Monday, November 29, 2010

WEEK 14 #1

He lay in the hospital bed unaware of what was happening around him. The team of doctors had given him a powerful anesthetic to put him in a coma. He was oblivious of his pain, his blood, and the chaos that was taking place around him. This room was anything but homey. The walls were white and stale. The floors; cold, white linoleum. The bathrooms were sterile and looked as if no one had ever set foot in there. There was plenty of room to move about, but no how, no way, could anyone get comfortable. No decorations. Everything labeled and nothing out of order. He couldn’t see this though, only visitors were aware of the spotlessly clean, colorless space.


Every few minutes they reduced the amount of anesthetic that was leading to his I.V. They wanted to arouse the coma induced man so they could try and remove his intubation tube and ensure he could breathe on his own. As they waited they took a sample of the mucous from the tube to make certain he didn’t have an infection or pneumonia. As the medicine wore off the man awoke, naive to what was going on or where he was. He tried to rip the tube from his throat, gagging until the nurse and doctor rationalize to the man what was taking place and what was required for him to do to assist them in the process.


His wife; the only person allowed to visit, held his hand tightly as she clarified what had happened the week before. He listened intently, knowing it was serious. His whole life he had been a comic, but at this moment he knew he had to keep the jokes minimal in hopes to not upset his wife. He gazed into her eyes, much in love and was thankful that she was by his side through all of this. With her by his side he was sure he could endure anything life was throwing at him. Asking no questions until she was finished speaking, he tried to wrap his mind around what was happening. He had hydroplaned on the way to work at the mill last Wednesday, and wrapped his wife’s little Toyota around a telephone pole. He had a broken back, severe nerve damage, muscle damage and he had lost almost total feeling in his legs. In the process of the diagnosis the doctors had found a startling discovery. He had the bone density of an 85 year old woman.  At 34 years old he had developed osteoporosis. Typically a female disease and generally wasn’t diagnosed or progressive till the person was much, much older.


He walked stiffly and slowly towards kitchen window. Gazing out, he could see his children in the big backyard playing a game of baseball, using the small apple tree as home base. A sport he played throughout his life and even into his adult years, he could never do again. He wanted to have the joy and experience of physically supporting them when they needed a hand. Not being able to do life’s simplest things, like running and playing, giving his little girl shoulder rides through the woods, pulling them in sleds to check the maple trees for sap, and teaching them to play horseshoes was going to be an obstacle he needed to overcome.

He never displayed his hurt, his bodily suffering or the damage the accident had done to his heart. He was passionately strong for his family. The people he had grown to love, support and to not live without. He needed to teach his children a moral, a life lesson that they would carry throughout their entire lives. One that he had learned at a very young age from his father.

No one really has a bad life, not even a bad day, just moments. Stop dwelling on yesterday because today is a new day. Life is not fair, and if a bump in the road comes, jump it, till you get to the top of the mountain.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


My son see’s me hold the door for people. At first I didn’t even realize I did it, it become a habit. At six years old he uses his entire mite to hold a door for anyone, even if they are 20 feet away. He enjoys the compliments he gets from the (usually) older adults on how well mannered and nice he is.


Every year after we shop and visit Santa at the mall we head to Dick’s Sporting Goods to check out the tree. It has hundreds of tags littering it. Ages of children and what they wish for Christmas. We always chose two, most of the time a boy and a girl, but this year Riley wanted to pick two boys. They both wanted a simple fishing pole. Something that we take for granted and have many of. We picked them out and paid then headed out of the store as I re-explained to him about the poverty stricken families, how some of them couldn’t afford presents for their children and how we should help out when we can.


My Mom worked at the local nursing home, so the guy we saw in the wheel chair in the street she knew. Since he was holding up lines of traffic my Mom stopped to help the confused man wheel the rest of the way across the intersection. The line of traffic tooted and yelled to my Mom for doing such a good deed. My son was there to witness this and thinks my Mom’s a hero, since in his little head he would have gotten run over if she wouldn’t have helped him. :)


At Wal-Mart, Target, Rite-Aid and many other stores around my area the cashier usually asks for a dollar donation for the Children’s Miracle Network, Toys for Tots and other organizations. Of course I always accept. On average I spend 150 bucks at one of these stores without batting an eye. What’s one dollar? Riley hasn’t gotten the concept of this yet, but he will. He thinks I give the money to the cashier. :)


We drove through Dunkin Donuts drive-thru one day and got a few drinks. The cashier didn’t charge us any money. Apparently the person in front of us had given her a 20 and said pay for the people behind me, and if there’s change keep it going. This stunned me for a moment, but it was an amazing gesture. I was glad Riley was there to witness this also.


I saw a man drop a 20 dollar bill and handed it to him after his transaction was complete. He thanked me multiple times and headed out the door. My son saw this, and now every time someone loses something, even a penny, he taps them and hands them their change with a smile.


I want my son to be respectful and helpful even if it something simple like holding a door for someone. It’s one of the qualities that I think is most important and will stick with him for the rest of his life. Hopefully, it will become routine for him to help others. “Pay it Forward”, is a term I use a lot when I explain about helping others. Maybe someday when they get a chance they will help others too.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


A name has been changed to avoid identifying the dumb ass waitress. We will call her weird waitress. W.w for short.


Texas Roadhouse was one of my favorite restaurants. Before you are seated you can pick out your own steak. We never do, but some people take advantage of this. I wonder what vegetarians think of the sight of the huge case of bloody animals, when they first walk in. hmm

Texas Roadhouses homemade cinnamon bread is especially yummy when you come in starving.
The dancing of the employees is sometimes really comical. Once, I was really upset at myself for not video taping the line dance.

The peanuts are not really my cup of tea, but everyone else seems to like them. Considering there are bucket loads of shells on the floor. That is strange. Why would anyone want germy, dirty used peanut shell particles floating into everything the eat or drink. Have you seen some people eat peanuts? It’s like they have no food at home. Maybe they don’t so maybe this sounds rude. No wait…why would they be at Texas Roadhouse if they had no money to eat? They wouldn’t! These people stick the shell and all in their mouth, suck off the salt, chew it open and spit out everything but the peanut. Then the leftovers are thrown on the floor for customers and workers to smush and crumble with there dirty shoes. I guess I never really thought of that till now. Maybe I won’t give that place another chance…EWE.


Talkative and almost too friendly she takes our drink order.

(W.w) : What can I get for you today? (she was almost bouncing)

Me: Hmm, I’ll have a margarita on the rocks with salt, please.

Justin: Do you have Pepsi or Coke products? (he always asks. He must know by now that most places sell Coke not Pepsi. We go almost as much as we eat at home)

W.w: We have Coke. I know I would rather have Pepsi too. It’s so much better, but the only restaurants I have found that sells it around her is Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza hut, and I don’t really care for them too much.

You might want to take a breath! You might pass out on the spot. And lady, I am pretty sure we don’t give a sweet shit what your favorite restaurant is. I just want food.

Justin: I’ll just have an orange soda, I guess.

W.w: What? Excuse me? I couldn’t hear you. They turned the music up so we could do our line dance, and they must have forgot to turn the music down in this dining room. I’ll have to tell them when I go back out there.

Justin: I’LL JUST HAVE AN ORANGE SODA! (he must be annoyed too)
W.w: Okay, I’ll be back with your drinks in a jiffy! (After this Justin seriously asked me if she was on drugs)


Holy crap, how am I going to concentrate on Christmas shopping after drinking that massive margarita? I’m going to be hammered before I leave. I didn’t know at the time, I would be glad I had alcohol in my system by the end of our dinner.

W.W: Okay, are you guys ready to order or do you need some time?

Me: I’m all set. Do you know what you want?

Justin: No not yet.

W.w: Okay I will give you a few minutes.

Me: Justin hurry the frig up, I’m starving.

Justin: Okay, okay.


About 30 minutes later we still had yet to be waited on. We watched the waitress talk and talk at two different tables. I wonder if those people got as annoyed as we did. We had our drinks, but no rolls to hold us over. The hostess hadn’t brought any to us. We also noticed that the waiter that was taking care of the tables behind us had gone back and fourth about 8 times. I decided to ask him to wait on us. He seemed pleasant, not as talkative, and his tables seemed to be pleased.

Me: Excuse me, sir. Could you wait on us please? We have been her for over 30 minutes and we haven’t ordered yet. We have watched her at two different tables gabbing non stop.

Waiter: Of course I can. I am so sorry. Can I get you guys an appetizer?

W.w: (She came out of nowhere) Oh, I’ve got this! I will buy you guys an appetizer. What can I get you?

She talked so fast I really couldn’t get a word in edgewise. I would have rather had the waiter, but apparently she pushed him to the side, and by the look on his face he wasn’t impressed with her either.
I asked her a simple question about chicken and steak. Which from any other normal person would have warranted a five word answer. Not her though…it seemed like a 10 minute presentation. (have you ever listened to a presentation about something unimportant to you? It was like that.) We finally ordered. Our food came quick. She refilled our drinks, and asked us about 15 times if she could get us anything else and how our food was. (sucking up, maybe?)

Our food was amazing. My portabella mushroom chicken was melt in your mouth good. I couldn’t finish it though. (It ended up in my fridge. I was so excited to eat it the next day for lunch! Too bad a whole container of cool-aid got spilled in the fridge and leaked into the box. Ughh) Everything was cooked perfect and so tasty. How could I complain about our overly talkative, shitty waitress now? I’m not really a big complainer anyways, so I probably needed an excuse to be nice.

Me: Excuse me sir, is she new or is she always like that?

Waiter: No not really. She‘s been here a while, but have you talked to the manager? That might…

Me: Ahhh, she’s right behind you….


Our stockings. Wait my brothers. Where are they? I skip most of the stairs as I run back up to wake them.

“It’s Christmas!, “ I chant as I jump on their bed.

Any other time they probably would have threw something at me for waking them. Not today. They were up. I was surprised the smell French toast and bacon didn’t wake them sooner. Or the Christmas music that was blaring, that we had made fun of my Mom for listening too since October. We fight to go through the hall and the stairs at the same time.

It’s stocking time! The one and only thing we could open before our parents were watching. It was usually filled with useful stuff that we weren’t too keen on, like toothbrushes, cards and the lifesaver box…which seemed to be becoming a tradition, but it was still exciting.


We had waited all year for this. The jolly ol’ St. Nicholas had to have came and delivered us everything that we wanted. We ripped open our gifts. Although our parents made us have some kind of order, we had to collect our wrapping paper in a large black trash bag. We all had gotten a few small gifts that we had wanted, but where was our big gifts? Santa always got us the big gift we wanted. We got helmets, but we never went on our Uncle’s snow sled or four wheeler very often. So I figured this was just a mistake on Santa‘s part. We were a little disappointed, but tried not to show it. We opened our new packages one by one. I lugged my new baby doll around everywhere I went. I loved her, so it made me forget about the “big” present I never received.


After the excitement of Christmas wore off, us kids decided we were going to make a snow fort and use our new outside toys. We bundled up like we were headed out in the Arctic. Everything glistened from the new fallen snow. It was beautiful. Wait, but…what the heck was that? Our eyes must’ve shown how excited we were. As we got closer, we noticed it was two new snow sleds, with huge bows attached to the handle bars.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


“I need help. I need more help than your giving. I am three weeks behind in my writing class. Chemistry is the worst class I have ever taken. My other classes are fine, but our house is a mess, the yard needs to be raked, the trampoline needs to be taken down, and the house needs to be winterized. I did it all last year because you were working away. I can’t do it! I already feel bad because I rarely see the kids. Then when I do, I feel horrible because I can’t split my time evenly. Riley gets screwed. He was an only child for six years and he’s used to the attention, now his baby sister is hogging it all. I feel bad. I can’t do it. I just need help!”

He grinned and leaned over to hug me.

“Seriously, Justin, I don’t need a hug. I need help.”

His grin then turned in to a laugh.


I held my foot out to stop the walker and swept up the dirt pile as fast as I could. She follows me everywhere. Which usually makes me happy, but today she’s rambunctious. As soon as I let go, she went for the island. I know she is going to wipe out the shelves.

“Natelee, please don’t do that!“

It was too late. Ugh. For being five months old she was a smart little cookie, she knows what she wants and she goes and gets it. I can’t sweep, can’t empty the dishwasher, and she makes a bigger mess than I just picked up. I give up on cleaning today.


“Natelee, no. Don’t eat that! I need that for school. Justin, I need help. She’s trying to eat my note cards!”

He plopped her in her swing, hoping she wouldn’t get into anymore mischief. She didn’t, she fell asleep, but Riley was yelling now. I went to go see what he needed. Usually when he asked for help it was important, so I ran up the stairs.

“Oh my God Riley! How did you manage to flood the bathroom floor?”

“I didn’t mean too. I guess I just used too much toilet paper. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay buddy. Can you help Mama clean it up?


“Holy crap, who in the hell? What the…”

“You like it? Today while you were in Bangor with the kids I did it.”

“Of course I do! It looks so good in here. Thank you so much for the help!”

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Hugs, kisses and alcohol breath. Aunts, Uncles and dim-witted relatives. Dancing, flower throwing and money tree’s. Beautiful baby’s. Men in tuxedos and women in dresses. Excited children and sweaty adults. A mix of music and karaoke that night. Mother-son dance, and father-daughter one too. Lots of photos, smiles and tears.

Week 8

Her phone jingled a tune, one that was familiar. It was only a text message. She would check it after she finished painting this last corner of the red wall.
She checked her blackberry. It was brand new, so she didn’t have any contacts. Just a number would show up when someone was calling or sending a text. It read; Get here fast, Dad hung himself!
She went back to painting. It must have been a wrong number. She didn’t recognize it, and her Dad was too strong to ever even think about something like that. Maybe it was a joke, but who would play a joke like that? She re-checked her phone. She ran down stairs as fast as possible, and compared the number from the text message to her old phone and the numbers of her brother’s. It was from her oldest sibling. She tried to call back. No answer. It was real. She knew in her heart, it was real. She panicked. She walked fast around in circles for a few minutes, into the kitchen, back around to the living room, the dining room, and the bathroom until she finally snapped out of it. She wanted to drive as fast as she could to her father’s home, but she couldn’t. Her five year old was sleeping. She couldn’t leave him here, but she couldn’t take him either. This would scar him for the rest of his life.
She got control of herself for a moment and called her mother. She would know what to do. Her parents weren’t together anymore, she was re-married, but being married for 18 years they had remained friends and had never fought. They had just realized they were better friends than lovers.
The girl ran out the French doors to the backyard, trying to hide behind the tree in case the Riley awoke. She had slammed the door harder than she had liked, but she must not have awoken Riley, because he was nowhere to be seen. Someone answered. Not her Mom. She shakily asked for her mother. Everyone at the nursing home knew who she was. Her Mom was a well respected woman where she worked. She finally answered. The girl blurted out what had happened. She talked too fast. Her Mom didn’t understand. She tried to explain it again, but it finally sunk it. Her father was dead. It was HER father. He was dead. She told the story in hysterics. Her mother agreed to meet her at her fathers house as soon as she could find a replacement. She couldn’t leave the nursing home until then, even in an emergency. She was the charge nurse, so she would receive abandonment charges, and most likely get fired. Good law, it seemed so stupid at the moment. The girl hung up the phone.
 She still needed to find someone to watch her son. She called numbers, anyone that she could remember. Only the numbers she remembered off of the top of her head though, considering her new phone was number-less. She called until she finally reached her step sister. She would be down in a few minutes to get him. She was only up the road visiting her parents anyways. She still had “parents”, and the girl was jealous. She was jealous of anyone with a father. Her father was one of her best friends. One of the smartest people she knew. If she needed advice, help with homework, or wise words of wisdom she knew who to go to. That no longer existed though. What would she do?
At this time, her son peaked his head out the door. He had awoken from his nap. He instantly knew something was wrong. His Mom never acted this way. She was always happy-go-lucky. She rarely ever cried, and never acted nervous and or like anxiety had taken over.
He began to cry. “What’s wrong Mumma?”
The girl had to think quick. She couldn’t tell her son what had actually happened. He wouldn’t understand and it would make him hysterical and not want to be left with a sitter. He was only little, even if she did explain the real reasoning for her shear panic, he wouldn’t comprehend, and it would do more harm, than good.
“Oh honey, Mum is okay. She’s just having a rough day. You know how sometimes are sad and want to hang out with Mum all day instead of going to school? Well, Mum doesn’t want to go to class tonight either, she’s overwhelmed and would love to hang out with you all day, but she can‘t.”
She made a joke, hugged him tight, and laughed with him for a moment. He was all better. He believed the lie. A lie that she thought she would never have to tell. She had never lied to him before, and had drilled it into her son’s head that lying was a horrible thing, but she had just made up the biggest lie of her life.
A few moments later his step-aunt picked him up. He was fine, and pretty excited to see her, since it had been about a month.
The girl grabbed her cigarettes, a lighter, her new and old cell phone and the car keys. She was off to her fathers house. Fast too. She had decided if she got pulled over by a cop she would just keep going. There was no time for tickets or talking. She needed to get there as fast as her Bonneville would take her, and make a few phone calls along the way. Hopefully after getting there it would be a false alarm, but she had a gut feeling that it wasn’t.
When she arrived there was no parking spots in either driveway, so she parked on the lawn in between. State troopers, the local coroner and an ambulance was there. It was real, it wasn’t a joke, and since the ambulance was leaving without anyone in it, she knew that her Dad was dead. They must not have found him in time, like they had a year earlier with her brother. Her brother had tried to kill himself, but was cut down from his noose, revived and release him from the hospital a few weeks later. The only complications he had was some memory loss, which was never fully regained. This was not the case with her father. He had tried, and succeeded.
Her eldest brother looked blank. No expressions. No talking. He was in shock. He had just seen the most horrible thing in his life, and if her son had gone with his Uncle Shane, he would have seen the same. The girl’s mother and other brother had beaten her there. They must have driven fast too, or maybe the girl had taken longer than she had thought. Oh well, she was there now.
She wanted to go in. After knowing and seeing everything that she had, she still needed to see…to see if it was real. The state troopers refused her entry of the large white house.
They simply said, “He has been dead for at least a day, he doesn’t look good, and he doesn’t smell good. I don’t think it would give you any closure, just scar you even more, and we have to investigate before anyone enters.”
They gave their condolences, a half a hug and returned to her fathers house, leaving everyone to stand outside in the middle of the lawn, in front of a house she had lived most of her life. She understood what they were saying, but wanted to see him. She needed to know he was dead. She needed to know what happened. She needed to know why. She needed to know everything. She had hoped it was fake, that as soon as she walked into his house he would be sitting in his favorite chair reading a book, or working on a project. She knew it wasn’t possible, but had hoped that maybe the dead guy inside was someone else.
The family cranked out cigarette after cigarette as they waited for more people to show up. They hugged and cried for what seemed like hours until the state trooper finally showed his face. He came out with the note. No one had known there was a note. Shane had totally missed it, because as soon as he had seen his father he ran. He ran as fast as he could to the neighbors house to call 911, since his cell phone had no service. Or to two neighbors houses because the first had refused to let him in. The smell of marijuana had given him an idea of why. The note read; So depressed for so long, I’ve reached my limit. I love you all. Dad
Everyone was expecting a letter, not a short note like this. Not much was explained. After all of the commotion had calmed a bit, the body was taken away, and all of the authorities had left, the family investigated a little. Dug for any clue, any sign, anything. In the trash, almost to the bottom, with coffee grinds littering it, Shane had found two more notes. One had read; I love you all. Depression is so d…it was really shaky writing, which led them to believe he was really upset while trying to write. The other read; I love all of you. So sorry. The letters never helped, and nothing was ever found in the house to explain what had gone wrong. He had decided he wanted to take his life, and had done it…successfully. No closure. No hugs. No kisses. No advice. No goodbyes.
On her way home, the girl dialed her fathers number in hopes that he would answer…to tell him the news. After the answering service picked up, she realized the person who had helped her through so many tough times in her life no longer could. He wasn’t going to answer, and she couldn’t tell him of the most