Saturday, December 25, 2010

CSI: Christmas Scene Investigator

We had a peaceful Christmas morning, with a nut roll for breakfast, and our simple gifts to one another. EG gave me a copy of The Big Sleep, as I had mentioned I had never seen it and I love film noir. My cousins Ida and Sara gave Rocky The Book of Gross Stuff. Kiki gave Nita the exact Barbie doll she wanted. Kiki got the digital camera she asked for. And Rocky gave me a gift which made me laugh--bunny slippers.

For those of you who know me and our situation, you know that I have told Rocky from the gitgo that, if I had to go to the school for any disciplinary reasons, I was going in hair curlers, my bathrobe, and bunny slippers. Whenever Rocky starts acting goofy, his social studies teacher has mentioned to him, "I am looking forward to seeing your mom's bunny slippers." For Rocky to see the humor in the situation and give me bunny slippers as a gift tells me just how far he has come in his healing.

On a different note, we have been finding blood spatter on the hall and kitchen walls all week. Initially, I found myself thinking we had some kind of Amityville horror thing going on, as I was scrubbing the walls three or four times a day. I spent two days studying the direction of the blood spatter, the quantity, and the frequency, as well as what was going on during the time we found the spatter. We keep Nash tied in that area, so we next suspected that he was the culprit. So after the gift-giving this morning, I gave Nash a thorough vet exam, starting with cavity swabs, checking his ears, and checking his teeth. Nothing, except the realization that he needs a dental cleaning and Nash's dismay at this turn of events on a family holiday--can't blame the guy for that. As EG held on to his collar, Nash flipped over on his back, and EG rubbed his tummy. It was then that I realized that there was a wound on the very tip of his tail (I am, of course, referring to Nash and not EG), so when he wagged, he whacked the tail on the walls.

So I shaved the area, medicated the wound, and then taped the last three inches of the tail. Kiki said, "Nashie looks like "scorpion dog." And he does.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Peace on Earth

For years, Christmas was a time of desperation and despair. Rocky came to us at two, a product of the foster care system, with issues which are difficult for "normal" families to contemplate. The time between Halloween and New Year's eve were always stressful and chaotic for him, and consequently for us, apparently an anniversary time for him. His acting out included urination throughout the house, manic behavior, manipulation, constant battles for control, breaking all his own gifts within hours of unwrapping them, stealing other family members' gifts, including breaking some of them, too, and knee-jerk lying. We tried what we could to help him through it, eventually, though, giving up in despair and suffering it out as best we could. Since his memories of the time before us were pre-verbal, we may never know for sure what happened to him to cause that reaction every year during the holidays. I talked to him earlier this week about the previous years, and he gave me some insight about his thoughts and feelings during those earlier times, a pretty tough job for a kid who could earn a scholarship to the Gary Cooper School of Communication.

This year, a year in which he has shot up tremendously in height and has broadened through the shoulders, a year in which his voiced deepened, apparently overnight, he has grown into peace, too. He focused on others as he planned and bought Christmas gifts for the whole family, me included for the first time this year, and is now waiting excitedly for Wednesday's family "wrap party" to wrap them all.

What he doesn't realize is that he gave me my gift early this year--creating little chaos, gaining perspective, and even teasing me back about his dirty socks. He gave me peace in the house and hope that he will be able to experience joy every holiday season.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

All I Want For Christmas

I have finally decided what I want for Christmas this year, something which I will find useful, something that will give me pleasure, and something which I can use for home and work.

No chia pets this year. No thanks to a clapper. Never mind crockpots, foot massagers, facial steamers, or convection ovens. This year, I want a taser.

First, I am getting to be an age where my children can outrun me. Imagine someone smarting off and then darting toward the door. I can let them run outside, then pull the taser, and "Whaugghk!" Stopping power at a distance. Not only is the little booger immobilized, he or she is compliant. At least until next time. And since I will be needing time to familiarize myself with my gift, misbehavior won't bother me as much: if the kids comply, I get peace. If they don't, I get target practice.

Second, just having this device will persuade others to give me what I want. I'm sorry? You can't remember to in your weekly report on time? Maybe I can persuade you (waving the device). No? Fine. (BzzzZZZZZZzzzt.) What's that? Why, certainly you may turn everything in early for the rest of your life. No problem. But only if you really want to. . . . No, I don't have a receipt, but the store's website says you will give me a gift card if I don't have a receipt. Oh, I see...THIS store's policy is that no one gets a refund ever. Perhaps you can make an exception? Hmmmm???? No? (BzzzZZZZZZAARRttt.) Ah, I thought so. Thanks so much. No, cash is fine. While I can't understand you right now, I'll assume that is an apology for your snotty attitude with me previously. Now, just let me pull these little prong thingies out of your tattoo there and I'll be on my way.

I have been looking online, comparison shopping if you will. Here's an interesting fact: tasers come in designer colors, and one site is having a special holiday inventory reduction sale.

So, for those of you who have that hard-to-buy-for person on your shopping list, there you go. Tasers for everyone. It might be the first step toward world peace.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Friday morning, we got up to find that the phone lines were down. It was apparently the jack in the basement that was defective, causing the lines to cut out. Then we had no internet. Then the dryer door would not shut--I called EG on his way to work to enlighten him as to the chaos and share the joy.

Unfortunately for poor Rocky, he got in the car in the midst of my stress and asked, "Why is my window open?" I blew a gasket, thinking it was one more thing which was going wrong.

After most of the morning was spent fussing with the phone, talking to our phone company (at least our phone company's computer), checking various things, and listening to EG swear at the dryer, we ran out to the store for a new phone jack. I was in an old hoodie and jeans, my hair clean but air dryed and not styled, and the only concession to make-up a swipe of mascara.

As we were racing through the store, I saw the new wife of someone I know, someone who is a professional and financially well off. His wife's hair was long and sleek, the ends waved perfectly, her make-up magazine perfect; she was wearing a lovely suede coat, perfect fitting jeans, and Ugg boots. She was pushing her cart, the contents neatly arranged, gracefully through the store. We weaved around her and dashed through the cash register, then back out to the parking lot.

I was musing about this woman, who stayed home to take care of her new husband and her children, a woman who apparently had time while they were at work and school to dress nicely and do her hair and make-up before running out to do a little Christmas shopping; she cared for her new husband, living in their gorgeous house, making a home for him. I told EG how her husband told me he had introduced her to the opera and classical music. I asked EG, as I mushed my cluttery mini-van back home to install a new phone jack, if he would be interested in having a wife whose focus would be to make a lovely and serene home for him, someone for whom he could be a Henry Higgins, someone whom he could tutor in the finer things in life. He said, "No. What could I talk to her about?"

I guess listening to him cuss at an appliance is a small price to pay for that attitude.

We'll Blame Danny

Kiki came home from school one day to report that two of her classmates were talking on the back of the bus, plotting some kind of mischief. One said to the other, "Remember, no matter what happens, we blame Danny."

Unfortunately, Danny has now moved into my house. When something happens, someone says, "Danny did it"; no matter how hard I try, I have yet to catch the little miscreant. Danny stashed a half-eaten granola bar behind the basement freezer, Danny dirtied the back door, Danny ate the leftover chicken and rice casserole I had earmarked for supper the other night.

I wish he'd move out.