This I Know - I Have No Elevator Speech

Have I mentioned how much I love NPR? There are just so many amazing shows on there.
For sure, This American Life is at the top of my list. The Moth is a close second.

There's another great show out there called This I Believe - it's short essays written by random people on various pieces of their life. I thought of that show this weekend as I was helping edit my niece's college application essays and was thinking about how I would answer the question in her essay - Who am I?  If this were for the show This I Believe, it might just be the most boring and convoluted show they ever made....

I'm almost 40 years old - I should have a pretty solid answer to this.
My manager at my new(er) job once told me - always have your elevator speech ready. If someone asks you about your job in the elevator, you need to be prepared to speak to what your role is for the entire elevator ride. Be prepared. Always have an elevator speech.

I don't have my elevator speech ready to define who I am. That's a pretty big question...maybe one I will always be changing.

For nearly half of my life, I have defined myself by "I am a single parent." And though I am still single, and I will forever be a parent, I really don't define myself that way anymore. Except when I look at my pathetic bank account and non-existent retirement fund and then I remind myself that it's okay..cause I'm a single mom. I can choose to send my son to college, or I can save for retirement. Single mom choices...and I have chosen to invest in my son, not my future goal to end working at a particular age. I am a single parent - but my Andrew is an amzing young man, out in the world on his own, doing amazing  as always. He just doesn't need me as much...

My new elevator speech about Who Am I would have to mention that I am a therapeutic foster parent. Even though I only have a child about six days a month, and the required meeting 1-2x a month, my life feels more complete now that I can share my experiences. It's such a rewarding part of my life. I haven't been volunteering much - I have too unpredictable of a work schedule right now - but having a foster child is definitely filling the void.

In my Who Am I thoughts, I try not to include that I'm a person who has heart disease. It's difficult though, as I honestly think about my heart at least five times a day (maybe 50). That's down from 65 times, so I'm making progress. My friend told me the other day about how Rosie O'Donnell was hosting a tv show the other day and brought up her heart issue (the exact same kind that I had) MANY times during the show, and my friend thought of me. I feel bad, as I know that my friends were just overwhelmed with how much I brought it up last year, but I know exactly what Rosie is going through. It's such a huge shift to go from being "normal" to being someone whose most important organ nearly stopped working without warning. I had rarely ever stopped and thought about how my heart felt before my heart incident, but now I can't remember a day in the last 18 months that I have not thought about it multiple times a day. So as much as I would like to not include this in my elevator speech - I probably would have to.

I'd also add that I'm a bit of a crazy cat lady. I love my cats!!! They have been so sweet and cuddly lately! I have to refrain from talking about them every day. I recognize that nobody else cares about them as much as I do.

So - to recap:
Who Am I?
  • I am a single mom to my wonderful and amazing Andrew.
  • I am a therapeutic foster parent.
  • I am a closeted crazy cat lady.

Girls Aren't So Bad!

I had a foster child last weekend. I've been keeping busy with fostering lately!

Something that really surprised me about fostering lately - I think I actually prefer having female children! I've only ever known what it's like to parent a boy. I helped take care of my nephew before I had my son, and then it was always my son and his male friends around forever. When Andrew brought girls home, I never really knew how to respond to them....they were so different. When my niece was a wee lass and I would babysit her, it was fun and all, but it wasn't always natural. She had different mannerisms, girly type movements, she had to sit down to pee, she wouldn't just entertain herself with a was different.

Typically when I get a couple referrals for foster kids who need a place to stay on the weekend, I am inclined to select the male option. Sometime there isn't one though...and I have to settle for...a girl.

Somehow the latest four kids I've taken care of over the last 6 weeks have been girls. And somehow I have loved EVERY SINGLE ONE of them!! They have been personable, calm, enjoyable to be around, easy to entertain, and I would take any of the four of them for a return visit.

Last weekends visitor was even a teenage girl - yikes, a teenager...and I still loved her!! She has a traumatic rape event (insert brief moment of hatred of republican government officials who have recently been making rape comments that lesson the crime of rape against women) in her past, but she is working on healing. It's just so heartbreaking when you hear a beautiful young woman-child say things like, "crocheting is a coping skill for when I think about cutting myself" or "I started being homeschooled because I was raped at school" or "sometimes I wake in the night and think there is someone in the room watching me." It's just so hard to not want to take these children and run away with them to a world where bad people don't exist. Unfortunately, I can't take them there because I haven't yet found that location....but when I do - I have four young girls who are going with me.

I Am No Longer a Mother of a Teenager - Happy Bday, Andrew!!!!

This little guy is somehow TWENTY YEARS OLD TODAY!!!!

I'm not sure how many times when you have a baby that people tell you "the time goes so fast!" - and how at the time, all you care about is sleeping, or having a few minutes to yourself, or sleeping, or thinking about how nice it would be to just sleep all night. But people say it over and over again...and they are stupid, you're sure of it. Cause you just want to sleep.


Then one day you wake up and your baby is no longer a baby. He's now a toddler.
And he's a preschooler.
Wow, he's in elementary school.
Whoa...middle school already??
Wha....wait, huh? I have a high schooler??
And now we're saying goodbye and he is off to college to learn new things, experience life (good and bad), make his own way in the world, and survive without you (for the most part).

crazy - you wake up the next day and he happens to have a birthday - and it happens to be TODAY.
And he's not 1. He's not 6. He's not 12 or 16. He's now somehow TWENTY years old and two decades have flown by since you held this tiny little baby in your arms and promised him with all your heart that you would love him more than anything in the world for as long as you are still breathing, and maybe even after that point....and you do. You really do.

My man cub is no longer a cub. He is now a man. A nearly-grown man. My baby has left his teenage years behind him and he is off into his twenties - where he will experience what it means to be on his own for long periods of time, he will probably fall in love (and maybe out of love), he will cherish things he didn't know he could even enjoy, he will go new places, he will make bad choices and figure out how to make it better, he will meet new friends, he will discover who he really is and who he really wants to become, he will finish getting an amazing education - and he will (hopefully) live life to the fullest and enjoy each year of his twenties.

And I will continue to love him more than anything in the world.

Happy birthday to my darlingc baby-no-more, Andrew B!

And The Pink Pill, And the Yellow Pill, And the Big Capsules, And the White Ones...

Since being diagnosed with heart disease last year, joining 42 million other women who live with this killer, I have been adapting to a live of daily medication.

I've never been a fan of taking pills. When I was younger, my mom would have to cut aspirin in half so I could swallow them. I never got on the birth control pill because I didn't trust myself to take a pill every single day. And yet now I am relegated to taking pills the rest of my life (or that's what three cardiologists have told me).

I take three pills for heart purposes.

I take an allergy pill - year round though really, I might be able to go off of that for a few months a year. I haven't quite figured out when that part of the year might be and I absolutely hate having allergies.

But then someone told me I should be taking a probiotic for digestive health. And I thought-she's right---my digestive system isn't always great, I could use some kind of assistance! And now I take a probiotic.

Everyone knows about fish oil and how helpful (supposedly) that is for a human - so I bought some fish oil tablets.

My mom was emphatic that I take this I gave in and bought a big bottle of those (the things we do for our parents!).

I read quite a bit on the world wide web about the dangers of taking a statin drug (like Lipitor or Crestor) and how taking CoQ10 pill is very beneficial to help your body process those drugs or combat the side effects or something like I buy those each month now.

And there's a B-complex of some sort that is essential...

And zinc and magnesium and lysine....

And something else and something else....and now I have gone from not being able to swallow an aspirin to having this to contend with DAILY:
It's a lot!!!
Speaking of a lot of drugs....for some reason, after I became a heart patient, I started keeping all the pill bottles I went through. I don't know why, or what I thought I was going to do with them. But now I have this large bag filled with empty pill bottles. I was on even more drugs when I first left the hospital - and let's not forget how I cut my finger open that same month and spent quite some time double-downing on pain pills daily...and now I have THIS:
I don't know what to do with them-but I know I want to do something.
If I end up doing nothing, our local animal shelter takes them as donations to put their meds in for foster families, but first - I will see if there's not something crafty I can do to impress you all.

Sometimes You Just Have to Call 9-1-1

I live in this very quiet community made up of mostly retired people, aside from one young family two houses down and an older family, who thinks they are young, two houses the opposite way. After 8pm each night, the neighborhood is pretty much deathly quiet, aside from the occasional summer get-together.

The house directly next to me had an old grumpy man living there when we moved in. Sadly for his family, he passed away last year. The house sold in about six months and some woman and her big dog moved in during late January. And then the woman and her big dog moved completely out of the house in early March.

VERY strange, no?

Every few weeks, 1-3 cars will pull up at the house and stay for a day, maybe overnight. And then they disappear and the house is deserted again for a few more weeks.
Also very strange, no?

Last night, I was up late watching some TV and trying to get a head start on this work project that I will be working on all day today and headed to bed about 12:15am. But I couldn't get right to sleep, so I played a few rounds of bejeweled on my phone. About 12:45, just as I was starting to feel too tired to match any more jewels, I heard a really loud noise, like someone splitting wood, coming from the back of my house. I usually look to the cats to see how scared they are to determine if I should be scared or not, but they were failing me. The noise happened about four times in a row. I made my way back to the other side of the house and could tell right away that it wasn't coming from my backyard, unless someone broke the security lights, because my yard was dark, aside from the glow of a light from the suspicious house next door. I can't see anything in their backyard from inside my house-I sure tried though- and I cracked a window open and couldn't hear anything. But it just didn't make sense on where the loud noise was coming from.

It could have been a tree limb cracking and breaking, but it wasn't windy or stormy...and the light didn't make sense.

So I waited about five minutes, listening intently, and then decided someone more qualified than me should ensure everything was okay.

I haven't called 911 in probably 6 years (last time was when we lived in an apt complex and some drunk driver smashed his truck into five cars in our parking lot). I don't know if this is how it is on all carriers, or on all phones - but this is how it went:

Dial 9-1-1.
My phone screen turned a solid red color and it flashed a message that said: CONNECTING TO EMERGENCY DISPATCH.

After a few seconds, it rang and then a recording came on saying that I was calling dispatch and to please push a number or say "help" to be connected. I said help but it didn't do anything but then started the same recording in Spanish so I pushed a number. Then the recording asked if I wanted fire, police or ambulance. I requested police.

This seemed like a REALLY long process. If someone was breaking into my house while this was happening, I'm not sure I would have the patience to deal with a recording. It probably only took about ten seconds total, but when you are under attack or need medical help, those ten seconds are going to be ridiculously long.

I don't have a conclusion to my story, other than to share what I learned about dialing 9-1-1. Lesson learned-if you THINK you need to call, get a head start on calling because you need a tiny cushion of time to actually be connected.

The police came to the neighbors house about three-five minutes later (I should have timed it), and I heard them walking around and then rapping on the door (you would have to be really rapping hard for me to hear it inside with my windows closed). And then very shortly after, they drove away. I think more info will be on the police blogger at the end of the week and I can see what came of it. Or if I really cared, I could call the office tomorrow probably.

I'm not sure I do though....currently, I'm busy fighting off other intruders - the ANTS!!!! They are no longer in the kitchen in droves-just a random one here and there (gross). I have ant traps all about, and I sprinkled some kind of ant killer outside the back side of the house, yet I just discovered a new trail of them in the sun room. I rarely ever even have food in the sun room so I'm not sure what they are doing. I'm currently spraying the trail with 409, which works great as a temporary fix. Once I finish the project I'm working on, I should do a full scrubdown of all the rooms and make suer there isn't some secret ant paradise they are trying to reach.


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