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Archive for February, 2012

This week I decided to write about a time I was tricked.

At first I thought, “This is going to be difficult!” but then, after only a few minutes I had my post in my head and just needed to put it on wordpress! I think it’s pretty bad that it only took me a few minutes for this to pop into my head. Apparently I was a very gullible kid… but it always backfires in the end!

It was a LOOOONG time ago… in a town not so far away.

I think I was about 11 or 12. I used to love to ride my bicycle EVERYWHERE! I rode distances at 12 years old that some people can’t even do in the 20’s or 30’s! But Long Island was different back then.

Anyway, I had just arrived home from a very long ride. My Aunt Cathy was over and her and my mom was in the kitchen having coffee or whatever relatives do. I walked in, said hello and then went directly upstairs to take a nap. My annoying brother was in the living room watching TV.

I remember lying down and hearing my mother and Aunt talking and then my mother called in to the living room for my brother…

IDIOT BROTHER: What ma!

Mother: I need you to go to the store for me.

IDIOT BROTHER: I just got back from going to the store for you!

Mom: Yeah, but I forgot some things. Can’t you go for me please?

IDIOT BROTHER: No. You should not have forgotten anything. It’s faster if you drive anyway.

Mom: You’re an idiot. At least your brother is nice and I can count on him to go for me. Jim!

Me: What?

Mom: I know you will go to the store for me unlike your brother!

Me: OK. What do you need?

I still remember the smirk on my Aunts face as I had not yet realized I had been duped into going to the store for my mother. I didn’t realize it until I was halfway there that she was just buttering me up so I would go for her.

When I got to the store, I remember what she wanted was on sale so I used the extra money to play Pac-Man for over an hour. When I arrived home my mom was upset that it took me so long.

My answer? “You asked me to go but you never said you needed me to come back right away!”

Ha ha. Sometimes the things we remember without thinking about it.

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There are certain things about having a child that we know, as parents, we will have to endure and deal with. We will do our best when that happens but we still have to endure it. Things like our kid falling off a swing or their bicycle. Bringing them to the hospital and help them through the experience, sometimes somewhat traumatic, of having to become the receiver of shots, stitches or even a cast.

But how do we get past when our babies don’t even have the opportunity to be born? It’s hard on every level.

If you are a good parent, you want the best for your child so you stop doing things once you learn you are pregnant. You stop eating cold cuts, certain cheeses, coffee (and for most people no coffee is a sacrilege!) We did it all perfectly correct… or I should say my amazing wife did. She stopped drinking coffee, she hasn’t had anything from her favorite place Quiznos since we found out, and she took prenatal vitamins immediately. Everything was being done as they say it should be done.

I didn’t go to the first sonogram of our 2nd child because I had to work and we didn’t expect any complications. Neither did our doctor. Our daughter was conceived and born without incident. There weren’t any issues which came about in all of the testing.

This time, there was a problem. When I found out I felt I had failed as a husband to my wife because, well, I wasn’t there with her when she found out.

I should have been, regardless of having a perfect happy and healthy baby girl the first time, who currently only has 2 lower teeth and blows raspberries everywhere until EVERYTHING is covered in her spittle. I can assure you, that won’t happen again.

She was 8 weeks along at the time and the doctor was concerned about a finding that we may be looking at a child with Down’s syndrome. There isn’t a history of it on either side of our family, so it came as a shock. We went in for consultation with our doctor and we decided on an amniocentesis. It was less dangerous to possible issues that the alternative. At this point we were around 11 weeks or so along.

The earliest they told us it could be done is 15 weeks and so we scheduled it for February 20th, president’s day. That made us around 15 ½ weeks along and they were hoping it could be done. If not, we would just reschedule.

We went in and our hearts just broke.

During the initial sonogram to set things up and see what was going on we received the horrible news. I will never forget those 2 horrible words or how they were said.

No. heartbeat.

It was said matter of factly. Sort of like, sorry but we are out of that kind of bread. It was worse each time she said it and she must have said it like 7 or 8 times. Being a nursing student, I was looking at the sonogram and looking for the nachal transparency and nose bones, which are both initial signs of possible Downs’. I wasn’t looking for the heart.

I knew my wife would be upset and very distraught about it, as any parent would be. But out of the 2 of us I knew it would affect her more. She has more public composure than I do, but it did affect her harder.

Obviously we didn’t have to do the amnio which we went in for. I thought I was nervous about doing this and then having to wait for the results to see if we were going to have a child with special needs, this news hit me like a punch to the gut.

Our doctor was empathetic and told us to call with any questions after he explained everything. I was still very concerned about my wife

You see, she is AMAZING! She does everything for others first. When it was thought there was a possibility of our baby having downs’, she thought it was her fault because we were having 2 children less than 1 ½ years apart. No matter how much I and the doctor told her it would not have any bearing on it. She said she understood but I know her and I know she still felt it was her fault because we had 2 children very close together.

With this news, she thought it was her fault because we just recently moved and she felt she did too much. She didn’t do too much. The heaviest thing she lifted was maybe 4 lbs which was a toaster oven. I did all the heavy lifting. And, even though the doctor and I did everything to convince her that it would not affect this, I am sure she still thinks that’s why… but it isn’t.

I explained to her that sometimes, when there are too many issues or an issue that is just too severe that nature just takes over and does what it thinks is appropriate. Some people think its god, but since we are not religious and – since my mother’s death – I am MUCH more atheist then some others, I go with nature.

We left and she totally broke down in the car. I consoled her but it is impossible, under these circumstances, to console her completely. I did my best as her husband and hope I did enough for that moment for her. To let her know I understood as best I could and that I was there with her and for her and that we would deal with this together.

I immediately went to work and told them I wouldn’t be working that day as I needed to be there for her. I work across the street for our doctor’s office so it was within 10 minutes of finding out. The reaction the director had when I told her was absolutely disgusting as both a nurse and even more so as a human being. She just flipped over to her schedule, marked me off, acted like I was causing her a major inconvenience and then said “I guess you are going to do what you have to.” With a sigh.

I thought it was just me overly sensitive in the moment… but my friend from work came with me to assist and said he wanted to punch her for that reaction and how can she show absolutely no empathy or sympathy and she supposed to be a nurse.

We went and picked up our daughter from the sitters. She started crying at a point, which she never does. I am sure she knew mom and dad were upset. Babies pick up on that kind of thing.

We went home and I consoled Erica each time she broke down.

I waited until she was asleep and I was alone and broke down hard. I mean I did break down a little at the doctor’s office and again at work when all my co workers were asking what was wrong, but it was small. I was upset and I let some tears flow but I didn’t break down until nearly midnight after everyone was asleep and I was in a different room. It felt horrible but also needed.

How do we move on from here? Like I stated earlier, we are not religious people, but if we are wrong and there is a heaven… are we going to meet our son or daughter as they would have been had they not died?

We feel guilty. We feel like we took this pregnancy for granted and didn’t really think too much about it until there were problems. I remember with MJ, when she was still cooking I used to put my hand on Erica’s belly all the time and talk to her and make jokes and stuff. I remember saying things like “Hurry up and cook already! We want to meet you!” I feel REALLY bad because this pregnancy I think I only did that once maybe twice.

All I really want to say is this:

Our little Baby, we never were able to meet you… but we really WERE looking forward to it. We were looking forward to being there and watching you grow and helping you in every way we could. Even had you been born with Downs’ we still want you to know, we would have loved you more and more every day. You still would have been our perfect second child. I am sorry I seemed so non-chalant about our pregnancy with you… but I was SO excited when Erica (your mom) told me you were coming! I wanted you to meet your sister and for all the outings and family gatherings you would have seen. You are going to be missed and we are sorry we didn’t seem to celebrate your coming as much as we should have… but all that was coming. We love you and we will miss you every day!

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Recently I watched a really good video. Now, if I was 16 years old and I was the one receiving the punishment I would not think it was so great… however, I am older and wiser so I can appreciate the video a lot more.

Now the nature of the video is causing many mixed opinions. Now, opinions are good but they are really personal. I mean its not someone elses responsibility to pass what they decide is justice or even vocalize it. I mean saying I don’t agree with what you said/did is one thing. Saying “that was wrong and its abuse and you should blah blah blah” is not ok nor is it constructive or helpful in any way. In fact, saying crap like that will do nothing more than make people think your opinion is crap and that you are an uneducated moron.

Now what happened in the video is this. Apparently a teenage daughter did not like how her parents were treating her and decided to write a rant on her facebook page about it. Now, her father works in IT and found the rant, printed it out, made a youtube video and made her punishment public… just as her rant about her parents was made public. She basically went off on her parents about how she has to do chores around her house and how her parents wont buy her the things she wants. But she, being a teenager, made it out to be much worse than it actually was and I can really see how BOTH her parents were upset and hurt by the post.

After her father explained his side of the chores in their reality, not the teenage delusion the daughter made, he ended it by saying the laptop computer that he worked on for her, was her punishment and he took a .45 pistol out and shot it in his backyard 6 or 7 times.

I think this was PERFECT!!

The comments were all over the place. Now, if the laptop had been purchased by the daughter with her own money, then I would think he was wrong… but it wasn’t. It was paid for by the parents and given to her. Given or not, parents take things away all the time. I remember being a teenager and having my bicycle, computer, tv and anything else that I liked to play with or use be taken away.

The only thing I did not agree with about the situation is that the father is making the daughter pay $130 he spent on upgrading her software on her laptop. The reason I do not agree with this is because it was his adult decision to use the laptop as target practice after he worked on it. Regardless of the reason, I do not think the girl should have to pay that money. She should have to buy her own laptop if she wants a new one and then she would appreciate it more.

The post she wrote, to me, she sounded like a spoiled liitle brat. And I do feel kids today have become VERY overly disrespectful towards adults. The things I see and the way I see kids treat their parent is astonishing. What is even worse is that the parents do not do anything about it. I agree with the “tough love” concept. I do NOT agree with hitting a child in any way, but I do think taking things away and such for LONG lengths of time are the only way a child can learn to appreciate it more.

What do you think? Do you think kids today seem more disrespectful of adults today as opposed to pre-1985? Do you think the father is justified with destroying a laptop that he purchased because his daughter was publicly disrespectful towards the parents? How do you feel about this type of parenting, embarrassing your kids whether publicly or not so publicly? Keep in mind this was not the first time it happened. If you have time check out the video which is linked above and below and tell me what you think.

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This week I chose option 2 – when you couldn’t think things could go wrong… they did. The reason for this is because, well, I am pretty tired of hearing about Whitney Houston, I could only come up woth 1 thing that I NEVER want to do, and the last two I think I will save for posts for later this week… maybe.

Usually when I post, I use the first thing which jumps into my mind about the topic and the first thing that jumps into my mind was October 29th, 2004. I remember this day because its when EVERYTHING fell apart all at once, but lets start at the beginning of the day.

I started out the day as normal. I went to work, and just kept busy. At the time my mother was sick so I was immersing myself in work. I had talked to my boss earlier about taking some vacation time and he told me he just needed to check what was going on that week because he had this tendency of putting his vacation in like 8 months ahead of time. So around lunchtime he called me into his office and he and our other boss were there and apparently they were doing cutbacks and eliminated my position. So I was laid off. The good thing is they told me I didn’t have to work through the end of the day… oh whoopee! I had bills to pay!

So after being mopey and heading home, that is when I broke down. I was sort of having a mental break down because I was not unemployed, had a HUGE amount of debt to pay which I worried about how I was going to pay off every day and I felt guilty because my mother was going through chemo at home and I wasn’t there to help.

I remember pacing back and forth in my apartment and my phone rang. It was my sister. Now my sister and I have a great relationship and I started to tell her what was going on with me and then she broke down. Apparently my mother was in the hospital again and the nurses told her and my father to call me and get me down to Long Island. I remember hearing my sister break down and cry and through her tears all she could say is that she wanted her mother back. It broke my heart that I could not console my sister and I felt guilty for feeling sorry for myself after being laid off. So I told her I would be home in a couple of hours.

I immediately called my cousin whom I have been super close with since we were little and told him what happened. He was supposed to meet me on Long Island the next afternoon just as I had done when his father passed away and I was there for him. Well I arrived on Long Island a few hours later and went to the hospital the next day and for the rest of the week after that.

My cousin never showed until close to the last second and then he left the next morning. I have never heard from him since.

My mother died 5 days later.

It was definitely the most difficult time in my life but we all dealt with it and have been able to move on.

I helped my dad go through his grieving process and started on the path for me to do what I really want to do.

I met the love of my life, married her and have an awesome and gorgeous baby girl with a second baby on the way.

It took some time but I found the silver lining. My dad and I have a REALLY close relationship now. Before this I was good with him but not where I should be as a father/son relationship… but now we are. And losing my job helped me go back to school and start on the path to do a job I really want to do.

Just goes to show there is a lesson to be learned in everything and that everything happens for a reason… even if we do not see it at the time. Do you agree?

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This week on Mama Kats Writer’s Workshop we were to take one of the stories from last weeks’ Life stories post and go into detail. Since I went into detail on most of them and this story is the one we still refer to when we are together I thought I would repost this.

Run in with the “Hey, Knock it off” guy

One time we were out riding bikes. We were about 13 maybe, and we were just sitting around by the 3rd street hills chatting. I was messing with this really big rock, Pat found this axe handle he was batting pebbles with, Danny had a really big beer bottle. It was a colt 45 bottle but we had never seen a beer bottle that HUGE before so we thought it was cool. And Mark had a wise ass mouth! LOL. Funny how mark is in most of these stories… but then again we have been friends for over 35 years.

Well we got up and left and we all took our found treasures with us. To this day I have no idea why I took a huge 10+ pound rock but kids do weird things.

We rode down the dead end street because we could ride through and I threw my rock at a stop sign and it made a HUGE BONG! After I did that Danny threw the bottle at the sign and missed and it broke on the curb and Pat swung the axe handle at the sign and it made an even bigger BONG.

We rode through the street and this guy yells “HEY, Knock it off!” And, Mark not being armed with a wise mouth mocked him in a very funny voice and we rode to the creek hills.

Now the creek hills were a few small hills with a creek running through but it was an undeveloped area and it opened up to 5 or 6 different streets. We used it many times to get away from kids who were chasing us during our bike chases (but that is a story for another Blog). We stopped on a hill and Mark wanted to keep going but I had my new Puma sneakers on and say “No way, not with my new Pumas!”

So we were laughing about it and how the guy yelled at us and Marked Mocked him again. Just as he did it this big car screeched to a stop about 15 feet or so from us and it was the Hey Knock it off guy. This time he yelled, quite angrily I may add “Hey you kids, get over here!”

So we did what any group of kids does… we took off through the creek and down the path.

We stopped a little down the path because I had a feeling the guy was waiting for us to pop out on one of the streets. Sure enough, he passed by our location and yelled at us again so we took off in the opposite direction.

We did this for about 10-15 minutes with the guy going from one street access to another and we rode to a different one. After 15 minutes he disappeared for a while so we were about to leave and a car drove past one of the entrances but it was a different car. We didn’t leave right away but I knew we needed to because there was something in the trunk. Apparently the Hey Knock it off Guy had gotten his wife’s bicycle, complete with while plastic woven basket with flowers on the front, and asked his friend to bring him to the far entrance and he was going to chase us. Luckily we realized what was happening and took off, but he nearly caught Danny and we took off this time.

Luckily we were all VERY fast on our bikes and he could not catch us. He chased us all the way to the Junior High school which was about 6 or 7 long blocks away and so we did our normal routine.

We cut through Jr. High and jumped the rear steps and waited on the dirt road to see what was going on. This area was always safe because we had about 50-100 feet in every direction to see someone coming at us and a car would have to jump the steps. Once we saw the car with the basket bicycle pull up, we waited for the car to unload the bike and we yelled “Hey Knock it off” in our nasally mocking voice and did the last thing we always did. Beat it to my house, went into the back yard, turned one of the bicycles upside down and popped the chain so it looked like we were working on it and watched through my back yard hedges to see if he passed by. With the hedges we could see people but they had difficulty seeing us.

He rode past and we never heard from him again. To this day we do the nasally, mock voice for him saying “Hey, Knock it off!”, back then – we didn’t go anywhere near that road for 2 weeks… just in case.

 

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