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Sometimes Parenting Sucks…oh…and pregnancy, too.

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 08/11/14 8:54 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Blogging Honestly, perspective

I bought four pillows the other day.  Not throw pillows or decorative little squares.  They were full fledged, I-need-this-to-sleep-comfortably bed pillows.  And they were all for me.

The clerk in the bedding section of the department store must have thought I was a little odd.   I mean, I’m sure it’s normal for people to hit the pillows or squish the pilllows but I was pressing them against my side;  squeezing them between my knees; and hugging them to my very pregnant body all in hopes of determining which one would help me sleep.

You see, I’m getting big.

I can no longer sleep on my stomach.  I haven’t been able to lay on my left side since I pee’d on that stick--sleeping on my left side makes me throw up. As a result, my right hip is starting to get a little sore–especially considering I can’t lay flat.  I have to keep my upper body raised in order for gravity to help my Nexium-Zantac-Tums cocktail keep the contents of my stomach–well–in my stomach.

Making matters even more challenging, I have a horrible case of restless leg syndrome.  I honestly didn’t even know RLS was a thing until two pregnancies ago.  With Mary Kate and Logan I had minor boughts of the condition but unfortunately, this pregnancy has me playing world class soccer in my bed.  It takes hours to fall asleep.  And, once I do…I have to get up and go to the bathoom.

I’d love to report the pillows have helped, but I’m not sure they have.  As a result I am a walking zombie.

But…I’m not complaining.

Oh wait.

Yes.

Yes I am.

And that’s okay.

******

This morning I watched Savannah Guthrie bid the world of network morning television a maternity leave adieu.  Apparently her little bun in the oven is about baked.  In celebration of her momentous occasion the Today Show had a gaggle of celebrities give her some last minute parenting advice in a clever little montage.  You can read it here.

The messages were sweet.  Some of them were even funny. Many of them shared one underlying theme.

Enjoy it. Love every second of it.  Parenting is an honor.  It’s a privelege.  It’s the best job you’ll ever have!”

I don’t know if it was my sleep-deprived, grumpy, ill-feeling-pregnant-self but all I could think of was, “What a bunch of bull sh*t.

The more I thought about the well-intentioned, sugary advice to “lap up every second” the madder I got.  You see, after being a parent for the past 20 years I’ve realized that some of the duties us mothers are called to–well–to be frank–kind of suck.

For instance, last Friday night Sean and I lugged all five of our kids to the shores of Lake Michigan for an evening picnic at the water’s edge.  Great plan in theory but damn if every single kid isn’t their own little variable.  Four of our five were agreeable but one would have nothing of it.  Suddenly, after a week of playing at the beach without incident, she didn’t like sand, water, sunscreen and the site of seagulls made her scream.  In addition, she protested that her bathing suit was ill-fitting, her sandals were too tight and she had a tummy ache.

Therefore she screamed…for a solid thirty minutes.

Being the savvy parents that Sean and I are we weren’t about to let a crabby two year old thwart our plans.  We sat her in a chair, set up camp, and ignored her display.  It was us against her and we were determined to prevail.  After all, the sunset was brilliant, the other four kids were playing happily, and we figured we could outlast the tantrum.  It was a battle of wills and come hell or high water we were going to win.

Until…we didn’t.

You see, turns out two year olds have weapons up there sleeves–and in their pants–that can beat down even the most resolute parents.

Remember that tummy ache?  The one I ignored.  Turns out there was some truth behind her complaints.

Drew was the first to recognize there was a problem.

Drew:  Mom…what’s with the flies all over her?

Me: Um…I don’t know.  Maybe they are mistaking her tantrum as a mating call.

Drew:  Um.  No.  I think there’s a problem.

Ryan:  Oh my God.  Look at her leg.

Me:  What?…running towards her…”Shit!

There in lies the problem.  Shit.  Shit everywhere.  Turns out my recently potty-trained no-diaper-wearing little girl decided to end this trip to the beach the only way she could.  She used the one weapon in her arsenal we couldn’t ignore.

And she won.

And it sucked.

*****

This pregnancy is getting difficult.  At this point, I thankfully have no reason what-so-ever to be worried about the dangerous complications that I’ve experienced before.  So far, my blood pressure is stable and my body seems to be cooperating with it’s new inhabitant.  I’m grateful for that.  I really am.

But, here’s the thing,

Pregnancy is tough.  It alters a woman’s life in a way that forces her to sacrifice so much.  Discomforts that range from the minor to the major often plague women during the forty week gestational period.  Yet, and I can only speak for myself,  I always feel guilty complaining.  I feel like I should be thankful for this opportunity because so many women would give their left arm to be in my position.  My pregnancy is a miracle.  This little life I’m carrying is a blessing from God.

And just like those feelings, sometimes when I’m having a challenging parenting moment I catch myself thinking about how my life would be easier if I wasn’t a parent at all.

I know.

Can you believe I just admitted that?  Me.  The woman who went to the extreme of extremes to have this brood of children.

But I admit it.  There are moments where I wish I could beam myself to a parallel universe in which my current “challenge” (aka. “kid”)  didn’t exist.  For instance,  in the moment that I was wrapping my sh*t covered two year old in a beach towel and carrying her through the sand while she was kicking and screaming because suddenly she didn’t want to leave the beach–I wanted to be somewhere else.  In fact, I wanted to be someone else.  Anyone but this child’s mother.

Do I feel bad about that?  Maybe.  Kind of.  Not really.

Dare I say, “It’s normal”?

 

Look…I know it’s  not on trend to complain.  Gratitude:  Enjoying the small things:  Basking in the minutia of parenting;  well, it’s all  supposed to be the bomb.

Sometimes it is.

But…

Some parenting moments suck.  Kids puke.  They destroy things.  They can make bad decisions that put parents in undesireable positions.  They can break hearts with their tongues and do things that make you feel like you’ve have failed.   And, damn if they don’t have a special knack for embarrassing you.

When those parenting moments happen it’s okay not to love every single second of it.

We need to quit telling each other to cherish every moment.  As well intentioned as the sentiment is–it can lead to feelings of inadequacy and guilt.  And those are feelings that mothers don’t need any more of.  I’m pretty sure most of us walk around every day worrying that we aren’t doing a good enough job and feeling guilty about it.

*****

Considering my Y-list celebrity status I’m not at all surprised the producers from the Today Show didn’t invite me to participate in the advice laden montage for Savannah.  But, if they had, this is what I would’ve said,

“On most days you’re going to love being a mother.  But there will be days where you don’t; and that’s okay.  They pass.   But for the love of God don’t feel bad for not loving every single second of motherhood.  Oh…and don’t ignore complaints about stomach aches.  They often result in sh*t.”

******

We were visiting my parent’s last week.  They live on the shores of southern Lake Michigan.  Here are a few snap shots of the parenting moments I actually did love.

 

 

On the lawn of my parent's yacht club.

On the lawn of my parent’s yacht club.

Lawn bowling.  She's kind of dangerous.

Lawn bowling. She’s kind of dangerous.

Cousin mayhem.

Cousin mayhem.

Burning off some steam.

Burning off some steam.

Uncle love.

Uncle love.

Cuddle time.

Cuddle time.

Uninhibited smiles.

Uninhibited smiles.

How A Trip to The Fabric Store Turned into An Episode of “Cops”

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 07/29/14 7:30 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Compassion, From The Files of You Can't Make This Sh*t Up

I was cruising along minding my own business.  McFlurry in one hand and the treasure of five yards of bargain-priced, perfect nursery-window-treatment fabric sitting comfortably in my passenger seat.  It was even peaceful as the kids were safely at home with my trusted sitter.  Life was good.  Until it wasn’t.

I was on my way back home and on a deadline.  My sitter had to leave at one and at 12:50 pm I was cutting it a little close, but that was okay.  I had accomplished everything on my errand list and was on the home stretch.  That’s when I noticed the red minivan in front of me.  It was drifting left of center as we made our way westbound through a busy intersection.  I remember thinking, “Correct.  Correct!  CORRECT!” And he did.  But only after it was too late.I was right on his tail as he side swiped three cars sitting in the east bound left-hand turn lane.  Rear view mirrors, glass and metal flew everywhere and because we were moving at a pretty good clip, there wasn’t time to stop.  Next thing I knew we were hundreds of yards past the scene of the accident.  And still driving.

LIKE NOTHING EVER HAPPENED.

I immediately noticed he’d seriously mangled his own car.  Surely he was looking for a place to pull over.  As he swerved into the right hand lane and turned into the Lowes parking lot I followed.  He was probably pretty shaken.  Maybe he was a young kid. If my son had caused an accident like that I’d want some compassionate witness to help him.   I’d stop, make sure he was okay and accompany him back to the scene of the accident.  After all, he had to be returning to the accident.  He’d caused it.  Right?

Next thing I knew he turned west in the parking lot.

That was the wrong way.

I could see he was on the phone.  Maybe he was so upset he called a trusted loved one–probably his mom– to see what he should do.  Surely the other person on the phone was saying, “Go back.  You have to go back.”  

But he continued to weave his way westward through the parking lots.  That’s when it occurred to me.  Could he be running?  Could he be avoiding being spotted by not getting back on the street?

So, I put down my McFlurry and followed him.  Every turn he made, I made.  Every zig zag and evasive maneuever he executed, I executed better—All the while laying on my horn, pointing at him and screaming “Go back!“.  Finally, when we hit the end of the big box parking lots, he had to get back out on the street where the accident had occurred.  As he approached the exit of the parking lot he was stopped by oncoming traffic.

He had a choice.

He could take responsibility, turn left and go back.  Or he could turn right and run away.

I kept thinking he has to know that the lunatic lady behind him in the Honda Odyssey had his plate number and description.  Of course he knew I’d give the police his information and then he’d be in bigger trouble.

That’s when I stopped blowing my horn.  You see, I think I’ve seen too many episodes of “Breaking Bad” and began to wonder who this person was.  What if he was a South American drug cartel member?  What if he’d just robbed a bank?  What if he had an axe?  (If you’ve seen Breaking Bad you’d understand my rather irrational train of thought.)

Irrational or not, that’s when stopped blaring my horn, sank down in my seat and waited for his decision.  When the light turned green he hesitated.  It was almost as if I could see the thoughts running through his head.  I held my breath.

And he turned right and proceeded to continue west…as if nothing ever happened.

*****

I make choices every day.  Choices that seem mundane and most of the time they are…until they aren’t.  I had no idea what this person in the red minivan was doing that caused him to drift left of center and hit those cars.  Perhaps he was adjusting the radio;  answering a phone call;  or spilling his coffee.

I do stuff like that every day.  He could be me.  Or, I could be him.

Ever since the mistake that led to my pregnancy with Logan I think about the choices we make throughout the day–especially the ones that aren’t the wisest but seem harmless at the time.  During my pregnancy I’d often wonder what had so distracted the person  that pulled the wrong embryos from cryopreservation that day.  Was he upset because of a personal problem?  Was she not feeling well and regretting her decision to come in instead of taking a sick day?  Or was there just something more pressing than following the tedious protocols that were in place to protect my family?

What I’ve always known in my heart was the person who made the mistake that led to my pregnancy with Logan didn’t do it on purpose.  There was no malice.  It was an accident.

Accidents can be forgiven.  But only after responsibility is taken.

When I was sitting at that light watching the driver who’d caused the car accident I was silently rooting for him.  Do the right thing.  Go back and face the music.  It was an accident.  You didn’t mean to.  It’s okay.  You’ll be forgiven.

As far as I could figure, it was the only thing he could do to fix it.

But he didn’t.

******

About fifteen minutes after returning to the accident scene I learned from the police that the driver of the red minivan had been arrested.  They’d caught him only a few miles west of where I’d told them I’d last seen him.

The officer was ecstatic that I’d gotten his identifying information.  The owners of the three mangled cars were thankful and wondering if the suspect had insurance.  I gave my formal statement and was informed I may end up in court.

I left feeling good but also kind of feeling bad.

I was glad to help.  I actually felt a little bad-ass.  But, then I thought of the guy who had made a mistake, caused an accident and then made a bad choice.   I’d had a front row seat to his demise.  Granted, I’m not sure what the circumstances were that led him to flee.  All I knew was his day had just gotten really bad and he had nobody to blame but himself.

If only he’d taken responsibility.

*****

If you are looking for the recipe for blueberry-zuchinni bread I talked about Wednesday morning on 101.5 The River with Rick and Marybeth click here.  

Two Bizarre Phone Calls; Four Staples in His Head; and A Remote Control Car Stuck in Her Hair…Just A Couple of Reasons I Should Never Leave My House

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 07/14/14 1:35 PM
CATEGORIES: Blog, college, From The Files of You Can't Make This Sh*t Up

My sister-in-law, Jo Ann, and I have a lot of repetitive conversations.  One of them always starts with, “If I die please promise me …”.  I’ve filled in the blank with making her promise SHE’LL pick out my casket attire;  SHE’LL make sure my house is clean before my wake; and–as should’ve been the case this past Saturday–SHE’LL supervise anytime Sean feels the need to cut one of our daughter’s hair.

Why was Sean cutting Mary Kate’s hair?

Well, let me start from the beginning.

Ryan is searching for colleges.   He’ll begin his senior year in August and in an attempt to get our parental ducks in a row we have scheduled four college visits before the academic year begins.  Early in June Ry and I set off on a two night road trip to visit Indiana University in Bloomington, and my alma mater, Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.  Both schools have stellar business programs–which is what Ryan wants to study. One of the schools fit his criteria.  He wants a “big school”.  One where he can earn a reputable degree AND have fun attending football and basketball games.  If you know anything about Miami, you know that it’s football and basketball teams are not all that great.  I admit it.  I kind of forced him to look.  But damn.  The Farmer School of Business at Miami?  Well, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than that…and it’s in-state, too.

Needless to say.  He loved IU.

Even though he was impressed with the possibility of being a Hoosier we are doing our due diligence.  That’s why this past Saturday the two of us trekked to Columbus, to visit THE Ohio State University.  When I told Sean I’d scheduled the admissions tour for a Saturday he was excited.  With Ryan and I gone, he’d have a day to himself with the girls.

I know.  I’m lucky.  He’s that kind of dad.

I’m sure he had all kinds of fun, “hey-girls…Mom’s out of town so we can do all that stuff she doesn’t like for the next eight hours” activities planned.  Unfortunately, the morning didn’t turn out as he’d hoped.  It all started to go south when–in true Sean form– he was running late for MK’s cross country practice.  As the story goes he was in a hurry, buckled the girls into their car seats, threw the twin’s stroller in the back of the Suburban and in his haste… slammed his head in the door.

Let me repeat that, HE slammed his OWN head in HIS car door.

I’m just not really sure how that’s even physically possible, and at the dinner table last night he admitted that he’s not all that sure how it happened either.  Regardless, he gashed his head something fierce.  (i.e., blood covering his hands and dripping down his face.)

Sorry for the gory details, but I’m painting the picture for you in order to foreshadow the shock of what he did next.

Because Sean is a runner and he loves all things running; and because this was only MK’s second cross country practice…which is about running; he grabbed a towel and drove her to practice.

I’m sure it was quite a scene.  Sean arrived at the park.  There were 45 other kids there…with their non-bleeding parents…and he jogged into the activity as if nothing was wrong…except the bloody towel on his head was kind of a dead give-away that things weren’t quite right.

This episode was the topic of the first bizarre phone call.

*****

Ryan and I toured OSU and I’m happy to report, he also LOVED it.  This is good.  Now he has two potential schools for a college education.  It was a two and a half hour presentation and walking tour that concluded with he and I crawling to our car in hopes of getting to the nearest restaurant.  Like I said.  We loved the school.  What was less than optimal was the timing of the tour.  It required us to skip lunch.   We were famished and when Ryan is hungry he’s crabby.  And, when I’m hungry, I’m bitchy (And when I say I’m bitchy let me clarify that being pregnant and hungry takes me to a whole ‘nother level of bitchy.  I was REALLY bitchy.)  So, after two huge subs from Potbelly’s followed with a plethora of sides that we just couldn’t resist, we were comfortably nursing food comas on the drive home.  That’s when the next bizarre call came in.

When I saw the phone ring I figured it was Sean telling me he was finally relenting and going to urgent care.  After all, according to all our texts since the 9:30 am head slamming incident, he was still bleeding.

Sample text….

Me:  You need stitches.

Sean:  Maybe.  I’d rather just take a nap.

Me:  A nap isn’t going to stop your head from bleeding.

Sean:  I know.  I think I’ll just take the girls to the park.

Ugh.

On the bright side the next phone call had nothing to do with his head.  Unfortunately, it had everything to do with Mary Kate’s hair…and a remote control car.  Hey…I said it was going to be bizarre.

Drew:  Mom?  (Said in that daunting tone that means something’s wrong.  Really wrong.)

Me:  What’s wrong?

Drew:  Um.  Well…MK was playing with the Strawberry Shortcake remote control car and she got it stuck in her hair.  Like really stuck.  

Me:  What?  How?

Of course, no one cared to explain.  And as I processed exactly what he was saying I realized I could here MK crying in the background.  I couldn’t make out exactly what she was saying but it sounded a lot like, “It hurts!”  followed promptly by repeated requests for her father to put down the scissors.

Sean has scissors?  Holy Sh*t.

Me:  Is Dad trying to cut it out?

Drew:  Yes.

Me:  Tell him to put down the scissors.  NOW!

But it was too late.  There was a shriek.  A wale.  And then I overheard something about the car eating her hair.

When Sean finally explained that he was left with no other choice–that the car was REALLY stuck—he finished with “Meh…it’s not really that bad.  You can’t even tell!  You know, unless you look closely.”

Great.

I hung up the phone, exasperated.  Saturday morning I’d gotten her hair into a pony tail for the very first time.  We celebrated.  I was ecstatic thinking of how easy it would be to pull it back from now on.  No more braiding.  No more wrestling it into a presentable “bob” so she didn’t look like Medusa at school.  A pony tail would be so easy.Who knew a remote control car and a scissor-happy father–who was bleeding from the head–would thwart my dreams of carefree little-girl-hair… within eight hours of the first pony tail?

I hadn’t even had a chance to send Jo Ann an SOS.

What is it they say about best laid plans?

*****

On Sunday afternoon Sean finally decided the bloody-towel-on-the-head look was getting old.  Four staples in the head later I’m happy to report he’s fine.

MK’s hair has since been trimmed.  It still, kind of, goes in a pony tail…with the help of a lot of hair spray and a headband.

And, Ryan’s next and last college visit to Michigan State University has been rescheduled from a Saturday to a week day.  A babysitter has been hired… and there won’t be a remote control car in sight.

Then, just maybe then, I can leave the house for a day without a bizarre phone call.

Now, let’s all hold hands and knock on wood together.

Just Another Reason This Pregnancy Has Been Good For Me

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 07/7/14 10:50 AM
CATEGORIES: Blog, pregnancy, Travel, Travel Trouble

19 1/2 weeks and I’m half way.

I know for most women twenty weeks marks the half way point of pregnancy but given my history of early deliveries combined with the fact that my doctor says I can’t go any longer than 39 weeks, I think it’s safe to say I’ve hit the the gestational summit.  It’s all downhill from here.  Right?

Cue snickering.

Actually I’m well aware that the most potentially challenging parts of this pregnancy–namely the third trimester–are ahead of me.  I tend to run into issues with labile hypertension (fancy term for blood pressure that dances up and down like a stipper on a pole)  at around 28 weeks.  So, I figure I have nine weeks to blissfully skip through the field of this pregnancy that finally is allowing me to feel human again.

Dare I write it…my morning sickness is gone.

Hallelujah.

Honestly, it’s hard for me to express how grateful I am to be through the first trimester of hell.  April and May of 2014 will go down as two of the darkest most sickly months of my life.  The shock of this pregnancy still often catches up to me and during those moments of surrealness I wonder why this has happened.  Then a wave of nausea would wash over me and I’d think maybe this whole thing is serving as a reminder.  A reminder as to why the entire episode of “pregnant with someone else’s baby” was so unacceptable.

It’s been five years since my pregnancy with Logan and as time has passed my memory of the challenges of that pregnancy were softening—or more accurately—becoming distorted.  Of course I’ve always known women quickly forget the pain of labor or the challenges of pregnancy when enveloped by the love for their child.  Even though I don’t have a normal post pregnancy relationship with Logan, I had eventually worked my way to a place of profound meaning.  I was able to assign a greater purpose to the experience.  The act of getting to a peace-filled place was challenging and don’t misunderstand–I’m glad I finally arrived–but as I moved further away from my grief my attitude towards the mistake that catapulted me into that pregnancy was morphing.  I was disconnecting from the anger.

I’m not sure that is a good thing.

Here’s why.

Yesterday Drew got sick.  Really sick.  We’d just arrived home from a week in Vail, Colorado.  It was our family vacation which, for me, meant a week of relaxation and beautiful views.  For Drew it was a week of altitude training.  He’s a runner and pushing his body at 10,000 feet is good for endurance.  Less oxygen meant his lungs must adjust and if a runner can get their lungs to perform at altitude…well…just think of the possibilities when oxygen is at 100%.  (Yes.  The minds of runners are twisted.)

Anyways, our trip home was hampered by a lengthy flight delay.   None of us got to bed until 4:30 am Sunday morning.  For normal people that translates into a delayed beginning of the day.  Not for Drew, however.  He had scheduled a run with some teammates and wasn’t about to let a few little things like a massive altitude change, poor nutrition from eating airport food, and 4.5 hours of sleep disrupt his training schedule.  So off he went on a thirteen mile run.

A half-friggin-marathon.

Which landed him  in the ER at 4:30 yesterday afternoon with vomiting and significant chest pain.  I knew–because this isn’t his first time at the clinical dehydration rodeo–his ailments were most likely caused by an electrolyte imbalance but the chest pain was messing  up my very expert, “I slept at a Holiday Inn last night” diagnosis.

I was worried.

So, when they ruled out a heart attack and stuck us in room 24 with the promise of an IV bag and pain meds and then promptly disappeard for an hour I reconnected with my anger regarding medical mistakes.  You see, I’ve seen enough episodes of ER to know the acronym for PE (pulmonary embolism) and I’d heard the docs talking about an X-ray to rule that diagnosis out.  Yet, there we sat.  My son writhing in pain, clearly dehydrated and not a medical practioner in sight.

I knew they were busy which is why I engaged in a mental battle between wanting to advocate for my child and not wanting to be the pain-in-the-ass, over-dramatic mother in room 24.  I was taught to respect medical personnel.  They go through an immense amount of training and they entered into their profession to help–not hurt–people.  Plus, there were probably other patients in more need than us.

But…what if they forgot about us?  What if our paperwork got mixed up with someone else’s?  It’s happened before…ahem.

And with that…I marched to the nurse’s station and respectfully questioned our wait.  Was she annoyed?  Yes.  Had there been a mix up of some sort?  Sadly, yes.  Someone thought someone else was getting the IV started and meds administered and another patient had been taken–out of order–for a chest X-ray.

Color me shocked.

Thank goodness my mother’s intuition was spot on.   It was clinical dehydration with gastric discomfort.  A few bags of fluids and a dose of narcotics later we were on our way home.  As I write this Drew is upstairs sleeping it off.

Although all turned out fine, I can’t help but be reminded why it’s so important to advocate for yourself and loved ones when seeking medical treatment.  It’s so easy not to want to be the “pain in the butt” patient.  What would the nurses think?  But what if I HAD questioned my doctor during my ill-fated embryo transfer back in 2009?  There had been a flub with the information on my medical bracelet.  I had reason to be rattled.  But, out of respect, I deferred to the expertise of the medical professionals involved.  I dangerously assumed they were infallible.

That was my mistake.

They are human.  Capable of being frazzled and overwhelmed by the details of their job–just like the rest of us.

*****

This past spring, every time I vomited due to morning sickness I thought about my pregnancy with Logan.  I can’t tell you how many times I had my head buried in a toilet and found myself thinking about how hard pregnancy is—and how inexcusable the mistakes that led to my pregnancy with Logan were.

My anger is still there.  It’s not the kind of anger that weighs me down, however.  I’d like to think it’s productive–keeping me on my toes when in a medical setting.

Just another reason this pregnancy has been good for me.

*****

We had a wonderful week in Vail, Colorado.  Here are a few pics of the adventures we took…

DSC_0123

Reagan kept chanting, "Climb higher.  Higher."

Reagan kept chanting, “Climb higher. Higher.”

DSC_0170

Vail has an amazing Fourth of July parade.

Vail has an amazing Fourth of July parade.

DSC_0059

If you are looking for the recipe for bumbleperry pie click here.

And Then He Chased The Snake with A Shovel…Have We Learned Nothing?

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 06/25/14 9:46 AM
CATEGORIES: Blog, From The Files of You Can't Make This Sh*t Up

Snakes like my patio.

I have no idea why snakes like my patio.  Maybe it’s because we stained the concrete a dark gray and as a result it heats up quite quickly.  Maybe they like to coil themselves around our black flower pots so they can hug my petunias whiles sunbathing.  Or–and I honestly think this is the more likely scenario–maybe they know I sliced one of their relatives in half with my sliding glass door and periodically scaring the hell out of me is part of their master grand snake plan of revenge.

Yup.  I think that’s it.  It’s about revenge.

And, it’s all so unnecessary.  There is not need for revenge because no one regrets the whole half-a-snake in my house incident more than me.  I mean, even though I was able to scrub, bleach and disinfect the snake blood from the frame of my door, it turns out there isn’t enough mental bleach in the world to erase the horror of cutting a snake in half.  But, damn.  Shouldn’t they understand?  I had no choice.  It was either slam the snake in the door–or–go to jail for arson.

Regardless, I will go the rest of my life trying not to kill another snake.  I’ve learned my lesson.

And, one would assume after witnessing the aftermath of this traumatic event, one’s spouse would have learned the same lesson.  Even though Sean wasn’t there for the whole incident, he’s seen the post-traumatic scars lingering in my psyche.  He knows I don’t open any exterior doors in my house without visually confirming the absence of snakes.  He knows why I turn on the lights when I pee at night–which is happening a lot these days.  I’m not looking for toilet paper or making sure I don’t trip on the bathroom rug.  I’m making sure there are no snakes hiding in the toilet bowl.  You know that really happens–a lot–in Guam?  If it could happen in Guam, surely it’s possible in Ohio.Clearly the half-a-snake incident wrecked me.

But does Sean get it?  I’m sad to report he doesn’t.  He learned NOTHING as evidenced by a scene that played out recently on our patio.  It was late afternoon and Sean wanted to take the little girls for a swim.  After wrestling all three of them into their suits and making sure the first step of my patio was snake free we started to usher them to the pool.  All should have been fine, except turns out the snakes are getting trickier.  Instead of waiting on the step outside our door to scare the hell out of me, this guy–who was python-like…I kid you not I swear our yard is home to the Kareem Abdul Jabar family of garden snakes–was waiting for us on the first step off our patio.

Mistakenly thinking I cleared the risk of a snake encounter, my guard was down.  Thank God the little girls were in front of me.  (Yup.  I just admitted that) They saw it first.  They were the ones that almost stepped on it.  And, then…they screamed.  And, I screamed.  Isabella even cried.  For the record,  I didn’t cry.  I ran.  As fast as I could, I ran back into my house– leaving my young to be eaten by a python.

I’m not proud.  Just honest.

Anyways, before I knew what was happening Sean was on it.  Like a Ninja on a mission he grabbed a snow shovel that had been laying on our patio since–well–forever and lunged at the python.  I’m sure in his mind it was all he could do to save his daughters.  After all, their mother had just left them to fend for themselves—but a shovel?  Why a shovel?   Then I realized.  He was trying to cut the snake in half.

“Noooo!!!”

I screamed for him to stop but his knight in shining armor instincts were out of control.  He slammed that shovel down on the concrete multiple times while the girls just stood there screaming in horror.  After a few seconds he stopped, turned to me, grinned and said, “I think I got it.”

He was so proud.  In his mind, he’d saved his daughters, but I knew the truth.

We are doomed.

*****

I’m over at TodayParents announcing our happy news today.  Give the article a read…click here.