Wednesday, January 28, 2015

the blue line: may contain strong or offensive language ie pinkeye.

Beach's gym is hosting a gym meet this upcoming weekend. Fun. I work, Beach competes, I work some more, and Beach has a birthday party to get to, I work some more, and Fisher's mom is in town to visit with him. More than likely that will include a fight about a motorcycle. A motorcycle 3/4 of his parents agreed on but she said no to, then yes, then no, then prayed about it and said god said no. I'm not sure if god signed off on her keeping all of his hard earned summer job funds from him over it, that is a grey area.
I should ask her since god and I don't talk... 
Feeling a bit scattered the kids and I decided we should make a giant calendar on the wipe board detailing the events of the next few days just to keep the farm running smoothly. Things are going to be a little crazy and I can tell you it is the dogs who are getting the shit end of the stick. Oh wait the chickens, I totally forgot about the chickens!
In blue marker I have 3 days listed: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Thursday almost looks normal. Just a few items like: Fish to school, Beach to gym, Misty to work... 7:30 Sarah-Mom pick up from gym drop Beach to"?", Misty 8PM pick up Sarah-Mom & go to gym set-up Lehi
Okay that question mark at where exactly Beach is going might be something I need to work out- I have options. But still pretty normal-ish.
Friday looks a little stranger. It has lots of times and arrows, a few stars, extra names like Alexis: dogs, added tasks like hijack Sophie early from school, carpool gym rats to Lehi for pre-meet practice, work/gym in Lehi, and Fisher's mom pick Fisher for weekend from school or home (?)
Maybe it is the kids who are getting the shit end of the stick...anyway... 

Saturday is the craziest. It starts early and ends late. This is the madness and fun (no sarcasm) of meet season & putting on a gym meet. Doing it without BC running backup sucks. I think I have people I have never met helping me out. I might ask the animals to buddy up and take care of each other, although the lower on the food chain they are the trickier it gets to find a good buddy. Plus you can't ever trust the cats with anything.
And in a twist I have Sophie's dad getting both of the girls ready for a meet by himself. There are also a few task still with openings; apply within.
 Before I could finish this post Wednesday got added to the board.
Get trash cans out, lend Alexis the big red van (omg! look out slc!), drop Alexis's car off to mechanic but pick up it backup by 5PM, Beach to my mom's, go to the doctors (maybe), run paper work for Conner to Layton (if needed), pick up Beach & Sophie from gym 7:30PM, keep Soph overnight because the little kids at her mom's house have pinkeye. 
Which caused me to return a call to Sarah-Mom that started with "Fuck you, they have pinkeye?!" Trust me, there will be a part B to this post. I can feel it.
Until then: Go team! And we totally got this <3 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

excuse me officer, could you hand me my shirt?

excuse me officer, could you hand me my shirt? 

(hiking without happy meals April 13, 2011)

If your neighbor who has six kids, no job, is on food assistance, yet has an unending supply of disposable money lying around she might not be in the PTA.  Or she might, but she has a side job with the government. 

Well not exactly with them but if you think about the War on Drugs is a huge employer in the USA. It might even give old mighty Walmart, aka the Devil’s play ground, a run for its money. 

Also when you neighbor's place ‘gets’ a home invasion robbery & you are told the well armed thugs had the wrong house, spending a few months worrying about why they had not double check the address before kicking in the door might be pointless angst. 

The other thing to note about said drug dealing neighbor she might actually become one of your best friends.  

Wow.  That’s really strange because I’m sure I think most synthetic street drugs are bad.  It's all pretty black & white & green to me. Bad guys are bad guys.  

Unless they cook really great Mexican food, braid your kid’s hair, save your dog from being hit by a speeding car, and sit in your back yard with you all summer sipping lemon aid and watching the kids play in the grass. 

Slowly over the warm months she began to admit to me what her boyfriend was doing over there on the other side of the fence.  Hum. Now what? You like her, no not just like her you care about her.  You love her children.  For hellsakes, you are practically raising the youngest two as if they were your own. The middle two listen to you when they won't listen to anyone else.  It's a giant mess.  Instead of a nice little Movie of the Week it's a pink Valentine's day cards with a real bleeding heart glued to it by a paste-waster. 
She wanted out.  She wanted a good & normal life for all of them BUT... 

When we returned home from a camping trip & the house sitters told us about the raid on the house next door, we can’t say that it a surprise or that it was sad; she was breaking the law, endangering her children, endangering other people's children, & all the other bad stuff. 

If your neighbor is a drug dealer don’t lend her your best muffin pans unless you can part with them for 20-life Federal Time.  

And certainly try to avoid garden topless on the morning the pack of DEA agents silently creep through the back field to remove the phone tap.  Possibly consider a new name for your dog Kilo.  Especially if he is going to corner the officers with your 'history of taking off your shirt' on display and you're going to have to call your dog... "Come here Kilo. Good boy."  

And try not to miss her too much, even if the way she says certain words makes you laugh so hard you might pee your pants just thinking about it.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

desert drowning

There is a shadow inside silence that is as wet and heavy as dark water. In the middle of a crowded casino hallway I felt the edge of it breaking over me. 
You are totally, utterly alone, you know that don't you? 
It was a hard thought to argue with because I was alone.

Standing for lack of direction or place, stupidly holding a phone with no one to call. BC back at home, us barely on speaking terms.
 Beach off with friends. Wendi dead. 
Me alone.

Silence starts long before the talking stops.
 It is soft and it spreads out wide. Diving deep head first into night waters. Breaking the smudges of moonlight bobbing on the surface. Heading the wrong way in a blind attempt to reach for an unsure bottom- when really you should be heading up for air. Or better still safe and warm tucked into the arms of a dry sleeping bag.

But have you ever just decided to stop swimming and sink, letting the water become the sky.  When I take Beach to the pool that is all she does. She swims and dives beautifully but all she wants to do is dive to the bottom of the deepest end of the pool and sit. It makes the life guards crazy. She's has BC's lungs and she can stay under for long quiet stretches that feel like church time- each second seeming to last forever.

I have always been susceptible to silence. I surround myself with words and stories. I flood my world with them. Their noise keeping my mind busy. Pacifying the darkness. I drown in silences.

A good deal of our drive home from Las Vegas was done in blackness broken by the beams of headlights. Miles and miles traveled and yet I could tell I was getting nowhere. 

I came home to how it was left. BC's bags and my bags competing for space in the front room. Tripping over dogs and stashes of clean or dirty laundry, some incoming, some outgoing, mine, his: we were just passing in the night. Romantic like giant lit ships sailing in opposite directions through icy winter seas.

When I discovered my computer was gone, in the shop for upgrades and repairs, everything about how,where, and when an unknown, I felt the world fall dangerously quiet. My photos, my writing, my stories, music, conversation, media, communication, email, bills, news, movies, even what I read, was taken. BC said, there is no good time to have it fixed. And he's right, there isn't. But it's hard to believe that there could have been a worse moment than this one to pick. 
And BC left in the morning leaving me here with all my unpacked baggage and nothing else to listen to but the stories I tell myself. There is a shadow inside silence that is as wet and heavy as dark water and think I am in danger of drowning in it.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

from the doctor to gym and home

Beach hiding under the covers
watching Word Girl on her Kindle
The follow-up to Beach's bad tummy is we got the early appointment. Drove through the middle of the city in morning rush hour. Unfortunately Wednesdays are Beach's doctor's day off so we were seen by one of the other treating physicians in the practice- the one I love. 

Not the other one, the one I have actually chewed out twice (back in the little Alexis & Conner mom days) for being indecisive and a giant waste of time and money. I think some of my exact words were, "I could have gotten this same bullshit from some newbie mom on a park bench" and "Really? That's all you are going to say? So when we turn up in the ER tonight because you missed treating this do you want a phone call?" WHICH for the record is what happened. 

She had refused to treat an ear infection in a kid who had a history of ear infections that responded well to antibiotics, and who was already scheduled for surgery after multiple ruptures (the times we didn't get on an rx soon enough), because she said it wasn't "red enough yet". 

It got us an apology from the real doctor and a star in our chart meaning call the real doctor about this kid (or this Mom-Bear, either way).... yeah so, turns out that one doctor I would see her later that night but not in the office- at the gym as I slowly realized her kid is on team! That sucks for me.

Yes, back to Beach at the doctor's office. "You don't come here very often" is what the RN said as he decided to get a rare weight and height on Beach to put in the chart. 10% in weight and 20% in height. 
The home owners photos of BC hard at work

The good other doctor, who looks a lot like Jerry Garcia, ruled out all the lower big scary stuff pretty quickly. He also brilliantly navigated though any possibility it was stress related. Turns out he was the pediatrician to the kids of the head coach of the U of U gymnastics team and has had season tickets forever. He even told Beach where his seats were and said he would look for her at the meet where Beach's gym provides the runners. He told her to wave to him. She told him he should know that was against the rules. Beach kills me. 
The home owners photos of BC hard at work
In the end he pronounced the leading suspect to be esophagitis caused by a little infection possibly an ulcer. With a small amount of management & an rx it should clear up. If it doesn't clear up or doesn't respond to rx and antacids then we know to look a bit deeper like gallbladder... He laid out a very safe and logical plan avoiding all the costly or uncomfortable diagnostics until if/when they were truly needed. 
In the car on the way home I asked Beach if she understood everything the doctor had told us.  We talked about what might be happening and why. Then as a way to evaluate what she was really thinking or feeling and how much she was understanding (watch/listen, practice, teach) I asked her what she was going to say when her teammates asked what the doctor said. She answered, "He said my stomach hurts".

Yes, yes he did. And hopefully that is the beginning of the end of it! 

We kicked back the rest of the day. Rescued Sophie from school and hit the gym a little early.  She had a fantastic practice. Her coloring is still pale and waxy and she's not eating very much... but overall we are doing a whole lot better! 

BC called the gym to check on her. Then he told me he emailed me something. I was thinking here I was alone at home with all this weirdness, a frozen washer, stupid chickens, pretty much dead broke, it must be something sweet to cheer me up. 

Nope, it's men standing around drinking beer. 

I did ask him about it he said I was missing the point. It was men drinking beer in front of the walls BC had framed. Interestingly enough throughout this "ninja down with a stomach thing" he is not the first boy to send me a photo of men drinking beer or I should say of beer. That's fine because the girls are a little bit smarter and this turned up in my possession last night. 

Thank you ladies <3 I think we are good :)  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

waiting outside the waiting room

I slept in my clothes just in case. That is a healthy dose of crazy and practical.

It's 7 am and the peds office opens at 8:30. The target is to be the first worried parent through on the phone this morning to get the earliest appointment possible to sort all this stomach stuff out. Back of the mind target is not to get all weird now and just show up at 8:30 am after being this calm this long. 

Beach is up and acting Disney Cheerful.
(Oh, this kid....)

I explained what was likely to happen at he doctor's office: blood draw, stool sample, pee in a cup, lots of questions, maybe x-ray or ultra sound. 

She balked at the peeing in a cup. I explained the reason. She took the answer, rolled it around and said okay, I hope I have good aim.

I asked if she was nervous.
She said, no, going to the doctor sounds interesting.

She said the only reason she was crying while I carried her out of the gym last night was because she had wanted to tell Big Coach D she had finished her series before she left but was in too much pain to talk. 

(Oh, this kid!) 

She saw a news clip about the Boston Marathon bombing and said in a low voice, oh I don't like THAT bombing.

Which reminded me of the odd thing she said the other day. A friend asked her if the year she competed in Las Vegas if she had gone with Sophie or if Sophie had gone with her. Beach said, neither, our grown-ups took us
(...but she sure is a funny kid!)

And when I asked for the umpteen time how she was feeling she finally admitted she can still feel 'something' like it is there but not there ever since her the pain started on Monday afternoon...something she had been denying. Something she did bars and beam with. Looking pretty good too.

I told her the doctor is going want her to do as much of the question answering as possible. Especially because of the whole gym thing. I explained that stress can cause stomach pain in people, real and not exactly real- the pain not the people. "If it was any other kid getting stomach pain suddenly before gym or right before...well you were going to break weren't you..."

She said, Yep, I'm afraid of doing break. 

(Oh, this kid, sigh)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

wish you were here, postcards from the farm

This is Beach. Around her all hell is breaking loose. Her uncle and her brother and even her mother are trying to trouble shot an electrical problem in the mudroom. 

Turns out I didn't just blow a fuse, mine or the house's. 

The house around her has an end of the world vibe as the boys pull fuses and shut down power to sections of the house. Electronics powered down and candles lit.

She is completely unaffected by it all.

The total disaster with the eye doctor most of which went down in front of her via the phone. The end result was a set of mismatched not completely correct contacts costing twice what we were told, a 2nd unprocessed refund hopelessly pending, lots of finger pointing between the front office, one f bomb, one phone call asking my parents for a short term loan, and a transfer of all Beach's records back to the expensive clinic.

The washer with frozen pipe at day 4. Where I got desperate, or more accurately got pressure from a 15 yr kid who had just spent a week in Moab and would like clean clothes sooner rather than later. So then I broke something overloading an outlet or a circuit or just an old house in my attempt to speed up the defrosting of the washer.

The one thing I haven't mentioned is I know from past experiences that when the washer freezes sometimes, roughly about half the time, things break somewhere inside. That makes it hard to hold out much hope for an easy solution. 

So it's winter in this old farm house. The mudroom is hardly beautiful and not exactly an inside or outside space; it is a room you always wear shoes in. And there are always complications with spaces such as these.  

Around here you put on big boots and a farm coat and walk over the crusty snow to the coop get eggs. You carry clean water from here to there in metal buckets and feed the chickens from old coffee cans both of which stick to your skin in the cold. You break up ice chunks and secure bedding. 

There is a rabbit and dogs and a few cats. Its all the same. 

The greenhouse has its own requirements, heaters and fans that need switching on and off. But late at night you can slip on the same big boots and cross the yard to the glow of the string of lights hanging inside the thin billowy frame. That is where the hot tub waits.

I don't have a way to make all this tie neatly back in. Yesterday just wasn't neat. There are other storms brewing. Meet season hanging heavy on the horizon (and the pocket book). Even the bench at gym was lacking luster. 

The day and the night sort ran like slow moving lava. Those of us able to make it to higher ground did pretty damn well and those of us who didn't quite get there just keep passing the phone off to those who did because the last thing BC needed to hear me say was what I was thinking and feeling about the whole thing. Instead he got to hear about who said what at gym and about India and about India's dog...

And this is Beach. She is an island. She doesn't care that the only vegetable left in the house is one lonely napa cabbage. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

perfect blue balloons

I was standing in the whipping cold holding 2 huge black trash bags wearing old gym shoes, tattered jeans, and a tank top. So you don't get the wrong idea that I might have looked anything other than the winner of Ms. Congeniality for Ms. Trailer Park I will help you out- the tank top is hideous. It was some sort of gangster tee before I cut off the arms and v cut the neck so I could box in it. My hair had long since transitioned from cute messy braids to 2nd winter homeless. 
I had stopped at the edge of my driveway, heading for the trash cans out on the street, to watch the girl (she's about 20 yrs old) walking down the snow spotted sidewalk. 
I see her all the time. 
Seven years of watching her as she walks past my house on the way to 7/11. She used to try to talk to me but after a year or 2 of my shortness she would simply talk to dogs. She and her sister pass by several times a day to buy all kinds of shit food, mostly large sodas. I assume Mt. Dew. They are a family of Tennessee hill people (I know not very nice but you get the picture). Everyone is a touch big, slow, too related, and too friendly with each other- yes, all of us on 10th have wondered aloud if they really were that kind of family. The amount of dogs having puppies and cars having tires doesn't help offset any rumors strolling the block. 
In fact, I suspect they are the reason the old Asian woman tells me that I have a good husband then angrily shakes her fist in the general direction of their house and says "not from Colorado." I've never fully figured out what she is trying to say to me, only that to her "Colorado" is something bad and BC is not that. I don't know how she knows him but I remember a time when I too was just his neighbor and I think I thought the same thing about him. It may not have come out quite the same, hey there, look at that guy surely he's not from Colorado but the idea of he's good, not bad was there somewhere.     

I couldn't help but pause to watch her: she is the sister of the man killed last month while he was at work up the street at the other 7/11. Killed over a box of smokes. I will never get beyond the senselessness of that. No one should. At least my sister died doing what she loved- drinking.
As the girl walked further away, bundled head to toe in Walmart winter wear, I was aware of the bitter cold filling up all the holes in my own clothing and my own strangeness. A hundred thoughts rushed through my mind. Thoughts that take me up the stairs of my sister's apartment, through the door, and into the tiny stale rooms with the hopeless fan buzzing full force at thin air. How can she go to a 7/11 like it nothing? Does he haunt her? Do they remember him? Does she even care? 

I stared at the back of her head as she bobbed away. Suddenly she hollered out, "He was shot". The words rose then burst, like an overfilled balloon popping. It seemed involuntary. But more than that, to me it finally seemed like something normal was happening. Some one was finally making sense. Or perhaps we were members of a secret dead sibling club and she was simply answering one of my unspoken questions. 
She walked on vanishing down the street. I finished with the trash, pilling it on top of a heaping city can filled with the whole reason I was such a mess. 
See at some point around 4 A.M. that morning, being alone with an unlimited supply of coffee and no one to stop me I had pulled all the furniture in my house away from the walls. Removed all the arts, stacked the books, and began cleaning and sorting through everything we owed- filling 3 bags for donation, 4 bags of trash, and piled unnecessary pieces of furniture in the back of the van. [BC is going to kill me.]
Late in the afternoon Sarah had called to check on me and remind me she still had my child from the day before. "You really must be geeking out. I haven't heard from you all day." She had laughed.  At that point in time I had yet to put anything back. And was standing in the middle of the front room like a full blown crackhead. Covered in my own dirty hand prints trying to justify (a little too late) how I was going to explain to BC that I had by myself carried a ceder lined mission style wooden bench/chest down his stairs to put it in the hallway opposite Beach's bedroom. At least I hadn't carried it up. 
That was about the 24 hr mark of what would become about 32 hrs of complete solitude (minus the phone call and the outburst from the girl). I had dropped Beach off to Sarah on New Year's Eve in the early afternoon with 20 bucks and a bag full of overnight supplies. I spent New Years alone; a lot of it in the hot tub drinking and obviously plotting deconstruction of my whole life.

Most of it had gone as planned except for that girl...when I think about her I guess we all walk around with invisible balloons that rise above us. Some burst from inside pressures, some from outside forces, while others seem to just slowly lose air. And some hang around over head for a long time before you decide to let them go.
When I close my eyes I often see my sister- for no reason at all.
When I am surrounded by people I tend to forget that I am actually okay.
When I am truly alone I am completely entertained by own foolish bravery and off center points of view. 

By the fall of dark on New Year's Day Beach had been returned to me and the house had been almost completely restored to its new, improved, less cluttered, and way cleaner, arrangement.
This I know: Left to my own devices I have the tendency to rip my life apart, to over inflate the weak spots, and run with scissors. But given enough time (coffee & oranges) I'm also not too bad at putting it all back together.