Posted in Quirks and Other Weirdness

I feel, therefore, I am.

I was crying.  Scratch that.  I was sobbing.  Ugly, runny-nose, red-eye, hyperventilating squawks of despair even the waterproof mascara could not contain.

Kacey was quick to console…until she learned I was intentionally reading stories I knew would break my heart.  “Mom. Stop.”

“But…but…but…” I protested, gasping, “she was laboring…and then the baby…and oh the sadness…” Incoherent blubbering, as the crocodile tears fell from under my reading glasses.

“Take a B vitamin and SUCK IT UP, woman.” She rolled her eyes at me.

heart-vs-mindForget the dichotomy of the right-brained vs. the left-brained, the introvert vs. the extrovert, the optimist vs. the pessimist. The personality contrasts that most affect my life are the Thinkers vs. the Feelers.

And the differences have nothing to do with intelligence or brain dominance or gender or age.

Most of us (let me just make the transition here)… most of YOU are Thinkers.  You watch movies and are simply entertained.  You read books and maintain the ability to fall asleep when you go to bed.  You meet a suffering friend and are able to be kind and supportive without letting it ruin your day. You endure personal loss, and upon reaching the “5th Stage of Grief:  Acceptance”, you pick up the pieces, buy a yellow shirt, and move on along.

We Feelers don’t do that. We CAN’T do that. Believe me, we try. We often think there is something wrong with us because we dwell on everything. We FEEL everything. Deeply. Your telling me to “stop it” or “get over it” is like telling me to stop breathing.  The way I feel things is not a defect in my personality, nor is it simply part of who I am. It IS who I am.

Now, some of you Thinkers THINK you are Feelers. You aren’t. Just because you can BE emotional doesn’t make you a Feeler.  If you can reason your way out of an emotion – EVER – you are a Thinker.  And some of you Feelers  assume you must be Thinkers because all you do is think, think, overthink. Don’t be fooled, that’s part of what makes you a Feeler.

Feelers can’t shake the emotion, whichever emotion it happens to be.  I am the one laughing the loudest. The one using sarcasm to deflect pain. I won’t settle for an answer of “I’m fine” when I know you don’t mean it. I will struggle to break down those walls you build around you.  I am not the one gossiping because I refuse to assume the worst about you. But I will take all kinds of crap from you and for you because I don’t ever want you to have to feel the pain I have felt.  Ever.

Feelers crave passion and connection. We automatically put ourselves in your shoes to better understand you. Sure, we are the cryers. But we are also the entertainers. And the huggers. And the empathizers.

tumblr_lqpz0qLo0x1qm6ac1o1_500This does NOT mean we are always depressed and gloomy. Far from it.  But when we are, there is no shaking it, and definitely no faking it. We take no comfort in “Things Will Get Better” or “If It Is Meant to Be It Will Happen”.  We only know it is NOT better and the thought of living without whatever it is, is more than we can bear.  And we feel this, not only for ourselves, but for anyone whose story we become a part of.

Unfortunately for me, it only takes 17 seconds for me to invest my heart in someone else’s story.

And it doesn’t even have to be a REAL story.

cramer-krasselt-letters-to-dadstill-boy-back-750xx1648-927-76-0By the time the little boy in the Packaging commercial throws paper airplane messages over the backyard fence, I’m sniffling. Before Tim McGraw mentions x-rays as a reason to “Live Like You Were Dyin’,” I’m overwhelmed.  When Max grows tired of the Wild Things and wants to be where someone loves him best of all, my voice is quivering.. And I am unabashedly mourning when I realize that no matter how much Noah reads to Allie from “The Notebook”, there really is no such thing as a happy ending in a Nicholas Sparks story.

Tears of laughter. Tears of loss. Tears of frustration. Tears of hope. Tears of anger. Tears of joy.

So when you see me, I will probably be crying.  Or I will have just been crying.  Or I’m about to cry (just give me 17 seconds). If you’re a kindred spirit, you will give me a hug and shed a tear with me.  If you’re a Thinker, you will offer me a Kleenex, tell me it will be okay, and wonder what the heck is wrong with me.

Nothing.  I’m a Feeler.

Posted in Down on the Farm, Family, Parenting

A Little Nap Moosic

If you’re old enough to remember the last time Halley’s comet was visible, you probably remember the “cow toy” or maybe even the “pig toy” that used to be on display in front of certain mall stores like Kirkland’s or KB Toys.daisy-the-cow-reward

These animals would waddle a couple of steps, make their species-appropriate noise and wag their tail or wiggle their nose or some such cuteness.

When my daughter was a baby, we did the whole nursery thing: crib, rocking chair, changing table, toy chest, etc. After investing several hundred dollars in this set-up, I discovered I my inner hippie and we became “family bed” people, meaning the only time we got crib use was when I wanted to clean house during her nap time…like, say, twice a year or so.

On one such day, my sweet baby girl fell asleep and, feeling an inexplicable need to vacuum, I took her upstairs, put her in the crib with some “babies”, pulled the blanket up and the door closed, and left her to snooze peacefully. I would check on her from time to time, as she was such a good-natured baby she almost never cried. When she woke, she would just stare at her toes or make mouth bubbles or whatever else babies do. On this day, however, she woke SCREAMING. Not the “I’m hungry” cry, or the “I’m alone” whimper, not even the “I HAVE DIAPER RASH AND MY TUSHY BURNS!!!!” wail. This was a full-blown scream of terror.

I flew up the stairs (as all super-moms do), rushed into her room to find her flailing in one corner of her crib, her feet entangled in a blanket, as she frantically attempted to escape it. Poor kid. I picked her up, checked her out, and soothed her mini-freak-out. She was fine. Once she quieted down, I heard a softly recurring “mooooo” from under the blanket that had been twisted around her feet. I turned off the little cow she must have inadvertantly kicked on in her sleep, and we went off to play.

Some days later we were in the nursery reading books and playing with blocks, when I set the cow between us and flipped him on. He started to waddle and before he could “moo”, Kacey was in full-blown screaming freak-out mode.

Seems when she kicked on our little bovine friend, his electronic noises woke her, mooand not being able to escape from under the blanket that imprisoned them both, she experienced her first panic attack.

She never could play with the cow again.

Though, every now and again, for my own sadistic entertainment, I would flip it on just to see what happened. Yeah…Super-Mom has a dark side.

Posted in Family, Just Funny, Parenting, Uncategorized

Saved by the Beef

She sat across the booth from her teenage son in one of those chain restaurants. Dark wod, huge bar, kitschy memorabilia hanging from the rafters, and seven strategically placed big-screens jack-burgerdistracting you from the fact that you are paying $26.94 for a couple of burgers and a glass that contains more ice than tea.

During their burger wait time, the sugar packets offered further diversion with trivia questions:      

The Boy grabbed one and queried, “Who recorded ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’?”
“Billy Joel!” she blurted.

“Jurassic Park was released in what year?”
“1993, the same year you came screeching into my life like a hungry raptor,” she smiled and stuck out her tongue.  He gave her one of those teenage boy looks.  The kind of look that says, “You’re much too old to be as funny as you think you are.”

He continued, “What fictional town is the setting for many of Stephen King’s novels?” She paused for a second to search the recesses of her right brain for this information hidden between Casablanca and Clapton, Eric.  Two words…begins with a C…

The Boy raised an eyebrow and his lips curled into an evil little grin, believing he had stumped her, but this kid was clueless how much Stephen King his mother had read over the years.
“Castle Rock!” she finally proclaimed.

Eventually one of the little white packets posed a personal pop-culture question:
14281587_10153960151916801_1612306825_n-horzIt read, “Who would play you in the movie of your life?”

Oooo, a deep, thought-provoking question…let’s see…she’s too young for Meryl and much too old for Mila.

Tongue-in-cheek she responded, “Easy.  Because of our physical similarities I would have to say…” 14302445_10153960151841801_1489741147_n-horzand before the name “Angelina Jolie” rolled off her tongue, her son spurted out,

“Kathy Bates”?

Ugh.  He was seventeen and REALLY good at it.

She then mumbled something about a sledgehammer and hobbling him like James Caan, but lucky for the Boy, the burgers arrived.

Posted in Down on the Farm, Family, Just Funny, Uncategorized

PipeBusters (episode 2) on the Reality Channel

“A water break?  Water is for cowards. Water makes you weak.”
Coach Boone, Remember the Titans


(cue Nintendo music from Mario)
In our last episode, the water had to be precariously shut off at the water meter in the yard, where hopefully a mama snapping turtle had not claimed it as her nesting ground as had been the case in a previous year. Using only a T-wrench and a stiff clockwise (‘righty tighty, lefty loosey”) turn, Stephanie and her son left the residence water-free and, hopefully, leak-free for several hours.

Come evening, Stephanie’s son is now perilously driving the winding highway crossing the Jack’s Fork River in Missouri not to be seen again for some time. Both Stephanie and the cowboy return from their respective days’ work to the mere two pitchers of water.

Two measly pitchers.

For two whole adults. One of whom actually DRINKS water.

How will they manage???

The claustrophobic cowboy knows he must forge the darkness that is the crawlspace under the house. (This would be a great time to run a local plumber’s commercial, alas, it is not commercial time yet.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARemoving the exterior vent cover nearest the central air unit, the cowboy-turned-amateur-plumber-because-heaven-forbid-we-pay-someone-to-do-a-job-today-that-he-can-do-himself-for-free-not-counting-supplies-over-a-period-of-several-days ‘army crawls’ into the damp darkness. Once he is securely wedged under the center of the house, he begins to bang and groan and saw. Stephanie chooses this critical juncture to share important information by yelling through the floor of the kitchen.

“Hey, COWBOY?  You ARE aware that we have a skunk under the house again, aren’t you???”

Yeah. Pepe le Pew has been olfactorily announcing his presence for several consecutive evenings, only the cowboy has not been around to witness said smellevents (cue Looney Tunes music). Stephanie felt it was critical to add to his stress at this juncture in the process. From the deep recesses under the floor, we hear the cowboy holler, “NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

What if the skunk decides to investigate his presence?

What would happen if the cowboy got a face full of eau de skunk?

CUE COMMERCIAL FOR TAYLOR SWIFT’S NEW FRAGRANCE, “INCREDIBLE THINGS”.

Back under the house, lying in a puddle of mud, stressing about the potential threat of a skunk bombing and attempting to repair the leak, the cowboy seals what he is certain is the culprit. All is quiet in the house. The hissing has ceased. The leak is repaired. Sunlight breaks through the windows. Angels begin singing. Then suddenly a whooshing sound and the cowboy’s under-the-house-muffled-exclamatory “SON OF A …bleeeeeeeeep!!!!!!!!!!”

UNSCHEDULED COMMERCIAL BREAK

old-faithfulStop the choir! The rejoicing was woefully premature, and the repair only served to stress the line further toward the front of the house, causing a full-on rupture of the pipe.

A full-on rupture.

Of the water pipe.

Water is now gushing, yea even exploding from the line, flooding the crawlspace with ounces of water per second. The cowboy shimmies to the exit hole and declares his work for the night to be over.

Over.

He will not complete the repair this evening. Not. Complete. The. Repair. Darkness is setting in, the part he needs is inaccessible until Plumb-o-Rama opens again tomorrow, and he is fed up, flustered, frustrated, and covered with muddy goo.

Disgusting muddy goo.

He announces to Stephanie: “Shower. Now. Take up more water. Then shut it back off. I’ll fix it tomorrow. TOMORROW. “ (cue optimistic song from the musical “Annie”).

More water is stored in various kitchen containers. Enough for morning coffee, but not enough for a pasta dinner. 8f08_021Emergency showers are taken.  Legs are left unshaven (and this is NOT November! The cowboy is risking serious stubble burn if he has his sights set on snuggling.)

Will he get it fixed tomorrow? Will Plumb-o-Rama have the needed parts? Will the cowboy bleed out during the night from a thousand tiny stabs from his wife’s leg hair stubble?  Will they ever have linguine again?

Tune in next time for episode 3 of PipeBusters on the Reality Channel.

Posted in Down on the Farm, Family, Just Funny, Uncategorized

PipeBusters on The Reality Channel

3:00 ET, 2:00 CST

Narrator’s voice:  On the pilot episode of PipeBusters, we find Stephanie rising at the crack of 8:15 and making her way to the kitchen. She hears a noise. A terrifying noise. An ominous sound. An ominous hissing sound. (cue hissing sound) She lurks around quietly, trying to discern the location and cause. Snake? If so, Stephanie and her family could be in danger. Grave danger. Freon leak? If so, Stephanie and her mangoes could be in danger. Grave danger. Just then, in another room of the house, her son starts the water for his shower. Instantly, the threatening hissing noise is silenced.Almost simultaneously, Stephanie’s phone beeps. A text. Who could it be from?WHO??? (cue suspenseful music)

COMMERCIAL BREAK

pipe busters leakThe synchronized stoppage of the strange hissing sound in sync with her son’s shower and the incoming text is an awfully big coincidence. (Of course, everyone knows, there are no big coincidences or small coincidences, only coincidences.) Still, she grabs her glowing purple cell, eager to discover who, WHO, has texted at this wee hour of 8:15 a.m.??? It’s the cowboy, who left for work just after discovering the hissing noise. Text: Wrench in garage. Leak under house. Turn water off at meter.

There is a leak under the house. A leak. A water leak. Under the house. What to do? WHAT TO DO? (cue William-Shatner-deliberate-pause reading style). The cowboy says turn it off. TURN. IT. OFF. But her son is in the shower, preparing to leave for Missouri in 42 minutes (cue ticking clock sound). Missouri! In forty-two minutes! This could be the last decent shower he has for months! And Stephanie has yet to bathe. And it is imperative that she leave for work in 3 hours. Three hours! Not to mention vital laundry to finish – whites AND darks. And teeth to be brushed – 60 between the two of them, as Stephanie’s wisdom teeth were surgically removed in 1979. They need the water.NEED the water. (cue suspenseful music, pt.2)

COMMERCIAL BREAK

There is a water leak under the house. A potentially disastrous water leak. The water must be turned off, and fast before the crawl space becomes an ocean(cue John Williams’ brilliant music from “Jaws”). Yet Stephanie and her son need the water to finish getting ready. Stephanie urges him to shower quickly,”Rinse and go, boy, RINSE. AND. GO!” Once out of the shower, Stephanie begins a load of laundry, doing the unthinkable: mixing essential colors with whites in the same load. Now the cowboy’s tightie whiteys are in danger of turning pink. PINK.(cue “Get the Party Started”) There is not a single western shirt in his closet that goes with pink underpants. Not one. If this happens, he will not be happy.Not be happy at all. But drastic times call for drastic measures. SONY DSCNow Stephanie runs her bath water while the washer fills, simultaneously her son fills 2 pitchers, brushes his teeth. Miraculously the laundry finishes spinning only moments after Stephanie’s legs are shaved…DONE! And in record time – only 38 minutes from text to wrench twist and the water is OFF!

COMMERCIAL BREAK

Stephanie and her son are ready in record time, and the water is off, stopping both the leak and the hissing sound (which, of course, are one and the same, but still). Two half-gallon pitchers of water have been filled, giving them enough clean drinking water for 24 hours. Twenty-four hours. Only one day.After that, who knows? What will happen to them? Will they call a plumber? Will they make it a do-it-yourself project? Will they die from dehydration?

Tune in next time for episode 2 of PipeBusters on the Reality Channel.

 

Posted in Birth Stories, Family, Quirks and Other Weirdness, Uncategorized

Sew Frustrating

 

Okay, I have this quirky brain. It has a hard time “seeing” certain things…like how to read a sewing pattern, or how to correctly miter corners, (trust me, the inability to properly miter corners becomes an issue at least once a decade), or these horrendous IQ test problems:

spatial relation 2
Which solid could you make by folding the pattern on the dotted lines?

Oh… I don’t know.

E.  A Chinese take-out box???

 

Apparently I have “mental rotation” and “spatial relation” issues.  The Medical DIctionary defines it as the inability to locate objects in the three-dimensional external world by using visual or tactile recognition. I choose to think of it as a genius flaw, much like wearing my shirt inside-out all day long. Only more frustrating. Much, much more.

When my youngest was still in-utero, I was sewing this snuggly-thing for him. Basically it was a fleece wrap with feet, wings and a hood. I TRIED to follow the pattern. Really, I did. But after sewing the stupid hood on backwards at least three times, I gave up. Then at 35 weeks pregnant, I had to put myself on bedrest. (The frustration with the snuggly and having to be put on bedrest are supposedly unrelated…I have my doubts.)

Anyway, after a week off my feet, the nesting instinct got the better of me and I had to vacuum the house and FINISH that obnoxious snuggly which had been spread out on my kitchen table the entire time. Vacuuming, I am happy to say, went well. Sewing however, did not. After multiple times of attaching the hood in various incorrect ways, I yelped a scream of attack, much,snuggly I imagine, like a Viking warrior cry, and threw a spool of thread against the wall. (This is, VERY UN-ME-like.) My husband came in to console me by asking, “Want me to finish it for you?”

Finish it FOR me?!?!?! NO! This is a matter of principle! A matter of pride! A matter of doggone-it-I’m-an-intelligent-human-being-and-I-am-capable-of-sewing-a-stupid-hood-on-a-baby-snuggly!!! He had never used a sewing machine before, much less read a pattern. On second thought, “Sure, finish it for me.”  I was certain he would mess it up as well and I would at least feel vindicated, if not accomplished.

He sat down to the Singer, put his foot to the pedal, and zapped that sucker right on the first time. Took him all of 45 seconds.

Ugh. It’s hard to be grateful and exasperated at the same time.

Within a couple of hours contractions began, so…grateful won out.