Monthly Archives: July 2015

What are words for? 


Riding home the other day, the Missing Persons one hit 1980-something, wonder, “What Are Words For?” came on the radio and I began to sing along. The doll looked at me and asked, “How do you remember these lyrics?” Shrugging I replied, “I don’t know, I suppose somewhere in my noggin’ there’s a treasure trove of song lyrics–too bad the really important stuff isn’t stored in there as well”. 

Somedays being a caregiver or as I like to call myself, a paid companion; can be hard. Take last weekend when Mrs. K called me ten times asking to get her prescriptions refilled. “Yes darlin’ we’ve discussed this, you have a doctor’s appointment next week. That’s when you’ll get your refill” I explained 8 different times. Then on Tuesday when I accompanied Mrs K to her doctor’s appointment and she forgot I was there. While I waited for her in the waiting room, she was directed out a different exit and then wandered around trying to remember where she parked her nonexistent car. “You forgot me?” I joked, shortly after an office staffer came into the waiting room wondering if someone had brought her. Unhappy by these turn of events she replied sternly, I didn’t forget you I just didn’t know you were handy”.

All the ride home she lamented “I guess I’m beginning to show my age (93)” while I tried my best to encourage her. “If you had exited through the waiting room I’m confident we would have spotted one another and this would be a mute point”. But I know she’s troubled by these “episodes of confusion” as are her children and me.

The other night the doll and I watched “Still Alice” about a woman my age (early 50s) whose diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and quite frankly it scared the hell out of me. While there is no history of the disease in my family (thank God) my own inability to come up with the right words for something at times, makes me wonder. “Have I eaten or drank or smoked or ingested something in the past that induces the rapid growth of those amyloid proteins?  Will my “normal” memory issues become abnormal in the future? Will I one day be in need of a paid companion? So many questions I don’t have the answers to. 


“It’s funny…” The doll began. You and Dad are both singing the same song (Paradise By the Dashboard Light) yet with two different lyrics”. For the record I was the wrong lyricist. “Well she’s old, what do you expect?” My hubby replied before quickly backtracking, “I mean she’s too young for this song…” Laughing I swatted his arm and replied “Speak for yourself”. “I just did-knowing the lyrics. He replied while I sighed.  Don’t worry mom it sounds like a good song to lose the lyrics to anyway.” Both her father and I looked at her and yelled “Blasphemous!!” Before going back and stating the song over, if for no other reason than to bother her with them. 


Lowly bay…


When I arrived home from work the other day, I found the boy, wrapped in a blanket lying on the floor looking quite distressed. “What’s with you?” I asked but was not answered. I noticed the doll busy folding laundry and wondered why they boy was so blah. “Bay what’s up? What did you do today?” Not looking up, but talking to me with a stern voice he replied, “I mowed the lawns today!” ‘You did? On your own?” I asked almost giddy that he came upon this appalling idea on his own. “No dad and I cranked it out together”. “Ah, well, good job anyway” I replied. “The thing is mother…” Oh no! I’ve been hit with “mother” I thought. “I had to do this extremely boring work without the benefit of listening to music to take my mind off the chore”. He lectured. “Sorry bay for your luck…” I said and exited the room.

Later while his father and I were out walking he called looking for his device. “You know, you’re not being very democratic” He began, “You’re more of a dictator if you ask me.” “Bay, when did I ever say this was a democratic household? When you start earning and paying your own way and then contributing to the greater good, we’ll talk democracy, but until that time, you’re right, this is a dictatorship. In fact, if you really want a breakdown, your dad is the king, I’m the queen and you two are lowly servants. Lowly because you barely do anything…” I added. My husband looked at me and said, “Who are you kidding, you’re the queen and I’m a peon”. Smiling at him I said, “Well suit yourself” before turning my attention back to the boy. “Uh mom…” the boy stuttered into the receiver, “I’d like to get back to the reason I called. Can you tell me were you’ve hidden the iPod?” “Why?” I asked. “I’d like to begin my two-hour window.” He admitted. “See now aren’t you glad you didn’t have the iPod while you mowed the lawn?” “You’re not making sense mom” He readily tried. “Bay, I’m making perfect sense. See if you had the device while mowing the lawn, you wouldn’t have a two-hour window tonight to watch whatever it is you want to watch..” After a few grunts into the receiver, he asked “Could you please tell me where I can find the device, please?” “Well, since you asked so nicely…” I said and told him the location.

Two hours later I yelled into the living room, “Bay, time to turn over your device…” “Mom he’s not in here…” the doll offered. Getting up and checking in his room, I found him asleep, the device atop his dresser, unplugged. “Nice,” I said to the air while grabbing the device. “Goodnight Mama… he sleepily added as I exited the room, bringing a smile to my face. Finally–or so it seems, he’s following the rules.



a traumatic experience…


Shortly after I posted my blog yesterday, my doll noticed the picture of her hands and asked, “Can I read this?” Having nothing to hide I said “Sure”. “I never said that…” she said as she read. Busily eating my lunch, I replied, “Poetic license,” while she continued reading on. When she finished I asked, “Well?” “At least you didn’t mention about my traumatic experience…” To which I replied, “Come back tomorrow,” and was slapped playfully across the arm as a reply.

When we approached the counter to purchase her Vans, I handed her a coupon worth $10 off the price of athletic shoes. “Mom this won’t work, they aren’t athletic shoes”. “Doll they have a rubber sole. They look like old Converse tennis shoes, this will work”. “Mom, regardless they aren’t athletic shoes”. She argued. “Doll, if he doesn’t accept the coupon, no harm no foul. But if he does, you’ll save $10!” I tried to explain, but she wouldn’t listen. Finally, as he rang up the total, I set the coupon on the counter and lo and behold he accepted the coupon. “Hey what do you know? You’re mom was right again! Go figure…” I said causing her face to flush part embarrassment/part

Later when we entered the lingerie department of another store, she asked, “What are we doing here?” “Well, since I’ve lost weight, I need to buy new bras” I informed. “You’re kidding me right?” She begged. “Sorry, doll,” I said and approached a sales clerk asking for a measurement”. “Would you like to go into the room with your mom?” The sales clerk asked. Her eyes instantly grew large as she immediately declined the invitation, instead choosing to take a seat just outside the dressing room entrance. When I finally emerged she said, “Took you long enough! Do you know how embarrassing this is for me?” “Why, you weren’t trying on bras..” I replied. “Mom, I’m sitting there and all these people are carrying bras and other nasty stuff, talking about bras and underwear and my iPod was like only at 20% so I couldn’t listen to my music to tune everyone out”. Amused I smiled and said, “So this was a traumatic experience for you?” “Extremely traumatic” she corrected. “So did you find any BRAS OR UNDERWEAR YOU’D LIKE TO TRY ON TOO? I asked louder than needed. Unamaused she replied, “SHHH!! I’ll be waiting for you over there.” Pointing toward the elevator. “Okay,” I said and giggled on my way to the register.

Minor victories…


At Christmas, the doll received a gift card to Penney’s which underwhelmed her. “Here mom you can have this…” She said offering me the card. “Why?” I wondered. “I’ll never buy anything from there.” She replied. Amused I asked, “What are talking about?” “Mom that’s an old ladies store.” She explained. “I see. Well that explains why you’re giving the card to me” I said and all she did in response was shrug her shoulders and exit the room.

“Mom do you still have that Penney’s gift card?” She asked me Friday. “I thought you gave it to me; the old lady,” I replied. “Mom I never called you an old lady” she tried. “No, you said only old ladies shop at that store”. Shaking her head, she said, “Whatever. Do you still have my card?” “Yesss” I said. “Could you take me shopping for some new Vans (shoes)?” “I think you need a new bathing suit more,” I said hoping to get the best use of the card. Thinking for a moment she nodded and said, “Yes, your right (I’m right? She said I’m right?) that would probably be for the best.”

Success…the doll  and her old lady we’re going shopping at the old lady store together! I wonder if this means she could now be considered an old lady too?

As you might imagine, by the end of July most of the bathing suits have been picked over, but I found a few tops she didn’t immediately object to and convinced her to try them on. After ten minutes of waiting for her to emerge from the dressing room, I knocked on her door. “Can I help you, please?” Much to my shock, she unlocked the door and allowed me to come on.

“Mom these are too small…” She said pointing to a few hanging to the left. “Okay, what about the one you have on? I said pointing at a pretty floral print which framed her body well.  “Uh no! Please, mom, it looks like a garden puked on me” she answered. “Doll…” I tried not laugh and then handed her another top. “What about this one?” I asked adding drolly,”It fits your color palate of black and hardly any other colors” “NO, uh just no! I look like I’m eleven years old in this!” She said in a disgusted tone. “How old do you want to look?” I asked as our suit choices waned. “Thirteen!” She replied. “Impossible! No matter what you try on you’ll either look eleven or nineteen… ” I explained.

 After turning down every suit choice, we moved onto the shoe department where she tried on a pair of black with white shoelace Vans. “Why not try on a pair of the blues (her fav color) or gray ones too–you know for comparison?” I asked and she complied, before deciding (Surprise!! No Surprise!!) on the black shoes to complete her ensemble of black T-shirt, black shorts, black nail polish, black/silver bracelets.”

“You know doll a little color every now and then isn’t a bad idea…” I said. “It’s not my fault that the only colors they have here are the shades only old ladies wear.” She said and laughed as I swatted her arm in reply.



“I think you made me cry in prison…” The man said while taking my hand to shake. My first thought was, “Is he a former inmate that recognized me without make-up?” quickly followed by my verbalization, “Oh you were on the ministry team…” and returned the handshake. “Yes, and it’s quite difficult to make me cry anywhere, but especially in prison, because you don’t cry there–you don’t show your vulnerability or weakness. Watching those inmates allow themselves to do so is very special. You have a very special ministry there”.

I don’t mind saying, when I heard this compliment, I felt quite “high” for a while afterward as the result.

This was but one of my many experiences yesterday at Exclaim! a free Christian concert put on by my diocese–but open to all denominations throughout the area. Three nationally recognized Christian artists all from different denominations took the stage, (Curtis Stephen, Matt Maher and Francesca Battistelli) and entertained the crowd with beautiful words and music extolling love, support and the need of having God/Jesus in our lives.

Video games were the preferred method to get through the boring music day with me...

Video games were the preferred method to get through the “boring” music day with me…

“Mom, how can this be a Christian song?” The doll asked me while Francesca Battistelli sang a cover of the Best Day of My Life. “Honey, not all songs have to come out and say God or Jesus or the saints. Some songs just have to encourage you to feel better about yourself. That’s what God wants…for you to be happy, have great days and love one another…” I explained. “She mouthed the words “Oh” then went back to looking bored.

Afterward as we drove home, I said to the doll and her friend, “Thank you two for coming with me. I really had a fun time. The girls replied in typical teenage speak, “Whatever”. “I hope it wasn’t too boring for you…” I added and the doll’s friend replied, “It got better as the day wore on…so it wasn’t totally boring…” “Ah, well good, I’m glad it was something for you…” I laughed.


No internet soup for you!!


The boy is currently grounded from the internet. I took his iPod and hid the darn thing until further notice and as you can surmise, he’s not at all happy about (probably going through withdrawals).  “You isolate yourself from us, all you do is spend your life looking down at that dumb 5″ screen forcing your shoulders to roll forward…” I said and then added, “do something different, read a book..” “But I would isolate myself when reading a book in my bedroom anyhow, so what’s the difference?” He argued. “The difference being, you’ll actually use your brain to R-E-A-D and disseminate information other than listening to garbage all day. You know what they say bay, garbage in, garbage out”

When I arrived home from work Tuesday, I found him trying to connect via my laptop. “What are you doing?” I asked. “Just trying out my new earbuds…” He replied. “Sorry, but I need the laptop bay,” I said, unplugging the earbuds and walking away with the computer. Later he asked, “Have you ever seen the movie Blazing Saddles? I’m going to watch that tonight”. “How?” I asked. “Via Netflix…” He replied. “Bay…that’s internet….” I informed. “No, it’s connected to the television…” He tried. “Streaming service via the internet…” I said. “Mom, this isn’t fair!” He returned in a harsh voice.”Yes, it sucks to be you right now, I agree. But you are trying to replace the internet with television. That doesn’t work. I’m limiting the amount of time you spend in front of electronic devices altogether. If your father and I choose to watch something this evening, then you may watch as well. But not otherwise” I explained to an unhappy little man.

Looking over to his sister he complained, “Why haven’t you taken her iPod away from her?” “Hey! Leave me out of this…” the doll shouted back. “Because she’s been reading books…more time than going online. In addition, most of her online content is facetime or talking with her friends–like a telephone call. Not spending her entire existence plugged into youtube”.

Needless to say, this has been a very difficult week for him. I relented a bit on the use of the iPod, as he’s been working at his high school and asked if he could use it strictly for music. On Wednesday night, Stephanie spent the night so the girls could watch the Alternative Press music awards. Feeling bad for his lack of evening choices I offered him the device saying, “You can watch this until 10:30 pm then off and lights out okay?” Happy to be getting the device back, he readily agreed. When I returned at 11:00 pm, I found him sitting in bed watching a program. “Bay, I said 10:30 turn off…” “But you didn’t come in at 10:30” He replied. “So what you’re telling me is that you cannot be trusted…” I said reaching out for the iPod. “No, that’s not at all…” He began to argue back. “Okay then tell me what it does mean? I gave you one rule to follow and you broke it. The right choice would have been to disconnect at 10:30 and put the iPod in the kitchen for me to find. Yet here you are…” I replied. ‘Your expectations for me are too high…” He said and then smiled. “Bay, you’re sixteen. At some point, you need to start growing up and acting like a responsible kid. But seeing as you don’t want that to be now, you’re also telling me you’re not ready to have the iPod returned permanently.

“I’m sorry I broke the rule…” He sheepishly said. “You should be bay, you only screwed yourself,” I said before exiting the room.

Who said life was easy?


Years ago I worked at Best Buy electronics store in which I held numerous positions in various departments, except for Computers. During the majority of my tenure, I did not own a computer. Why? Well, first of all, when you work in retail, there isn’t a lot of money to spread around. Also, while in college I failed a computer programming class and worried I would never understand how to use the darn thing. One day a customer approached wondering where something in the computer department was. I directed her to the merchandise but needed to find another sales person to answer her questions. “What do you mean you don’t own a computer? How can you survive without one?” She asked taken aback by my lack of knowledge. Looking back at her I replied, “One does not miss, what they don’t know…” and handed her over to someone more knowledgeable than me.

Hello, I am a mother of two teenaged children. That line in and of itself should scare the crap out of some people, I know at times it does me. In addition, one of those two teenagers happens to have Asperger’s Syndrome. Usually when I tell people that, they either ask, “What is Asperger’s? or  “What’s that like?” I’ve even had some say to me “I’m so sorry” which simply irks me.

So for the benefit of those who may wonder, the textbook definition is that Asperger’s is a developmental disorder affecting one’s ability to effectively socialize and communicate. For us, Asperger’s means my son has a hard time fitting in with kids his own age. He doesn’t effectively read the underlying social cues kids his own age use, to determine where they belong. Instead, he tends to isolate himself from others. For instance this past school year, he didn’t recognize any “familiar” faces during his lunch period, so he chose to sit in the library, alone instead. But for those of you who know him personally are fully aware, communication has never been a problem for my son. He loves to hear himself talk.

Asperger’s does not define my son. Every kid with Asperger’s does not demonstrate the same behavior as my son. There may be similarities, but no two are ever the same. I once had a teacher, while discussing my son’s potential placement in her class, tell me about some odd behavior a student with Asperger’s displayed in her classroom. I looked at her and asked “What does this have to do with my child?” While surreptitiously trying my best not to smack her and her assumptions. “Well, she’s the only one with Asperger’s with which I have been acquainted”. She replied.

Again just like everything else in this world, Asperger’s affects every person differently.

“I know you have it hard”. Someone recently said to me, while we discussed my son. I didn’t dispute her implication, primarily because I have a teenage son who’s a pain in the …well you get the picture. He’s stubborn, can be narcissistic at times and a know it all–especially when you consider how little he does, in fact, know. In addition, I also have a teenage daughter who’s not far behind employing those same undesirable characteristics, as her brother.Sure we all have it hard, but who said life was easy and who said one’s label (other than teenager) dictates or defines who they are?

Like I told that customer years ago, I don’t miss what I don’t know. I know my children and frankly, I wouldn’t have them any other way–well except to maybe have the boy like sports a little more.