Monday, November 30, 2009

Was that window open?

Belated Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  We are just past Turkey Day and a mere 3 and a half weeks away from Christmas.  My, how time flies.  We had a nice Thanksgiving here. Again, a very low key day.  No dressing up, no good china, just enough food.  The turkey was picture perfect, very tasty, and just the right size.  Minimal leftovers for the first time ever, woohoo!  I think we were all so excited to get to Friday that Thursday was just another day.  Yep, we're weird like that.
Friday arrived, crisp and cool.  Very cool.  Remember, this is Florida, so a 40 degree temp is only cold when it was 75 or 80 earlier the same day.  At 40 degrees I need a jacket, preferably with a hood.  Gloves would be smart, since my hands do not do well in cold temps, but unfortunately I don't have any.  So anyway, we load up for the 150 mile drive to Ft. Meade and the impending Ghost Hunt.  No, we are not professional ghost hunters.  No, we are not auditioning for Paranormal State.  No, we aren't off our rockers.  We are functionally dysfunctional people who scare ourselves silly, ghost hunting is right up our alley.
Laurie's BFF Stacy managed to make arrangements with a Ft. Meade business owner who says his property is haunted, and was more than willing to give us a key, and a tour, so we could ghost hunt after dark.  He had 2 parting comments for us: 1 - if you show up here after dark you're more of a woman than I am a man, and 2-if I hear an ambulance heading out here I'm leaving town, and you're trespassing.  Great, I feel MUCH better now.  The business is an old munitions plant, and a manufacturing site.  It was severely damaged in Hurricane Charley.  Some of the buildings date back to the 1800s and some are just dilapidated offices.  The place was used in commercials a few years back to promote Universal's Halloween Horror Nights.  Ugh!  There is also an old Mercedes tucked away in one of the bays that the previous owner used to commit suicide in, method unknown. His family couldn't part with the car so they stored it out there. Well, we all arrive after dark and it's creepy as hell.  Our family has never been ghost hunting so we had to learn the ground rules.  Make lots of noise, if you're Jordan - fall through the floor almost to the floor below, shriek and laugh and act like a dork.  Check, I've got that.  (BTW, only Jordan's pride was injured in his fall).
The hole we pulled Jordan from.

Well we tromp through, take lots of pictures in total darkness, and then approach the car.  The car is coated in really thick dust, it's fairly certain no one has touched it in a long time, so of course several of us wipe the dust off and try to peek in the windows.  RIP after we gawk sir.

Load up and move along...first stop an old bridge in the middle of nowhere darkness.  What the hell do we do here?  Oh, get out of the vehicle, walk to the bridge, take lots of random pictures in total darkness, load back up and head to another bridge.  Jordan & Phoenix & "friend".

Repeat this action at two additional bridge stops, and then head to a very, very old cemetery.  The church buildings here are in very good shape, but apparently no longer used as a church.  The cemetery itself dates back to the 1700s.  The older grave sites are behind a wall of some sort and we did not venture in.  We really didn't venture in to the cemetery at all.  A few of us entered in only one or two rows, and then headed back toward the car.

Stacy's son decided to videotape the windows of one of the buildings the entire time we were there.  He was waiting to see if something would happen.  The skeptics among you would scoff at what we have on video, but we were there, and we know.  Phoenix not only captured the image of someone walking through the building, past the window, but we all saw the windows when we got there, and they were closed.  As we were all rapidly heading back to the car after the figure walked past, someone asked, "hey, was that window open?" No was the resounding reply, and then I shined the maglite across the window, and I'll be damned if it wasn't open.  OPEN.  OPEN.  Yep, jump in the cars, race toward home, laughing and wondering and freezing.  Repeatedly asking if that window was open.  Repeatedly asking "did you see that guy walk by?"  Disbelieving, skeptical and convinced.  We have pictures, and video.  We know what we saw and heard.  We know who took what photos and from where.  We know and we believe.  And we're still shaking our heads, asking the questions, and totally amazed at what we saw.  Ghost hunting was a blast!  I can't wait to do it again...but no more suicide cars for me.  Nope, not doing that again.  Here's some photos.  I'll explain if you have questions.
Happy Merry In=between.

This is what Kathryn & I look like if you could see in the dark.  :o)

                                                                 Who you gonna call?  Ghost Hunters!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What's in a name?

I can picture it so clearly....the clue reads "Teeth or tentacles.  On this detour teams have a choice of "Teeth", where they have to assemble a scale model of the Eiffel Tower using only their teeth and 10,000 toothpicks; or, Tentacles, where teams will be submerged in salt water, to their chins, with 10,000 octopi.  The second task will probably be quicker, but teams will likely suffer from nightmares of sea creature suckers for the rest of their lives"
Cut to the living room....I say, "yep we'd lose, right here.  Damn, made it to the final three teams only to be beaten by a damn octopus."  LOL.  This is just a sample of the Sunday evening conversations you'd hear in our wacky household.  We are HUGE fans of "The Amazing Race."  It's probably the only TV show I routinely ask to have taped, DVRd or recounted, moment by moment.  I've been a fan since the first episode, and I'm happy to say this show has been a family viewing event quite often.  We enjoy the brief geography / history lessons, watching how teams relate to each other, and loudly proclaiming when, and why, Laurie & I would lose.  
Our kids would love for us to apply.  We've kicked the idea around half-seriously before, but then there's always "that" challenge.  Eat something still moving; jump off a perfectly good bridge; ride the train in Bhopal and get your ass grabbed; somewhere during the race, that challenge ALWAYS shows itself.  That challenge is the deal breaker for Laurie, me, or both of us.  
In addition to the deal breaker, there are also the tough decisions that would have to be made.  Some decisions are obvious, Laurie would be the driver, I'd read maps.    I'd try to speak whatever language presents itself, and carry all money and passports.  Laurie would be the cheerleader.  We both suck at things like swimming, and paddling.  Heights are an issue, but we might be able to get by some of that.  Laurie hates flying.  That could be a big problem in a race around the world.  I'm completely arachniphobic, and that could present problems along the way too.  But the really tough decisions....what would we use for a team name, and what would our "signature" color be?  See?  These are the questions that keep us from applying.  No, really, that's all it is.  Having a camera person follow us and tape our every complaint, compliment, argument, flaw and foible...and broadcast that all over the country?  Nah, no big deal.  It's definitely the team name.  
I wish they'd do an all gay Amazing Race.  Just picture it....16 teams, more queens than in all of Europe combined.  The arguments would be fierce; the fashion undeniably awesome.  The bitchiness and sneaky game play would be top notch!  Yep, that's a competition we'd enter...and probably win.  Okay, maybe not, but at least we'd fail with style, and be complimented for it!
Laurie & Pearl, I'm sorry to tell you, you are the last team to arrive.  But you looked FABULOUS doing it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

I am stuck on bandaids....

Holy Monday Batman! I wish I was a superhero. You know, the golden Wonder Woman bangles that could deflect bullets and bullshit. Or maybe a femme fatale like Poison Ivy....kiss me and die you fool. Ha, I could be a Power Puff Girl with baby dyke snarkiness worn like a shield. Bite me big boy. :::sigh::: Nah, I'm just Mom. Not Wonder Mom or Bat Mom, not even Super Mom. Just mom. Although most of you know this, in case a stranger wanders in unawares, I have 1 biological daughter, and 2 sons-by-acquisition. 3 kids. Once upon a time, when I was 18 and still relatively naive, I wanted 5 kids. Bahahahahahaha, Thank God for unanswered prayers. Part of being just mom, is doling out bandaids and Magic Mommy Kisses. Now bandaids are the stuff of magic, putting one on can instantly cure even a compound fracture for a 4 or 5 year old. They are truly magical, and they stay on even in hurricane conditions! Sometimes, the bandaid design is a measure not only of the severity of the injury, but the potency of super healing power contained within it's magic wrapper. Add to this the magic mommy kisses and healing is almost instantaneous! Woohoo!
Every Christmas, Santa Claus is wise enough to include a package of bandaids in every stocking hung with care here. He's brought camoflauge designs for when AJ & Jordan were still small enough to venture outside on wheels of some sort to play; neon colors to clash or accessorize the myriad of bumps, bruises and blisters that Kathryn might suffer. Hello Kitty bandaids have appeared for those fashionable and flirty booboos. Plain old beige bandaids appear when times are tough, but they have the same magic mommy medicine within their adhesive and gauze. The really cool thing about bandaids is that we never outgrow them, not really. We may not have direct access to the mommy kisses as we grow, but we know, in our hearts that mommy kisses are included in every bandaid we ever apply.
I think Fridays and Saturdays are the workweek bandaids. Mondays are like the small papercut or torn cuticle we might suffer, you know, not really life threatening but annoying as hell and oh that sting! So we get our paper cut on Monday and we work through the week until we get our magic bandaid on Friday and Saturday; apply mommy kiss magic on Sunday and start all over Monday. Not a bad way to cycle through a 40 hour work week.
Some people I know use Budweiser, Patron, or Wild Turkey as their bandaid design. Others use herbal themes, like cannabis. Others still, Nap Time Themes; sun, surf and sand themes; big honking trucks; Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Wii, xBox, PSP, name your video console. Add a bandaid, mommy magic kisses and voila, you are healed.
What is your bandaid of choice? Do you have a design you prefer? Does mommy magic come into play? Inquiring minds want to know!
I am stuck on bandaid, cuz bandaid's stuck on me. :o)

Friday, November 13, 2009

My body is 47 years 5 months and a few days old, as of today. I suppose that isn't really all that old. Having said that, the joints in my fingers are a bit stiff and painful most mornings now, my feet ache, and they cramp a lot, my knees have their own library of ringtones, and every sprain, twist, and fracture is letting me know where it is so that I can remember how it got there. Aging gracefully is not really a challenge, it's sort of a learned skill. I'm trying to learn.
I had a serious injury to my right wrist and hand almost 12 years ago that led to developing a rather bothersome nerve disorder called RSD or CRPS. While trying to recover use of my right hand, following surgery, I was treated with a long list of drugs including short stints on lithium, elavil, and a long time association with very high doses of something called Neurontin. This last drug turned out to be a Godsend. I was on it for almost 5 years, and then lack of money made continuing the regimen impossible. By that time, thank God, I had developed close to 50% function in my right hand. The surgeon initially told me I would be lucky to get 10 - 20% function back. Anyway, this RSD is a fickle and painful mistress. My family had to live with the ups and downs of my chronic, sometimes debilitating pain, and they did so with great patience and love. I've had several years of something resembling remission and count each of those days as a miracle. Recently, as my 47 year old body begins to settle and give in to gravity, RSD has reared its ugly head, or hand. Things that have been bearable for years are once again becoming difficult. This is creating a HUGE psychological dilemma for me. I'm not very good at focusing on me. I have a spouse who is wrapped to the knee in a fiberglass cast. She's on crutches from now til who knows when. I have a child / young adult in college, working hard at making the transition from high school to college under sometimes difficult family circumstances. I have a teenage son who struggles daily in the academic world. Things that come so easy to so many are sometimes a monumental task for him, and yet he perseveres. My 22 yr old son has just paid off his vehicle and, after losing a very good job, has relocated to McDonald's and made it look easy. My children make me very proud, and sometimes very frustrated. They have so many needs and wants, and I don't have time to slow down and deal with any kind of chronic pain. Their success should be my focus, and yet this pain thing seems to want to get in the way. I don't have time for this. I've fought this fight before, and I was able to get past round 1. This round needs to not even start.
As for the rest of things, well aging and gravity have a way of making my body look its age (I hope no older), and with that comes hard work at minimizing the impact. I don't think I'm terribly vain, but I do try to at least look nice most days. Apparently as time passes I am becoming less feminine. I'm not sure exactly what is meant by that but I've been giving it a great deal of thought. I still wear makeup, hopefully it doesn't settle in my facial lines and crevices making me look like Maxine or something. I've altered the way I wear eye makeup, and I think I've made age appropriate adjustments. I'm no longer wearing short skirts and high heels, (thank goodness!). I do wear some dressier clothes to work, with sensible, professional pumps, but no fuck me pumps for these feet anymore. I've sold most of my gold jewelry so I'm left with a few pieces of silver that are fairly simple in design. I hope I don't look like Maxine. I hope I don't look like Grandma Moses either. I hope I look 47 years 5 months and a few days. I can handle that. In the next few weeks I'll be returning to the South Beach Regimen to reset my insulin metabolism, and hopefully shed the 6 pounds I've reacquired in the past year. I don't want to be a toothpick, I just want to lose those few pounds and lose the snack cravings that seem to have returned.
Days like these past few make me miss my Mom. I miss my biggest cheerleader. I could have come out of my room with black raccoon eyes, holes in my pants, hair standing on end and my mom would have had a big smile for me, and she would have said oh you look so pretty. She would have seen the inside Pearl. The soul, although it's an old one, would have felt like a kid again. She would have known without asking, that my RSD was back. She might not have said anything, but she would have given me great reassurance, and soothed my increasing anxiety about it. Don't misunderstand me, Laurie is aware, she has seen the signs and the anxiety, she has been there to offer comfort and support. She's working hard to calm my fear. She's been here before, and she understands all too well what this flare means. I'm very lucky for that. My ex- wasn't as understanding the first time, I'd bet he'd be oblivious to this flare now, and resent me for its return when he found out. That explains a lot of the ex- part there.
So this is my maudlin blog for the week. The holidays are approaching, my daughter is growing up and needs me less and less, and I miss my mom. Life happens. This is mine. I wouldn't trade any of it for any reason.