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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Rock and the Hard Place

I know, I've been quiet again. Over the last week or so, there has been a disturbing controversy among the women on my mommy message board. As we're about to celebrate 5 years of friendship, we have come up a topic that has us really divided to the point of possibly losing contact with a couple of members and that makes me terribly sad.

We've managed to debate several topics over the years that have resulted in some hurt feelings and "board breaks" but never to this degree. I even considered one myself when the topic turned to "couples that irresponsibly take fertility drugs and end up with high order multiples then expect the rest of society to care for them". We've covered every aspect of the Terri Schiavo situation, birth control, abortion, the recent election etc. The board was the first place I turned for comfort while sitting at work on September 11th. We cried together over what it meant for the future of our 4 month old babies. We have banded together to soothe members over the loss of pregnancies, newborns, stillborns and family members. We went to the nth degree to help care for V when she became ill last month as well as file grievances with the military powers that be and politicians that eventually lead to the 10 day leave she just received with her husband.

To be honest, I was initially impressed with the openness of the discussion between the incredibly strong and diverse women I call friends. For a while, it didn't seem to matter which side of the debate you were on, views could be shared without feathers being ruffled. Eventually though, a line was crossed and the preacher's wife was personally attacked for considering a visit to Camp Casey by a military wife.

As is par for the course with me and as I declared when I started this blog, I don't debate so I didn't get involved with the dangerous thread. I don't debate politics or hot topics or religion. I don't because I think that this country allows us the luxury of being able to view the same thing in completely different ways and say so. I don't because when people become passionate about something, it inevitably gets personal and when it does it hurts. I don't because I don't ever want to be the one to hurt someone's feelings just because they don't agree with my point of view.

I read along with the debates because I love learning more about the women I care about. I love seeing where everyone else is coming from and find the points in their discussions that I agree with and those in which I don't. I find that I learn so much because so many members of the group are actually into politics, following stories, picking sides.

I'm not a side-picker I guess. I can read one person's opinion and see where they would come to that point then read an opposing view and see the merit there too. I can understand why some members believe that the war in Iraq is wrong, that we sent troops there under a misguided and misinformed agenda of our current leadership. I can also understand that our military personnel and families believe that they are fighting the right fight, doing the right job, putting a foot down for democracy.

In the end though, when the attacks get personal from either side, we've managed to undermine the entire point of the democracy we all covet. Our democracy calls for the people to question our leaders and the decisions they make. Our democracy allows us the freedom to disagree and side with the unpopular opinion with voices loud and clear. Our democracy makes room for the Cindy Sheehans and the George Bush's of the world to disagree. What's scary for me is that, beyond the fact that there is no right or wrong way to view our current political agenda in Iraq, is the basis that if someone doesn't agree with "your" point of view they are somehow less of a person with no credibility or value to "you".

The Preacher's Wife and the Military Wife are both incredibly beautiful women, mothers, wives, friends. They have both been there to lift me up when I have struggled with my own personal trials and tribulations. They have both come to my rescue with prayers and words of comfort. They have both made me laugh, cry, and shine from inside with their compassion, strength, courage, determination and faith.

I wish I could patch the wound. I wish I could make them believe that differing opinions doesn't change the person deep inside of the other. I wish that I could convince the Military Wife that the Preacher's Wife loves her, cares for her, cares about her ailing daughter and proud military husband and that even if she doesn't agree with why we are in Iraq, she's still thankful for the men and women, who are in Iraq securing her freedom here at home, wishing them all returned home to their loved ones as they continue to uphold the democracy that has allowed her ability to say or do as she feels.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Draining day....

I feel like Ethan Hawke right now.

Mentally, I feel like I've been run over by Tall Boy in the tractor with the trailer attached. I'm still so wound up that even though I feel exhausted, I don't think I'd be able to sleep anyway. So instead, I'm halfway though a 4 count box of original Dove ice cream bars and LOVING IT! I'll be going back to the cult soon as well as Curves so I need to get in as much ice cream now as I can.

Songbird is having issues with the walking dick and it may get really, really ugly in the next couple of days and I'm worried about her.

Bam Bam had a visit with Nana, his babysitter before I got fired, and although she tried to convince me that he was not the demon from hell that he became when I walked in the door, I don't buy it. I was embarrassed, horrified and wanting to exorcise him right there in the middle of her living room. I'm sure she thinks I'm a complete idiot and that it's amazing the we're both surviving on a daily basis or worse, that he'll be a delinquent by the time he turns six.

Bam Bam didn't make it to the bathroom in time today and peed on the floor.

I think Bam Bam and the Bomb have a pact to see who can get me to scream at the top of my lungs first. I don't know who's winning but it certainly isn't me.

Tall Boy is on overload with the trash collector. He, the TC, hasn't shown up in about three weeks and I think there may be a shotgun involved if his ass doesn't come by here tomorrow and get the stuff.

The roof is still leaking.

Josey has an upset stomach.

I really need Puerto Vallarta to get here, like, NOW.

Can you believe how hot Jamie O'Neil is? Wow. Of course, I picked that video but I'm not feeling like anybodys hero today.

Man, where's that next Dove bar.....

Monday, August 22, 2005

It's working, it's working.....

No, not my toilet-water-infested cellphone (I replaced that earlier with a groovy new Motorola camera phone). It's bigger than that.

Tonight, as we made our way home from the cellphone place and the grocery store, I was cranking Pondering Judd's CD Curve of Her Soul when Bam-Bam spoke up from the back asking for "his songs" (sorry Pyle).

"No," I said, "I don't want to listen to the Spongebob CD tonight, honey, maybe tomorrow. ok?" to which he answered:

"No, Mom, not Spongebob. I wanna hear BONO!"

I love this kid, I love him, I love him, I love him.

Splash........oh crap

Two Fridays ago, as Tall Boy and I were scrambling around preparing for the anniversary party, he called and said that his cell phone kept shutting off whenever he unplugged it from the charger. It showed a full charge but would not hold the charge once disconnected. We just got the phones last June but the warranty ran out so he'd need a new one regardless. So, Saturday morning I got up and headed off to the Cingular store to rescue the phone.

When we originally got our cellphones in 1998 or 1999, we got them through a promotion for Pepsi because Tall Boy worked there. The carrier was AT&T Wireless and came with all kinds of discounts and endless minutes etc. It rocked. We never, ever, ever exceeded our minutes, never paid more than just the standard plan costs and never had a problem with the exception of wishing the coverage area was fuller (but who doesn't wish that right?). Last June, when we needed new phones, we contemplated switching to Nextel so that he and I could direct connect for free while he's on the road but they don't have coverage in the woods of Maine so we stayed with what we had. Just after we renewed, AT&T was bought by Cingular but our plan was managed by a seperate division within Cingular that handled all the old AT&T customers.

When I went in to get TB a new phone last Saturday, I was told that if I just wanted to replace the phone, I'd need to use the mail-order department that manages the AT&T customers and that I couldn't walk out with one right then unless I "switched" to Cingular. Since Cingular has been getting my money for a year now and since I couldn't fathom TB being without his phone for however long it would have taken to deal with the AT&T division, I just picked a new phone and switched him over. But, I kept my phone and plan with AT&T because my phone is fine, I never exceed my minutes, the cost was less with the Pepsi discounts and because, truthfully, I don't usually have more than 20 calls a month to or from my phone so I didn't see the need for the change.

Until this past Saturday night. When my phone

fell

in

a

toilet.

So, it looks like I'll be doing that change-over now anyway. I'm such an idiot.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Taking a leap

One advantage to being just a little bit behind my friends in starting my family is that I got to watch them all venture into the realm of ECA's (extra curricular activities). I've watched them run around to soccer, t-ball, swimming lessons, dance class etc and, with the exception of swimming lessons once/week for a couple of months when Bam-Bam was 2, we've managed to avoid ECA's....up until now.

Why avoid such a milestone? Primarily because I've wanted to put off being on someone else's schedule for as long as possible. I love that we don't have to be anywhere at any given time on any given day. We're able to be spontaneous blah blah blah....I'm getting over it.

We're most likely signing the squirt up for Tae Kwon Do lessons with Mr. B three times a week. Mr. B used to work with Tall Boy and I when we worked at the grocery store back in the day. He's now a fourth degree black belt and has his own business at the same place the swimming lessons were. He, Bam-Bam, won't be able to test or advance because of his age and Mrs. B admitted that they usually won't take kids until they're 5 but I'm hoping the lessons will help with focus and discipline. I don't care if he doesn't get to test and he won't know he's supposed to. It's all good. And, I can't wait to see him in the Gy (I hope I spelled that right)

So, I've talked to Mrs. B and we can do a few visits for free before we commit but I'm pretty sure he's up for it. He's started doing karate chops while standing on the couch and watching Cartoon Network yelling "HEEEYA" this afternoon.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Granted.....kind of

For those following my friend V's saga, the news this week is that her husband, J will be coming home in the next day or so.

The "kind of" is that he's only being allowed a 10 day leave. Certainly 10 days is better than none and better then his being totally discharged and losing all the benefits that their family so desperately need. And, I'm excited for her but disappointed too that it's only going to be for 10 days. It's not my nature to not see the bright side of this but I think her situation calls for more than 10 days.

But, alas, I don't get a vote so I'm just going to try to celebrate as much as I can for her. Her prayers, our prayers, your prayers have been answered, at least for now.

Me and my beautiful sisters....



I know, it's a bit out of focus but you really can't expect too much from us considering we had just belted out the "Pina Colada Song" in the karaoke bar in Ogunquit. And, I cannot vouch for the sobriety of the photographer at the time the shot was taken either. He's cute as hell though.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Stuck in the Middle with You

Yesterday we celebrated Tall Boy's parent's 50th wedding anniversary. Yes, you read that right, 50 years. It's more of a feat than you can ever imagine. Not only because they got married (a second for both of them) when dad was 32 and mom was 16 and pregnant with Tall Boy's older brother Mike but because they really just don't like each other much.

The gala was a blast though, considering how thrown together it appeared as we got closer and closer to the day. The food was a great mix of restaurant sides (pulled pork, corn bread, baked beans), home-made (potato salad, pasta salad, garden fresh string beans) and grilling (hot dogs and burgers). We had a huge tent set up to help us stave off the forecasted rain and nice glitter-covered tables with Lindt chocolate favors.

Tall Boy's family doesn't do gatherings very often which is the polar opposite of my family. We'll do anything to get together whereas they go into their events grabbing onto the floatation devices tooth and nail. Usually, when all is said and done, they've had a blast together but going into it you can see the fear and panic on all their faces, worried about whether or not they can pull off a few hours together without a bomb going off.

As is par for the course with them, we did in fact have a terrific time, particularly once Tall Boy's brother Tommy Tomskin rooked us out on to the dance floor by taking a request from my nephew's wife for "Billie Jean". We ended up dancing the last hour of the party away while occasionally checking in on what kind of damage Bam-Bam was up to.

What strikes me every time we get together with his family, though, is how in the middle he and I are among the group. Tall Boy is the "oops" baby that arrived 11 years after his parents were sure they were happy with their family of six. His oldest brother was 17 when Tall Boy came along and started his own family just a few years later. Tall Boy became a great uncle at the ripe old age of 31. In fact, our nephew's son is only two years younger than Bam-Bam. So, at gatherings, our role in the family is that of child to Tall Boy's parents and sibling to his brother and sister but when it comes to age appropriate points in our life, we fit in better with his nieces and nephews. His siblings are starting to be come grandparents and we're discussing preschools.

So, starting with the beloved MJ tune, we cut up the dancefloor squashed between the generations: Mom and Dad, his brothers, his nephews, Bam-Bam and his nephew's little guy Noley. We departed at the end of the night saying, as we so frequently do, that we'll have to do this again sometime. Christmas is right around the corner.......

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Unhappy ending in sight....

Some mom's get all antsy and excited as the summer starts to wind down, anxious to get their kids back in school and out of their hair. They long for the peace and quiet to return to their homes and the mayhem to be controlled to just a few hours at the end of each day. I completely see where those mom's are coming from. They struggle through the summer months with their children battling boredom and squabbles between each other and appreciate the difference in their families when their children are more focused and occupied by school.

I am NOT one of those moms.

As I look at the calendar tick away the last few weeks of summer sun, I'm sad. I love being able to spend each day with Bam-Bam, particularly on the days we're able to bask in the sunshine from the shores of Square Pond. I love how laid back we're able to be about our day. I love that we wake up when our eyes will no longer stay shut (although his arrive there long before mine would) and we don't necessarily have to stick to the bedtime schedule either.

I've already started paying preschool for the coming year and just thinking about him being back makes me anxious inside. I feel as though I will miss him after spending so much time together this summer. He's been difficult, defiant, argumentative and rambunctious as I'm sure those other mom's children are. But he's also been adventurous, curious, loving, playful, happy and excited. Maybe it's the extent of the journey I had to take to get him, but I really relish these times so much. He's never going to be this little, innocent boy for long and I'm grabbing feverishly at burning these days into my memory as deeply as possible.

Thank you, Tall Boy, for working as hard as you do to afford me this luxury. Your generosity, sacrifice and love for us is a gift I will treasure forever.

I love you both so very much. I have been blessed.

Friday, August 05, 2005

NOT granted....

My friend, V, is still in a battle against the bureaucracy and I feel like she's dealing with this.

She's been discharged from the hospital but because of some of the medications she's on as well as having TWO damaged knees, she is not able to be by herself....for about 6 months. As we speak, she has moved in with MommaRia and her family who live about an hour away from V so that they can help take care of her.

Why? you ask? Why would V need to move in with a friend so far from home? Because the battalion commander for V's husband's unit is on some Nathan R. Jessup power trip and still will not release J from active duty to return home and care for his wife and child.

Now, I completely understand that AFGM is a movie and that in the movie, the country was not at war with Cuba so the urgency that Pfc William Santiago was adding to his request for a transfer was a little much but COME ON! J NEEDS to be home caring for his family but none of the actions they've taken so far seem to matter to his CO. How safe can it be for J or the men "fighting" next to him to have him mentally unavailable? How can the men that put themselves in harms way for the rest of us be treated so inhumanely?

I also want to take a sec to point out V's domain name: "proudarngwife". Proud! That woman has been so supportive and sacrificing and has stood behind her husband, his choices to serve our country, as well as the reason we're even in Iraq. She's sold magnets on the internet to raise money to care for the members of J's battalion with needs that can't come fast enough from the Army's supply. Her pride goes so much further than patriotism. She lives and breaths the cause every day.

And this is her thanks? This is her payback? Nope, I don't buy it. This is a malicious, misdirected superiority complex at the hands of the CO.

This whole situation is getting so ridiculous, it makes me sick.

**********************************
For Vanessa - A Soldier's Wife - Roxie Dean

Breaking News from a desert town
Smoke and rubble on the ground
The names we do not know right now
And it cuts me like a knife

With a tearful goodbye kiss
I sent him off to this
But I've gotta stay strong for our kids
I'm a soldier's wife

I run the house
I sleep alone
I live for e-mails
And the phone calls home
I tell my children he will be all right
And I hope it's not a lie
I'm a soldier's wife

We do the things we used to do
Go to church,
go to school
But you could drive a truck right through
The hole that's in our lives

My little boy shoots me a grin
And says he wants to be like him
And I feel my heart start caving in
I'm a soldier's wife

Sometimes I'm angry
Sometimes confused
I live and die byThe evening news
But I tell my babies he will be all right
And I hope it's not a lie
I'm a soldier's wife

I pray for strength
I pray for peace
I pray that he comes home to me
And if you would please pray for me
I'm a soldier's wife.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Granted!

The Petition for the Mental Balance of Lacey has been received and processed and we are happy to report that it has been GRANTED!

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

We expect that this matter be deemed closed ask that you proceed with normal activity.

Thank you.

Answering a comment

I have no idea who "FP" is because his/her profile is private and he/she posted their comment under what I'm sure was the wrong post but I'll respond anyway.

"FP" said: "Wow, there were a lot of nicknames in that post. I need Cliff's Notes"

I want to first mention that Cliff doesn't have notes, he knows the characters already, right Unc?

Sorry, inside joke. But, I think they are referring to my post about my Uncle Bookem's kids and the relationship we shared when we were young. What's most interesting about "FP's" comment is that the nicknames I used are all real. In fact, I think I may be the only one in my family that doesn't have a nickname. Bookem's really called Bookem. Tall Boy's really called Tall Boy and yes, I really call my kid Bam-Bam. We have a Kappy, a Chum, a Magee, a Muva, and a Brop. I don't know where the nicknaming started but it's one of those family things that we do to each other.

The other part of the comment that strikes me funny is that I can't understand why the nicknames make such a difference to the readers. Some people have weird names, right? I mean, there is one famous little girl named Apple Martin toddling around out there somewhere too. I personally think the choice of Apple with the last name Martin is just setting her up to be nicknamed "Apple Martini" but that's just me. Anyway, if I had replaced Bam-Bam with Apple, would you know whether I was using a nickname or not? Regardless of whether I use the nicknames or were to chose to use everyone's real name, how does that change how you read along? You don't know these characters anyway and if you do, you know their real names and can mentally interchange them while you read, right?

Interesting......

I should defy her the pleasure, but I can't

Because Hunzer tagged me yet again...

Welcome to Thunderdome.

1. What were three of the stupidest things you have done in your life
1. Trusted the valedictorian.
2. Lost my license for 30 days for illegal transportation of alcohol at 20.
3. Flunked out of UNH after one semester.

2. At the current moment, who has the most influence in your life?
Bam-Bam.

3. If you were given a time machine that functioned, and you were allowed to only pick up five people to dine with, who would you pick?
1. Bampa
2. Jesus
3. Mother Theresa
4. Bono
5. Oprah (I know it's cheesy but it's true)

4. If you had three wishes that were not supernatural, what would they be?
1. To end poverty (I'm with you Hunzer)
2. To end violence against others
3. To have enough money to be able to relax and to also help others

5. Someone is visiting your hometown/place where you live at the moment. Name two things you regret your city not having, and two things people should avoid.

Regrets: We have nothing exciting at all to do here
Avoid: Calef's - it's not all it's touted to be

6. Name one event that has changed your life.
Giving birth to Bam-Bam



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