Random Thoughts From An Avid Author, Uncategorized

NOWHERE is somewhere

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That moment in time when a book changes your life…

It’s kind of liberating to step forth and proclaim the realization that literature can truly leave a mark on your being in a way you never thought possible. Before I step too far into this puzzling pool of wonder, let me elaborate a bit on how this came to be.

Books of all shapes and sizes have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Even as a young child, they meant a great deal to me.

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I never read because I had to, I read because I needed to. My strength is bound in the power of words.

For as long as I can remember, novels were always my bounty, my hiding place, because I live inside my mind more than I could ever explain. When I read books, I see them vividly in torrents of color without boundaries. I read to “see”. When I write, it is the exact same way. I’m not one to map out or diagram a novel before diving into it headfirst. Instead, I take a simple idea and work forward as I watch each scene, from the curve of a character’s face, to the color, type and wonder of each bounty that surrounds them from all sides, unfolds. As they step forward, so do I. I’ve found over the years that most authors don’t write like this.

Many of us live internally in our own world of wonder. And that eclectic world of magnificence is embedded deep within our visual thoughts.

Recently a wonderful friend of mine sent me a book. One she said her son had recommended to her, and after she read it, her perspective on life changed. She wanted to share the same sense of power with me to see what I thought, and how I felt after reading it. I devoured it in a day, curled up in my home office, away from family for a few hours as I let it seep into me. I walked away with new eyes, and the ever growing urge and prompting to learn to find NOWHERE and visit it often.

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Finding the corridor of peace in the state of NOWHERE is hard for me. I am a busy, highly devoted wife and mother, and my days begin with a rushed feeling, and end with that same feeling as well. Raising three boys is demanding…raising kids in general is a 24 hour responsibility, yet my kids reside here at home with me all day, every day. We homeschool. Homeschooling is a calling. I felt called 5 years ago. I still feel that calling, and so do my husband and kids. But it doesn’t go without saying, that I do neglect things. And the biggest thing I neglect is myself. Not out of purpose, but out of performance.

Social media is my life. It’s what I do for a living, literally. I own my own social media company. My phone is glued to my hand, my tablet is sitting on my lap, or my computer resides in front of me all day, every day. It’s how I’ve learned to exist, to make a living, but all the while, I’ve forgotten what it meant to simply live, to just be, to find the comfort of NOWHERE.

In the past year, my life has changed dramatically in a number of ways. From health issues to relationship woes, to a finished novel and several new clients, yet somehow instead of meditating on how to cope and change with the ebb and flow of life, I’ve fled to filling up my schedule instead of filling up my often neglected spirit. I fled from NOWHERE to somewhere.

When I speak of NOWHERE, it means something much greater than the seven letters it’s composed of. It doesn’t mean staying put, it means putting down. And by putting down, I mean stepping away from the highway of life that moves at lightening speed every now and then. To exist. To be still. TO BE.

My middle child, who is 14, lives within his mind too. Just like his mom. I handed him the book when I was finished and gently said, “Read this. Today. Not tomorrow, not next week, today.” He took the book from my hands and instantly knew what I was saying. I found him a half an hour later, laid up in the corner of our living room with our dog in his lap, fully engulfed in the very same journey I had just taken a few hours before.

I’ve got a very in-tune connection with all of my kids, but my middle and I share a deep level of understanding that is often hard to explain to others. When he was three, he was diagnosed with high spectrum autism, often labeled as Asperger’s. He is wise beyond his years, and always has been. He still struggles in some areas, particularly with social skills, but I honestly think the culprit is the expansive mind he encumbers. There are times he trumps me in how he peels back the layers of a book, a song, or a simple sentence. He sees the core of things much deeper then most of us. I knew this book would speak to him in even bigger ways then how it spoke to me. I was right.

He finished. We talked. He uncovered the meat of the book in a few simple sentences, yet in a profoundly unbelievable way far beyond that of most teenagers, and I quote, “Speed is addictive. I’m not talking about drugs in this context, I’m talking about the need to embrace the empowerment it lends us in today’s society. When we slow down, we suffer from withdrawal and a sense of pain. When we are not a part of the structural highway of fast paced life, we find ourselves lost, and many of us, unaccepted. I think the real problem here is, we’ve learned to only accept ourselves when we are headed somewhere; a pinpoint. To say you’re going NOWHERE sounds superficial. Like you’re a loser. When, after reading this book, NOWHERE is where each of us should strive to be.”

I think my son summed things up better then I ever could. And more importantly, we’ve both walked away with a sense of searching for NOWHERE instead of somewhere. In the deepest crevices of NOWHERE, you find yourself, and the art of simply living.

Changes are being made over here. I’ve yearned for NOWHERE for way too long, and just never knew it. Or better yet, maybe I didn’t want to know it until now. I’m no longer pushing it aside, but embracing it instead. You should too.

~ VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

When You Know You’re Too Old For Theme Parks

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We’ve been in Florida since last Thursday the 1st. The first half of our vacation involved the beach. The second half involves Universal Studios.

We have three more days at the park.

I may die.

My feet hurt, and my back is tweaked on the right side from riding “The Mummy” roller coaster at least half a dozen times in two days because my children love it. To the point that it has gotten annoying. But they don’t want to ride alone, so my husband and I continue riding like two handicapped parents with a hitch in their get-along. I’ve also memorized the entire script of the ride, word for word. This is the only thing that keeps me entertained.

We have been the only Americans in the theme park. I’m quite certain I know how to speak Portuguese, French and Italian fluently now, thanks to long wait times in line. Take that, Rosetta Stone!

I will NEVER get tired of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the park. NEVER. I could just sit and listen to the music while drinking Butterbeer. It’s easy to get lost here. Not just in the magic of being a part of Potterland, but actually LOST. There have been so many people in this part of the park it’s redonk. This is also the part of the park where you realize you are some of the few Americans present. This is due to the hairy armpit women, and men without deodorant. Pleasant. Pleasant, I tell you.

Yesterday we were waiting in line for “Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey”. This is an incredible ride that takes place inside Hogwarts. AWESOME. Anyhow, since there are 5 of us, we are always one short or one too many for a ride, which means we have to split up. Hubby and the older two went together, and I went with Little A.

I am a moron magnet. Convinced. There were two older gentlemen in front of Little A and I. One was guzzling…not sipping…a very LARGE beer. His five steps forward and then stopping for a selfie photo in front of various sights as we walked to the ride entrance grew very annoying. Very quickly. We reached the front of the line finally. He decided to stop and answer a text message. Yes, a text. I bit my tongue in front of my child…momentarily.

“Let’s move along!” I said aloud.

He started walking and replied very loudly, “God, I’m texting!” AG&SJ#*S) <—–That’s the words going through my mind. The filtered version.

This will be a fun ride. Little A and I end up in the same car with the two guys. The intoxicated moron pulls out his phone as soon as he is out of the sight of the employees to tape the ride. Or update his Facebook. Or take another ugly selfie. Or call the President. Or throw it at Harry Potter…

The ride stops. I hear the lady say they are experiencing technical difficulties. Moron #1 & #2 didn’t hear her. So I decided to play my cards.

“Uh, you need to put your phone away. You can’t have it out on the ride. That’s why they stopped it.”

He looks at me, wide eyed and dumbfounded as he fumbles with his phone, trying to stuff it back into his pocket, his big meaty claw hands trying to hide the iPhone I called him out on.

The ride starts. I laugh on the inside. I’m not a mean person. But I don’t care for individuals who think the world revolves around them. I don’t think he enjoyed the rest of his ride much. I’m sure he took a selfie and texted his buddy Bob afterwards to let him know all about it. I feel sorry for Bob.

My youngest has had diarrhea and a runny nose since yesterday morning. He feels fine otherwise. I’m convinced he has what’s called, “Too much vacation”. This disease is a result of getting up at the crack of dawn to get to the theme park before everyone else, eating cr@p in the park, such as $21 buckets of stale popcorn in Jurassic Park because the popcorn comes in a plastic dinosaur head that we NEED to take home, and touching cr@p in the park that has been touched by thousands of people. <—- The thought of this kind of makes me nauseous. I may become a germaphobe before we leave here…

Riding a scooter while drinking a coke the size of a small child, Laffy Taffy and cigarettes in your front basket along with park brochures, and a full size bag of Lay’s potato chips in your hands does make me question your motives as to why you are riding in a scooter in the first place…I don’t believe “handicapped” plays into the reasoning…Just a guess…This includes the 3 other individuals riding along side you doing the same thing. Except the guy with the nachos who is steering with one hand, might prove me otherwise…

Overall, we’ve had a blast. So many memories. SO MANY. We’ve re-discovered each other as a family this past week. It has been amazing.

Only a few more days until we head home. I miss my bed. I miss my dog. I miss my coffee maker. But I have to admit, I hate the thought of leaving. Honestly.

Signing off. It’s time to head to the pool for a while. I also enjoy the strawberry daiquiris here at the hotel. They are $11.95 each, but, you know…It’s vacation. And I’m exhausted. But I’m grateful beyond belief for this little life of mine.

Stopping to to take snapshots of your life is so important. My camera lens is overflowing this week…

I love daiquiris and pool towels ~

VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

The World Through A Little One’s Eyes ~ An Interview With A 10 Year Old

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Me: So, thanks for letting me interview you today, Little A. Are you ready to answer these tough questions?

Little A: {Rolling eyes} Yes, Mommy. You said I could have a bowl of jellybeans after this though. You promised. Don’t…forget. {Leaning in REALLY close} Sometimes you forgettttt. (Touche’ Little A, Touche’)

Me: So, tell me, what has been the greatest disappointment in your life? Please elaborate.

Little A: {Laughing} Something fake, like a fake disappointment? No wait…I’m a little disappointed the Easter Bunny didn’t bring me Pokemon cards. But, that’s okay. I forgave him already.

Me: A monkey, a ghost and a horse with tap shoes on walks into a movie theatre…who sits down first, and why?

Little A: Whattttt, are you saying?! Well, the monkey because the ghost and horse are too slow, but the monkey is fast. Like, REALLY fast.

Me: What’s your take on the rising gas prices in the US?

Little A: Seriously?! Well, I guess it’s because the world makes dumb rules sometimes. That’s why.

Me: Please spell LACHRYMOSE, and provide me with the definition as well.

Little A: L-a-c-a-m-o-s-e. A wizard’s spell that makes you feel stupid when you shouldn’t feel stupid. You should feel smart, but I don’t, because I can’t spell this word right…

Me: Why do you think Chick-Fil-A misspells the word “chicken” in their TV commercials?

Little A: Because the cows didn’t go to college…

Me: Do you know what it means when someone says, “Don’t toot your own horn, Billy!”

Little A: Does it have to do with passing gas? If so, it means walk away before you pass gas to be polite to others in your realm.

Me: Do you know WHY the dish ran away with spoon after the cow jumped over the moon?

Little A: They ran away together because they loved each other. Silverware has a tendency to do that, or in this case, I think they do…That’s my take. {shrugs shoulders}

Me: So, I know how much you love Imagine Dragons. If you could have dinner with Dan Reynolds, what would you wear, where would you go to eat, and would you hug him or offer him a handshake? I don’t think he believes in cooties…

Little A: I would wear normal clothes, of course. Like shorts, and stuff. We would go to Chick-Fil-A, and I’d give him a handshake. I’d hug him after dessert. I think the time would be right then.

Me: Who’s your favorite? Mom or Dad? Wait…don’t answer that. Your Dad might read this, and it would make him sad…

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Me: Tell me, what is the meaning of life?

Little A: Can I ask Siri this question? No? Well then, life is just life. Live it, and live it good because we only get one.

Me: If Hogwarts was real…and I’m not necessarily saying it isn’t, but it might not be, but we like to believe that it is…what house do you think the Sorting Hat would choose for you and why?

Little A: Ravenclaw because it’s EPIC.

Me: How old do you think you’ll be when you get married? What do you think her name will be?

Little A: I’ll be 92 when I get married. Her name will be…{hanging upside down in the chair out of boredom}…

Me: If you could be invisible for one day, what would you do? It has to be legal, by the way.

Little A: It has to be legal?! Darn it…I would go knock on people’s doors and scare them. Maybe give them chocolate…melted chocolate…

Me: Luggage is to vacation, like tools are to…?

Little A: What? Say it again? Work, I guess. Tools are to work, because I don’t know of anyone who uses tools to play with. You shouldn’t play with tools. Especially if they are Dad’s tools…

 

Mom Love Times A Million ~

VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

Verizon Is Run By Monkeys From Outer Space

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Holy freaking bananas…this week has been utterly 100% ridiculous.

You know the saying, “When it rains, it pours”. I have been drenched to the core this week from all angles.

From strep throat that has overtaken our house, being stranded in the Walgreens parking lot with a dead car battery, incompetent people at Aetna insurance who failed to enter prescription drug coverage for my children despite the $4,000,000 we pay them each month in premiums AS A FAMILY, and Verizon FIOS….Oh Verizon FIOS…

As a busy wife, working mom and homeschooling aficionado, when things happen I need a solution. A remedy to get our family back on track.

1) The disgusting strep bug is now under control thanks to antibiotics and copious amounts of Lysol and Purell.

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2) While standing in line talking to Steven the gum-smacking moron at Walgreens about WHY my antibiotics are not covered by insurance, I found myself fueled with the “I Don’t Have Time For This” energy only mothers know. The energy of trembling hands, fuzzy vision and the sound of blood pumping against your ear drums at an astounding pace as you try and remain cool in front of a slew of sick strangers. The “Your Husband Is At Work, and Doesn’t Have Enough Cash For Bail Money” in his wallet reasoning that you try so hard to grasp onto. I kept my cool, I paid for my antibiotics OUT OF POCKET, and then I bought a Voodoo doll across the street to seek my revenge. No not really. Yes, we’ll say that for now…

3) When I walked out into the parking lot of Walgreens to drive across the street to get my Voodoo doll go home, my car was dead as a doornail. <—- What does that even mean, “Dead as a doornail?” What is a doornail? Moving on…I am standing in the parking lot, hood open, tears in my tired eyes, my husband unavailable as he was in training for a new job position and not answering his phone this ONE time, as I seriously considered hitchhiking to Canada with a total stranger, Voodoo doll purse under my arm. A man pulls up in a pickup truck, sees the ragged mother in faded yoga pants and a nine year old t-shirt with a mustard stain, and asks if I needed help. I obliged, even though my mother told me not to talk to strangers, I’m in a public place and I’m desperate. He finds the problem, grabs his toolbox from the back of his truck, and has my car up and running in less than 5 minutes. Good people still exist in this world.  For that, I am ever so grateful.

4) Aetna insurance never fixed the pharmacy coverage for my kids. At this point, I let it slide after talking to Martha for more than 45 minutes. Even after all that time, she still didn’t fix the issue. Seriously? We change health insurance on Monday. Thank heavens! And the country wonders why our health care industry is in such ruin…Incompetency, plain and simple.

5) Verizon FIOS will forever be on my naughty list. I have informed Santa Claus to NEVER deliver any toys to them from here until eternity. We upgraded our internet speed on Monday, and ever since then, we have been unable to access secure websites (i.e. Capital One, Bank of America, Chase, etc.). After HOURS of tech support, and even a technician visit, we were repeatedly told that our issue was our devices NOT our internet service. I was desperate. Peeved. Sleep-deprived. And my Voodoo doll was already too full of pins head was throbbing. My 13 year old son, who loves computers, researched the issue all morning, created a fix on his own, and our internet has been working beautifully ever since.

My teenager fixed something trained employees couldn’t do at Verizon. I am not one to seek revenge, but Verizon has wasted so much of my time over the past three days that I decided to make one final phone call to explain the issue for the 1,563rd time to a tech support specialist, not mentioning that my son had actually already fixed the problem. I was told by the tech support specialist that there was an outage in my area. An outage that was affecting YouTube, Capital One, Bank of America, and several other websites, and the inability to load secured webpages while using FIOS. In other wards, I was blatantly lied to. WOW.

I am convinced, that in fact, Verizon FIOS is run by monkeys from outer space. And if you don’t believe me, visit your local zoo and ask any Orangoutang or Chimpanzee there. More than likely they have family members working in the Verizon technical support office. I PROMISE. Just ask for “Bob” or “Larry”…

I Hate Verizon ~

VSK

Holiday Songs

Politically Incorrect Christmas Carols – Day 1 – “Baby It’s Cold Outside”

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Today I was listening to Pandora while putting up Christmas decorations with my kids. Yes, it is only November 13th. Yes, perhaps that’s a little crazy, but I decided to roll with it.

I LOVE Christmas music. Let me get that straight upfront before you accuse me of being a holiday hater. As a woman of words who feeds off of books, song lyrics and scripts I started listening. Like, REALLY LISTENING, to the lyrics of some of the holiday songs that we sing like well-trained carolers every year for roughly two months, before tucking them away and turning back to Roar by Katy Perry.

For the next month and a half, I’d like to break down the lines to some of our favorites. Humorously. But I think we owe it to ourselves to know WHAT exactly we are singing about as we stand in a 4 mile long line to check out at Walmart, a cart full of cr@p (you came in for two gift baskets, and you’re leaving with a box of 4800 candy canes, a Santa Claus dressed in a hawaiian shirt, reindeer slippers that jingle when you walk, and an angel dressed in camo holding a rifle), with a credit card in your hand while humming Jingle Bells as the lady in front of you picks her nose, and wipes it on the flannel sleeve of her plaid shirt. Welcome to the holidays. 🙂

Let’s break this down shall we? Up first…

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I really can’t stay (Baby, it’s cold outside) <—- Where is she in a hurry to? The grocery store, to donate blood, another date? I think we need this information upfront before singing about it.

I’ve got to go ‘way (Baby, it’s cold outside) <—– It’s AWAY, not ‘way. This is not 1995. No way! Way…

The evening has been (I’ve been hopin’ that you’d drop in) <—– Has been….delightful? Magical? Horrible? Weird? Awkward? Why didn’t she call before coming over? I smell a sinful secret here.

So very nice (I’ll hold your hand, they’re just like ice) <—- If your hands are ice cold, I refuse to hold them. Warm them up, then we’ll talk.

My mother will start to worry (Hey beautiful, what’s your hurry) <—-33 and living with your mom. It’s sweet of you to leave without telling her in the first place. Apparently you don’t own a cell phone.

And father will be pacing the floor (Listen to that fireplace roar) <—-My dad would have already called the cops by now. The fireplace doesn’t roar, it crackles. If it roars, apparently you are talking to Sirius Black in Harry Potter.

So really, I’d better scurry (Beautiful, please don’t hurry) <—-Rats scurry. I skip. If you scurry away, apparently you have no sense of direction. 

Well, maybe just a half a drink more (Put some music on while I pour) <—-Let’s keep drinking so I can get behind the wheel. Sounds like a stellar idea. Music? I’ll put some AC/DC on….

The neighbors might think (Baby, it’s bad out there) <—-Alright, you two are definitely cheating. It is bad out there. Especially if his wife comes home early.

Say, what’s in this drink (No cabs to be had out there) <—-Xanex. Enjoy.

I wish I knew how (Your eyes are like starlight now) <—-How to what? Tie your shoes, ride a bike, kill a cockroach, juggle oranges? Your eyes look like starlights because you’ve been drinking for the past hour. Duh.

To break this spell (I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell) <—-Okay, now I’m beginning to think we are dealing with Mary Poppins. Yes. It’s Mary Poppins and Harry Potter. I KNEW it.

I oughtta say no, no, no sir (You mind if I move in closer) <—-She said no, bro! What up? She didn’t invite you to “move in closer”. She said, no, no, no. That usually means…NO.

At least I’m gonna say that I tried (And what’s the sense in hurting my pride) <—-A slap across the cheek usually works. Or yelling. Or running…running is good.

I really can’t stay (Oh baby, don’t hold out) <—-You’ve been saying that for a while, but you are still here. I bet your mother is hysterical and your dad is fuming by now. Just a guess, sweetie.

Oh, but it’s cold outside <—-Put a coat on. Just a suggestion. Or a Snuggie.

My sister will be suspicious (Your lips look delicious) <—- I knew it! It’s your sister’s husband! Ah-ha! 

My brother will be there at the door (I ain’t worried about you brother) <—- Whoa. What kind of family IS this?!

My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious (That ol’ biddy, she ain’t gonna bother me) <—- Is this an episode of Downton Abbey? Or maybe an episode of Real Housewives of Orange County? I think we’ll go with Jerry Springer on this one.

Well maybe just a cigarette more (You don’t need no cigarette, it’s smokin’ plenty up in here) <—- Smoking, drinking, canoodling, cheating….if this isn’t the perfect picture of a happy holiday family, I don’t know what is…

I’ve got to get home (Baby, you’ll freeze out there) <—- Seriously, put on a coat. Should I spell that for you? Or better yet, have you ever heard of a jacket? Sweater? Housecoat?

Say, lend me a comb (It’s up to your knees out there) <—- You need to brush your hair? What if he has lice? “Say, this has been such a romantic evening I feel like brushing my hair.” Best turn on line EVER. 

You’ve really been grand (I thrill when you touch my hand) <—- You’ve been a jerk and pushed her boundaries. Please don’t call her tomorrow.

Oh, but don’t you see (How can you do this thing to me) <—- See what? Oh wait, yikes…things are getting a little too personal here. Cue the chorus….

There’s bound to be talk tomorrow (Well, think of my lifelong sorrow) <—- Ya think?! You had it coming. Your mom is worried and your dad is pacing. You’re cheating with your sister’s husband, your brother is about to show up, and the neighbors are spying.  I assume it will sound more like yelling than talking though by the time this is over…

At least there will be plenty implied (If you caught pneumonia and died) <—- Happy thoughts. Way to end a song. With death after a fantastic night. Warms my heart like lumpy gravy.

I really can’t stay (Get over that hold out) <—-Get over that hold out? Apparently you need to put the bottle down, sweetheart.

Oh, but baby it’s cold outside <—- {sigh} We’ve discussed this. We. Have. Discussed. This.

Happiness All Around ~

VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

Las Vegas, Where For Art Thou? Seriously…Where Are You?!

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Las Vegas with my better half is in 11 days. Thank you, sweet, beloved, amazingly awesome JESUS!

I know you’re wondering what the heck the picture is above, and what it has to do with Vegas. Nothing, actually. But it was today’s science project with Little A. He’s learning about ecosystems in science, so we decided to make our very own ecosystem. It’s kinda cool, actually. It’s like a separate little world within a mason jar. Tiny people live in there. I’m kidding…It’s not Avatar, folks….

My son is smitten with his “planet”. My dog on the other hand, hates it. She has been staring at it for an hour. I have no idea why. I guess she wishes she could live inside the jar. Dogs are weird. Especially mine. Sometimes she watches the dust float around in the air when the sun filters through our living room windows just right. I have a feeling her head isn’t screwed on tight enough. Or maybe she just wishes she was a scientist. Like Phineas and Ferb. Now those two dudes are COOL.

Then there’s  me. I’m a mess. Not in terms of “causing trouble”, at least not today…

But in terms of my body is a complete disaster area. So I tried to be this crafty mom last Thursday. I took the boys and met a friend of mine and her son at a nature preserve across town to take pictures. I’m too cheap to pay for a real photographer, so I thought I’d do my own work. I have to say, I think I did pretty good, but I’m being paid back for being crafty. Dang it. Never again.

By Saturday morning I had large red welts that itched like holy heaven along my torso and back. Even my armpits. Joy.

Mosquito bites? Nah, too easy. Try chigger bites. I haven’t had chigger bites in like, 30 years. I forgot how freakin’ awful they are too. I mean, re-donk.

Then my kids start complaining they itch, and they are covered as well. NOTHING CURES CHIGGER BITES.

I have tried everything except cutting them off with a steak knife. That’s next…

My husband has been working like a fool for the past week. That’s a whole other story I won’t get into. But his schedule has been brutal. So Saturday afternoon, with my chigger bites in tow, I mowed the lawn. No biggie. I’ve done it before. Sometimes mowing with my headphones on is therapy. I needed a distraction from the awful itchiness…you feel me?

Saturday night, my lower back feels like someone kicked me repeatedly with a pair of old cowboy boots. It hurts. Aleve does nothing. Not even Aleve taken with a glass of wine. Maybe two glasses.

I go to bed. I can’t turn over. If I try, my breath leaves my lungs when my muscles tense. I NEVER have back problems. Word up?!

I sleep terrible. My husband snores. I think about things in the dark. Like, if someone breaks in tonight and tries to kill me, they will. My back hurts too much to move.

I need to pee. I refuse to get out of bed. I finally give in after half an hour of trying to talk myself out of it. It takes me ten minutes to scoot off the side of the bed. By the time I get back from the bathroom half an hour later, I’m wide awake. Getting back into bed takes another ten minutes. This is what old must feel like. I hate it. I think about ordering a Hoveround and Life Alert. Maybe these things really ARE awesome…

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(Do you like the spotted background? I did it as an honor to my chigger bites that make me want to chew my skin off.)

Today things aren’t much better. At 2pm this afternoon, I announce to my kids that I’m going to take a bath. They look at me weird.

Big A – “It’s the middle of the day.”

I nod.

Big A – “So, like, when was the last time you actually USED that bathtub, Mom?”

Me – “Probably 3 or 4 years ago.”

Middle A – “Does the whirlpool tub still ACTUALLY work?” I shrug. Guess we’ll find out whether or not I get electrocuted when I push the power button.

I hobble off, bent over like an old woman, scratching her chigger bites.

I fill the tub. I grab a book, a glass of tea, some chocolate covered raisins and some old bubble bath I found stuffed in the back of my bathroom cabinet. Does bubble bath go bad? I sniff it. Smells fine. A little “cabinet” like, but it’ll do. I figure, if I’m going to take a bath in the middle of the day on a Monday, I might as well make it count.  We’re going all out, folks.

Fifteen minutes in, I break out in a sweat. This is why I hate taking baths. They make you sweat. What’s the point of even bathing if you’re going to sweat through the whole darn thing?

I wipe my brow and continue reading while I eat my snack. The jets feel heavenly on my back. Thirty minutes later I have to get out, or risk suffering a heat stroke.

So where is Vegas?! Seriously…Where.Is.It? I can’t wait to leave. To get out of here and pretend to be someone else for a while. You know you do the same when you go to Vegas, don’t lie.

You leave work behind, family, friends, kids, chores, dirty toilets…and it’s epic.

You lay by the pool and read uninterrupted, and drink something vodka infused and fruity at 9am without ever blinking an eye.

You sleep in. You wave at strangers and eat Subway sandwiches at three in the morning just because you can. And that sandwich costs you $900 dollars (that’s Vegas pricing), but it tastes better than any Subway sandwich back home. Ever.

You go to see a show at 10pm at The Mirage, and drink Red Bull to stay awake because you’re old and you can’t stay up past ten anymore without nodding off during a re-run of ‘Cheers’.

You laugh, eat, reminisce and fall in love all over again with your better half. I do, each and every time. We are so alike. We enjoy being together, making fun of people in the shops of Caesar’s Palace, ordering room service while getting dressed to GO OUT and eat again, playing $.01 slot machines and winning nothing, but it doesn’t matter because you’re together.

And this is why I love Las Vegas. Because it’s just the two of us. That’s it. It’s that simple. We love our yearly trip to this crazy city just to reignite the “crazy” in both of us. Because life is short. And it’s worth living, savoring…all of it. So that’s what we do. Together.

Hopefully by the time we leave, the dog will have stopped staring at the terrarium, and my back and bites will have dissipated. One can only hope. I have eleven days. Eleven days to buy that Hoveround….

Itchin’ and Hurtin’ For Vegas ~

VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

Sniffing Should Be Outlawed (A Slumber Party In My Son’s Room)

2012-12-Toddler-Night-Waking

I need to be honest tonight. Today…disastrous. It has been an emotionally and physically draining day. I haven’t had a day like this in a long while. Today, it snuck up on me and bit me in the hiney with a vengeance.

Today sucked. There’s no other way to describe it. So much so, I wish I could pack my pink backpack with multicolored hearts on it that I had in the 3rd grade and run away for a while. That backpack…man I loved that thing. It was the backpack that took me places. The one that I hid my Cabbage Patch doll named Aggie Hannah in behind my Trapper Keeper notebook that I smuggled into Dunn Elementary. We were friends, Aggie and I. I’d check on her at lunch, kissing her bald head before eating my peanut butter sandwich at the lunch table. I’m not weird. I wasn’t a deranged child. I was an ONLY child. Aggie and I were close. She is now melting in my attic in a black garbage bag stuffed behind the Christmas tree. But we are close.

The consuming snowball of a distasteful day started last night. My husband had to get up at 3:45 this morning for work. He’s a computer guy. You know where I’m going with this.

The world wide web never sleeps. I wanted to sleep, so I politely told him I was going to stay upstairs to avoid being woken up by his tiptoeing around. When I say tiptoeing, I mean walking through our bedroom like a blind ape in a cage full of lions. Men can’t be quiet. I think women are born with the ability to be quiet as a mouse. We are caregivers, mothers, helpers. We have to be quiet, calm and know when to “keep it down”. Men like slamming doors, coughing in the dark at 1am while they run the ice maker in the kitchen, bedroom door open to get a drink of water to calm the cough that woke you up an hour ago. You’ve been there, ladies. {high five}

My youngest who has ears that can hear you eating a chocolate popsicle downstairs and across the house while the vaccum is running and the stereo in the living room is playing AC/DC heard me say, “I’m sleeping upstairs tonight.”

Little A: “You’re sleeping upstairs, Mommy?”

Me: “Yes honey.”

Little A: “Wellllll….why don’t you sleep in my room? We could have a slumber party!” <—-His eyes are the size of Frisbee’s here

Me: “Um, okay. But where am I going to sleep? On the floor? Mommy’s back is too old to sleep on the floor sweetie.”

Little A: “Well you can have my bed and I’ll sleep on the floor.”

His bed is the size of a walnut.

Me: “Well no, but thank you for offering. I think I’ll take Alex’s bed in his room. Maybe Alex can sleep with you.” <——-Those big eyes are now filled with tears.

My mommy heart melts into a puddle of mush. How can I say no to that sweet little face that makes my world go round? I can’t. So I fulfill my fate of a sleepless night.

Me: “Alright. I’ll sleep with you in your room. I’ll bring a twin mattress in and I’ll sleep on the floor. How does that sound?”

Little A: “Oh yes, Mommy! We can read and tell stories!”

He’s smitten. So was I for about half an hour.

I read. He reads. My back hurt. The twin mattress I’m on feels like a piece of plywood covered in rocks. I fidget. My hip hurts. Crud, this night is going to be awful. I’m old. I have aches.

My mind wanders. I’m REALLY into my book. He sets his down ten minutes after he starts reading.

Little A: “You ready for sleeping, Mommy?”

Um, no. I smile. “Sure. Are you ready for sleeping, hon?” He nods.

We turn the light off. I’m not tired. He fidgets in his bed. He drops his stuffed SpongeBob twice on the floor in fifteen minutes and asks me to pick it up. I now despise Spongebob and his ugly black shoes.

He sniffs. I should have given him an allergy pill.

My leg is aching. This $%^* mattress.

He keeps sniffing. “Please stop sniffing, sweetheart. Do you need a tissue?”

Little A: Sniff, sniff, sniff  “No thank you.”

I think about errands tomorrow. Did I shut the garage door after taking the dog for a walk tonight? Why is there a green light glowing from behind his dresser? I think about the green light. What do we have that emits a green light in this house? Surge protectors have red lights in our house. iPod chargers don’t have lights. What the frick is it? I sit up. The light goes off. A green light ghost.

I turn over. My shoulder is on fire. I fluff my pillows. He sniffs. My sweet mother Mary, if he sniffs again I may smother my child. I’ll tell the authorities the mysterious green light made me do it.

I start singing “Radioactive” in my head. I can hear that dad-gum drum beating against my brain. I now hate this song. He sniffs. Holy nerds on a ship I’m gonna lose it. “It’s a revolution I suppose. We’re painted red, to fit right in. Whoa. I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones, enough to make my systems blow, welcome to the new age, to the new age, welcome to the new age….”

I finally fall asleep. I’m dreaming about being in Mike Tyson’s apartment with a black cat the size of a bird that talks. I hear a scuffle. I open my eyes. Little A is up. He’s standing at his door, opening it wide. I sit up.

Me: “Hey, where are you going?”

He walks over to me in the dark and bends down. “What are you doing in my room?” He then stands up and climbs back into bed. He sniffs. He’s sleepwalking. I feel like pounding a hole in the wall. He sniffs….I sigh. Loudly.

6:15am. I wake up. Something’s at the bedroom door. I open it. The dog runs in and sneezes in my bed. Twice before getting under my blanket and licking her feet. I kick her. She jumps on Little A’s bed, waking him up. He wakes up sniffing. I roll my eyes in the dark and lay down.

I close my eyes. My body aches like I’ve slept in a gravel pit. I’m pretty sure my left foot is numb. I feel hands on my shoulder.

Little A: “Hey Mommy, you awake?”

Me: “Well, I am now.”

I fidget and get up. I’m so tired I have trouble seeing the stairs twisting my ankle on the way down. Fab. It was the numb foot too.

I make Little A breakfast. He asks how I slept. Before I answer, he sniffs.

So tired I could cry and punch someone ~

VSK