Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Cards I'm Dealt: The Beginning (1988)

The year was 1988, I was 7 months old. Memorial day weekend was on the horizon, the chilly New England Spring was giving way to warm summer nights. It started off as any normal day would. My mother and father each getting ready for their respective jobs, feeding me breakfast, the normal weekday routine.  I always wonder if they had known what was coming, if they would have kissed longer, hugged me a little tighter, or maybe even decided to stay home. 

It was a quick car ride to my grandparents house, where I would stay during the day while they were at work. I have fond memories of that house growing up with nanny and papa. Good byes were shared, and off to work they went. 

Ten minutes later, my life changed for good. Ten minutes later, my father was dead. Circumstances still unknown to this day, their car went off the road and down a small hill, right into a tree. The vehicle they were driving belonged to my fathers work. It was a handicapped accessible van. My father had been telling the maintenance people the seat belt was broken for months. They never fixed it. It is because of this, his chest went right into the steering wheel and he was killed almost instantly. What if it were fixed? Would he still be alive today? That question will haunt me forever.

Why didn't we sue them you ask? Between the shock and grief our family was suffering, and the fact the remains of the vehicle were torched while in their lot the night after, destroying whatever evidence may have been there... It never happened. Why did someone feel the need to torch ONLY that vehicle in the lot? Who knows... But I have think of it all the time. Wishing I could have done something.

And that is where the downhill spiral of my life began. But remember, these are the cards I am dealt, and no matter how crappy the hand, I will play them, anxiously waiting for the next round.

Love always,
One of the only photos of my dad and I, that I can find.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Masshole Moment #2

As you may have read in my Germ post- I used the word bubbler. What is a bubbler you might ask?

  • Per Wikipedia:  "Bubbler" is still used as a generic term in several regional dialects of the United States, originating in eastern Wisconsin and remaining well-known throughout the state. The term is widely used in NSW Australia. Oregon is also known to be quite familiar with the term, specifically in the Portland region where in the late 1800s Simon Benson installed 20 fountains, which are now known in the Portland area as "Benson Bubblers". It is also commonly used in New England, especially in the state of Rhode Island and in the cities of Worcester, MA and Lowell, MA. 

See that bold print? Yes readers- I fall into that category. And sadly it wasn't until recently when my good friend Heather at My Husband Ate All My Ice Cream informed me that it is not "normal" to call it a bubbler- in fact she had no clue what I was talking about!
  • Per Wikipedia continued: Despite its widespread usage in the aforementioned areas, the term "water fountain" is much more commonly used than "bubbler" throughout the remainder of North America.
Well it seems Wiki agrees with her.. I guess that's what makes me  Masshole!

Love Always, 

Icky, Yucky Germs

I will full heartedly admit I am not the neatest, most organized person in the world. In fact, I HATE cleaning. I would much rather spend time playing IN the mud with my kids, then scrubbing the kitchen floor.  They are only little once, right?

With that said, when  one of my kids comes home with a sniffle, cough, or sore throat, I go into super germ killing mode. With 3 kids and a total of 5 people in the house, it almost ALWAYS spreads around. Currently we are in the midst of a horrible cough/sinus thing. Slightly worried Baby J is developing pneumonia, but pedi wants to wait until tomorrow to listen again... I wish I had a stethoscope I could use at home (and actually know what I am listening for) because all these trips to the pedi are annoying and COSTLY!

I hate seeing my kids in pain or discomfort. So when they are sick I will do everything in my power to make them feel better, AND prevent the others from catching it. I can frequently been seen spraying the hell out of doorknobs, and faucets with Lysol, and my kitchen always smells like bleach.  Like I said before, I hate cleaning, but when I do clean, the smell of bleach is the only way I know it's clean. For hubby, that smell is Pine-Sol, and while I somewhat like the smell, I hate using that stuff. I feel like its sticky and gross... anyway... back to my point.

I have taken some steps this school year to reduce the amount of sickness that comes home. The biggest and best advice I can give: Send your kid to school with a reusable water bottle (ours is an ICarly Thermos and we love it). The bubbler is soooo disgusting. So many little mouths on it, and germs, and hands, and germs... Ugh I shudder to even think about it. It's not just me feeling this way- in fact in my freshmen year of high school, we took slices of bread and wiped them on different part of the school (bubbler, toilet seat, lunch table, doorknobs, etc) and the slice that grew the most mold was the bubbler!  I will say I have noticed a very large decrease in the number of colds and strep throat this year!

 I also have given Peanut a antibac spray stick, for her to use before snack and lunch. While this is NOT take the place of hand washing, and she knows this, sometimes in class they are so crunched for time, they do not have time for a trip to the bathroom. Cue- antibac spray!

I know that germs are inevitable, and I am not the kind of person to freak out over Swine Flu, or Mad Cow Disease, but if I can take a few steps a day, to prevent my little ones from needless suffering, you better bet your boots I will! Do you have any tricks or tips for germ prevention?

Love always, 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My First Giveaway!

Well, it's kind of my first giveaway.  My friend Heather, at My Husband Ate All My Ice Cream, just reached her goal of 1,000 fans on Facebook.  To celebrate, she is hosting a 1K giveaway!  Valentine's Day is coming up, so she's giving away a gift basket full of items from Edenfantasys!  She isn't telling what is in the gift basket, but mentioned that it will be at least four things, and more if there are a lot of entries in the giveaway.

Also, she posted this, which is worth mentioning:

"For each and every one of you:  From now until Valentine's Day, you can use code TUE during checkout to get 15% off everything you order from Edenfantasys, including toys for men, toys for womenlingerie, and their new beauty and body products!  And if you save your order number, you can get 25 entries into the giveaway! (But you don't have to place an order to enter.)"

So hurry up and get your entries in before January 30th at Midnight CST!  Just follow along with the rafflecopter widget below, and get up to 41 entries into the contest!

And check out Tessa Taboo and My Husband Ate All My Ice Cream for more entries!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Those Four Letters That Now Shape My Life

P T S D. For those who have never had experience with it, then honestly, you will NEVER understand, unless of course you have it, or are living/caring/loving someone with it. It consumes your whole world. Anything you do or say can be a trigger and you don't even know it. Even in your dreams you are not safe. The nightmares can consume you. Just going to the grocery store can be a hassle in itself.  When someone in your family has it, you all are affected. Try as you might to pretend its not there, it really is the giant elephant in the room. Family outings can be completely cut short, because of something people can seem as so petty. But to that person with PTSD, it can feel like their world is crashing down on top of them. Better to get them home and in a controlled environment, then risk a total downward spiral.

It's an amazing thing the brain. But for someone with a brain injury or disorder, it makes their life a living hell. There is no simple cure, no one medicine that can make all the symptoms go away. Even after shoving a handful of meds down your throat three times a day, the symptoms of PTSD still rear their ugly head whenever they feel like it.  They don't care whose birthday party it is, or what event you might be attending. The come barreling through your body like some electric shock. 

To the caregiver (like myself) you feel helpless. They scream and yell profanity's at you, and most of the time you have no idea why.  It may have started off with something as small as a sock out of place... yes really that simple. And it is because of the constant walking on eggshells, and uncertainty of what to do and when, that secondary PTSD came into being. When you're living with a veteran who has it, you become his caretaker.  You slip into a role, without even noticing it, that has you constantly watching for people or circumstances that might become a trigger. You're trying to make sure everything stays in line, make sure that nothing aggravates or upsets him, that everything is perfect.  Despite it all your world can come to a screeching halt an upwards of four times day.  

Your spouse is not emotionally "there" for you.  When you're upset or happy, angry or sad, you have to deal with your emotions on your own.  You begin to feel ignored and unloved and start protecting yourself by treating others, especially your spouse, the same way.

You're also probably handling all household chores, childcare, financial management, etc.  You get no help (or very little) from your spouse.  You're the cook, chauffeur, secretary, accountant, yard guy, child care provider, laundry service, etc., etc., etc.  Everything in your family feels like it's up to you.  It is a 24x7 job that you can never win.  It's not humanly possible to do everything, or to prevent PTSD from creeping into your life almost every. single. day.

I wish to bring more awareness to PTSD and Secondary PTSD with the help of my followers. Unfortunately there is decent amount of (free) help available to veterans but not to the spouses, children, and caretakers of those veterans. Thankfully here in MA, we have The Home Base Program, and they are wonderful, but if you are not local to Boston (like me!) it is a bit of a hike. Slowly but surely it will get better... I hope.

Love always, Mandi

Friday, January 6, 2012

Masshole Moment #1

Peanut and I were working on her homework packet this evening. One part of the packet was to draw three things you would see on a trip to the beach, and label/color it. She drew pictures of an octopus, a sandcastle, and a shak. Yes, you read that right, a shak. To me, if read out loud, it makes perfect sense, but to the non-Masshole, it is probably a bit confusing. I mean who sees one of these when they go to the beach?

To the average Masshole, you know perfectly well she meant one of these:

My poor daughter and I had a bit of a quarrel about the correctly spelling of SHARK. You see, when in first grade, most kids spell words they don't know by sounding it out. And well, when you spell it that way, she is right.  But I had to correct her, AND bring out my handy pocket dictionary to prove my point. Just because we don't say our R's in this house, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

It Won't Be Like This For Long

Peanut in 2008, age 3
While waiting at the bus stop with Peanut this morning, the song "It Wont Be Like This For Long" by Darius Rucker came on the radio. As I sat there watching my beautiful 7 year year play with her friends, I cried. All the memories of when she first came home from the hospital came flooding to me. A tiny 4 pound little peanut. Smaller then most babydolls. We had a rough beginning with her, she was 6 weeks premature. But despite all the hospitalizations, and countless trips to the ER, here she is, a happy healthy 7 year old. Full of energy and spirit.

I still cannot get my mind around the fact she is 7.... 7 .... wow. When she was born people always said to enjoy it now, because they won't be little for long. I never knew how right they were. I cherish every moment with each of my three children. Baby J is only 8 months old, and I already feel he is growing up waaaaay too fast =( I wish we could put a pause button on them sometimes. Just not when teething.... and on that note- off I go to find the teething tabs!

Gotta Start Somewhere

It is currently 1:23am. What am I still doing up? Oh that's right, checking off one of New Year's Resolutions. I have been saying I am going to start a blog for some time now... and would ya looky here, I finally did! Well I am off to figure out how to make the most of this. Oh, and maybe get some sleep before Baby J wakes up!