a wonder my parents didn’t go crazy. Actually, jury is still out that. We were playing one day, running down the stairs and my sister got really hurt. Picture a child size chair with the legs up at the bottom of the stairs. I jumped over but my little sister had the unfortunate luck to land on it. I wore a hole in the floor pacing while we waited for my mom and her to get back from the doctor. My dinner of runny mashed potatoes and pork chops churning in my stomach. The time she fell off her bike and walked in the door, face covered in blood, the time she was climbing on the dresser in our room and tipped it over and it fell on her, or when my parents and I were watching TV while she was in bed during a thunderstorm and a tree branch crashed through the window right on her bed. As we got older the scares continued, this time it was not hearing from her when she went to college, or the phone call her and my parents got informing them of the car accident I was in.

The scariest thought I have as we get older is not having her around. Who will laugh at my jokes, if I ever make any? Who will appreciate my sarcasm? Who will speak fluent movie quotes with me? Who will love me unconditionally? How would I get through even one day without seeing her name on my phone screen, informing me of a text message from her? What in the world would I do without her?

Of course, as we grew up, we grew to like each other, even want to be with each other. There would be long drives around town, walks on the beach, weekly trips shopping, and movies. Over the years tolerance for each other grew to liking each other and liking each other grew to genuinely becoming best friends.

With all the scaring and being the older bratty sister, I learned a lot. Sisters are a force to be reckoned with. The love that sisters have for each other is so fierce and so strong; it can fight off monsters and move mountains. We are still going to fight, not as often as when we were kids, thank goodness, but we will still have our disagreements. Our most recent one was which coffee shop is better, I swear to goodness and it isn’t Starbucks, okay? My sister is the only person in the world that truly gets me. My sister is the only person in the world who has been with me since the beginning; she is the only one who really understands my childhood, because she was right there too. Sometimes I look back on my childhood and think about how lucky I was to have her. Late night chats, sister dates to the mall, movies, laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe and tears fell from our eyes, video games, talks about everything from Algebra to zombies. Having a little sister prepared me for being a mother, so if I screw that up, it is all her fault.

Whether we were chopping each other’s hair off, screaming about who broke something, scaring each other or trying to get on each other’s nerves, one thing that always remained under it all was love. I have loved my sister Sammy since the moment my mom placed her in my arms. And, even though I spent most of her early years scaring her, or leaving her in trees, as we got older we started to rely on each other more and more. Our parents divorced and it was my sister who got me through it, our parents started dating and it was my sister who saw the humor in it with me. Our lives went in a thousand different directions and it was my sister who grounded me. When sitting around the dinner table rehashing our childhood, it is my sister who will look at me with a smile and say, “These mashed potatoes are so creamy”. And I will know, creamy or not, everything is going to be okay.

All in a days work

During my social media blackout a friend at work was saying how she had also noticed that there were too many updates on her feed and how it seemed to her, that people really spent most of their time document their entire days. I told her (jokingly) that when I got back on social media I was going to document my entire day, just for her. Instead of having a thousand posts on Instagram or Facebook, I decided to blog it instead – with pictures!

5:45-6:00AM Wake up – Bunny Yoga 

Okay so this is suppose to be just regular yoga and if I am being honest, this mostly just stretching, however, my rabbit finds it hilarious to do yoga with me so…

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6:00-6:10AMMake sure Cody is awake/feed rabbit/make lunches

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6:10 – 6:35 – Time for a brisk walk

So lucky that I have a nice quiet street to walk on and this view for part of it.

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Beautiful 

6:40 – Bye Cody

Okay – I don’t leave him in the tree for the day – he just likes to climb before school! He was so excited that he could leave with out a jacket or sweatshirt!

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In the 70’s!

6:40-7:15 – Coffee/Paper 

Honestly – can we be honest? I only read the arts and business sections (Science on Tuesday) I mostly skim the front page. I know…I suck…moving on.

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Everything is better in a pooh mug

7:20-7:50 – Get ready for work, tidy up house

Never. Ending. Laundry.

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Clean bunny liter, vacuum, sweep, laundry, breakfast dishes, tidy up

7:50-8:00 – Driving to work

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Time for some Bob Marley…or gangster Rap…or Gangster Rap AND Bob Marley!

8:00 – Start kicking butt as the Deputy Director Assistant

So much butt kicking I can’t even describe it all.

 

11:00 – Gotta go for a walk…

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…to clear my head, stretch my legs…you know they say sitting is the new smoking – so it is important to get up and move! Doesn’t hurt to stop and smell the flowers while you are out there.

12:16 – derailment in the day – phone call from school! 

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Everything is fine – apparently he was having a hard time adjusting after vacation.

12:30-1:00 Nom Nom

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Don’t judge my lunch…okay judge if you must

1:00-4:00 – Wrap up the day! 

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Does this paper work ever end? More coffee is needed.

2:00 another quick walk around the building please

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Not a bad view

4:00 -FREEDOM – kidding I like my job, but I am going home now. 

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4:15-5:30 home hang out with Cody, put away laundry, catch up on personal emails

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I really missed this silly little guy

5:00 – 5:30 – start dinner and make tomorrows lunches

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6:00-6:30 eat dinner/clean up

I somehow didn’t get a picture of this…hmm…

6:40 – Start school work

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8:00 – Finish school work/Put Cody to bed

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8:00PM already!

8:15-9:30 – Read a book

9:30 – Bed time!

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Repeat

and the best part about all of this??

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In all honesty though, I have to say that we are each fighting our own battles, we are all doing what we can with each day we are given. I can’t imagine how a mother of five gets through her day, or a single mom working two jobs who has time to go to a soccer game for her kids, a dad working 16 hours that finds time on the weekend to play catch, a person with depression finding the energy and will to wake up every day and keep fighting. We are all amazing, we are all doing what we can, and no one should ever feel like they aren’t doing their best.

*Disclaimer  – Not every night is Chinese pork tenderloin – some days its take out. Just need to put that out there. 

Getting to the root of it

People don’t say ” I would rather get a root canal” because they are fun. Usually it is a comparison to something unpleasant.  “Did you hear Trumps speech on the budget?” “No, I would rather have a root canal” That sort of thing. I am here to tell you that a root canal is actually a lot less painful that listening to Trump say anything. In fact, at the end I will list more awful things that are way worse than your average root canal.

Some people look up procedures before they go get them. It helps take the mystery out of it when they know exactly what is going on. Others don’t want to know anything about it, and just want it to be over. I fall somewhere in the middle. I close my eyes the entire time the dentists is working on me.  I have no desire to see what she is putting in my mouth. Nor, do I want to see her eyes all bugged out in the magnifier. I’ll skip that, thanks. However, if you want to the know the exact process, I suggest you read this great article by the American Dentist Academy. It explains the procedure really well.

What I am about to share is how the root canal feels… the process from checking in to checking out. I hope that this post will make it less scary.

You slowly trudge up the path way to the dentist office, dread filling up your body like poison. The door creeks open and the medicinal smell fills your nose… Sorry, couldn’t resist a little fiction.

After checking it usually there is a little wait, even if you get there on time. Use this time to lather on some chap stick and take two Motrin. Trust me. You’ll be thankful for both once the procedure is over. When you get in the chair there is a lot of activity by the hygienist, filling up water cups, getting the tools ready, placing a bib on you. If they are good, they are also making conversation, “hey did you see that sky today? Talk about blue.” Then the dentist comes in and checks the tooth. Just makes sure it is still there. What she is checking it with is little tool that allows her to see all around the tooth. It is a little circular mirror. Now, this doesn’t hurt, so don’t worry. She might ask for an x-ray to get a better look at the root.  960full-the-whole-nine-yards-screenshotThey will place this hard plastic thing in your mouth, near the tooth and it can be uncomfortable but not painful. The whole thing takes less than a minute or two. A picture of your super unhappy tooth will pop up on the screen. Now for the fun part. They move the chair down till you are practically laying down and put a numbing cream in your mouth. Then comes the Novocaine. This is literally my least favorite part. The injection of Novocain has to go around the entire tooth, and into the nerves, otherwise the pain would be unbearable. Keep that in mind. The dentist will inject as much as needed and it will feel exactly like needle going into your gums. Then its over. Any pain you had from the tooth is gone, and the slight pain for the needle is gone. The whole side if your mouth is now blissfully numb. The dentist will give the Novocain a few minutes to set in before stating . Honestly, the worst is over. You now just need to relax.

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Again, I am not entirely sure what goes on when. I know sometimes the root canals can take more than one visit,  and I can only tell you what I feel while lying there wishing I was anywhere else. Sitting in traffic in the Hamptons, taking a test, listening to Trump try talk about anything other than himself, pushing out a baby, the underworld, you get the picture. The hygienist will put a thing in your mouth to suck out saliva, gross I know and also not so fun, this is why you will be thankful for chap stick. You feel a slight vibration, hear some mechanical noises. There is honestly a lot going on. Vibrations – that don’t hurt, the dentist poking around your mouth, that just feels weird, more vibrations and mechanical sounds. Then they might do another x-ray to make sure they got everything. Next they need to seal it with a temporary seal. They need to make sure the root canal is happy before putting a crown.

As I said, you might have to go in more than once, depending on the severity of your tooth. Most visits will go exactly as I have explained. With the worst pain being paying your bill!

You are done. You get up, with a numb mouth and leave. The sun is shining, the birds are signing, and your free. Until your next appointment.

After care – I would strongly suggest take more Motrin as soon as you can drink with out spilling all over yourself. Stick to soft foods if you can. At least for a few days. The tooth and surrounding area will be tender.

Things that are worse than root canals:

Honestly  – traffic. When you  are running late or just want to get to where you are going, traffic is the devil.

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Periods – they are rotten, the pain is rotten, the emotional upheaval is rotten, the whole thing is bull shit. Needs to be rethought. 14767739

Paper cuts – kidding root canal is worse, but paper cuts are so painful am right?

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Migraine – way worse that a root canal – trust me.

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The stomach virus. You know the one. WAY worse than a root canal. I would take ten root canals over one of these any day.

Getting hit in the face with a nerf dart. At close range. Okay maybe isn’t more painful but still. It hurts.

Stepping on  Lego with bare feet! Nuff said.

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Just remember that dentistry has come a long way. It is not long the torture chair that it used to be. If you really have fears about going and have put off going for too long, talk to friends who go, family, co-workers, get recommendations for dentists in your area. Go there and speak with the dentist before committing to them. My dentist is partially in network, which means she takes my insurance but instead of being 80% its 60% or something, but because I love her and trust her, I am willing to pay the extra. Finding a dentist you trust is worth it.

 

 

Odontophobia

Or fear of the dentist if you prefer. I have had a long, long, long road of dental work and the road just keeps going. Eventually, I know an end will be in sight, but that is a far distant future. The reason I have so much to do is a great perfect blend of things. For one, I grew up in poverty so my parents couldn’t afford dental care, as I got older I never got dental insurance offered in any of the menial jobs I was working. When I finally was offered it, I had this crushing, soul shattering fear of going. This was based on the only memory I have of going to the dentist as a kid, and lets just say it isn’t pleasant, also gives me quite the fear of being put under but that is another nightmare. It also stemmed from the few emergency visits I have had in the past, when the tooth pain was worse than child birth. Each emergency visit was met with ridicule, one dentist even said: “I can’t work on this. It is beyond my help.” With as much scorn as you can imagine. I left still in pain from an abbess tooth,crying, embarrassed and out over 200 for the visit.  I found other ways of dealing with the pain, (Clove oil! It is amazing), and would only go to one if it was unbearable. At that point, usually the tooth was beyond saving, so I have lost a lot of teeth as a direct result of my fear of going.

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Finally a few years ago I said, enough is enough. I called a dentist recommended to me by a co-worker. The courage that I had to muster to even make that phone call was crazy. It took me all day and a lot of played out conversations. I finally made it though, and went to my first real dentist appointment. I left crying. Not from embarrassment, but because this lady didn’t laugh at me! This lady said, lets get to work. This lady had no meanness, no disdain, no laughter in her eyes. The entire staff was so pleasant, so friendly and nice that I just about kissed them all through my numbed mouth to thank them.

The other day I was lying back in the chair, thinking of how far I have come in two years, and I thought of other people who might be afraid of the dentist. Other people who might need to take anxiety medication just to think of making that first phone call. If I can set one persons mind at easy about any of the medical procedures I have had done to me, than it will be worth sharing my embarrassing stories.

So look for my next few posts to contain a what to expect when you go to: the dentist, the dermatologist, to get an MRI, routine physical, routine Children’s physicals. And anything else I can think of that might be frightening to people, but maybe once you know someone else has done it, and lived to joke bout it, it won’t be so bad. The worst thing is not taking care of yourself…problems tend to escalate if they are left on their own. So it is best to just take care of the early. Trust me, master procrastinator here.

 

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