Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lost In Paradise. A Mommy Story.

So as many of you know from reading my blog, my father in law took his life a little over a year ago. I was unable to attend his funeral or the memorial and spreading of his ashes as I was on bed rest for most of my pregnancy. But we have been blessed as my father in law's wife has taken us all on an amazing trip to Maui to celebrate my father in law's one year angel birthday. What a true blessing and a much needed break for my husband and me. With me still being unemployed this was something we could never do for ourselves. Additionally I needed this as I haven't seen our family since my father in law died. My father in law always talked about and planned in his head all these amazing trips that we were all going to take some day. Unfortunately, we never got some day with him. So we are carrying on with each other and I know he's here with us.

That being said, the trip is important. The trip is needed. And even as I sit next to the pool with palm trees swaying over head and an amazing sweeping view of the ocean before me, I miss my babies and I feel guilty for having this experience without them. They are in great hands. My sister is looking after them so I know they are loved up and well fed. But it's still hard.

The week before we left I was so anxious. I made lists, lined up rides, and planned as best I could so that I could still feel somewhat in control even though my babies weren't with me. Then came the morning of our flight. I woke up, showered, and sat in the living room to put on my makeup. I look over at my father in law's picture and start to cry. Then my babies woke up and I start to cry. Then I had to take them over and drop them off with my sister- and I start to cry. Why is this so hard?! I'M GOING TO MAUI! But my heart was overwhelmed with so many emotions. The last time my husband and I both left any of the kids was when we only had one- and it was our honey moon! Since then, our kids are always with us or one of us is at home with the kids while the other travels.

The thought of leaving my babies was literally ripping my heart out. I cried all the way to the airport. As a matter of fact I cried all the way on to the plane! I didn't stop until I got seated and took my Xanax (I'm not a good flyer). I had to fight the temptation to run up to other peoples' children and hug them! My kids are my everything. They are the reason I wake up in the morning. They are my laughter and my tears. They are what makes my heart beat. And after the year we had last year, I feel even more grateful for them and more connected to them than ever. So it hurt to leave them behind.

Sure I was going to a place that I consider my second home. I LOVE Maui! And I was going to see family that I hadn't seen since before my father in law passed. And my mother in law had so many amazing things planned for us (that'll be a different blog). But it has been bitter sweet. I don't know how to NOT be a mom. Even for a week. It is who I am. It's everything inside me. It's what I was made to be. So how do you take that hat off and hang it up for a week?

As moms we dream every day about just getting a freaking moment to ourselves but when we finally get that moment it hurts and we don't know what to do with it! I remember when my first son was about 6. My mother flew in from California and took him on an amazing train ride back down to California for a week. Then they rode the train back home. It was an amazing adventure for my son and I was excited to get a week to myself. The funny thing was that once he was gone and I was sitting in my house, I had no idea what to do with myself. There was no one to cook for. No reason to clean or cook. I literally didn't have to vacuum for a week! And although it was what I dreamed about every day, it turned out that it wasn't what I really wanted. I felt lost without my son and the structure that our life provided for me. I felt empty without my mom hat. And I couldn't wait until he got home and I could cook and clean for him!

So here I am once more, but this time in paradise. It's me, my husband, his two brothers and their wives, and my mother in law. But I still don't have any one to cook for (MIL had a chef come in to cook and lined up reservations for many amazing meals) and no one to clean up after (The cleaning crew arrived today. Boo.). I'm literally lost in paradise! My husband has to look at me and remind me that the kids are okay and we are blessed to have this time with each other. I should know this without him telling me.

Will this ever change? Will I ever know how to NOT be a mom? Even for a week? Who knows. Luckily the baby is only 7 months old so I have another 18 years until I find out for sure! Until then I will need to take a deep breath and remember that these moments are special. They are important. They are necessary. And that I am still a mom- even in paradise.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vapid Waitress- An Unemployment Story

Today we splurged a little and took the kids to lunch. Our 4 year old had been super well behaved during a 2 and a half hour insurance appointment in the morning so we decided he deserved a treat. We went to one of those sushi on a conveyor belt places. It tickles our 4 year old to hunt his food and catch it! Anyhoo, we walked in the door and a young pretty girl greeted us. We'll call her Spacey. Here's the conversation that commenced:

Spacey: How Many? (I'm gonna let that one go as I understand that this is a question she most likely has to ask.)
Me: 2 adults 2 children so 4 altogether (NO. I'm not a smart ass)
Spacey: 3 then? (WTF?!)
Me: Well, 4.
Spacey: **Blink. Blink** Okay. Do you wanna booth?
Me: If you have a booth on the conveyor belt because my son likes to watch the food go by.
Spacey: **Blink. Blink. Blank Stare.**
Me: Ooooooooor we could sit on the regular chairs on the belt line.
Spacey: Okay. (The look on her face was utter confusion)

Spacey then led us over to some chairs on the belt line.

Spacey: Is this gonna be okay?
Me: This is perfect. Thank you. Can I get a high chair for the baby please? (Shut up. I really DO use manners)
Spacey: Do you wanna booster seat?
Me: **Blink. Blink.** (Now I'm doing it) Ummmm, no. I need a high chair for the baaaaaybeeee.
Spacey: Oh.

So here's the deal folks. I really hate bad customer service. I have spent years in customer service fields and have trained classes on customer service. But it doesn't even take all that to know how to treat people when they are your customers. Therefore I get really annoyed when people in customer service fields are complete jack holes or don't understand how important their jobs are to the customers they are serving.

This was also my stance on the situation long before I was unemployed. But with the economy being the mess that it is and so many Americans out looking for a job each day (raises hand) it is even more inexcusable to me that anyone would be less than 100% at their jobs. Specifically when your job is to seat people and get them drinks. They get their own food that this place! So literally the job is smile, count the bodies, move them to a location that fits them, and get them a drink. Dunzo.

Before I lost my job due to bed rest I would constantly remind my employees that when we have bad days at work, we should be grateful for them because it meant we had a job. This recession has been televised. It's been talked about. It's hit people all around us. Not a single person should just be hearing about it. So while I'm sure this girl got the job greatly in part due to her ability to check the "cute" box on the application, I expect more. I expect you to respect not only your customers but the fact that YOU HAVE A JOB. It is a gift. Show up for it and be your best at it. Period.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The One About My Grandpa

I've been thinking about my grandpa a lot lately. My grandpa passed away last year. In the midst of all the craziness that was going on in our lives. It was one more thing to bottle and stuff down deep inside. But now we are dealing with all the things that happened last year and thus my grandpa has been on my mind.

My grandpa wasn't one of those sweet grandpas who swooped you up on his lap and read you books when you came to visit. He was a big old tough as nails tower of a man. He was stern and old fashioned. He was a "you better say yes sir and yes ma'am" type of guy. He expected us to behave properly and give respect. I remember a specific instance when I didn't call my Aunt Jennifer "AUNT" Jennifer. Aunt Jen was 6 years older than me so she didn't seem like an aunt. She was like one of the cousins. So the slip was natural. But my grandpa towered over me and game me what for. From there on it was AUNT Jennifer. I think as he got older his demeanor changed and he softened up. My younger cousins got a different grandpa that we older cousins got. But we moved away when I was 11 so I didn't get much of an opportunity to know that sweet grandpa.

In 2009 my grandpa was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Directly after his first chemo treatment (He was determined to fight since my Aunt Jennifer fought her cancer so hard before succumbing to it in 2008) he ended up in the ICU. My grandma was told to gather family and that he wouldn't make it. We all hopped on overnight flights from all over the country to come say our good byes. It was hard to see my big strong tower of a grandpa in such a frail state where he couldn't even speak. But we all did our best to say goodbye properly. Then my grandma allowed them to take him off the machines and meds. And that's when grandpa proved just how strong he is and how this whole death thing was going to be on HIS terms. He somehow got better. They had to move him out of ICU (as there was no treatment for him) & into a regular room. Where he continued to improve. Talk. Stand up. Crack his smart ass jokes. It was confusing. Then they released him home to hospice. Where he hung on. For almost a year! Have you ever heard the term "Heaven won't have me and hell's afraid I'll take over"? Yes. My grandpa was tough as nails and he was going to do it HIS way.

So like I said, I've been thinking about him. I have two memories of my grandfather that I will always hold dear. The first was when I went to visit Ohio for my cousin's wedding. I ended up getting really bad food poisoning & my grandma was gone for the night. It was just me and grandpa. I was soooooo ill. And I have never seen my grandpa so concerned. He took such amazing care of me that night. He was soft and caring and worried. It is one of my fondest memories of him. The second was when he was on his "death bed". Once he was released to hospice at his house we all sat and waited. His pastor came over one afternoon and we gathered around his bed and held hands and I got to pray with my grandparents and my mother and a few other family members. It was one of the most special moments of my life.

Yeah, my grandpa was a tough as nails kind of guy. But he was an amazingly strong man who did it his way up until the end. The end HE chose. Not the doctors. I miss him. And I'm grateful for these two special memories I have of him. I know he's up in heaven in the softest recliner ever watching boxing and holding hands with my Aunt Jennifer.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dentists Are the Devil.

Okay, so the title of this may or may not be 100% true for all dentists. But for me, in my heart of hearts, this is the truth! You see, I have a phobia of the dentist. Not a "I'd rather not go" or a "The dentist really sucks" kinda fear. No. It's more like a screaming, cussing, biting, heart palpitating, God honest fear. I have actually been clinically diagnosed with dentophobia. Yeah. It's real.

As with most good stories, it all began when I was a little girl. My mom happened upon a shit dentist. I had an abscessed molar that had to be pulled. This evil devil of a man gave me, a sweet unassuming angel of a child, ONE- count it ONE- shot of Novocain and yanked that sucker out of my head! I naturally cried. That shit hurt! And this douche nozzle dentist told me to shut up or he'd send me home like that. And let the phobia begin!

Let me please clarify that my mama didn't just let him yank teeth out of our heads like that. She went in and gave him what for. She also did her best to ensure that we had better dental experiences moving forward. I remember having to have a crown put in after that and the dentist could clearly see how upset I was. They asked what smell I liked- strawberry or orange. To which I said neither because it was clearly some evil trick. I soon found out, that it was no trick. It was goo goo gas goodness! I remember getting giggly while Wham's "Wake me up before you go-go" echoed in the back ground. My mom even found us a fun dentist who had a Frogger table video game in his waiting room and would come out and play Frogger with us. So, they weren't all bad. Just the one. But isn't one all it takes?

As I got older, my phobia only increased despite my mother's best efforts. Once I became an adult, I certainly wasn't subjecting myself to the cruelty of these people unless I needed to! It was so bad that my oldest son didn’t go to the dentist for the first time until he was...well, let's just say "older". He did fine. He's a dental trooper! Me? I’m a spastic nervous wreck who can't even take my kid to the dentist without a panic attack. So my husband mans all child dental appointments.

My point here is that my fear is bad. Real bad. I cry on the phone when making appointments. I only go in when something falls out. I carry a small dental arsenal with me everywhere (dental pics, Whisps, etc.) in an attempt to keep my teeth is tip top shape so I can minimize dental visits. And when I go in I cry, cuss (involuntarily), and I bite. Yes. I have bit dentists.

But a few years ago I discovered something beautiful. I happened upon a dentist who gets it. I went in for my first visit. They always require that you come in and show a "valid" fear before prescribing laughing gas and/or valium for a visit. Like crying on the phone isn't enough. Anyway, I'm sitting in the chair shaking and crying. There are dental techs and hygienists gathered around staring like something from their text books just walked in the door. The dentist finally came in, looked at me, tilted his head and turned back around and left the room. When he came back in he held 2 little blue pills. No words. Just understanding that this was going to take more than laughing gas and Frogger. This dentist wasn't all butt hurt because I didn't like him or his field. He just got it. So this is where I've gone ever since.

The people at this dental office all get it. They are kind on the phone. They take excellent care of me. And most importantly- they knock me the F out! I haven't even SEEN my dentist in years. See, my dentist is a sedation dentist. I take 3 sleeping pills (sedative hypnotics) an hour before the visit and another once I get there. Though I never remember taking the 4th. These little blue magic bullets allow me to get there and home with the help of my hubby and I don't have to recall anything about my visit. This is how it should always be done. It's a shame that not all insurances acknowledge this as vital therapy. I have paid thousands out of pocket to go to this dentist because insurance companies won't cover it or only cover a small portion because it's "unnecessary treatment". That's why I had to get clinically diagnosed. It's a shame.

All I know is that I have a real phobia. I am comfortable with it and I have found a solution. I know some people don't get it. Phobias are unique to that person. I personally LOVE snakes! I love holding them, kissing them, I love how they look and feel. But there are people out there who have genuine fears of them. Therefore I wouldn't force them to hold a snake. I wouldn't ever tell them to get over it and let it go. But when it comes to a fear of the dentist people write it off like you should just get over it. I won't. I just don't plan to. I have found a solution. It may cost me lots. But this is what it is. You can't change this in me.

Dentists are the devil. I'm good with that.