Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mr. Mackey Knew All Along, Mmmkay?

Mr. Mackey had it right all along. All those episodes of South Park aired with a singluar message.

Sometimes you have the right to be over protective.

You have the wherewithal to put your child's safety and well-being above and beyond the selfishness, hell self-destruction, of other's and you do all in your power to protect them. Protect them from harm, from devastation, even from disappointment.

Last week, someone I grew up with had the horrifically heartbreaking task forced upon her of breaking news to her son of his father's untimely death. Sudden and quick. Here one minute, gone the next. Fell victim to a problem I unfortunately know all too well, not from self experience but as a witness to how it has destroyed my life and my sons. And he too had been someone I grew up with.

And this news, as horrible as it is, upset me so much deeper than just the passing of someone I know, someone I went to school with the entirety of my life. It affected me as a possibility of what my life could be. Of news that someday I would have potentially had to break to my own son. THIS hit home.

Been clean for a time. Had been battling addiction for years, but clean as far as anyone knew. Then, with a flick of a needle, he was done. Overwhelmed by whatever emotions or circumstances presented themselves that drove him to use yet again. And now he's gone.

And so the story goes. One I have sadly become all too familiar with. Watching someone's life fall into a black hole from the outside. Watching how their actions affect so many around them. Like a pebble in a stoic lake, that ripple keeps going and going, outward, possibly fainter as it gets farther from the source, but still felt nonetheless.

I want nothing more than to protect my son from something like this. To keep him safe from watching the ups and downs of what I know of addiction. From the criminal acts it causes people to commit, the pain it causes others by the mood swings and withdrawals.

Popping in and out of someone's life. Unstable. Until finally the out choice is no longer a choice, it's a fatality. It's over. Death the only way to make them stop suffering.

This isn't the first time this has happened to someone I knew. And I doubt it will be the last. Someone with kids, kids who end up being the ones who suffer the most from it.

Is it wrong of me to want to keep my child from it? To want to shield him from the horror of seeing it firsthand? To make sure that after everything his little 6 year old self has already been through and witnessed that it ends where it did 2 years ago?

A parent who cares more about their child's well being than their own would see that. They would want what is best for their kid, not themselves. They would want to keep them stable and safe and happy and not disrupt their lives.

One would think.

My heart breaks at the idea of being in my friends shoes. And though my thoughts are with their family during what I can only imagine is a most heart-wrenching ordeal, I am for now grateful for the Massachusetts Legal System, and hope with everything I have it always help to protect my child from the possibility of anything like this ever happening.

Drugs are bad, Mmmkay?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Appreciation and My Mortarboard Future

Have you ever thought about how much you appreciate a person?

I mean truly appreciate. Be grateful for. Wonder how the hell you would be able to function without them?

Yeah. I'm there.

I mean of course you naturally appreciate your family. People like your parents who are there for you through thick and thin no matter what because, well they made you. They love you unconditionally because that's what parents do of course. (Well most parents anyway, there are the few exceptions of people who don't deserve to have a uterus and those who are pretty much destined to only be sperm donors, but you know what I mean.)

And you generally appreciate your friends. The ones who stand by you and support you. Hold your hair when you're drunk, listen to you cry over boys, gossip over the latest episodes of whatever TV shows you're obsessed with. Through the years the faces may change sometimes, but the good ones, they stick around.

Obviously I appreciate my son. That he's quirky and funny and makes me smile most of the time. That he's smart and sarcastic at age 6 and has made me become a person I don't know if I would be if he hadn't been born. I love him more than life.

But, right now, my vast appreciation award is going to the boyfriend. To the one person who has steadily been my best friend and partner in crime for over four years.

The amount of support that I get from that man astounds me. I get the kick in the ass (lovingly of course) when I need to stop procrastinating. He helps me see things differently sometimes. Those times I am closeted by my own fear of change or the unknown. He shows me the possible light at the end of that tunnel.

If I am overwhelmed or distraught, he is there to calm me down, to say "It will be ok". He is the rational voice that pops up in my head when I am hanging from the rafters and need to take my estrogen level down a few notches.

I have been for the past few years wanted to go back to school. Since not finishing the 2 classes I have remaining to obtain my Associates Degree I have wanted to go back. Life got in the way. I had work and bills and then Dylan and no time.

I came up with a plethora of excuses why I couldn't. I had no one to watch my son, I had no time to go, the classes started before I even got out of work for the night courses, etc.

Then within the last year, my Alma Mata started online courses. Well THAT would be something. So I half-assed looked into it then. It would cost close to $800 that I didn't have for 2 classes. Not to mention books and such. For 2 classes they didn't offer financial aid. I put the dream again on the back burner.

But in my head it's stewed. Stewed with a lot of other things I have been trying to do to better my life and the lives of those I love who are directly affected by what I do.

I started talking to someone to work out some things I have had festering for years. Random bouts of depression, the loss of my father, the anger I have pent up towards my son's father, being raped as a teenager. I am slowly becoming a whole person again and I have one person to thank for that.

Well two actually, because I also thank myself.

In all that self-realization, I still firmly want to go back to school. I have a new job that I love. I am happy. Yes HAPPY! I wanted to continue on the path of achieving the things I wanted. So I looked into school again.

I never thought I would ever know the kind of support I am given in this. That I am being encouraged to do something I have always wanted to do. That he would help me in any way he knew how through all of it.

Appreciation sometimes even seems like too little of a word for how I feel. Constantly amazed. More filled with emotion and happiness and love than I ever thought possible. That the sky really IS the limit.

So now I see it. My mortarboard future. My procession into a new chapter of my life. Finishing my degree and moving on to my Bachelors.

I am more than ready.

Thanks Babe.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Karaoke, Gleeks and Memories

You know what today is?

It's Tuesday. It's September 21, and it's the season premiere of Glee.

That's right Glee.

And I am fricking pumped.

Sure there are you haters out there. You people who find the non 24-esque lack of shit being blown up before you on the TV screen not good enough to waste an hour of your time on every week, but for me, it's something to look forward too.

It's not just about getting lost in the oh-so-talented mixes of music and spiteful "Sue C's Its". It's not just new takes on old classics and rival choral dance numbers mixed in with every day high school fodder.

I was a real life Gleek. I was a cheerleader and I was in my high school chorus and Jazz choir. I was like the very Cheerios they show every week in their uniforms, attending rehearsal and loving every minute of it.

I was in chorus for as long as I can remember. Starting as young as elementary school with assembly like sign-ups, with no one getting turned away to high school where you tried out and got turned down if you didn't have the ability.

I did singing competitions in high school. Nothing as fun or dramatic as the Regional’s and Sectionals they portray on Glee, but we had District and SEMSBA where we were paired alone with a panel of judges and the missing part of a 4 part harmony, usually in Latin, to fill in.

There was a big trip we took in 1995 to Virginia Beach to compete. THAT was an adventure. Put a bunch of drama and band and chorus folks on buses and ship them out of state and wackiness certainly ensued.

Our costumes weren't as exciting as they are on TV. We had very matronly black skirts for the ladies and Pilgrim looking white shirts that were made of the thinnest, cheapest material ever. Rounded collars, oh they were hideous.

Those of us who were also in band (and yes of COURSE I was one of them, being the drum captain my senior year and everything) had these ever-so lovely bright blue waist coats we would often wear over our choral uniforms during the band portions of our concerts. Sexy.

I was Little Miss High School back in the day. In every club you could imagine. Not only in the music programs, but I was Editor of the school newspaper (shocking I know), in the Environmental Club, Model UN, Harvard Model Congress, The Executive Board that ran our class. I was a cheerleader and played soccer. I even played basketball one season. I did it all. Musicals, Jazz Choir, Concert Band, Marching Band, Chorus. I was a one-woman Yearbook brigade.

And out of it all, my most prominent memories are of being involved with the music program. Of exactly what Glee tries to show week after week.

Just like on the show we had a wide range of people involved. There were those people who likely took the class just for credits to not take a "real" class (even though they totally enjoyed it), there were those who were full-on superstars in the making. (One of which now appears on the show "The Office"...true story)

But we had our little cliques in there too, although it wasn't as interesting as it is on Glee. It was more per vocal range. The Alto's, Soprano’s etc. Nothing as thrilling as the Diva or the Gays. That would have made it way more interesting for sure. I'm a fan.

I mean we had them sure, but back in the mid to late 90's in high school, people weren't as secure in themselves to be as out there as they are today. Although the slushie-throwing dumpster-tossing happened in it's own way. You met at the flagpole, at 3 o'clock.

So needless to say, tonight's premiere of Glee has me excited. I get to relive my heydays of Chorus. I get to remember the solo's I was chosen to sing (and I had a lot if I do say so myself), I get to remember the rehearsals and the hideous uniforms. But most of all, I get to remember the camaraderie.

The closest to being a Gleek now I get is the occasional bought of karaoke (although I did have my American Idol Audition stint a few years back, but I digress). Karaoke does not a Diva make.

Well, maybe...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Free Bird and Cell Phone Lighters

Lighters swaying in the night, loud music and cheering crowds. Ahh, a rock concert.

Last night was the first concert I have been to in a long time. Rascal Flatts, Kellie Pickler and Chris Young. Suburbanite Bostonians decked out in their faux country best; straw hats and trendy cowboy-style boots (because let's face it, there are certainly no REAL cowboys in Boston).

Singing along to those familiar radio-played tunes, dancing in your seats and people watching like you read about. (No really, you JUST read it...see?)

My previous concert-going experiences have run the gamut of genre's and venues. Bands playing in divey clubs before their major Pop Culture breakouts with my older sister. Large arena style all out spectacles, and smaller concerts at casinos. I've pretty much seen them all.

The first concert I ever went to was with my mother and sister. There may have been some cousin's involved as well, but I was 5 and my memory is a wee bit hazy.

It was the Monkees. That's right, the Monkees. I was in heaven. Thanks (at the time) to the wonders of Nick at Night; I was obsessed with that goofy foursome. Living in their TV apartment and the musical shenanigans they found themselves in. I was a Davey Jones fan (naturally) at the tender age of 5.

Now mind you I realize now that the show was taped far before I was even a twinkle in my parent’s eyes, but at the time, I thought it was JUST happening. And I was so far from the stage I didn't notice the agedness before me of the band. They were not the spry young bunch of fella's I watched on TV, no. They were already then a bunch of middle-aged men trying to hold on to what little fame they may have had left.

They were accompanied by a bunch of musicians I am pretty sure no one in my age bracket has ever even hears of, let alone seen live. Herman's Hermits, the Grassroots and Gary Pucket & the Union Gap.

Oh yes. Classic.

Of course, being from the Boston area, at least once in my life during the late 80's/early 90's I HAD to see the New Kids on the Block.

NKOTB and all their homegrown pride likely never filled an arena like they did in good old Massachusetts.

My best friend’s father had gotten us all tickets (at least that's how my brain remembers it....I never saw an exchange of money or heard any of the parents say anything to the contrary, so we'll go with it) for her birthday party in 5th grade.

Decked out like a true obsessed fan, we each had our favorites. Oversized pins adorned our NKOTB t-shirts, neatly tied up on one side, naturally. Day-Glo hats stenciled with the name of the band and more pins covering it. I believe we even had earrings that said New Kids. We were hardcore.

I remember being in the crowd and being completely amazed. THESE were our teen heartthrobs. The posters we ripped out of Tiger Beat and instantly hung on our walls. The fictional names we doodled in our Trapper Keepers; our names and their last names as if we ever had a chance in real life.

We screamed and fainted for them like my mother had done for the Beatles. We swooned when they walked on stage. We couldn't talk for days afterward. We knew all the dance moves and we did them in our seats.

It was youth obsession in its finest form.

As I entered high school, I remember going to smaller venue's with my older sister. Likely at the hand of my mother, she and I would go to divey clubs for the 16+ shows of the Alternative craze at its peak.

Oasis, Blur. We saw the Cure a boatload of times. Each time I was fascinated by the dedication to these underground (at the time) bands and their fans. These laid back concert goers singing along to the obscure B-sides while people like me at 16 only knew what was played on the radio.

But I was in a bar, in a club as a teenager. Whatever the music, I didn't care, I was awesome.

Of course in my adult life, I have seen a great many more. Gone with friends and experienced my first attempt at concert tailgating. A whole spread of food and booze lined up in the back of an SUV while we sat in our chairs, semi-circled and waiting for the show to begin.

And it's been every kind of music you can think of since. Bon Jovi in a large arena, Poison and Ratt in their attempts at a comeback. Sammy Hagar holding on to his Van Halen heydays and rocking a casino. Nickelback, Staind, Daughtry. Motley Crue, setting things on fire and Tommy Lee flying through the air on an airlifted drum set. Guns N Roses, Papa Roach, The Brian Setzer Orchestra and Jewel. Eminem and Ludacris rapping profanities. I even went to Lolapalooza with friends in high school and saw more bands in one place than I ever thought possible. And now Rascal Flatts kicking it new-age country. (I told you it had been all types...)

There have been others too, smaller local bands I've befriended over the years. Playing local bars to crowds of their friends and a handful of followers.

There's just something about live music. About being in a crowd of people who are all singing along to the same songs.

Last night was no different, and yet it was. Sitting with friends and laughing, leaning close to someone you love. Dancing, singing, swaying along. Perfectly content with everything around you. Last night was pretty much perfect.

Shouting out "Free Bird" during breaks in the music and jokingly yelling "Down in front!" at the teenagers standing up at inopportune moments. Lighters flickering (or phone apps that LOOK like lighters) during those power ballads.

Yup, there's nothing like a concert, and after last night, exhausted as I am, sitting at my desk, ears ringing slightly, thinking back to arms wrapped around me dancing; I am a happy girl.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Freakin Fall and Bass-Ackwardness

There is this half mile stretch of road that I take driving to my mother's that is lined with trees and nothing else. Just road and trees. It's picturesque really. For a 1 minute stretch bewteen residential areas, nothing but green on either side of you.

As I drove this morning to drop my son off, I noticed the first couple of leaves starting to turn into varying shades of red.

What. The. Fuck.

I get it, it's September. But it's JUST September. Summer is not OFFICIALLY over until the end of this month. Leaves are not allowed to start changing until then. Simply because I said so.

Ok ok, so I know I am not exactly able to contend with Mother Nature, but still, I am not completely ready for this.

Alright, maybe I'm a little ready.

I mean, I love that football season is in full swing. That Sunday's are now full of the Patriot's playing and referees whistles blowing. I love pumpkin donuts and muffins and coffee and beer being back in true New England seasonal fashion. I love that I can wear jeans AND flip flops.

I look forward to going apple picking and pumpkin picking and figuring out a Halloween costume. Taking Dylan Trick-or-Treating and watching him run around in his costume. (As of now he's settled on a pirate but that could change day to day)

I normally hate the fall. I hate that the days get shorter and the nights and mornings cooler. I hate when the morning dew on the grass turns to frost. I hate the fall's transition into Winter really.

Yesterday was the first day that really felt fallish. I woke up to a cool morning with heavy condensation on the windows. Threw on my Patriots jersey and readied myself for a day of watching football.

In true seasonal transitional fashion, Dylan had a sore throat, so we watched the game from home. Which worked out well since I was a tad bass-ackwards...instead of Spring cleaning, I Fall cleaned.

There is a room in my house that has been pretty much untouched since I moved in a year ago. Still piled high with boxes and bins as though I had just pulled up the moving van.

Well not anymore.

Yesterday I douched it. Sorted through those boxes and bins, filled trash bag after trash bag with things I unnecessarily held onto. Gave away tons of Dylan's baby things to an expecting cousin and set the room up as I had been intending to do so for the past year.

It is now a functional playroom/guest room/exercise room. Yay me! (although not "yay" for my aching back..."

In all my productivity however, the rest of the house now seems to have had an Atom Bomb go off in it. Things removed from their once stored haven now in the rooms they belong in, just waiting for me to find them new homes. Prefereably in the rooms they should have been in all along.

Hoping to have all said and done by Dylan's birthday party on Saturday afternoon. Which means working all day, and coming home to clean until I go to bed. Making sure Dylan is cleaned and fed and homework's done in-between. AND celebrating his actual birthday on Thursday.

Ahh the joys of hosting a child's birthday party. (Sarcasm hopefully duly noted)

Cleaning your house to have it become trashed by dozens of other people's kids running rampant throughout it. Buying and cooking food and trying to make sure you have something everyone will eat. Goodie bags and activities so no one is bored. Cake and presents and finding new homes in the toy box for all the gifts now occupying your child's playtime.

Cleaning it all up....again.

But I guess the look of joy on your child's face makes it all worth it right? Right?!

Freakin Fall and its bass-ackwardness.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dear Daddy,

It seems like just yesterday you were here, and yet also like a lifetime ago.

So much has happened, so much has changed. 4 years of moving on. At least trying to. Trying to make sense of a world that hasn't had you in it.

You would be in awe of your grandson. Even though he has been in school since you have gone, he started at MY old school. He got on the school bus without so much as a hesitation. No fear.

He has his first soccer game on Saturday. I can see you now on the sidelines, cheering him on. Funny since I don't recall you going to any of my games, but I know you would go to his. And he would have been so excited to have had you there. Running around, showing off for your benefit.

I moved a year ago, into a better place and closer to mom. I know you would have wanted me to take care of her, and I have been doing my best. All 3 of us have in our own ways.

She wasn't the same when you left us. Her sarcasm and humor only came back really the past couple years. Her health though has declined; I guess she needed to pick up where you left off! But don't worry, Todd and I have been taking her to all her appointments and making sure she's ok. (She hasn't been able to drive since you've been gone.)

But like you, I advocate for her, and for myself. I make the calls to get things done, set the appointments and make sure nobody is getting screwed over. And when they do, well let's just say you taught me well in the art of forceful negotiations.

I inherited your heart dad. Literally. Your former cardiologist is mine now. I have been "blessed" with the family genes and I too could follow your footsteps. I also learned from you. Learned what NOT to do when it comes to my doctors. I listen to what they tell me. I follow their directions. If they don't want me to do something, I don't do it. I don't want the same fate as you. I can't bear the thought of leaving Dylan like you left us.

I'm in love, did you know that? I never thought I would ever feel like I do with him dad. He was there for me after you had gone, and he’s never left. My best friend. I never thought I'd ever find anyone you'd have approved of dad, but you would. I know you would. He's kind and funny and is a great guy. I mean, guys can all be idiots, but he's a good one overall. He's a great dad, and Dylan loves him.

I have done so much that I hope has made you proud dad. I have learned, although by the skin of my teeth, to stand on my own. I always thought I could never do anything on my own, yet I have been all along.

After you left I got myself a car, a better paying job. I put Dylan through school. I dealt with the drama of everything that happened with his dad (and I know you never liked that situation) all by myself. I went to court; I proved I could handle a major thing without you holding my hand dad.

I had a lot of downs though in there. I lost people along the way, I gained others. I found strength in myself and in my own abilities as an adult. Scary to think of myself that way, but in hindsight I guess it's true.

Don't think for a second because I have done so much on my own I haven't felt like I needed you dad. I always need you. I always will.

I miss the way you would whistle through your teeth, even though at the time it was annoying as hell. I miss how you would say "lever mind" instead of "never mind". How you would rhyme and sing-song everything you did, from talking to the dog or to Dylan as a baby.

I miss that you would call people and ask "is this you?" when they answered the phone. How your belly would shake when you laughed really hard, like that day Dylan was laying on you and you laughed so hard he just started gyrating on your abdomen and that made us all laugh harder.

I miss that whenever I was sick or injured you were always with me at the hospital or the doctor, even into my mid 20's. Like the consummate medical professional.

I wish you were still here to ask about Dylan going to your shop to play with sawdust.

About your shop dad, you would be SO proud of Todd. When you died, you were working on a couple of things and he stepped up and finished your work. He took over your shop and made it his own. He's made such beautiful things dad, you wouldn't believe it! I guess he inherited that talent from you. Who would have guessed? (Don’t worry though; he's still a royal pain in the ass so not THAT much has changed).

I wish that when I talked to you now dad, you were able to answer. That when I look to you for advice or guidance I am not just talking aloud to myself or to a stone etched with your name on it in a cemetery. I wish that when I had doubts or fears you could help me make sense of them, in your own Suessical way.

I even wish you were around to yell and scream at me. To fight with me. Our mirrored tempers battling out against each other. You fought with me because you loved me dad. Because you didn't want me to screw up, because you wanted better things for me. I know that now.

So 4 years later, I just wanted you to know that it still hurts that you're gone. That not a day goes by when I don't look at your pictures upon my walls. That Dylan still talks about his "Papa in Heaven", and that you are missed more than you would ever imagine.

I love you.


Daddy's Little Girl

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Big Yellow Bus Makes It OFFICIAL

I don't know what it is about that iconic bright yellow school bus that makes going to school so official.

Dylan has been in school since he was 2 1/2. I didn't shed tears when he started preschool. I dropped him off in a seemingly daycare-esque atmosphere and went to work. Boom, done.

He had been in a home daycare before that so to me, being without him all day wasn't a new-to-me experience.

Although when her first went to daycare for me it was bitter-sweet. My dad had been his daycare. He spent all his days I needed covered with my father then. I had been out of work a while with a back injury so he had him for doctors appointments and therapy and such.

My dad's whole life was Dylan. He loved watching him.

And then when he died, I was forced to not only go back to work, but to find someone else to watch Dylan. Put my little boy's day-to-day activities into the hands of a stranger.

I luckily had a recommendation and his first home daycare was with a wonderful woman and her 2 boys. It was just the 3 of them hanging out and learning together everyday. It was just, well expensive. But she was great with him and I adored her.

His second one was in a larger group, and in a place that was through the agency I had been on a waiting list to get into. Not that particular place per-say, but in order to get on a sliding scale based on my income.

It was maybe 10 kids, including her 3 and it was a good atmosphere yet again. I had been seeming to luck out in that department.

Although, my commute was crap. I would drive from Hull to Holbrook and then to Mansfield for work and it was crap.

Then, when he was about 2 1/2, a woman from the main agency sent me a letter saying he was ready for school.


How is that possible?? I didn't realize kids started school that young! Apparently he was social and smart and ready for preschool.

I was like, um ok sure.

So off he went to the big school facility. He was in preschool there for 2 years and then again BOOM! He was ready for kindergarten. Well, "Pre-K" IN Kindergarten.

He was too smart to stay in preschool, but too young due to the age cut-off date to "officially" be in kindergarten apparently. SO they decided, ah what the heck, let's put him in there anyway.

But this year, even after having done a year of kindergarten last year, this year he gets to ride the school bus.

This year I got to buy him dress-to-impress new school clothes and shoes and get him a snazzy new haircut.

That yellow bus pulled up yesterday, and of COURSE when things regard MY child, it was half an hour late. He waited rather impatiently at his little bus stop, looking longingly down the street waiting for the bus to come down the street.

When it finally turned that corner and made its way towards us, he was jumping with excitement. Literally jumping. And I found myself jumping too. I was brimming with pride. I thought maybe, just maybe I may tear up, but I didn't. I just grinned like an idiot and snapped photos like a member of the paparazzi.

He couldn't get on that bus fast enough. I had to force him to slow down for my maternal photo ops and then he bolted right up, without so much as a brief hesitation.

After he hopped on the bus and sat down, window seat looking all proud of himself (and of COURSE me snapping away as if my life depended on it), I scurried off to the school. Naturally I HAD to also document him getting OFF the bus for the first time and lining up with his class!

And of course, the bus was again late, causing the whole class to sit outside waiting and waiting impatiently, as 5 year olds get. The teachers now starting to wonder aloud "Where IS that last bus?"

So here it finally comes, 20 minutes after it was supposed to be there to drop the kids off. And who is the first kid off the bus? Dylan.

He barrel-asses out of the bus and RUNS to line up with his class. Ready and excited to start his day at a new school. The very same school I went to kindergarten in. With bells to signal the class times and water fountains in the hallway. A school nurse and a guidance counselor. A REAL school.

And it all began with that big yellow bus.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Flibber the Gibbets!

Batten the hatches!! Flibber the gibbets!!

It's been 20 years since a hurricane last hit Massachusetts (ish). We've only ever HAD 2 major hurricane hit us during my lifetime. There was Hurricane Gloria in 1985 and Hurricane Bob in 1991.

And now we are getting ready for Hurricane Earl later tonight.

It's funny to think about hurricanes in the Northeast. Not funny "haha" but funny strange. We get battered with Nor’easters pelting us with winds and snow and such every winter. Freezing cold winter months and often times digging out under feet upon feet of snow.

But a hurricane?

We are not as adept in handling such events. Unlike Florida and the Gulf Coast, we are not accustomed to these warm weather storms making their way into our frigid North Atlantic waters and lasting long enough to cause any real damage.

We have seen the tail ends of some horrible storms, even heavy rains for days after Hurricane Katrina, but that was it. Rain. Big whoop-di-doo.

So now with this vigil over Hurricane Earl's track northward and the local news media stalking his every move, I am forced to recall those previous 2 major hits we took decades ago.

I remember Gloria. I was 6 years old. We still lived in our white house on Pond Street, the house I grew up in. Built in the 1700's and settled on 2 acres of land in which we housed all manner of miscellaneous farm animals.

We had a pear tree in our front yard, and to the left of the house on the hill in the side yard, and HUGE old tree.

I remember when Gloria hit, sitting in my brother's and my upstairs bedroom. We had one window, and it overlooked my neighbor’s yard (people who were to me my grandparents). In front of their yard was an enormous Evergreen tree.

I remember sitting in that window with my brother and my cousins, Robbie and Jenny, and watching that Evergreen sway in the vicious winds. I remember even at 6 years old wondering if it would fall towards our house and hit us as we sat in the window watching. My dad's generator outside growled loudly and gave us power while the rest of the street was dark.

When the storm was over, and my brother and I went exploring in the wooded back acre of our yard, I remember finding a downed tree that crushed our fence and made a sort of bridge into the trailor park that was behind our yard. We climbed all over it and it turned our backyard into sort of an adventurous place.

Bob was a different story. 1991 I was 12 years old. I remember everyone joking about the name because my dad, after all, was Bob. This was HIS hurricane.

And boy was it!

We had family down on Cape Cod, well the "Gateway to the Cape" in Wareham. My mother's cousin owned a set of vacation cottages they rented out seasonally as well as the family cottage. We would go there for cookouts and family parties in the summer months, on long weekends, etc.

After Bob, that picturesque little part of town where the cottages lay was total chaos.

Houses once on stilts near the water completely leveled. Others swept out to sea or blocks away from where their foundations once stood. People's belongings littered the streets.

My dad had been an Insurance Adjuster and builder then and I recall going with him to survey the damages. We had loaned my mother's cousin our motor home as temporary shelter while my dad fixed flood damage in their cottage. Bad as it was for those who had losses, it was good for us because dad was busy with work.

Work meant money.

So now with the aftermath of such events as Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf 5 years ago, it seems as though Massachusetts is taking a "No Joke" approach to this storm. They refuse to be caught off guard.

Ironic that I started my new job last week working with a company specializing in disaster restorations; they are almost hoping for the worst. I guess money is money when you're in business, despite the put-out it is for other people.

But they are prepared. Generators on call, all flood-related paraphernalia rip-roaring and ready to go. I've heard electric work crews are already enroute to the Cape to prepare themselves for those who are expected to be hardest hit. Bridges already planned to be shut down, isolating people on Cape Cod as though it were completely cut off from the rest of the state.

They even have help on the way from the NYPD and FDNY. We're hardcore.

People have been pulling boats out of the harbors for days in preparation. Supermarkets flooded with the neurotic buying up batteries and water and canned good.

Already it's been downgraded to a Category 2 Hurricane, and by the time it hits our more frigid waters is expected to drop yet again to a category 1. Now granted that doesn't sound so bad when you look at things that have hit the likes of Puerto Rico and Florida over the years, but them's still some pretty fierce winds.

But seriously, this isn't Armageddon people. It's a Hurricane. By the time it reaches us will likely be nothing compared to the Blizzard of 78, which Bostonian's recall surviving with pride.

And Earl?? How many bad things can you imagine named Earl? The Duke of Earl? The Earl of Sandwich? The Dixie Chicks even sing about an Earl!

It will come in the night and leave us by morning. Like a bad one night stand. Leaving the rest of the weekend with supposedly beautiful weather and a potential mess to clean up.

Typical Man.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September Owes Me BIG


A month that for the past few years I have learned to dread.

Chalk full of anniversaries, some days to remember fondly, others I wish to forget.

Dylan's birthday is the 16th, my father died on the 10th, the whole disaster with Dylan's dad happened on the 5th.

A month when summer fades and cool temperatures settle in and slowly but surely try to ready us for the impending winter months.

As those certain days loom, I find myself full of mixed feelings.

First and foremost, I cannot believe my son is going to be 6 in 2 weeks. That 6 years have passed since I gave birth and my life forever changed. When I as a person went from singular to plural for the rest of my life.

It's hard to believe that he is such a little person now. No longer an infant or toddler. But a little person, a sarcastic, goofy kid. He knows what he likes now and is capable of (sort of) making his own decisions about things. He can do things without my help now for the most part and is becoming such an independent guy. Granted he's a whopping pain in the ass a handful of the time, but he's MY pain in the ass and I love him more than anything. Who knew?

Then the anniversary of my dad....

I cannot believe that next week will mark 4 years since my life was stopped in its tracks. That my entire world was forever altered and my support system, my rock was gone.

It still feels sometimes that it JUST happened. That he was just here and now he's gone. I find myself awash in memories so often, and I get both overjoyed and saddened at the same time that he had such a profound impact on my life and on everyone's life he ever came into contact with.

I smile when Dylan recalls "Papa in Heaven" and asks questions about him watching over him. As non-religious as I am, I am comforted by the very thought that it is possible. I talk to him myself, I ask for help and advice. I need him more and more as time goes on, even though I think I have done ok on my own. (Sometimes...)

And then there's the 5th...2 years ago.

"A day that will forever live in infamy..."

Life turned upside down, both for myself and my son. Chaos and dysfunction and heartache. Court dates and DSS visits and counseling. Restraining orders and perpetual anxiety. I still get sick to my stomach when I think about that day. I will forever loathe and despise the man that caused such pain for my child.

I cry, I get angry. I think about how anyone could do that to ANY child let alone their own....

Even numbered years. 2-4-6....

Every 2 years it seems to be something, something life changing. I'm 2 for 1 for them being horrendous. So far only one being the best thing that ever happened to me. I need another miracle, a good thing to help make this month memorable, in a positive way.

I think September owes me another good one. It owes me BIG.

It better get on that...
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