To the Christmas tree lot we go

Christmas is a season we love to welcome at our home in a major way. Christmas is a beautiful season for many reasons; the birth of our Savior, acts of kindness, food, parties, the decorations, did I mention food. What we especially love is Jack tries extra hard not to be bad. There are limited communications with the nuts he tends to get tied up with, he goes to bed in a timely manner, even saying please & thank you. Last week, we headed to our local Christmas tree lot, Lindsey’s. Lindsey’s has been a family tradition of ours for years, with each year getting a real Frasier Fur Christmas tree. Lindsey & his family are dear friends of ours & they help make not only ours, but everyones tree buying experience as smooth as possible. Lindsey’s team blows the tree off, wraps it in netting, places it on your tree stand, loads it up, easy as pie. Lindsey’s offers a great atmosphere for tree shopping with Christmas music, hot chocolate, & laughter. (Sidestory), I’m an avid QVC shopper. This summer during their Christmas in July sale, I decided to try to break tradition & purchased a faux tree for the first time in my life. I’ve never cared for an artificial tree, I love the smell & look of real trees, & love to support the Christmas tree farmer. However, in my older age & with all the problems we have in our lives, I purchased a 7.5 foot prelit tree that could magical things all in order to make my life less complicated. A few weeks ago, we tried to put together my summer purchased artificial Christmas tree. Jack had a fit, he wouldn’t have it! I was so mad. Why would an 18 year old boy care whether or not we had a tree, much less whether it was real or not? My frustrations with this kid are many & daily. After I got blessed out for trying to have an artificial tree, it wasn’t worth my time nor energy arguing my case which is I’m getting older, tired, & I just don’t want to deal with the mess of a real tree. I don’t know about y’all, but in our house, Christmas is left up to me pretty much 99.9%, I think it’s that way in a lot of homes-the female does most of the work; the shopping, the decorating, getting down decorations, putting up decorations, cooking, cleaning-all of which totally sucks. As I have aged, I would love to throw in the towel & say the heck with it & not have any Christmas decorations any more. It’s overwhelming now. I don’t like messes & that’s all the house is until everything is finished. Then December 25 when Santa arrives, it’s a mess yet again. People give gifts, Santa comes, no one wants to help clean, it is not a fun time if you’re the head woman in charge & don’t happen to love chaotic disasters. BUT, after all the Christmas decorations are up, it is so nice to sit back & look at everything twinkle & sparkle, but on December 26, it all becomes ugly to me & back in the boxes the decorations go.

Our Christmas tree hunt this year was uneventful (shocking, right?). Lee & I are always a nervous wreck at the Christmas tree lot each year. Jack has had a few big seizures at the Christmas tree lot in past years from the excitement of choosing a tree, so you can imagine our anxiety, it is a very stressful time for Lee & myself. You often need someone else to help you see situations more clearly. My sister asked why Jack didn’t want the artificial tree. I said because he’s a butthead, she said it’s probably the tradition of getting the tree. I instantly felt bad for saying he’s a butthead. Jodie was so right. As we were at the lot (on pins & needles), Jack went straight to looking at the trees, speaking to the familiar faces of Lindsey’s, & after our selection was made, he goes & orders a cup of hot chocolate. He holds his hot chocolate & makes small talk with the men working, reminded me how older men gather in a circle, drink coffee, & gossip. It was then that I realized Jodie’s wisdom. Our Christmas tree hunt went off without a hitch, no seizures, no acting out.

This day was also Black Friday. Jack obtained a Black Friday sale paper from GameStop (his stomping ground) somehow. He has looked the pictures off that sale paper. He reminded me of how I was when JCPenney had a catalog, I would look at that thing for hours & days. Then I would come up with a game to choose one item from each page, then I would try decide who I would gift my choices to. Childhood was fun before phones! After we got the tree, Jack just had to go to GameStop, the Black Friday bug got to him. With $5 to his name, he spent it on Pokémon cards, only staying in the store 30 minutes for a $4 pack of cards. The next day, Jack called GameStop multiple times to ask them questions about different items. I must get the employees at GameStop a Christmas gift for their patience with Jack! After we hit the Christmas tree lot, GameStop, the drive-thru, we made it back home successfully. Jack did not care one iota about the tree. It’s the tradition he was hunting, not decorating. I was able to sell the artificial tree I loved so much, not for the price I paid, but does that really matter when one of your child’s biggest joy is the thrill of the hunt? We each missed not having Coleman be a part of the tree selection, who would of known that last year would of been his last year helping to choose the tree? It’s strange when you’re doing things that seem so ordinary, you really never know or think that could be your last time doing an activity or in our case as a whole family unit & here I was trying to break the tradition altogether. I had still planned on visiting Lindsey’s to purchase some things, just not a tree. Some traditions can never be broken is the lesson I learned. We may not all be together, but it is so important to keep routines going, especially for those with special needs. Breaking routines with a special needs person can result in a tailspin no one can handle.

As I have said from the get-go, we love the Christmas holiday season because Jack tries his best to behave. There have been moments of sassiness (expected with a teen), a few inappropriate interactions with strangers, however for the most part, Jack has done really well since the beginning of November. As I reflect on Jack’s standing last year around this same time, I remember Jack being catfished (if you want to know the whole story, go back & read my blog titled “Catfished”) by someone. This person told Jack “she” was going to come live with him & so on. He wouldn’t listen to reason about it either. He was bound & determined this fool was going to move in with us. Jack had no qualms about the things they were going to do together; take a shower together, cuddle in his bed, & chill. I honestly thought at that time that Jack would not make it through January 2019 housed in our home. I was actively seeking a facility for him to live the rest of his life in. Currently, I am not as of afraid of Jack as I was then, he has calmed down significantly, so I try to more proactive in getting ahead of any funny business by obtaining info off his phone after he goes to sleep. I get help from family & friends & they send these idiots that toy with his mind messages of warnings or threats. I spend a good 15 minutes each night or longer after he goes to sleep cleaning out his phone, blocking numbers, & taking pictures of names & numbers that need a virtual butt-whooping, I would love to give them a real-life butt whooping. Lee fusses at me constantly for not being asleep by midnight, I never am. It’s usually 1:30-2am before I get to sleep. My daylight hours are busy with dealing with Jack, household things, bills, work, schedules, Ava. Nighttime hours are Jack, Jack, Jack, cooking, accounting things for The Berry Patch, a little tv with Lee & Ava, awaiting Jack’s shuteye, waiting for Jack to fall asleep good so I can sneak his phone to block and/or send messages to nutheads, & shower, so getting to bed at a reasonable time is not obtainable. I’m tired of being an FBI agent! Would love to be able to come into my home & do absolutely nothing.

Now that the Christmas season is among us, the tree is up, decorations are out, Jack’s Santa letter was mailed way back in October, & it is time for that confounded Elf on the Shelf to make his appearance. I thought we were going to be able to slide without the Elf this year, but no, Jack called me yesterday requesting the Elf’s presence. Kill me now, I hate that little man! All the memes are so true about parents and the elf on the shelf. I run through the house sometimes at 3am if I happen to wake up to hide it or wake Lee up & tell him to (hey, I’ve only been asleep an hour), or tell Jack that someone must of touched it & that’s why it didn’t move. I can not remember to do this one task on top of everything else & forget all that fancy mess some do with a high wire strung from the ceiling fan to the front door with the elf balancing on it or words spelled out from the elf. Our elf, Barney is lucky to be sitting beside a lamp or stuck in a vase. The woman that invented this “treasure” needs to be horse whipped! See the clever hiding spot Barney & his reindeer have?

We have only 20 days before Santa arrives, that means 20 days of good behavior from Jack. There have been no chat rooms for about six weeks, his door hasn’t been closed at all, no irrational demands either. It’s scary to know that Christmas will be over soon. All of our moments of calmness could vanish on December 26-how sad that would be! It’s amazing to me that Jack holds Santa on such a pedestal, but what he doesn’t realize that Santa is actually me (the smartest, hardest working, transgendered person I know). If he knew that the big guy was actually me, the same good behavioral side effects would not take place, of that I am certain. I wish I had the same standing as Santa! It is truly wonderful to see the self-control Jack exhibits this time of year, which makes me know it’s possible the whole year long, but unfortunately isn’t. The next 20 days will zoom by. Gatherings, gifts, eating, & visits with family & friends will be in full-swing for the next few weeks, we plan on enjoying our solitude while we can. In the meanwhile, if you’re up around 1am, text me & remind me to move that blooming elf!

The Never Ending Story

They say one of the happiest places on earth is at Disney, right? I will have to agree it is very happy, & lots of fun. I enjoy it so much. So a few months ago, I began planning a trip to Disney World for Ava, Zoey (a friend of Ava’s), Judy (a family friend), & myself. We left for a four night/five day stay…quietly. Quietly because taking Jack was not an option. Lee nor Coleman were able to go, someone had to stay behind with Jack, Coleman couldn’t miss school. Lee & I both felt it only fair to Ava to allow her some fun, plus we haven’t vacationed anywhere in years, it was deserved for her if nothing else. It is really sad though that we couldn’t all be together. Planning for a vacation can be difficult. Planning for a vacation while hiding what you’re doing is downright complicated. Jack didn’t know our whereabouts & can never know our whereabouts during that time. There would be a huge price to pay! The first night I was gone, I told him I was at Ava’s volleyball tournament. He was sounding like he wasn’t buying my story, this was the story I was planning on going with the whole time. Jack being the suspicious natured person he is, didn’t seem to buy into it. I had to makeup another fib & told him the next day that Coleman was sick & I had to go see about him. I hate lying, especially about someone being sick-really hoping that one doesn’t come back to bite me in the tail. The calls, the voicemails, the calls, texts, all day, all night Jack pursued me demanding to know when I would return-did I mention the calls? He is persistent to say the least.

Our journey to Disney World began last Sunday. Ava & I have been several times before, since it was time to do something fun a Florida trip it was. If you keep up with my blogs, you’ll know flying is not for me. The first time I ever flew was from Minnesota to North Carolina this past summer. No traffic is great, flying not so much. I prefer to travel spinning in on two wheels at a speed of 75 mph where I’m in control (mostly). The reason we flew was in the event something happened with Jack, I could get home quicker (ha, so not true after airport waiting). Most people can plan, go, & do without preparing for an actual emergency. I would loved to of traveled via my newly refurbished Yukon stopping at interstate Cracker Barrel’s for a bowl of turnip greens, hashbrown casserole, & chicken & dumplings & fueling up at the fancy gas stations & running in for a Pepsi, a pack of Nabs, & bag of sunflower seeds. But no, we traveled in an airbus which I am still mystified by. It’s so amazing that an object the size of several Greyhound buses can fly at speeds of 500 mph carrying 200 plus people & their luggage. This appears to an ordinary person like myself an impossible task. We flew out of Charlotte to get to Orlando. I’ve heard enough horror stories from my favorite podcast, Bob & Sheri (they are Charlotte based) to know what can go wrong when flying. I’ve heard Sheri reference how TSA always screams at her or searches her. Bob is always worried about the plane crashing (same as myself). The Minnesota airport back this summer was wonderful. Those people know how to do. Charlotte however, do not know how to do-well they might, it’s just not done in a nice manner. Everyone told me how they hate flying out of Charlotte, I now know why. Flying is so confusing for newbies. There should be charts posted on the walls like teachers have in elementary classrooms on exactly what to do upon arrival. Going through TSA at Charlotte was terrible. I am thankful for such a high level of security, but not for the attitude. Realizing the volume of people seen daily by TSA & the craziness they encounter, is certainly appreciated, I just did not like the attitudes of those agents there. If they want to be so hateful, they need to go work at a fast food restaurant where hatefulness is expected (sometimes). Judy & I were pulled to the side for further screening due to me having money in my back pocket & she had sequins on her shirt. I didn’t want to send my cash down the belt without me, so I stuffed it in my back pocket. TSA pulls me to the side, treats me like a criminal, giving me the full pat down, testing my hands & money for drug residue. I kept thinking,”Lord Jesus, there’s no telling where this money has been. Please don’t let it of been in the hands of a drug lord”! Finally, Judy & I were in the clear, but all I could think about was the hatefulness of that TSA employee. We finally made it out of hell & our journey to the happiest place on earth would soon begin.

Since we had two first-timers with us experiencing Disney, Ava & I wanted to make sure they received the “full Disney experience” as we called it, leaving nothing out! We visited Hollywood Studios, Epcot, & Magic Kingdom. Normally, we go around Veteran’s Day which is the least busy time to attend the parks FYI, I couldn’t make a Veteran’s Day trip work this time. Boy, I will never make that mistake again. There were people everywhere, I’ve never seen it that crowded. Someone told Ava (because she snap chatted her journey as most teens do), all we did was wait in line & eat. His observation was spot-on! In previous years, we could walk up on most rides & hop right on. This time, all had 60 minute waits, many well over 60 a minute wait. We spent more time waiting in dungeons than the cast of Shawshank Redemption. We rode nearly every ride at the parks, ensuring that the two newbies got it all in, I nearly killed our crew with all the walking that was involved. The weather was perfect, not too hot or too cold, beautiful skies the whole time. The most dreaded ride that Disney has to offer in my opinion is the Tower of Terror. To me, it reminds me of flying, but I rode it begrudgingly. Even Judy who never rides rides, rode it all. Space Mountain, Seven Dwarfs, even Aerosmith’s Rockin’ Rollercoaster all of it. This picture describes Judy’s expressions on most rides lol.

There were some great memories made on our trip, most involved eating, laughing, & people watching.

Our vacation whizzed by & it was time to board on what I consider the real Tower of Terror! Thankfully, Judy & I learned our lesson prior to going through TSA in Orlando-no back pocket money & no sequins (we sound like strippers). While boarding there were tons of babies, we were all wondering if we would have to sit next to them & of course due to the Berry magnetism, we did! We were surround by babies all mostly crying their eyes out. One Mama out of desperation to keep her two year old happy since she couldn’t have her tray down due to landing preparation, gave her daughter a tube of NARS lipgloss to cease her tears. Immediately, the crying halted. If that would of been Ava at that age, it would of been a tube of Vaseline! As the old saying goes, money talks or in her case, money stops crying lol. I didn’t blame any of the kids for crying, most were coming back from Disney, tired, sore, tired, sore, if I weren’t so ashamed, I would be crying with them. Of course after landing, we had to wait due to the unloading dock not being available & all hell broke loose with those babies. Every single one of them started hollering & crying at the same time, the Mama in me wanted to pinch them all. The whole flying ordeal is very challenging for new people. We were all so worried we would pack something we were not supposed to, not know where to go to first, there is just so much going on at an airport. Too much! As we were leaving the airport, we got on the wrong bus to take us to the right long term parking lot where my car sat, we had to ride back to airport & get on the right bus. The bus driver asked us where were we parked, I said lot “W”. This trip would not of been complete unless it ended in full-on “Amy fashion”, the fella dropped us off at “VV”. That is “V” “V” as in Victor, Victor not “W”. It wasn’t until he pulled off that we noticed it, lucky for us, “W” is not too far from “VV”. That bus driver needs to relearn his alphabet (but they do sort of favor).

During our whole trip, poor ole Jack worried me to death, calling me all the time, asking Lee when I would return. Lee, Jack’s helpers, & Mama were a huge help trying to keep his mind preoccupied from wondering when I would be home. He was relentless & actually told me he missed me which was super sweet & heartbreaking at the same time because Jack never shows emotion like that. Coming home was a whirlwind, I had so much to do, mainly with Jack, household stuff, & I was so tired (still am), I can’t get my brain right at all. That trip took a toll on me, mentally. I guess I was so worried Jack might find out, worried about him getting out of routine (which he has), & worried about flying, plus, trying to coordinate everything & make sure we did it all, that my mind was overtaxed. The night of our homecoming, Jack couldn’t get enough of me. The next day, it was business as usual, that night however, Jack wanted to see Frozen 2. I enjoy taking Jack to the movies & he always does really well there. The movie premiere happened to be on Friday night, the night we went. I made a mistake in going there opening weekend. The whole lobby theatre was a frenzy of Frozen baby fans, toddler fans, children fans. There was an animal balloon making station & Anna & Elsa, the two princesses from the movie dressed in costume for photos. It was chaos but only because Jack doesn’t do chaos well with his seizure disorder. The 6:30 movie the one we tried to go to was sold out, 7:00 sold out, 7:30 had three seats left, so we got those even though they were not seated next to each other. Jack wanted to be a part of it all while we waited for 7:30 to roll around, but after spending a few dollars at the movie’s arcade, I was able to talk him into leaving only by agreeing to buy him a movie from Redbox. The movie was The Banana Splits. The Banana Splits used to be on when I was young, so I thought it was appropriate. Not! Jack started watching it after we got home that night-it’s a horror movie with killing & such. I tried to sabotage the DVD by scratching it with scissors & wouldn’t you know it, it didn’t work. Any other time a DVD in mint condition handled with the upmost care skips without any known cause & no amount of buffing fixes it. After we made it back to the theatre for the movie, I could not find our tickets anywhere. My purse is literally the size of my hand & I knew I put them in there-I tore that thing up, tickets were nowhere to be found. I explained to the manger my dilemma & she graciously offered to escort us inside & instructed us to move if someone says we are in their seats since I didn’t know where our seats were assigned. Nervously munching on my popcorn, I waited for someone to come & claim their seats. Before they could do that, the “movie” started, it was a strange start. There was a blonde woman that was a human-not the animated characters we were familiar with in the first Frozen movie. I wondered if the movie was starting out with humans & then morphing into animated characters??? The movie that was playing was we obviously realized, was not Frozen& it quickly turned south. The woman wore a skimpy dress, she took off her shoes, the focus was on her legs, her foot travels up a mans leg, she begins talking about inappropriate things, it was headed in the risqué direction. Families are flocking out of the movie & Jack, our 18 year old mentally & physically disabled child is entranced by what he’s watching. He has forgotten all about Anna & Elsa, he’s digging this flick. After much begging, Jack gets up & the staff soon corrects their mistake. Settled in & enjoying the correct movie, 30 minutes later here comes the owners of our seats. It’s a mama, daddy, a toddler, & her baby sister. These people were so annoying. Now you know somebody is plum annoying if they come busting up in a movie 30 minutes late. I mean you’ve already missed part of the plot. Their children cried, climbed, screamed, mama & daddy carried them out about 6 times. People don’t have good sense. Any way, after the movie ended, as I was getting my keys out of my tiny baby purse, what did I find? Our tickets! I thought our vacation at Disney ended Thursday, but Jack made it full circle with the Frozen gals on Friday. The funniest part of all of this “never ending story” is while I was talking with the manager about our lost tickets, Jack was off taking selfies with Anna & Elsa on his phone!

I have wondered if all the craziness I’ve encountered since being home is my punishment for going on vacation? I honestly felt terrible for going leaving Lee behind, Coleman unable to go, & of course not taking Jack. The last time we all went to Disney a few years ago, it didn’t end well. The whole vacation got him out of sorts. All the walking & not being able to ride everything due to his epilepsy was hard. He refused to ride in a wheelchair & thought he could ride it all. Plus, he likes to sleep late so it was hard to get an early start to fit it all in without having him out so late. Just too many factors to have an enjoyable vacation. On our last day of our last family vacation back in 2015, Lee was left with a sleeping Jack while the rest of us went to have breakfast. Lee’s goal was to wake Jack so we could get on the road. Ava ran back to the room because she forgot something & found Jack attacking Lee. After things calmed, we loaded up & headed home. The whole ride back was miserable. He rolled around in our Yukon, stuck his feet up on the ceiling of the SUV, didn’t talk the whole time, pretend slept all because he was pouting over what happened between he & Lee & he didn’t know how to act afterwards. I was scared to death for well over 9 hours. I was never so thankful to be home & out of that vehicle in my life. So now y’all know why taking Jack anywhere is almost always a no. It’s too risky.

My blogs aren’t usually this long, hence the name never ending story. I was telling my aunt Dot about our tales, she said, “it’s just like a Seinfeld episode”. I swear there is some Larry David lineage somewhere down the line. I don’t think there will be another vacation for a long while, I don’t know that Jack could handle my absence again. It’s so odd to me that he can be so explosive with me & down right ugly a lot of the time, but miss me so much. The brain is one complex organ. Before walking into our house, I was sure to hide every single trace of Disney World. There were no receipts, souvenirs, bags, no Disney bands, nothing. I enjoyed our time so much at the happiest place on earth, but you if see Jack around town, do not ask me about Disney, I pray he never finds out!

We are in the throes of a collard frenzy at The Berry Patch with people preparing for Thanksgiving. We sell them by the bunch or precut & triple washed. One of the reasons my brain has been blowing up, are the collards. I’ve got people messaging me day & night wanting collards, but it’s a good thing. I even have a collard notebook lol. Collards at Thanksgiving & at New Years are like Dixie Lee peas in the summer. Everyone in the world wants them, we always say in the summer at the Berry Patch you’d think Dixie Lee peas are the only thing left to eat on earth, we say that about collards in the fall, we love it though. If not, we wouldn’t do it. So if you’re needing collards for Thanksgiving, come see us. Thank you all for reading my never ending story, I’m sure there is more to come. If anyone has any ideas on how to deflect craziness, please pass the ideas along to me! Happy Thanksgiving to each of you & remember, come see us for the freshest collards around. You can even message me in the middle of night, I won’t mind!

The destruction & deterioration of things

Have you ever thought why do things need to come apart or why do things come off an object that should stay on all the time & my favorite, why do they try to improve things that are already perfected? I have a long list of things that drive me crazy & I bet you do also if you really think about it. What spurred this topic is an ongoing incident I have with my Yukon. I have said for years that women need to be the designers of vehicles, particularly ones that are driven as “Mom Taxis” & for women that are considered a “Girl Friday” like I am for our business. Vehicles need to be equipped with shelves & drawers & built in trash cans. The console I have in my Yukon is not big enough for my bottle of ibuprofen, papaya pills (natural antacid), paper, mail (that’s what the corner under my windshield is for), steroid cream, a tennis ball for my sciatica nerve pain, much less a drink in the attached cup holder! One of the things GMC has done that is totally unreasonable is doing away with the slide-out pocket feature in the sunvisor that once extended to block the sun while driving. I keep saying I’m going to get a clothespin & piece of cardboard to use since these vehicles no longer offer this important feature-going to solve my problem “MacGuyver” style! Getting back to the reason for this blog. My Yukon has third row seating that lies down & the middle row does as well. I often have to lay the seats down due to hauling either farm equipment or Berry Patch stuff. The lever that I use to perform this operation has a little black protective piece on the handle so you can grasp it without it slicing into your fingers. Guess what? That little black piece comes off every time you look at it! There are four of these in my SUV, they get lost all the time. Why wouldn’t they be made to stay on there permanently? There is no reason in the world for those little pieces the size of a piece of hard candy to come off. I’m going to have to breakout the super glue. Not only that, but over the last six weeks, my Yukon has been on its death bed. They say bad luck comes in 3’s. My transmission went out, windshield got busted, & had a dead battery, let’s not forget the lightning strike I survived in my car! Hopefully my bad luck streak is over. Not only do women need to design vehicles, we need to design parking lots. A good majority of cars on the roads these days are SUV’s, vans, or big trucks. My favorite saying when I try to squeeze the Yukon in tight quarters at a store is, “this ain’t no Fiesta”! Major adjustments in this world need to happen & women are the ones to make it happen.

One of Coleman’s favorite childhood toys was a Sit-n-Spin. It wasn’t for the dynamic spin of the toy, it was because the round piece also known as the stirring wheel came off. Coleman loved to take things apart as a toddler/child. I would be in the kitchen cooking or in the bedroom making the bed & here his little self would come along with the steering wheel in hand! Now why I would like to ask the designer of the famous toy would they make it so the top came off? For years it was made as a whole toy, now it’s two parts. It was sort of dangerous as a two piece toy, the boys always tried to stand on the plastic stick piece that held the steering wheel. I think I got sick of worrying about them doing just that that I threw it out the door one day. There were dozens of toys over the years that I wish I could think of now that came apart for unknown reasons & didn’t need to nor should they of. We have gone through more gorilla glue & super glue over the years than most. My Daddy’s favorite sayings about the kids when they were younger were “here comes the wrecking crew” & “they can tear up an anvil”. Companies made it too easy for them to tear things up, Daddy! 🤣

My next gripe is with my washing machine (long rant). Washing clothes is one of my passions. I hang nearly everything we own out on my clothesline. I am such a psycho clothesline hanger-outer that I even hangout clothes when the temperature is in the 20’s like it was this past week. All colors must be hung in like order, all shirts with shirts, shorts with shorts & so on. Hanging out clothes is peaceful & helps the earth (I’m part hippie). I’m all for environmental provisions, but the washing machines on the market now are trash. I’ve been through multiple & returned one after having it for a year-got a complete refund, too. After Lee & I got married in 1998, we got a washing machine & dryer set. We still have the same dryer since it is rarely used. As our family grew & our needs changed, we realized a new washer was a must. We went to Lowe’s & picked out the largest capacity washing machine made, it was a Whirlpool & did not have an agitator. I chose this one because Jack slept with us due to the large amount of seizures he had during the nighttime hours. It was almost every night that Jack would seize & lose bladder function. We have a king size bed & I would have to go to the laundromat so often to use their “big boy” washing machine since our comforter was so large, it made sense to buy the largest machine washing known to man because going to the laundromat was getting expensive, quickly. My “Cabrio” (name of washer) was beautiful, I was so proud. Unfortunately, it was then that I would learn about the new energy efficient products that were just placed on the market, the low fill washing machine & low flow toilets (which at that time were trash). I would wash in my sleek new machine & part of the clothes would come out dry & stains would still be in the clothes. After a year of cussing this machine, I called Lowe’s to complain about how very sorry it really was, they nicely offered a full refund. So then I bought a regular washing machine with an agitator, but it was still a low fill machine. It was just okay, still not like our first machine. This summer, it went out. Instead of repairing it, I decided to buy another one figuring the energy efficient ones had improved. This time I went with Maytag. It again was the largest on the floor, push buttons, agitator, met most of my requirements. Oh my Lord, I hate that thing with a passion! It is NOT efficient in my humble opinion, nor does it use enough water to actually clean clothes, & the clothes are so wrinkled when they come out, it looks like they have been stuffed down in the bottom of a Ava’s book bag for a month. Not only that, my blooming Maytag washing machine runs all durn day. Before I got this hunk of metal, I could wash a load in about 35 minutes. Now, I have to plan the night before, load the washer, set the timer because it runs for an hour or longer. There is a minute countdown on the washing machine so when you start a load it will say 55 minutes, after 15 minutes, it could go up to 58 minutes, 1/2 hour later, it may only be at 45 minutes. This thing is beyond foolish. If you use the bedding setting, it estimates an hour & 15 minutes to wash, how absurd! When using the delicates setting & the lowest setting possible for wrinkle control, my clothes still come out looking like this:

Another thing I’m baffled about with this washer is the cold wash setting. It says cold wash on the dial, but the water temp starts on hot. How is that a cold wash? I’m not sure what this washing machine actually does other than cause me duress! It runs all day & I think it runs just to dampen my clothes a little bit & wrinkle our clothes! I take anything that is semi-good (outside of my Berry Patch shirts) to Mama when the stains won’t come out. Even she hates my washing machine!

Onto the next destructible thing. I don’t drink coffee at all, that’s Lee’s passion & I only make it (on timer of course) on school mornings for him. We’ve had a Keurig that broke, a Mr. Coffee that broke, I literally just bought a coffeemaker from Aldi a month ago & now it has broken. The brewers are used so infrequently that I would think they could hold up, it’s not we are using them morning, noon, & night. Just today I went to return the coffee pot I purchased at Aldi & guess what I did in the parking lot before I ever made it inside the store? Dropped the glass carafe & broke it. Then I couldn’t return it. My life! “They” just don’t make nothing no count any more. Seems like we are running to Walmart or Lowe’s constantly to get a new coffee pot, curling iron, microwave, & even refrigerator. When we moved in the house we live in now, which was about 10 years ago, we purchased a Samsung refrigerator, one of the worst mistakes of our lives. This is a picture of Lee thawing out Samsung’s finest appliance with my hairdryer & a fan. Lee did this for years, usually once a month until we finally broke down & purchased another one last summer.

Samsung has caused many a problem within our home & we do not advise the purchase of a Samsung refrigerator. So far, Whirlpool is holding out strong.

In closing, I hope someone reads this that designs the interior of cars, parking lots, toys, & appliances, maybe they will ask for my design ideas. The destruction of things is real, the destruction of expensive things is even worse, nothing is made to last any more. Good ol’ American constructed, lifetime & beyond products are gone. Wouldn’t it be nice if our hard earned money was actually invested in purchases like it used to be when folks bought one refrigerator & one stove when they got married. People died before their frig could! Everything is too disposable in a non-disposable world. In the meanwhile, I’ll keep the hairdryer handy just in case the Whirlpool decides to freeze over & the superglue closer.

P.S. If your washing machine, toilet, dryer, or refrigerator stops working, go to a yard sale to make your next purchase, you won’t be sorry. The older it is, the better!

Dolly vs. Shania

We’ve all been hunted down via phone by our children. Back before cell phones were ever a thing, we actually functioned without them. Our species could go shopping, hunting, swimming, even boating without a phone! Now, we would not think twice about doing any of those activities without our phones. I like my phone as much as the next, but I like to think I would not be as tied to my phone if Jack didn’t have severe medical & behavior issues. I’d be able to take a nap in peace, enjoy the special moments in life, or work without the constant worry that I might have to flee from wherever I am in order to get to Jack at a moments notice. Growing up, I was on the go all the time, at a friends house, sports, work (started when I was 11), anywhere I could go. Often times, I would be working at the produce stand where I got my start & Daddy would come get me since I was way too young to drive…legally that is-I was a full-fledged country girl with years of driving experience already! As a preteen/teenager, I thought Sunday evenings were absolutely depressing because there was nothing on tv. This was the mid 80’s after all. We only had three tv channels & one of those was kind of iffy. I spent some time on the roof of our house with Daddy adjusting the antenna that was the size of a helicopter just to be able to watch the evening news. I often worked until close around 7pm, arriving home at 7:15pm. When we pulled up in the driveway & I would see Mama’s car gone, I was in a full-blown depression! That meant I would be prisoner to the tick tock of 60 Minutes. Nothing was any worse to me at this time of my life. At least with Mama there, we might could watch America’s Funniest Videos. The ticking of the 60 Minutes clock would be like trying to make your kids watch paint dry without a phone or any sort of electronic device, imagine just the child & the paint. Pure torture!!!

On these nights that Mama escaped the ticking of the clock, I would call THE Walmart & have her paged. If it was before 6pm, I’d call Belk, JCPenney, & Cato’s-that’s the extent of our shopping choices in our county. Once Mama answered the most embarrassing phone calls of her life, I quizzed her relentlessly. When will you be home? Where are you eating? Why didn’t you wait on me? I had all the numbers of any establishment & anyone memorized, I was a numbers savant back in the day, a human rolodex. This brings me to the title of today’s blog, Dolly vs. Shania. Jack has a very fond fascination of music, all sorts, different genres. One of his particular loves is Shania Twain. He absolutely has zero interested in Dolly Parton, one of the greats. During one of his searches on YouTube about Shania, he came across a video of Dolly Parton & Shania Twain on the Oprah show. The duo sang Dolly’s “Coat of Many Colors”. Jack was very intrigued with them singing together. He shared the video with me & his caregiver, Sherry. Yesterday Jack tracked me down at work, first calling my cellphone (which I didn’t hear ring), then The Berry Patch. He called to see which sang “Coat of Many Colors” better, Dolly or Shania?

Not realizing the importance of the matter, I went with the obvious, Dolly! No disrespect to Shania, but Dolly wrote this song & was the first to sing it. She does it best because she is telling a story about her life, you can feel it when she sings. Not only did Jack disagree with my opinion & the opinion of his caregiver, Sherry, but he was getting upset that we didn’t agree with him about Shania being the best. We both relented & finally said Shania was the greatest…didn’t want to go down the explosive road again, & that was a very real possibility. I could tell in his voice he was becoming heated. Later on in the day, all I could do was laugh about it. I mean I’m probably the only person in the world that’s ever been hunted down to be asked who sang “Coat of Many Colors” best! Our situation is definitely unique if nothing else. Jack is passionate about whatever he’s into at the moment & we best remember that the right answer is whatever Jack says it is.

I have mentioned this in a previous blog, but I have a coat of many colors. Years ago, a friend gave my Daddy’s Mama, my Grandma a sack full of silk tie scraps she got from a mill she worked in. Grandma was an avid maker of quilts, often using material from clothing family members outgrew or scraps from something she was making. It’s always neat to look back at the quilts she made for us & remember wearing some of the prints that are on the quilt. With the sack of silk tie scraps, Grandma constructed many quilts, bags, vests, & even a coat of many colors for myself. Of course it’s too small now, it truly is a beautifully handcrafted jacket. Not only was my Grandma an excellent seamstress, but so is my Mama. One would think I would of been blessed with that talent, however, I never had any urges to learn to sew. It’s the most boring thing in the world to me, well other than 60 Minutes.

Jack has continued to do excellent over the last few weeks behaviorally. The excitement of killing his first deer has worn off. He has not had any urges to go anywhere or do much of anything. Poor thing is not eating hardly at all. He’s off the bacon & egg sandwich kick & off the Funyuns & grits. We’ve gone so far as to buy his favorite foods, Chiba, Dixie Burger fish plates, Lee even cooked Jack’s deer & made hamburgers with it. Jack was really excited about that but didn’t eat any of them. He looks weak & sickly these days. It’s so heartbreaking to watch, he seems to be withering away. His spirits are good though. You never know what you’re going to open his door to in the mornings. We close his door at night so that he won’t hear us too bad while we’re moving around with Ava & Lee getting in the mornings. All too often, I read of a Dravet child/adult passing away on the Dravet Facebook support groups typically due to a severe seizure or SUDEP. SUDEP is sudden unexplained death in epilepsy. SUDEP takes more lives than SIDS (what new moms worry about with their newborns). It’s thought to occur due to a heart rhythm issue. There’s too much to worry about with Jack’s diagnosis. So many factors. Seizures, behavior (main concern), eating issues, gait problems, digestive problems, chronic infections, heart problems-too many to list.

As write this, I realize how fortunate we are to be having the argument with Jack about whether or not Shania is better than Dolly. Any day, that privilege can be taken away. When asked next time what my preference is, I will be sure to say “Shania” & y’all better to if asked! I still can’t get over him not liking Dolly. I thought all men loved blonde hair & big boobs!!!

If you’ve never heard Dolly & Shania sing the mentioned song, click this link to listen. Be sure to cast your vote, but make sure you vote for Dolly! https://youtu.be/Y0CL5Ejqg8c

The Longest Yard

Too many of my blogs circle back around to songs, movies, & mainly the tv show Seinfeld (I swear Larry David & I are related), this time, I’m going for a movie title. I would like to thank Mr. Burt Reynolds for the title inspiration. If you are a younger person, it’s highly likely you don’t know Burt Reynolds. Burt was the star in the first version of the movie The Longest Yard, some of you only know the Adam Sandler star of this movie, although Burt was in the Adam Sandler one. Man, Burt was a good looking thang in his younger days & the first movie was the best! My favorite memory of the now deceased Burt Reynolds was of him guest starring on The Golden Girls. Burt showed up at the house to pick Sophia up for lunch & Blanche, Dorothy, & Rose were in awe. He asked Sophia which one was the slut & they all raised their hands & said “I am”. Last year at this time, we were having a time with Jack, which is not to say we still aren’t, certain things have eased up some. He was locking himself in his room all day & night, wasn’t sleeping, with many nights he was awaiting a visit from some stranger he met online. Our lives are still upside down a lot of times, but were completely topsy turvy last year. Since Jack was around 7, he has looked forward to hunting season. However, last year he was extremely active in live chatrooms where he was talking with strangers & they could see him & his room. Lee killed a very nice deer years ago & had it mounted. Jack wanted the deer in his room ever since he saw it. The mounted deer hung in Jack’s room for the longest time, until last year when one of the people he was communicating with told him to take it down, that it was wrong to kill deer. Now whether you believe it in or not, is neither here nor there. The point is, Jack is so impressionable, he was persuaded to take the deer down & had zero interest in hunting whatsoever last year. Lee was so upset about those people making such an impression on Jack, that I think he may of thrown the deer away. I remember very clearly this same time last year receiving a call from Jack about Lee’s mounted deer. He wanted it out of his room & wanted it out right then. I also remember calling a friend telling her that Jack was going to have to be placed in a facility. I couldn’t deal with this torture any more. It was hell on me staying up with Jack all night long then trying to work & be a wife, Mama, daughter, & friend, not to mention the hell it was on Lee, Coleman, & Ava, plus we were scared of all his online activity. We honestly never knew what we were going to be faced with from day to day.

After all the torturous events that occurred between last year & present date, Jack has gotten back into hunting. There have been many events, most unpleasant & occurring multiple times a day. Out of the blue this summer, Jack began talking about deer hunting. We kind of poo-pooed it thinking he would forget or lose interest, but no, the hobby prevailed! As fall got closer, Lee began baiting the deer, cleared out the hunters den, even took Jack target practicing. Now you must be thinking the same thing we both are, Jack with a gun, how dumb are we? Apparently, pretty dumb, but it’s all done in order to meet a need to get Jack off electronics. Lee is so smart & cautious about everything (except trying to locate the ketchup in the refrigerator, why can’t men find anything in there?). Last Saturday was Jack’s day. He anticipated going hunting all day, even dressed for the occasion hours prior to going. Lee agreed to take him late that afternoon. A male hunter can always tell a story much better (maybe a little bit exaggerated, too), but I’m going to give it my best shot.

It was hot that day, close to 90 which was a concern since Jack’s body temperature isn’t regulated like ours, heat can cause seizures. Also, there was quite a bit of walking involved & that can also cause seizures because it is physically exerting to his fragile body. Poor thing dressed in sweat pants, his Daddy’s shiny, hot letter jacket from junior high school (1980 something), & his red Power Ranger vinyl boots. Let me stop here & share the story about these boots. Last Christmas Jack wanted these boots, Mama gifted Jack with these boots. They smelled/smell like straight-up poop! We all died from the smell as he paraded the shiny boots all around our house. His room smelled like a horse barn & my whole house smelled like you were getting close to the horse barn! After a few weeks of pleading with Jack, I finally convinced him to let me put them on the porch to air out. Typically, if a pair of shoes gets left on our porch, some random dog comes along & takes one. I was so hoping Spot would come by & grab one, I guess they stunk so bad the dogs wouldn’t even touch it. His boots aired out for several months…they still reek just like they did on Christmas Day. The smell is as strong now as it was then nearly a year later.

Back to the deer. Dressed for winter in October which was actually like a summer day, Lee & Jack trek through the woods on their quest to kill a deer. After getting settled, in their nest, deer were on the move rather quickly, which is wonderful considering the circumstances. You’ve got a child with a huge tendency to overheat, thus have seizures, a long walk to their hunting site which can bring on seizures, & the excitement factor that can bring on seizures, so the fact that the kill happened so fast was a blessing. Lee doesn’t load the gun until they are situated. Once the deer move in, Jack shoots at three & misses. He asks Lee to do it for him. Lee declined & told Jack he needed to take his time & aim. See, Jack thinks he can do anything without taking the time to learn how to properly handle a task. His fine motor skills are weak & he’s very uncoordinated, so this was really a success story. After a pep talk from Daddy, Jack successfully made the shot. Although a small deer, it was Jack’s first time, Lee’s first in seeing one of his kids following in the footsteps of one his passions-hunting.

The grin on both of their faces was tremendous. Jack was so proud that he was able to shoot a deer. Lee was so excited for him. They took the deer to the processing plant to make sausage & such. Jack is wanting a deer hamburger, not sure about that one. Lee plans on cooking the deer hamburgers tonight, thank goodness I have a ball game! Since killing the deer & with target practice, Jack has had a bruise on his arm from the kickback of the rifle, but he’s proud of it. Proud like a boy is of his first blackeye in a backyard rumble. He has told the story numerous times to various people, even asked me if people around town were talking about him & his deer-has even called the Wildlife Preserve. He’s been calling them for a few weeks now nearly everyday. Jack inquires about his hunting license, tells them where he & his Daddy will be hunting, called to report his deer being shot. I’m thinking, Lord, he’s gonna get Lee arrested somehow or another. Jack keeps asking if we are proud of him. Reports to me daily on how many yards it was from the rifle to the deer, 48 yards he says-hence the title of this blog. 48 yards may not be very long to you, but to a special needs person, it is the longest yard ever. This memory will last forever for Lee & Jack. The worry, the sweat, & even tears made this picture worth it all.

A quick trip south

As a stay at home Mama, my days with the kids were full of visiting folks, playing outdoors when it wasn’t too hot or cold for Jack’s condition, countless doctors visits for Jack & others in the family, running errands for The Berry Patch, playing, learning, & afternoon naps. One of my favorite things to do when the kids were smaller was to pile up on my bed & watch tv. Our most favorite cartoons were Max & Ruby & Little Bear. These two shows were soothing, not wild, & just plain sweet. The kids would be freshly bathed, in their little pj’s, & smelled so good. It was a calming, relaxing time from our sometimes busy days-very much needed for all of us. As the kids got older, their needs & wants changed, nighttime was consumed by homework for Coleman, an every night multiple seizure ritual for Jack (I’m talking 100’s every single night), & with the energy of our toddler Ava, the nightly routine of cartoons faded.

Two Saturday nights ago, Jack did something really unusual, he hopped on my bed & wanted to watch tv. We talked about how we used to do this when he & his siblings were little & how one of his favorite shows was Max & Ruby. To the thanks of “on-demand” service, we pulled up the sweet little bunnies & enjoyed 30 minutes of absolute calmness. Its been a while since we’ve seen this show, my biggest surprise outside of Jack wanting to watch it, was that Max talks in complete sentences & they have a Daddy. For years, we wondered where Max & Ruby’s parents were, but we both determined we liked the old version better. Unfortunately, calmness quickly went to calamity shortly after the exit of Max & Ruby. Jack wanted to watch I Dream of Jeanie next, which was great, I love that show. He called my Mama & was talking to her while we watched. I laughed at something they were talking about & that’s when the moment was ruined. Jack grabbed my face, shook it as hard as he could & told me to stop laughing. It’s in those sort of situations with Jack that I realize how a victim must feel when being attacked. So that the situation would not get explosive, I shook my head yes to his demand which was to stop laughing, I couldn’t talk because he had grabbed my jaws & was squeezing them. After releasing my jaws, he apologized & of course had an excuse. The excuse was he doesn’t like to hear a girl laughing. That’s what my whole life was built on-laughter! It wasn’t about the laughing though, he is always looking for an excuse, a way out of things. His mind is always churning-churning quicker than Land O’Lakes makes butter. Even when he sleeps, his mind is spinning, talking in his sleep predominately during his whole slumber. So my Saturday night that started out so nicely was ruined in the blink of an eye over what I consider the best form of therapy-laughter. The picture below was taken just before Jack’s attitude changed.

When this type of behavior occurs, it crushes me, drowns my spirit, takes me to a dark, unhappy place that is hard to rise from, but the show must go on. I have to maintain my composure so that things won’t escalate when the very thing I wanted to do was grab his face like he did mine. I have to try to make like every thing is okay afterwards when all I want to do is curl up in a ball & scream to the top of my lungs. I have to be okay because I have a family & a business to tend to. Lee & I say at least a few times a week, that we can’t make up what occurs in our lives. Just the other day, Jack asked me to take him Pokémon hunting. This was right after he woke up around 10:30am. I don’t dare move in our house until he wakes because he can sense me. I told him no. Of course that wasn’t suitable to Jack. He kept demanding. Since my day had just gotten started, I was still in my nightgown, no bra, hair unbrushed, nothing done to myself, Jack was still in only a tshirt & his underwear. He had to go right then & there since there was some sort of time limit on how long a certain character was going to be at the post office for his game. I prayed that no one would come up to my car. Thankfully they didn’t! I had a yellow slip in my car indicting I had a package to pickup, Jack was actually going to go inside in his less-than attire to retrieve the package. I told him it was an old slip, he bought that thank goodness.

I had an odd occurrence Friday evening (shocker, right?). Ava had a volleyball game in Timbuktu, it was literally in the middle of nowhere, two hours from home. We were surrounded by nothing but churches & railroad tracks, rarely seeing a house. I’m thinking where in the world do these people live? We drove for miles & saw ten churches per one house. The sky was black as soot except when it was lightning, might I add, it was lightning like crazy.. It was actually one of the more frightening electrical storms I’ve ever seen. Normally at that time of night, I would be home during a storm like this, candles burning because the power would already be out, calling all the neighbors & family members inquiring about their power, & frustrated because I can’t watch QVC. I wish that were the case! As we watched the night sky light up, we were complaining about having to drive two hours away for this game, but it quickly became like a scene from the movie Deliverance. On the way home, I drove, Ava & Mama were my passengers. Suddenly, the biggest bolt of lightning I’ve ever seen in my life shot down to the ground. Terrified, we all screamed & I immediately started crying & my arms felt funny. I am not a crier unless Jack has given me a fit. The cry had something to with that lightning, it was totally spontaneous & I know I got a little electrocuted. My arms felt like there was energy coursing through my veins, I wasn’t in any pain, I just felt plum out-of-sorts. It was really starting to feel like Deliverance at that point because we also felt like we were lost. Nothing was around us at all. Ava was hysterical, she thought I was going to die, Mama’s nerves were tore up because she thought we were lost & she can NOT tolerate that, & I’ve been electrocuted! That ol’ crazy woman Siri kept telling me to proceed to the route. Do you ever say back to her, “that’s what I’m doing”! I do that…A LOT. We couldn’t get home fast enough! That whole night, I didn’t sleep. My arms & legs felt funny & I dreamt crazy stuff. The next morning I was okay, no harm done…hopefully. Who wants to take a trip with us, it’s always an adventure!

Jack is still on eating a bacon & egg sandwich every.single.night. The amount of bacon he’s going through is not healthy. I know it’s not especially for Lee, Ava, & myself, Jack doesn’t eat a whole lot, so he’s probably fine. Bacon is perhaps the most irresistible food to a non-vegetarian in the world. Do you know how hard it is to resist a fresh pan of cooked bacon in which we have available at all times now-it can NOT be done! Our triglycerides are going to be through the roof! We are like the little dog on the commercial where he is begging for bacon strips.

Last night my heart melted just a little. While the picture below may not look like anything but ordinary, it is actually extraordinary. Jack was interacting in the kitchen which we all know is the family central hub like a normal teen. He actually poured himself a glass of Pepsi, was chatting with Ava & I, & not doing anything foolish. It was so nice! I’ve never really been able to have the pleasure of witnessing this much. To you, it’s probably nothing to have your kids in the kitchen hanging out, to me it was everything!

Unfortunately, my quick trip south was not a beautiful walk on the beach or a flight to Key West, it was more like a walk on the rough side of town. As I try to get over the constant & perpetual bumps in the road, I am reminded of the saying, “this to shall pass”. Knowing that the worst of days won’t last forever & the days & nights may both be long, there’s always a chance for a better day tomorrow-I hope & pray!

If I had a Million Dollars

We’ve all daydreamed about winning the lottery, I do all the time. My lottery dreams are much different than yours. Yours would probably consist of selling your current home & moving to paradise, buying a sports car, motorcycles, a personal chef, Louis Vuitton bags, & who knows what else! I’m so out of touch with these type of dreams, I’m having a hard time coming up with frivolous ways to spend money! I am speaking this into the universe so that it will come true…when I win a million bucks, my dreams will be very different from yours. Will money solve the issues we have with Jack, certainly not, but it will help. Let me tell you how $1 million cool ones would be invested.

First, all of our loans would be paid off-most logical. Secondly, I would hire a bodyguard to sit at home with us 24/7. This would enable us to say “no” to Jack for his daily & multiple unreasonable requests. For example, Ava’s school called the house & Jack answered. The message was regarding school t-shirts being available for purchase now, of course Jack wanted one. He would want a t-shirt even if it said “I got a mammogram today”! He just wants stuff no matter the relevance. One of Jack’s helpers mentioned to him that her school has t-shirts for sale, Jack wants one. He went as far as calling the schoolhouse several times inquiring about the shirts. Thankfully, I knew the lady answering the phone, I text her, & she told him they were sold out. Yesterday, he called Dixie Burger (local fast food eatery) & placed an order for grits, knowing full well we have grits at home. He wouldn’t leave the house with me to get them & his caregiver couldn’t get the grits for an hour after he called them in. Dixie Burger threw them away thinking it was a no-show call-in. Once Jack learned they threw his grits away, he called them back & placed an order for a fish plate. Now given people drive from all around for the flounder at Dixie Burger, but his meal went from a $2 cup of grits to a $14 fish plate. All of this was done without ever asking permission. This is why I have to hide the Avon books when they come in. We will find something in there that he just has to have. If I had a bodyguard, I could say no & let the bodyguard wrestle with his tail & wouldn’t have to worry about him harming us. I could tell him no when he breaks his chargers on purpose, his phone on purpose, wants to trade games he purchased the day prior at GameStop for $20 to get $3 for the trade-in the next day. One of Jack’s prized possessions has always been his iPad. He’s had one since he was 8 years old because playing outdoors was too stimulating & induced seizures. At the beginning of the week, he started wanting to sell it to GameStop for money. This is a $400 iPad that is in perfect condition. I’m not sure what the hock price is there for an iPad, pretty sure it’s less than $50. His helper called GameStop & told them to tell Jack they don’t accept those. She also told Jack that maybe we could use it at our business. Sure enough, Jack calls wanting to sell it to us for $20! I wish I could pull a Miranda Lambert & strike a match to that building (don’t turn me in, this is a facetious dream-I’m not an arsonist)! This child loves money. What his plans are for the money, who knows. All of this occurred (including the Dixie Burger transactions) on the same day within two hours of him waking up. Now we’ve got this dreaded day of Friday, September 13 & a full moon, Lord help me Jesus. I am terrified of the possibilities the day & night might bring!

Thirdly, I would hire a personal bi-weekly masseuse. You can only imagine how tense Lee & I on a daily basis. Our necks stay stiff, we don’t rest well, stress is harbored in our shoulders-I could really use a massage right now! The next thing I would do is purchase a ’57 Chevrolet convertible in turquoise blue. This has been my dream car since I was a teenager. That would be my one frivolous buy. How cool would that be to own such a car, it would make my life!

Having an imaginary bodyguard would enable Lee & I to escape for a night. We have not been anywhere alone since 1999. The fears of what Jack may do keep us at home. It would be nice to run to the beach for a night or two. Our “bodyguard” would also disable the need for a constant communication need with Jack. I have to have my phone on me at all times due to his foolishness & medical condition. Last week, he called me 17 times in one day. Can you imagine someone calling you like this all the time? I have my own personal stalker. This is my life nearly everyday. Maintaining a job & a semi-normal thinking process is extremely difficult. I never know if his calls are going to be threats, demands, or a real emergency.

I can’t dream too much because $1 million bucks won’t go far with my aspirations. Believe it or not, I would stay in our hometown, wear the same clothes (Berry Patch shirts included), carry the same $20 wristlet I have now, keep using the same Dove soap I’ve always used, I might consider letting Lee buy a bigger tractor-not much would change, maybe my sanity would improve! I guess I’ll continue singing If I Had A Million Dollars by the Barenaked Ladies in hopes that someday I will. This also blog reminds me of another song I love to sing by Janis Joplin, Mercedes Benz. I’ll leave you to listen to this gem, if you’ve never heard it before, give it a go. Anytime someone says “oh Lord”, which we do a lot in the south, I break out in this song-enjoy. https://youtu.be/5ddnwyyGo4s