Archive | July 2013

We Can Work it Out! Update on Cayden or ‘I Am No Longer Mrs. Selfish Jackass’

   My how things can change in a couple of short months.  Cayden decided to move out at the beginning of June and now…

   The short version is that he is staying. The long version is long lol

   Since my lovely little rant here , Cayden has done a lot of growing.  We tried a few things to get him to think for himself. We tried to sit down and talk to him about everything; the budget, the insurance, his behaviour and attitude about life in general.  He’s changed and I’m not sure who gets to take the credit for it. Honestly, I’ll take it no matter what!

   Sometime after the first week of June, Cayden decided that he liked his job. A LOT. This probably had much to do with his supervisor/mentor at work who taught him everything in a nutshell about working in a meat department.  Cayden got really excited about the job and every day he came home raving about what “Gene” had taught him and how much he enjoys the job.

   After he spilled the news to us, we noticed a big change. His integrity began to show.  You’ve probably seen me post a couple of things here and there on his offer to take Jacob out and helping Andrew with buying a couple of things. 

   I decided to make up a contract of sorts to let Cayden know where we stood and that it was wide open for negotiations.  That didn’t go over very well. You see, Cayden is very much a control freak like his mother and even though I was open for discussion, Cayden had to feel like he was in control of his own finances.  Charging him a certain amount of money each month really ripped a hole in his heart. He was angry that he didn’t have a choice. The truth was, he did have a choice; Shape up or ship out.  We needed to sit down and work things out before we never spoke to each other again.

   He and I had a talk. I’ve been so tired of him telling me that he can never talk to his Dad about anything.  I told him that Charles has been itching to talk but he’s giving off the vibe that he doesn’t want anything to do with his Dad.  Apparently it wasn’t true and came as a shock to Cayden. It’s amazing what you learn when you listen.

   We discussed his feelings about us “demanding” money from him and he wanted to talk to us about how he could contribute.  He then sat down with his Dad and asked how he could help.  Well, the first thing was the utilities. We were going to get hit really hard with an electric bill over the summer due to the A/C being on all the time.  He wanted to help and agreed to pay half of the bill, no matter how high or how low it was.  We could count on that money.  His cell phone which used to be mine, decided to break so Charles took him down to the store. He caught a break and ended up trading in the phone and getting a brand new phone free.  The agreement was that he would pay his portion of the cell bill every month.

   The more he talked to Charles, the more comfortable the two of them got with each other.  Cayden agreed to buy his own groceries because he has odd working hours and really doesn’t like heating up leftovers. Why not? He’s a kid LOL  Ewww it doesn’t taste the same…LOL  That was fine by me. More for us! It gave me room to make a menu for the 4 of us and budget accordingly. 

   In turn, we gave Cayden Jacob’s old bedroom which is basically the other half to the Jack & Jill suite upstairs.  Now, he has one room for his bed and he’s setting the other side up as a sitting room. The bathroom is all his so he doesn’t have to worry about Jacob barging in or bothering him since Jacob is downstairs now.  He has a fridge in his room and full use of the kitchen downstairs whenever he needs it. It’s like an apartment up there and I’m fairly certain that he is happy with the arrangement.

   Since then, Cayden has been extremely generous and much more open about his job and his feelings especially.  He’s bought a few things for us in the way of groceries to get us through to the next pay and he has splurged every Monday for pizza at Little Caesars. I never thought I would get sick of pizza…LOL

    I am once again seeing that beautiful boy shine through. I like what I see.  He has a plan for his future. He realizes that staying home for now is not a bad thing and all it takes is sitting down with us to talk about anything he needs.  We can work it out!


One Knick Knack Away from an Episode of Hoarders

   I decided to check the stats for my blog today and discovered that I had quite a few views! Yay! Words cannot express how giddy I am! I do appreciate y’all taking the time to visit! It’s tough finding time in the day to even take a potty break when you lead such busy lives so THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH!!!

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   Occasionally, I like to scroll down my blog stats to get a handle on what I wrote, promised to write or have written and decide whether it’s worthy of publishing.  I found that wayyyyyyy back in June, I wanted to have a yard sale by the end of that month. Well here it is near the end of July. Procrastinate much? On the bright side, I have accomplished quite a bit in the house and have much junk to contribute to the front lawn.

   While going through all of our stuff, I thought about just how much crap we’ve accumulated over the years. Then I thought…Am I a hoarder? A packrat perhaps? Not sure but man…This house is cluttered! I hate clutter! It makes me feel trapped and bitchy.  I thought about all of those makeover shows on HGTV and Style Network. The Clean House and Clean Sweep type shows where the crew comes in, plays therapist to the family to get them to rid their home of all of their unwanted yet beloved crap. All that crap then goes into a giant yard sale and the money is used to buy new crap for their home. But it’s a lot nicer crap. 


   I do sound a bit hostile towards this because it amazes me how someone can accumulate so much. Well, amazed me. No longer LOL Now, I am fearing for my life here as I hit every room and declutter it. I swear I need a lifeline tied around my waist to find my way out of the mess. I wish someone would come in and do this for me but I am on my own. I say that with love. The boys can only do so much with me dictating their every move. Poor bastards.

   My version of Clean House is a bit modified. I don’t plan on selling half of my furniture to buy new furniture. I’m kinda partial to the stuff I have. My game plan is pretty simple: If I haven’t used it/worn it/thought of it in the past 2 years, out it goes!  This is not as easy as it sounds!  There’s that silly little angel on one shoulder telling me how freeing and fulfilling it will all be to release myself from this clutter. That little devil however, is shouting in my other ear, 

   “I know you haven’t used the stuff in 6 years but it’s VINTAGE DAMMIT! It’s pretty and matches the fruity kitchen theme!”

   ” I know someday you will use those pretty, vintage crystal, individual tea trays with tiny cups to match. It might take 25 more years but it will happen!” 

   “That punch bowl you haven’t used in like, EVER but was on clearance for $5, Ten years ago…Well even though you never throw parties or have friends over (what are friends?) you know it’ll come in handy some day. You know it!!”

   Yup. That hoarder mentality is a Bitch!  That practical little angel  has been constantly slapping me upside the head over this process.  There are things that we need and cannot afford right now. It stands to reason that I could certainly afford a couple or three of them if I sell the stuff I don’t use.  Yes, it’s a yard sale and nothing will go for what I paid for it but what the hell. It’s out of my house and we’ll be able to buy a couple of things that we truly need for the house. 

   
   New goal: Next Friday and Saturday…Maybe Saturday if I don’t sell a lot on Friday.  For my Canadian family/friends, yes, you read that right; garage sales are on Fridays down here. I know. It took me quite a while to get used to it LOL 

   I don’t have any choice but to follow through. I’ve already enlisted the help of my husband, two of the boys and a friend who happens to love yard sales. I’m in up to my eyeballs! 

   Got any tips, tricks or just want to get something off your chest? Tell me in the comments! 

Just Smile and Wave

Today was Andrew’s appt at the dentist and I left Jacob home for as long as I could with Cayden, until Cayden had to go to work. Thankfully, I was only waiting with Jacob for about 30 minutes and that was plenty long enough! 

I suppose it goes without saying that people waiting for their turn in the dentists chair are nervous and tend to be grumpy. Add to that a 21 year old with an 8 year old brain and no ability to read his surroundings, it can make for a lot of tension in a room.  Today was definitely tense for me.

Shortly after we arrived, no sooner had I got Jacob seated to go check on Andrew and a woman came in with her 5 year old daughter and a brand new baby boy.  My alarm bells went off immediately and the image of an annoying car commercial came to mind. You know the ones with all of the bells, whistles and dancing, singing and neon signs and some announcer is yelling at you to “COME ON DOWN AND SEE THE NEWEST SELECTIONS ON THE LOT!” only it wasn’t for cars, it was for babies and that commercial might as well have been solely advertising to Jacob alone!

I turned to tell Jacob to, “SIT!” just as his butt was coming up off the chair to pounce on this lovely little family.  Whew! One crisis averted for the moment so I quickly went back to check on Andrew.  All was well and when I returned to the waiting room, Jacob was still sitting but chatting it up with the mom.  Right away, I read her body language and ran interference between her and my son.  The baby was crying and the mom was a bit frazzled. I knew this and though she was smiling at Jacob, I could tell that she needed him to stop talking while she got her children situated.

It’s difficult to teach children everything all at once about social skills and what is, or is not appropriate to ask people.  Most times, you have to tackle the situations as they arise. Today was a great lesson for Jacob as far as I was concerned and hey, I either look at it as a lesson or I’ll just look like a crazy lady telling her kid to shut up every 5 seconds. I do not want to be one of those moms who is always screaming, “Because I said so!” to my kids all the time.  Once in a while, sure but gees, a parent has to get creative or they lose perspective and above all, respect from their kids.

One of the first questions out of Jacob’s mouth was, “Is that formula?” The mom was bottle feeding the baby and I could tell that it was breast milk, having had first hand experience with it myself. Right away, I told Jacob that it was not appropriate to ask that question. The important thing was that the baby was being fed.  Now someone else might think it’s ok to ask that question but in my experience with Jacob, that question is fully loaded with extra buckshot!!  It will lead down a road that nobody wants to go down, believe you me!! 

The mom got up to give the paperwork to the front desk and I whispered to Jacob that it was breast milk.  It registered in his mind and he said to me that he understood that it was inappropriate because it’s personal. Lesson learned.

Jacob is insanely curious about babies and this little guy was some cutie pie!  I did my best to distract Jacob but there was really no competing with a brand new baby.  He was asking all kinds of questions and I took every cue from the mother and fielded as many as I could, then redirected Jacob to talk about other things. It worked for awhile.  He and the little girl talked about their favourite movies and toys for a few minutes and I did my best to let Jacob know when it was time to let her talk.  He can get away from himself and the other person will never get a word in edgewise.  He was very polite and apologetic to the little girl so I relaxed a little.

Jacob got bored of their conversation and started asking questions like, “Are you married?”, “Where does your Dad live?” Okay now you can just open up that hole and shove me in.  I glanced around the waiting room and a couple of older folks were sitting there giggling so I eased up a bit while I explained things to Jacob…Again….Then I looked over and saw a man around my age sitting rigid in his chair and glaring at Jacob. Ugh, here we go. Honestly, this guy looked like he could snap me like a twig. He was a big guy who did not look very happy to be there, but hey…who does? It’s the dentist LOL

There’s always one or two in every place we go.  The staff at the dental office knows Jacob by now and if he is inappropriate and I am busy with something, they always speak up and he always listens.  When I am there, they keep their distance unless they feel the need to intervene. It’s a good arrangement and it’s nice to have back up.  In this case, I had Jacob well in hand but apparently, this guy just didn’t like it.  I guess to him, he was at the dentist and that was bad enough so adding Jacob to the mix wasn’t making for a nice start to the day.

I couldn’t really say anything in front of Jacob and in my experience, it wouldn’t have done any good anyway.  People like that never want to listen to an explanation or reasoning so I left it alone. Jacob didn’t seem bothered by it but he did eventually notice the man staring.  I was fully ready to intervene and referee anything that might come up but all Jacob did was raise his hand, wave to the guy and say, “Hi.”

It was strange…This mans face, with a very dark and rigid expression, furrowed brow and pursed lips, immediately softened along with his posture and I swear for just a moment, I saw the corner of his mouth turn upwards in a tiny crooked smile. I was caught completely off guard but exhaled a silent breath of relief.  It was as if the man ‘got it’. He understood that Jacob was just a child (a very large child mind you) who doesn’t judge anybody. He just wants to be friends.


I grinned to myself just as Andrew came out with the dental assistant.  I went into the office which was an opportunity to get Jacob out of the waiting room as well. As we were walking out of the building, he waved goodbye to everyone. All of the staff and some of the patients waved back.  

I think maybe this time, I learned a lesson.  Be ready for anything but sometimes, just a smile and wave is all it takes to defeat the hard-hearted.



Sea Lions, Snakes and Porcupines Oh My! Our Visit to the Zoo.

A few days ago, Jacob said that he would like to visit the zoo.  We don’t have passes so I checked out the Oklahoma City Zoo website and discovered that they have Way Back Wednesdays.  This meant that admission was $1 per person and there were various deals inside the zoo for $1 such as the Sea Lion Show. 

When we got there, we checked out the map and since we’ve only been there once before, decided to hop on the Tram. It was $10 for all three of us, which wasn’t bad but I think next time, we will take advantage of the option to hop off at the designated stops, take in the exhibits close up and then hop back on the Tram. Today, we opted to stay on through the entire ride through the zoo. There’s one around every 20 minutes so plenty of time to visit the big exhibits like the Elephants, Rhinos and Giraffes. I found it was a very good way to get the feel of the zoo with two boys who lack much patience.

This is the Giraffe feeding area. We didn’t take it in since we were on the tram but it will definitely be one of our stops next time. 

 Jacob’s beloved Porcupines! Basically the sole reason for the trip LOL.

 Anteater which doesn’t just eat ants. He eats up to 30,000 termites per day!  He walked in the same circle the entire time we stood there watching him. We passed him again and he was still walking in a circle. He’d worn a path around a tree.

 Piper, the Sea Lion.  Here, she was about to go into the water to demonstrate how fast she could swim. What you can’t see is the other Sea Lion off to the left, pretending to be a shark in the water which was the reason for Piper’s hesitation.  Very entertaining show!

 Beautiful Peacock roaming around the food court.  He wasn’t bothered by anybody and I was maybe 3 feet away when I snapped the picture. Apparently, he’s a permanent fixture.

We stayed about 3 hours which is surprising to me. I thought for sure that Jacob would bail about an hour in but he was fine for most of it. I had no idea that we could bring in our own food and drinks but they had popcorn and hot dogs for $1 as well today so we stayed for lunch.  He felt better after we ate and was more than willing to take in the Herpetarium, which was what Andrew wanted to see most of all.  Next time, I’m bringing snacks and our own water bottles to refill at the fountains. Live and learn.
  

 This threw me for a loop. It’s a Cobra skeleton!  Andrew’s Asperger’s kicked in (The kids brain is a sponge!) and he started to explain to the 20 or so kids behind us all about the skeleton and the cobra. They were enthralled and Andrew was enjoying himself LOL

 This Cobra seemed to love the attention he was getting.  He appeared to be moving up to the window every time someone looked in.  He was at the back of his cage but slithered up to the window when I pulled out my phone to snap this picture LOL.

 This 20ft long beauty is an Anaconda.  She was also at the back of her cage until I brought my phone up to the glass.  I have a pic of her right up near the glass but it’s blurry.  She was about 6 inches away in this shot. 


The only issue we had was with a couple of people at the Sea Lion show. Andrew and Jacob tend to get excited and loud at events like this which is perfectly acceptable with me. Not so much with others.  Jacob would yell, “Score!!” when the sea lion jumped to touch the ball hanging in the middle of the pool.  I would giggle and shout, “Yay!” just because LOL. The irony is that the trainers encouraged clapping and shouting but some people were glaring at me and telling the boys to “SHHHHHHHHHHHH”.  I told the boys not to worry about it and just enjoy the show. If they were toddlers, nobody would have said a thing. Andrew completely ignored it and Jacob said, “It’s OK. I’m good with it, Mom.” Phooey on them buzzkills. They don’t know how to have a good time!

Next week, we’ll take in White Water Bay. The boys have season passes and I have a coupon. They can have fun while I sit pool side with a nice book LOL.  Who knows, if I am adventurous, I might take in a water slide or two myself.