Utah anniversary

Monday, January 12, 2015


The night before, Thursday, I came home from Mock Trial team and spread my work out on the floor in the formal living, no one went in there so I could set to work on the mountains of projects I had to complete. My boyfriend called.  He was older than me, my parents didn’t like that. We argued. I knew something was up.  I didn’t know what.
I was sick. I was scared. I was hiding. I was running to try and find something- someone safe.  He was angry- he knew I was not telling him things. I couldn’t tell him. I was terrified.  Everything was so terrifying. Feelings were/are scary. They can’t be reasoned with they can’t be controlled.
My brother came home from work- he was staying with us while he was separated from his wife. We sat down for ‘dinner’.  Which was tense. Always tense. Eggshells. One wrong word, glance, putting a fork down too hard and it would erupt into screaming and crying- saying awful things- just to hurt the other person- hurt them as much as I was hurting. I felt so empty so scared so alone. I felt everything and nothing at once.
Back to homework. I had a final paper to revise, AP physics to prepare for. Exams were next week.
I went to bed.
Set my alarm, made sure that my riding crop was under my pillow. I was terrified of my dad. I was scared- and my flimsy riding crop was all the protection I could muster. I passed out into a dreamless sleep.
The next bit gets a little fuzzy
I woke up. I think it was my parents at my bedroom door—with 2 strangers. I was told that I was going to Utah today—like now. At 4 am.
My mind raced- how could I stop this. How could this not happen. How could I stop it? I thought of saying I was pregnant- even though I hadn’t slept with anyone- but Illinois law said that a pregnant minor was emancipated from her parents. Then again, I wasn’t 100% sure of that and my brother was a lawyer- he would have planned for that reaction.  Also, I was so thin- there is no way anyone would believe I was pregnant. My body could barely support me not another person too.
I realized at some point- that if I left- I may not like it- but I would be away. My parents could not hurt me so much every day. I wouldn’t have to see them an know I was a giant fuck up just ruining their lives maybe this could be ok. I agreed to go. But I asked about my group presentation that I had to present tomorrow… and what about finals? It would all be worked out they said.
I had a few moments to change- supervised. Go to the bathroom- supervised. I would have killed myself then. I would have just to not be so terrified.
I got dressed. Jeans, size 0- too big. A pink camisole. A black wool cardigan with pink roses.  I could take very little: I took my violin, my stuffed bear Tasha (whom later in Utah I would hold and inhale the scent of home) and my favorite book- Pride and Prejudice.  I asked to say good bye to my dog- Fred. My brother had him out for a walk. So I said good bye to my cat- Miss Meow. My parents asked to say goodbye to me, I told them to fuck off.
It was very cold. There was three feet of snow on the ground. We took off for O’hare- me and two escorts. Later I learned how good I had it.  Other girls were drugged and taken. Others were handcuffed and taken. I went on my own.
On the airplane the escorts were nice to me- this was their profession. Taking girls to treatment so they may—just may survive whatever demons live in them.  They gave me a letter my mom wrote to me. At first I was too mad.  Too angry to read it- but as we passed over the Midwest curiosity got me. I read it. And lost what little composure I had. Everything everything came spilling out overflowing in a mess of tears. I was angry and so very hurt—and scared… but being hurt and scared but you on the defense- and that was an untenable position for me- anger was safer. But there comes a time when anger can’t hold everything back. My time for that was somewhere over Nebraska.  I still have the letter.
They offered breakfast. A Danish. Orange Juice. Fat. Calories. Hell no.

When we landed I was handed off to Danielle and Matt. At first Danielle intimidated me- but later I grew to love her- she was the only one who could help me with my calculus. 
What do you do, 4 days after your 17th birthday when you are sent across the country- with no notice- to a treatment center so maybe, maybe I could survive this and come out the other side?
What do you do when for as long as you can remember you have been not good enough- convinced your parents hated you- then get sent away? Seems to confirm everything I had thought.
I felt more alone then than I had ever felt. But a sense of odd relief. I wouldn’t have to see my parents and know I was letting them down.  Hear the frustrated sighs, the disappointment.
The indignity got worse over the next few days and weeks—and I told myself that worst case scenario I would be there for 361 days- at which point I would become legally an adult.  Seriously, it got bad.
One of the worst parts was it confirmed my worst fears. That I was not good enough to be part of our family- so they simply got rid of me- remember 17 year olds – especially 17 year olds who are starving aren’t the best at critical thought.
Going to Utah sucked. It was awful. But it saved my life. I still have my old therapist’s (Alan) email and phone number in my phone- and yes- when things are really shitty- I call him and 16 years later? He still answers me. The man is a saint.
Now- I still don’t let people get close to me. I don’t do feelings well.  I prefer things that can me reasoned with and logiced  (new word, just made it up) out.  Feelings are too messy. Too much.
So today, I am a hot crying sobbing mess- and tomorrow it will be worse.
I am still friends with a lot of the girls who I got to know there- we had very different lives- but they were the first to help put me back together when I fell apart. 
 Now, so many years later- I lose it around my  'anniversary' both going and coming.  I try and keep terribly busy- to keep the tears away, to try and hold it together.  Inevitably, I fall to pieces a few time. A sobbing snotty mess. I can still smell the same smells feel the same feelings. Its like it is happening all over again.
I want to throw things, cry, have someone hold me and tell me its over, never will happen again-- and maybe pry my shoulders out of my ears- someone to be there to help stem the anxiety and fear.

Flashback to my grandmother

Monday, January 5, 2015

B's grandfather is elderly (duh) and not exactly in the best health. Recently, he has had to spend sometime at a nursing home to get back on his feet. 

We went to visit him.

Nursing homes must all be about the same. We walked in signed in and followed the signs to his room. 

In a heartbeat, I was back with my grandmother on a hot summer day instead of a winter one.  I did not anticipate this. Maybe I should have. 

My vision shifted, my ears roared, and my heart pounded.  It was just like my grandmother. B's grandfather's room was at the end of the hallway, and that hall went on forever.  Each step moving us backwards instead of forwards.

She has not been gone for very long, only 18 months, but still, I think of her daily.  I made her fudge for the holidays. I looked at her needle work and admired it.

My grandmother was pretty darn great, and I miss her.

Buyer Beware of GE Appliances and Home Depot

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I have a houseful! Pets and kids create laundry- it is fact of life-as dependable as death and taxes.  As such I do a lot of laundry- somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 loads a week.

In January 2013 we purchased a new GE Adora washer- of course we purchased the extended warranty, that one is a gimme. It was great...at first.

Now that we have had it for nearly 2 years it has been broken 4 times... not just little things... but the drum, the motor (2x), the belt, the control panel.

Getting it fixed has always been a hassle.  Navigating through the automated phone thing at Home Depot is one mess- usually taking at least 10 minutes to reach a person- who is apathetic.

This particular repair takes the cake in terms of awfulness.

On December 12, 2014 I called to schedule a repair as the washer was not working. The scheduled me for a few days later. No problem.

When the day for the repair came- the tech did not come during the allotted window.  I called the company and they said they had cancelled the appointment as we were out of the service area (Note: there was no contact to say it was being cancelled).

After calling Home Depot again, and routing through their automated service again, I got rescheduled for another day.

Approximately 30 minutes before the tech was going to arrive I received a call saying they were on the way, and to please make sure any dogs were out of the way.  As requested, I put our dogs outside and came back in.  Looking out the window I saw the truck pulling out of our drive and driving away.  I ran outside to try and flag him down, either the tech did not care or did not notice me.  I did find a tag on the door, not filled out saying "Sorry we missed you".  My 5 year old said that no one rang the doorbell. (WTF?!) Note: I was outside a total of 2 minutes or less.

I called the 800 number on the tag- it took a good 5 minutes to reach a human- the person who answered was going to call dispatch and transfer me- after 10 minutes on hold the call was dropped. Immediately, I called back. After getting through to a person, the person essentially told me "Suck it up buttercup".

We were again rescheduled for the following day  (12/19/2014)- with a window between 3 and 4 pm when they would not come, because I had to pick up children.  Guess what time the tech showed up? 3:02. I was here and the tech diagnosed the problem as basically everything. He would need to order parts and we were scheduled for the repair to be completed on 12/30/2014.

On 12/29/2014 we received a call again pushing the repair date back until 1/5/2015. The parts had not been delivered yet and they needed two technicians for the repair.  Calling again to try and straighten this out because we were now looking at nearly a month with no washer we were again met with stark helpfulness and apathetic customer service-- the message was "too bad so sad".

We have continued to try and work with the GE Response team, and they have been terribly unhelpful.

Meanwhile- I received a notice from a collection agency regarding the repair from October- it was supposed to be covered by the warranty, so now I have to jump through hoops to try and figure that out.

They make errors and the onus is on me to fix it. I already have 5 children, I don't need to babysit a company as well.

I am completely appalled by the quality of the machine and the quality of the service.

Dealing with a month of laundry with 5 kids and no washer is both expensive, time consuming, and awful.  I have spent over $100 on laundry in the nearly month without a washer.

I am at a loss as to how to proceed, how to get someone to care, how to get someone to make it right!

So far I will be filing a complaint with the better business bureau but beyond that I don't know what to do. Of course, I will never buy a GE appliance again.  Nor will I be using Home Depot.
 

The child has way to many animals.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014



LittleDude, from birth has been part of a big family. He is the youngest of 5 siblings and is loved by so many people.  He has about 70 aunts and uncles and 10 sets of grandparents (family, to us is not limited to blood relatives).

He also has several four legged guardians.

From the moment he came into the house, Aurora (White Fang) claimed him as her baby.  She would not let Charlie, the other dog near him.  She also did not like 'unapproved' people picking him up. If someone made him cry-- look out buttercup.  If he got upset- she would get someone to make him stop crying. She slept under his swing.

Even now, she is his mama dog.  She lets him climb on her, lay on her, play with her, and she is unfailingly affectionate.

Because a dog is not enough protection, there is also a horse, a 1200lb animal that adores him.  Jessie took to him right away. She is patient and kind with him she plays with, she is patient when he brushes her. When he fell in the stable she would not move on until he had come up to her and allowed her to sniff him over. Another horse accidentally scared him, and LittleDude cried. Jessie was not impressed. She promptly told the other horse to back off, he is her baby.


When I am riding her, she can be a handful.  When LittleDude is on her- she is steady as can be.


I have never seen a horse and kid bond like this.  LittleDude, being 2, has his own language- but one of his favorite words is "Yeeha" which means horse. He loves to go see them. He loves to take care of them- to feed them to help clean their stalls.  It is something we all share.


So heaven help you if you hurt Henry and his horse or dog are around-- because watch out.

Positive change

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Typically, I am awful about dealing with change. When we remodeled the kitchen when I was a child, I cried for weeks.  When my mom got braces, I cried.  When my mom cut her hair I cried. Schedule changes are rough for me too.

For the past few years pole had been my refuge. My escape hatch from a busy life.  When things were rough I could count on pole to spin me back into a good mood.  Then I got sick. Really sick. I had surgeries. And more surgeries. I didn't get all the way better, I would get marginally better, then get sick again.  I had another baby. I got sicker. More surgeries.

Finally, I am getting better.  I am healthier.  But when I started back on the pole- so much that I took for granted was so hard, and it was defeating. I know that I could do something-- at one point- but now I am not strong enough anymore.  For a few weeks this was killing me.  It was depressing. It was dragging me down.

But I noticed tonight- my body is changing again, it is getting stronger. My muscles are coming back.  My flexibility is coming back.  I am not where I was, but soon I will be, I have to keep working at it.



So I owe heaps of thanks to Kymba of Kymberly's Aerial Pole Art and Fitness for sticking with me and showing me the joy in pole again.  While helping me get my butt back in shape.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven

Friday, November 21, 2014

Last week was a really sad week.

A teacher at Pixie's pre-school died suddenly, which is devastating for little ones.

We also lost a dear family member- Scotty- a super sweet horse who was loved by all who knew him.

Scotty was not our horse- but we loved him like he was. When ever we would visit the barn his head would pop over the stall and he would great everyone with a kind nicker.  He was very sick, but he was always a little carrot hog.  The Wednesday before he died we were in the arena and he followed me around insisting on carrots.

Scotty was especially loved by LittleDude. Since Scotty was sick- he couldn't be ridden, LittleDude was light enough that he could sit on Scotty's back.  He would lean over and pat Scotty saying, "My Scotty."  The horse had more people who loved him than a lot of people. He was always kind and always gentle- he let the little ones lead him and he was patient when they brushed him.

His mom and owner sure had a special boy and watching them interact was a gift.  It was clear their bond was deep.  He  would have followed her to the ends of the Earth and she would have given him the moon.

When it was clear that there was nothing that could be done to 'fix' him- she dedicated herself to giving him the best life she could-- and that horse had it good!

Last week, when he was in too much pain, his time had come- and she gave him the last thing she could: and end to pain.  As we waited in the stall for the vet- we covered Scotty with blankets- so he would be warm, and while we sat with him- he smelled the carrots in my pocket and insisted on having them. His last hour was spent surrounded by his family, warm, safe, loved and snacking on his favorite treats.

The barn seemed empty after that.  I miss his gentle eyes and welcoming nicker.  Jessie, his wife- took it well.  Animals are smarter than we give them credit for.

I keep meaning to get caught up

Monday, November 17, 2014

Why do things keep happening? It is the nature of life I suppose but it needs to slow down for a moment so I can take a breath!

Princess is now playing violin.  This was a huge debate- which instrument she would choose.  I banned a few of them because I know how awful they sound when they are being learned (a certain amount of awful is to be expected though).  In the end she played violin.  I played violin for years. My sister played violin as well- which is why I wanted to play violin- I thought my sister was perfect.  I slept with a photo of her playing her violin under my pillow for years.
So now she practices daily (or almost daily) we are coming up on her first recital and it should be super fun to take the 5 of them to a violin recital.