Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dear Amazon seller who sent us a broken iPad for Christmas

Dear Amazon seller who sent my 8-year-old daughter an iPad 2 for Christmas...

I'm quite sure you knew when you wrapped this iPad in a nearly pristine box that it wouldn't be what we were expecting. After all, the ad on Amazon did state, "Acceptable Condition." (And surely this iPad is quite acceptable... to those who prefer to give their children presents that have been run over by a truck.)

 It is clear from the condition of the box that this damage did not happen during shipping as none of the broken and missing pieces from the face of the iPad are in the box and the dents in the back don't have corresponding dents on the back of the box.That is good news because we wouldn't want to unfairly blame USPS this crazy time of year. Those folks are working really hard these days!

You know? At first I was really mad! You see, my daughter's grandparents wanted to get her a gently-used iPad for Christmas because they know that Mom and Dad can't afford anything like that. My 8-year-old daughter was born weighing only 2 lbs 7 oz and has Down syndrome. She is home-bound now because she has chronic pneumonia. Every little cold ends up in her lungs and she is hospitalized an average of once a year... sometimes it's more. So sadly the petri dish we call "school" is out of the question for now.

We were looking forward to loading educational apps on her new-to-her iPad to keep her busy while she is home.

Yes - the Mamma Bear came out when I opened the box. Steam came out of my ears, my eyes bulged a bit and I may have even spewed profanity in my head.

But then I took a really deep breath.
(OK - like maybe it was closer to hyperventilation...)
I slowed down and I thought about it.

Who would do such a thing? It looks like you found this in a garbage can and figured you could make a quick buck.

Who would do this?

But why should I be so quick to judge? I'm sorry my initial reaction was to judge you even though I know nothing about you.

At first I thought perhaps you might be someone living in poverty, searching for a way to afford Christmas gifts for your own kids... but I Googled the return address, and assuming you gave the correct return address, I found this street view of your home:

I know that just because the outside looks nice doesn't mean there isn't turmoil on the inside. Perhaps you are faced with losing your own home. Times are tough. It's scary out there!

We understand! We used to live in a similar home outside of Dallas, TX. We lost our house almost 8 years ago to my daughter's medical bills. We moved in with my parents in VA for a while and then rented for a number of years until we could start patching our credit back together.

And you know what? We LOVE Virginia! Losing a home seems terrible at the time, but for us it had a silver lining. Just last spring we were finally able to buy a new place. It's not much now, but someday we want to replace the 1973 single wide with a real house.

 (It's had some add-ons. The way I figure it, if we just keep adding, we'll have a double-wide really soon!)

Perhaps you have been faced with the loss of a job and are scraping by just to feed your family.

We understand! My husband lost his job in August. It's been really tight and we're trying hard not to lose our current home. We feel blessed that my husband recently got a new job. It's part time and it isn't much above minimum wage, but it's something, right? Others are less fortunate.

And you know what? We have found the silver lining! After my husband lost his job, I rediscovered my love for art after more than 20 years! I posted some of my art on-line and I have been working my right hand off ever since - 12+ hours a day... and now the American Poultry Association is interested in making me one of their official illustrators! Can you believe it??

Art doesn't pay a lot and I'll have to do a lot more work before we're making ends meet, but I can't tell you how excited I am!

So what am I going to say to you?

I'm going to say, "Hang in there!

I don't know what you might be going through or what your needs are that you felt you had to take someone's money for this iPad... but what ever it is, please know it's going to get better.

While all the other affordable used iPads that were on Amazon seem to have sold by now, that's OK too. My kids will never be the wiser. My 11-year-old asked for shoes because she says hers are "a bit pinchy" and we'll be giving the younger one the iPad 1 that we were going to give the 11-year-old. It will all work out just fine!

And please - have a Very Merry Christmas!
Love and best wishes from my family to yours!



The folks from Amazon just called me! They read my blog post and were very disappointed with the condition the iPad arrived in.
They will be reimbursing my mother in full and are sending The Skink a Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition!!
I was already a big fan of Amazon, but I'm a fan for life now!

I'm blown away! 
Thank you,!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

How to Stage Your Home for Living - Reality Edition!

This poor blog has not seen a lot of activity in a long time. I've been putting more time and attention into my chicken blog, Natural Chicken Keeping, because as hectic and stressful as life can be with two kids with special needs, chickens have become my at-home escape.

But today was one of those days that I ran across another blog post that was simply so preposterous, it needed to be addressed... with mom humor.

Oh yes! This is a WONDERFUL idea for the average family...

with no kids...

a few million extra dollars...

and a maid or 3.

For the rest of this, this post is simply another buzzing load of hogwash put out there to make us feel inadequate and lazy.

I feel it is my duty as a realist with kids, dogs, cats, chickens (and hopefully soon goats and horses... and maybe a cow...) to dispel any delusions the above mentioned article may have instilled into the minds of other innocent, overworked, over-stressed parents like myself.

And now fo:

How to Stage Your Home for Living - Reality Edition!

Housekeeping for the rest of us

Never throw anything away or sell anything!
Inevitably  if you do, your child with sensory issues will be scarred for life! Those 237 cheesy McDonald's toys that you step on every time you walk through the house barefoot?
The empty box with the Hello Kitty or Batman picture on the front?
Don't you dare!
The almost-empty knock-off perfume on your teen's dresser?
Forget about it!
Because if you do, you will have disposed of the most precious thing that your child ever had... FOREVER!
The crying, pouting and misery could last for weeks!

Find a home for everything!
Yes - everything you have has a place... in your house... somewhere. If you simply can't fit another item in your closet or on your dresser, then try the space under your bed, the floor, the window ledges, the stairs, the entertainment center or your front porch. All of these areas are yours and can be used to keep your stuff.

Counter tops, cupboards and drawers
These are the special places you may use to put the objects you don't want your kids to reach or find. That's right!
Grandma's crystal angel figurine?
I suggest putting that at the back of your coffee mug cupboard. You should keep breakable things together!
Those farm boots that your youngest loves to put on and tromp about the house wearing, leaving a trail of farm fresh poop-laden mud behind?
Definitely put those on the kitchen counter where they'll be safe!
Purses, wallets, vibrators and wedding rings that might lose a rock if you wear them out to clean the chicken coop?
All of the above belong in your underwear drawer... (might I suggest putting locks on your dresser drawers?)

Personalize your decor
Yes - absolutely! All of the hand and face prints on your windows should be those of your own children! The muddy footprints across your carpets will remind all your visitors of just how big your teenage son is getting and will warn potential burgles that a very large dog is lurking... somewhere.
The giant red scrape across the white paint on your living room wall will bring back nostalgic memories of your child's Flying Firetruck game. Ahhhh! Good times!

Give your bathroom the attention it deserves
The best way to determine what your bathroom needs is to go sit down... with a book... for a minimum of 15 minutes. (These things can't be rushed!)
Bingo! You've figured it out!
Your bathroom is definitely in need of some new air deodorizer spray!
(Wow - that was easy!)

As for your kids bathroom, all you need is a rake and a hose. (You're welcome.)

Consider curb appeal
The presence of chickens pecking through your sun-parched herb garden will bring joy and happiness to all passer-bys. Toss in a few overturned bicycles, wagons and naked Barbie dolls and the motif will be almost complete! All that is missing is a large dog or two to add a harmonious and joyful noise. Now you have addressed all of the senses and created a homy feel that will insure that the neighborhood kids visit regularly.

Clean thoroughly
Right before your yearly cook out!
Make sure all your lawn chairs are upright and hose off your back deck. Mowing is always wise for this occasion and at least make sure your guests can locate the toilet under the large pile of dirty towels... or provide directions to the nearest gas station for your guests' comfort.

Complete minor repairs
Three words; Duct tape, zip ties, WD-40
(Again, you're welcome.)

Major Repairs
- If you can't do it yourself, just tow your tractor to someone who can or call Daryl.
- Your chicken's broken leg will heal eventually.
- Place your garden near that leaking pipe to ensure proper watering.
- Pallets can be used to patch broken fencing.
- Duct tape.
- Zip ties.
- WD-40

And I hope you may now enjoy happy living as an average human on planet earth!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

FYI (if you're a teenage girl) - Why People Like This Keep Me Out of Church

So lately this post: FYI (if you’re a teenage girl) seems to have gone viral. I see it plastered all over FaceBook, preceded by the personal comments of acquaintances about how right or true this is... how this is something every teenage girl should read. So of course as the mother of two girls (and one boy) my own curiosity was peaked and I read it myself...

Are you kidding me??

OK - first let me say that I commend this mother for being a good, caring mom who is deeply involved in her children's lives. Good for you - don't change that!

And let me just add, people like you are why I don't go to church.


Well, let me explain...

You posted a beautiful family photo of your four very nice-looking children. Three boys and a girl. They are being goofy on a lovely beach. Your teenage boys are shirtless and have all struck "muscle poses" like mini-Mr. Americas. 

In your blog post you start out by saying,

"Dear girls,
I have some information that might interest you. Last night, as we sometimes do, our family sat around the dining-room table and looked through your social media photos.
We have teenage sons, and so naturally there are quite a few pictures of you lovely ladies to wade through. Wow – you sure took a bunch of selfies in your pajamas this summer!
Your bedrooms are so cute! Our eight-year-old daughter brought this to our attention, because with three older brothers who have rooms that smell like stinky cheese, she notices girly details like that."

(Photo of your kids in muscle-poses here.)

"I think the boys notice other things. For one, it appears that you are not wearing a bra.
I get it – you’re in your room, so you’re heading to bed, right? But then I can’t help but notice the red carpet pose, the extra-arched back, and the sultry pout.  What’s up? None of these positions is one I naturally assume before sleep, this I know."

Huh... so somehow your shirtless boys posing on the beach is less offensive than a girl posing in pajamas? Why? Is the muscle-pose the way your kids stand all day on the beach? Or anywhere else, for that matter? Or is it something silly they only do for pictures? 
(But who on earth would do something other than be their natural, pure and innocent self for photos??)

So lets cut to the chase... is it OK for boys to pose half naked, but not OK for girls to pose (fully covered) in pajamas? Is it OK for boys to pose in ways our society has labeled as masculine/goofy but it is not OK for girls to pose in our society has labeled as feminine/goofy?

As the parent of both genders, do you not recognize this as a double standard? Boys can run about half naked, posing in ways our society recognizes as "manly" or "masculine" without anyone questioning their actions at all, but there is a different standard for girls. According to you, girls should not have the same privileges? Or is it that boys just don't have to follow the same rules?  No - girls should remain not only covered, but their boobs must be incarcerated at all times in an uncomfortable fabric and wire contraption lest a BOY see a hint of nipple. (Oooo - I said "nipple!" For shame!)

After all, the girls on the social media site weren't exposing their nipples - currently that is not socially acceptable in the US. And aside from that... what? They were posing? (Sort of the female version of how your boys were posing?)

This disparity between the value of men vs. women is already evident in corporate America where women make 0.77¢ to a man's $1.00. 
Don't believe me? Click HERE.

Anyhoo -

Further down you write,
"And now – big bummer – we have to block your posts. Because, the reason we have these (sometimes awkward) family conversations around the table is that we care about our sons, just as we know your parents care about you.
I know your family would not be thrilled at the thought of my teenage boys seeing you only in your towel. Did you know that once a male sees you in a state of undress, he can’t ever un-see it?  You don’t want the Hall boys to only think of you in this sexual way, do you?
Neither do we.
And so, in our house, there are no second chances, ladies. If you want to stay friendly with the Hall men, you’ll have to keep your clothes on, and your posts decent.  If you try to post a sexy selfie, or an inappropriate YouTube video – even once – you’ll be booted off our on-line island."

What message are you sending your boys?
  • Boys have more rights and privileges than girls.
  • Boys don't have to follow the same rules as girls.
  • It's OK to judge girls more harshly than boys.
  • It's OK to pass judgement on girls.
  • It's OK to "block" these girls from your life... just like Jesus would do... right?
Right... like that whole Mary Magdalene fiasco where Jesus made a snap judgement about her based upon what others said about her lifestyle and blocked her from his FaceBook page and those of his buddies... because there are NO second chances, right?

Oh wait! That didn't happen. I mean, Jesus didn't have FaceBook, did he? And had there been a version of FaceBook back then, the Bible would have us believe the kinds of photos Ms. Magdalene would have been posting would have gotten her banned... but hey - there are other sites for that kind of thing...

But we're not talking about blocking a prostitute, are we? We are talking about the harsh judgement and blocking of young girls who copy what they see their friends doing to try to fit in.

They are copying what they see on hundreds of advertisements and in thousands of magazines. They copy because they see "everyone else" doing it on FaceBook. They copy, because at that age, life is miserable and the more miserable they are, the harder they try to fit in. The harder they try to be liked... even if it's the wrong kind of "Like." They don't fully understand that.

Those dangerous, miserable, confused girls will certainly benefit somehow from being blocked, won't they? 

And, oh dear - your sons can't un-see them wearing only a towel?

I dunno - in the greater scheme of things, a towel doesn't seem so bad.

My point is that it is my understanding that Christianity is about love and acceptance. It's about being slow to judge and quick to love.

I totally get that you want to raise your sons right and protect them, but frankly history would tell us that women have far more to fear from men than the other way around.

Have you been hearing all those awful news stories from India where women and even young girls have been gang raped? Because of these rapes, women are shamed, thrown out of their families and even put in jail for infidelity if they are married.

Yeah - the women are punished.

Oh yeah - I know this isn't India and your boys would never do such a thing... but do you know why this is such an issue in India? It's because women have less social value than men, and because the men grow up with a feeling of entitlement. 

And yes - we do have rapists in the US - like the teacher in Montana who raped a 14-year-old girl. The judge said the 14-year-old seemed older than her biological age and gave the teacher 30 days. Coincidentally the girl killed herself.

Do you see where I'm going with this? It's ALL related. We buy into social stereotypes and gender roles yet we refuse to see the forest for the trees. We perpetuate damaging stereotypes in the name of being true to G-d. But in what way are you being true to G-d? Do unto others? Don't allow for mistakes? Withhold love (or FaceBook) from people who are misled, vulnerable and confused and teach this brand of "faith" to your children? Keep women below men?

We hear what we want to hear when we go to church, don't we.

Did you know that men who batter, belittle and rape women often have an inflated sense of entitlement and hold the view that women have less value than men. (There are too many links to post on this subject as back-up, so I invite you to do your own research.)

So - what ARE you teaching your boys?

Respect?  I'm sorry, but teaching the following does not seem like respect to me... at least not respect of women.
  • Boys have more rights and privileges than girls.
  • Boys don't have to follow the same rules as girls.
  • It's OK to judge girls more harshly than boys.
  • It's OK to pass judgement on girls.
  • It's OK to "block" these girls from your life
No - this is not something I want to be a part of. All in the name of religion people become so openly judgmental of others, whether it be duck-faced girls, gay people, people of other faiths, people who don't live exactly how you live. Why not try LOVE... as in real, unconditional love? After all, nobody's shunning you for not posing in your pictures, are they?
And no - I am certainly NOT holier than thou or any of thou who so beist reading the words frometh my blogeth... (Oops - olde English slip-up... you know... because that's the language they used back in Jesus' day... oh wait... that's not right, is it?)

No - I am holier than nobody. I'm just me. Perhaps I'm naive and too quick to love and accept... but I'm happy enough this way.

 (Awesome illustration credit to The Animated Woman)

Just sayin'

More on our society's treatment of women and the life-long effects:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Our Government Is Broken – Why I Choose to Walk Down the Middle of a Very Dangerous Road

I’m the stay-at-home-mom of 3 kids – 2 of whom have special needs. I’m not a politician, a lobbyist, a church or a corporation. I am a citizen of the United States of America.

Lately it seems to me that our country is on a downward spiral, whipping around out of control as if being sucked into a black hole. The centrifugal force has resulted in a very frightening polarization of our government and our people.

My contacts on social media have turned my homepage into an unending barrage of propaganda highlighting every misstep made by government officials, corporations or religious/non-religious groups. Politics have become a team sport, citizens are taking sides and the competition is fierce.

We all look upon the same big picture (like the one above), but we see what we want to see… or what those people we trust want us to see. Then, as a country, we argue over whether that big picture depicts a young woman or an old woman. We take sides and pick teams and our teams become so focused on winning the argument game that the individuals on the teams either refuse to see the whole picture or lose the courage to step forward and say that the claims of both sides have validity.

Perhaps it is because as a country we developed on a capitalist foundation that we have become so competitive. Initially this competitive nature allowed us to build and grow, and become an independent nation. Now that our nation has grown and flourished, what is this internal competition doing to it?

Aren’t we supposed to be the United States of America? Doesn’t that very word insinuate we are all on the same team? "United we stand, divided we fall." The concept is not new. In fact, the above phrase is attributed to the ancient Greek, Aesop, so clearly it has been around for longer than our own great (or not-so-great) nation.

We have touted ourselves as the greatest nation on earth, have we not? Perhaps that was once true, but I for one don’t believe that we are all that great any more. In fact, the more I read about our current lawmakers, the less faith I have in our government. And I don’t think I am the only one.
I was raised by Republican parents. They raised me to believe that if I got a good education, worked hard and invested my resources properly, I would live long and prosper. (What can I say? My father was in the aerospace industry – so apparently I’m at least part Vulcan.) In effect, I was raised with a strong team affiliation.

Yet in my adult life I have learned the hard way that there is more to the picture than what I was raised to see. Both my husband and I were working full-time. We were paying mortgage on a house and were always up-to-date on our car payments and bills. Then our youngest was born 10 weeks prematurely with Down syndrome. Our health insurance only covered certain parts of the vast pile of medical bills. Our baby came home with a feeding tube and could not be put into a standard day care. We would have to spend our own money to pay for a nurse to care for her while I was at work… but unfortunately nurses made a higher hourly wage than I did. I had to stop working to take care of our child. We lost our house, our cars and the lifestyle we had built on a foundation of Republican dogma. 

Is it not ironic? Though my personal views are against abortion, I can still look from the middle of the road and see that the very same “team” that says that abortion is wrong is against giving handouts to those in need. After some really good plays, our contribution to the team went virtually unnoticed and my family was benched. Suddenly the rest of the picture became very, very clear. 

Although I went to a high school with Catholic affiliation, I was raised with science – my parents taught me to listen with my ears, see with my eyes and utilize my brain to make sense of the input. It was from a very early age I felt that the things I was seeing and the things I was being told to believe weren’t adding up to the picture before me.

I was taught in school that the United States of America was founded upon Christian values. I also learned that many of the first people to settle in North America did so for religious freedom. (This does not include the Native Americans who were living here long before the continent was “discovered” by some rather narcissistic Europeans – men that apparently believed that nothing aside from their own atrophied universe existed until they themselves noticed and validated it. Let us remember that these very same men believed the earth to be flat until not too terribly long before “discovering” North America… but I digress… badly…)

Religious freedom was so important to the people colonizing North America, in fact, that when the Constitution was penned by our founding fathers, the very first Amendment they included stated:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

And yet are religious issues not now cause for some of our biggest arguments? For example, only certain people are legally allowed to marry in our country because Christianity forbids otherwise. Yet not every legal citizen of the United States of America is a Christian, and many Christians disagree with disallowing same-sex unions. Wouldn’t that in and of itself be an infringement upon the free exercise of religion? 

Later along the way, science taught me the value of survival of the fittest. Only those who are the strongest thrive while the weak die out. There are those in our society that tout eugenics – the use of science to weed out humans/fetuses with inferior genes and preventing the reproduction or birth of those individuals. See this Link.

There are people that believe my youngest daughter does not have the same value as other human beings. In fact a whopping 92 percent of people choose to terminate pregnancies when they learn their fetus has Down syndrome… and yet I look with my eyes – I listen with my ears and I see how smart and witty my youngest is. While there are many in our country who choose not to work – who choose to collect unemployment and food stamps, I would bet everything that I (still) have that my daughter with Down syndrome will have a good job some day and earn her own way. 

So who is right? Should we prevent the abortions of fetuses that will be born to unemployed, drug abusing parents who will neither have the money to feed them properly or the wherewithal to teach these children the value of working for a living while we devalue the lives of individuals with special needs who will quite possibly someday be self-sufficient with proper education? Should we claim that all life has value, yet refuse to help those born to more difficult circumstances or should we abort them all in hopes of creating a more perfect society filled with “perfect” individuals?

And with these words, a gauntlet has been thrown and yet another game of semantics begins. People will take sides and argue their personal, political and religious views. Who will win? Or will we as a country allow our variety or views and ideologies to tear our great country apart? 

“It’s a vase!”
“No! It’s two faces!”

So what do we do about our country’s gross polarization? Of our individual refusal to see the whole picture? Of our national insistence of taking sides and competing against ourselves?

Perhaps it’s time to find the “I” in “Team.” Or perhaps it’s time to quit the team altogether. Perhaps it’s time to combine the team into one great country.
After all… whose side are YOU on?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring Breakage and Prayer Request

Once upon a time it was Spring in Southern Virginia.

 And then it wasn't.

But Spring Break came anyway, so the family prepared to go on a trip to Busch Gardens, Williamsburg.

On Easter Sunday I was worried about The Skink's cough, but luckily her doctor's office had a doctor in that morning. As we were planning on leaving for Busch Gardens the next day, I wanted to have her seen (and heard) before we left.

We went home with a prescription for amoxacillin for...     an ear infection. Doc didn't think the cough was anything to worry about.

So off we went on our wondrous spring break adventure to the land of many lands.

The first day, I attempted to put The Skink on some of the fun kiddie rides. No pictures. The kid was basically cursing me out the entire time for sticking her on a lame ride! So we asked her what ride she wanted to go on and she immediately pointed to the giant swirling swings of death. (Yeah - she takes after me like that.)

With more than a little trepidation, I stood in line with my tiny, 30 lb. kiddo and then helped her into one of the double swing seats so I could sit next to her and deal with any freak out she might engage in.

Her face lit up like a Christmas tree as the ride started, and she only became more excited as the swings went higher and faster. When the ride ended her face fell and she looked at me with big brown eyes and asked, "Again, please?"

So after what seemed like 27 rides on the swings, we finally talked her into trying something different.

The Battering Ram!

Can you see her? She's right in the center of the photo with Broadway's arm around her. Look at that smile!

Yup - that's my family!

Then on to the next fast ride...

I was a little worried because Broadway and the Hubbs were making the teacup spin like a cyclone. How did The Skink feel about it?

That's my girl!

After walking around the park for a while and taking in the many sights, the kids lobbied for a new pet.

I said, "No." 

The trip was fun, but The Skink's cough grew worse and worse, even though she was on antibiotics and getting two breathing treatments a day. So with no improvement to speak of, I took her to the doctor again last Wednesday after we were back in town.

Remember last year when The Skink was in the hospital for viral pneumonia... TWICE? Well...

I asked the doctor's office to put a "PulseOx" on The Skink to see what her oxygen sats were...

The doctor said he wouldn't call the ambulance if I promised to drive her straight to the hospital myself. (I cheated a little and swung by the house for some necessities like PJs, cows and my contact lens cleaner.)

After a brief stay in the ER, we were taken up to a room, and she has been there ever since. 

Sing with me now:
It's notfun to stay at the
C......................................................... ........................ zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz 

On Thursday, a Patient Representative came to the room and asked The Skink what toys she would like to play with. Not wishing to bore the poor lady (or make her job too easy) The Skink got creative. She perked up and squealed, "A basketball!"

"You want a basketball in your hospital room?" the lady asked dubiously.
"Do you like Barbie dolls?"
"Yeah, they're OK."
"Is there anything else you want?"
(Judging by the laughing, I don't think the Patient Representative was expecting that request.)
"Ummmmm... " (stifled laughter) "Uh... is there anything else I can get you?"
"Yeah!! I want a giant, brown bellybutton!"

(At which point everybody within ear-shot lost it completely... )

Much to our surprise, the Patient Representative reappeared in 5 minutes flat bearing a mini basketball, a Barbie doll and a BIG, BLACK... (plush) GORILLA!

I dunno... I was a little disappointed my kid didn't get her giant brown bellybutton... but then again, can you even imagine what my dryer's lint trap would look like if I ever had to wash the thing?

After 2 days in the same clothes, the Hubbs was kind enough to trade places with me on Friday night. I came home and promptly came down with what I  believe to be strep throat, meaning there is no way I can go back to the hospital and risk exposing other children in the ward. At least not until I have been on antibiotics for at least 24 hours... but my doctor isn't open until Monday!

This morning (Sunday, April 14th) they did another x-ray to see what progress was being made, and hopefully answer why The Skinks O2 sats were still lousy. Much to our dismay, her pneumonia has gotten worse!

How can it be worse? Why? My poor baby!

So - I'm stuck at home feeling lousy and unable to go see my sweet Skink who is in the hospital.

"Stressed?" you ask?

Yes -

...but thankfully I live on a beautiful farm and I have chickens. Broadway, Iraq and I laid in the warm grass today and we agreed that chickens make everything better... I mean not like a cure, but like... their antics and cuteness help take the edge off.

Yeah - I do know I'm nuts. Thanks for asking!

So in the morning I'll get my kiddos off to school, feed my landlord's horses and run off to the doctor to verify that my neck is not actually transforming into a tree stump, but is just inflamed due to a nasty Strep infection, get a prescription, drop off clean clothes for my Hubby and The Skink, buy chicken feed, run by the grocery store and try to be home in time for the other two kids to arrive home from school.

I'm sorry? What is this rest you speak of, and where is it to be found?

So if you have a moment, let me please ask a favor. If you pray, please send up a prayer for my sweet Skink. If you send healing thoughts, they are welcome and if you are a finger crosser, have fun typing 'cause I'm going to ask you keep your digits entwined until my baby is better.

Thank you in advance!


Monday, March 18, 2013

The Letter I Wrote To My Daughter's Principal

Dear Mrs. X et al,

What can one frazzled mom say aside from, “Yeah – she did it again?”

As far as we know, she got both the lotion and the ear buds from different students on the bus. She claims she can’t remember where she got the change, leaving us to wonder if she might have taken it from one of the “Men In Black” considering her apparent loss of recollection. (Or perhaps aliens took the change and planted it in our daughter’s sock drawer… we may never know!)

Although it has occurred to us that she may have been a packrat in her last life and simply suffers from flash-backs to her former rodent state, Iraq’s psychiatrist tells us that her kleptomania falls under the OCD behaviors… that fall under her diagnosis of Asperger’s. Of course to us it all feels like falling under a cement truck. The good news is that the American Psychiatric Association is removing the “Asperger’s” diagnosis from the new revision of the diagnostic manual, meaning our daughter will no longer have the condition.

(The bad news is that this just makes her diagnosis “Autism.”)
At any rate, we are currently returning afore-mentioned contraband to you. Feel free to punish our daughter as you see fit… (Does the school have a dungeon? She’s a little short for her age so perhaps “The Rack” would be a good choice – and far less intrusive than thumb screws when it comes to writing assignments.) If you decide to turn her in to the police, just tell them you found her as a wandering street urchin…  or a sea urchin… whatever. It will keep them guessing for long enough to give us all a few hours off.

Please accept our deepest apologies for our daughter’s behavior. She has been doing this since she was 2 years of age and has continued stealing regardless of being subjected to every form of punishment suggested by at least 10 mental health specialists as well as some disdained grocery store patrons (who invariably started their suggestion with, “If that were my kid I would…!” ). To date, nobody has suggested The Rack or thumb screws.
…I’ll be checking eBay.

Thank you for understanding… or for not understanding but continuing to provide a quality education for our daughter.


Iraq’s Mother
Iraq's Mother