Saturday, November 15, 2014

It must be the holidays!

         Well now, we have had an eventful week.  Feisty Pants had Veterans Day off, and so did Hippie Pants, so we spent the morning raking leaves and doing yard work.  Then Goo, who was on a "let's get this stuff done kick" (and who was gently reminded with a kick to his shins by FP), dragged out all our Christmas stuff out of our attic.  So we put the tree and lights up too. (You're welcome, neighbors! ) The day was long, especially for Goo, but Tuesday evening we were feeling down right cheerful and Christmasy. (Shut up, that is too a word.)
        The universe has rewarded all our hard work and bon vivance (that is also a word, so still shut up) by giving us a few days off.  As in nothing's getting done now because we all have ebola.  Or the plague. Or zombie flu. Or whatever hideous, awful, literally gut wrenching virus is going around here right now.  I shouldn't whine too much.  No one is having terrible complications, especially FP. It doesn't last forever.   It only feels that way.  And we have been very lucky.  Feisty Pants is having only minor, if messy, tummy troubles. Goo and I did not get it at the same time, so while it makes for a very loooonngg couple of days for one of us, we are able to handle it without having to beg relatives for favors.  It does make me worry what one is supposed to do when a minor crisis becomes a major dilemma because you have a special needs child.  I cannot just hire a babysitter. Seriously, it cannot be legally done. You have to be trained on her machines. We had to take classes on them before we ever allowed to bring her home as a baby.  Nursing care is usually available but hard to arrange, so by the time it is set up, the crisis has passed.  We are so lucky that Hippie Pants is close enough to help on the mornings she doesn't work. 
         But, we are indeed lucky, and so far, fingers crossed, in eleven years we have yet to hit a snag where we couldn't find a solution.  We will recover, even if we all whine the entire time.  It is just a nasty tummy bug.  We did, after all, get our major work for the week done beforehand.  But if you are new to the caring for a feisty one, make sure you have plans for the crazy stuff.  Like what to do if you all get some horrible zombie flu at the same time.  Or someone needs an emergency appendectomy.  Or gets hurt because some idiot did not see the 6'3"  man in the bright blue coat and white helmet on the big silver and black scooter and hits him with her car thus putting one his arms out of commission for three months.  Or any of a billion things that complicate all our lives on a daily basis.  Otherwise, what is a minor (or even major) complication becomes a tsunami of "how the hell will I ever get this done?"

Monday, November 10, 2014


           If there is one thing I have more than enough of in my life, it is frigging paperwork.  I like to think I am a decently moral person.  I hope I was the same in any past life.  But, alas, I must have been a book thief or some horrible weeny mean  governmental pencil pusher because I am certainly paying penance for it now.  We all have annoying forms to fill at some point.  But I never had so many forms with so many levels of inanity as I do with Feisty Pants.
           I get some of it.  It's awful, but the reality is disabled children are our most vulnerable members of society and, as such, are often prey for the worst among us.  Paper trails help keep track.  It makes sure people are paying attention to those who have little or no voice.  It is supposed to mean that those who fill out such forms have seen the kiddo involved. That paperwork should exist.  But I routinely fill out STUPID forms with silly questions and no one gives you bonus points for being funny. Although I must admit, I will be a bit of a smarty pants if I think can get away with it.  I know it's childish, but when I have to answer a legal form that asks me what language my then 2 month old speaks, I answer gibberish.  The person receiving the formula didn't appreciate it but tough.  And do not ask me to fill out a form I don't actually have to.  I used to politely explain that I did not work for whoever wanted some form I was not responsible for.  Now I just laugh maniacally and hang up on them.  What is some random clerk going to do, fire me?
           The craziest form so far was when I got randomly audited for our taxes and had to prove that Feisty Pants EXISTED.  With two statements from people who dealt with her on a professional basis.   Feisty Pants has been in therapy from the time she was 2 months old.  Children under three are provided early intervention by the state. Since three, she has been in special education.  There is a lot of paper work involved.  All overseen by the state we live in.  Bet you can't guess who audited us.  All they would have had to do was look at their own damn paper work.  Her former teacher provided me a letter of such brilliant, cutting wit I am surprised the auditor did not need stitches.
          And now, sigh, I am looking at a new Tolstoy novel's worth of paper again.  This time from a governmental agency that wants to make sure she still disabled. Because cp and brain injuries clear up on their own, donchyaknow.  As if I wouldn't  be shouting it from the rooftops and doing cartwheels down my street if she did.   And they want to know things like, "How many time has this child been hospitalized?" (We lost count after 2 effing dozen about when FP was three. )  Or, " How many times has the child seen a doctor in the past two years? ( About as often as I change my undies.) On and on, ad nauseum. Sigh.  So if you drive past our house and see Feisty Pants and me roasting marshmallows in the driveway,  I just bet you can't guess what we are roasting them over.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How to Traumatize Other's People's Children Without Even Trying

               If I ever want to be the next John Carpenter or Wes Craven, I won't have to look far for inspiration.  All I will have to do get a transcript of any one of Feisty Pants' visits to the (insert dramatic music cue here) dentist (insert roll of thunder, flash of lightning).  It's a classic horror tale.  All the elements are there.  The day starts out seemingly normal.  The office seems fine, friendly even.  Everything is all right -at first.(Cue shot of overly dramatic prairie dog) Then, like all good horror stories, it begins to seem anxious and the tension builds.  The nice office staff suddenly seem creepy.  Feisty Pants begins to express her anxiety softly at first, but then loud enough that she is whisked away into a back room and doors quickly shut so other kids won't be frightened.  Too late. They already are.  They've seen her face full of suspicion and fear.
              Next comes the really scary part for the other kiddos.  As they begin to ... (wait for it) clean her teeth, she starts howling and bitching.  LOUDLY.   Then the dentist, who actually is a very nice man calmly proceeds to say things that must seem weird to an outsider.  Things like, "I know your scared but must you bite?"  Or, "Oopsy, that's a lot blood for that. Suction, please"  All while Feisty Pants is screaming, "You done? Get done! Go home now!" or "Done. Be Done!" or the ever popular, "Goo! I want GOO! GOONOWNOWNOWNOWNOW!"  And, remember boys and ghouls, her speech is very garbled. When agitated, she sounds like she is crying and whining.  And that's BEFORE she has a mouth full of dental instruments.  Sometimes she kicks too.  So let's see... That's weird dental instrument noises, check.  Child shrieking and seemingly moaning, check.  Suction noises, the mention of blood, and the occasional bang and thump, check.   Yup.  That should just about do it for scary movie noises.  And we are waaayyyyy off in the very back of the dentist's office.  I think that's because the office staff are trying to dampen the noise down so as not to scare the other kids.  Fools.  Those kids all know that's where the dungeon must be kept.  They put all the screamers back there.
               And just when the tension cannot get any higher, it's abruptly quiet. That's almost as freaky as the all the noise was.  I'm sure some kid thinks Feisty Pants has died of fear or been smothered to keep her quiet.  And then, the nice dental hygienist who has been talking in that annoying voice all grown ups get when trying to jolly some little kid (but, let's face it, big people, only comes across as creepy)  tries to cheer Feisty Pants up with a new toothbrush and a sticker or toy.  Feisty Pants, for her part, happily accepts- mostly because she knows they are all done mucking about with her mouth and she can go home now.  And we make the next appointment and stroll on outta there.   With all the little kids in the waiting room looking at Feisty Pants with big serious eyes and slightly worried expressions.  Feisty Pants, who is now in a terrific mood, gives them a wide grin.  By the way- have I mentioned she doesn't swallow properly?  So she gives them a wide grin with a little trickle of blood running down from the corner of her mouth.
              The last couple of times we were there they had us leave by the back door.  I really wonder why.



Sunday, November 2, 2014


               So, another Halloween has come and gone.  No one was in the hospital.  No one cried or threw up.  And our jack-o-lanterns made it through the weekend without violence or bloodshed. (Or is that pumpkin guts-shed?)  So, I am officially calling the Season of the Witch a success.  I am a little scared to do that only to wake up tomorrow to some awful horror or fever or "pea soup scene from the Exorcist" style crisis.  But we had a GRAND weekend and I wanna revel in the gratitude a little bit.   We have now hit a fabulous in between moment of the year and I am going to bask in it as long as the Universe allows me to do so. 
              The rush to fall and Halloween is done.  Christmas frenzy is not yet up and running no matter how much  the big box stores want you to think so.  It's still too early to start prepping for stuff yourself like a turkey day.   The clocks have been reset (YAY extra hour of sleep HUZZAH!) and it's cold and blustery outside.  Sigh, long contented sigh.  I am one of those weird freaks who LOVES the cold and dark of the year. A cold November is one of my happy places.  All you sun bathers dreaming of sunny climes and sandy beaches can have them.  I could shack up with a polar bear and be thrilled in an ice age. As long as it's cold enough to kill the leaf mold, Feisty Pants does not wheeze.  This so much more civilized than when she was younger and we spent this time of year camped out in ER's and peds wards.
              And so, not much to rush around doing right now.  As long as Feisty Pants isn't sick, we will just go about our routine.  Therapies and a few doctor's appointments.  One dentist visit to make it through, hopefully with out traumatizing the other kids there.  (Feisty Pants is not a fan of the dentist and makes sure to let everyone know it.)  Some leaves to rake.  A few chores to finish before the snow starts to fly.
            Feisty Pants herself is in good mood too.  She got to be a Ninja Turtle.  (Leonardo, cause he's the leader, of course.)  She originally wanted to be a voodoo doll but no one else wanted to do a voodoo theme AGAIN.  Both she and Hippie Pants go as a theme somehow, so she settled for TMNT because they are (and I'm quoting here) "bad azz".  She is also all excited because she got to break out her new winter coat which is frigging neon pink.  I'm allergic to pink, especially on girls, which just makes that more fun for FP.  She thinks she is being as rebellious as hell.  Do me a favor .  Don't tell her otherwise.  She  is having way too much fun being sure she is a bad azz.  And I just maybe, might get a few minutes to sip some tea and enjoy all her bad azzness.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Five Little Pumpkins (Halloween, take two)

           Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate... Actually, that first pumpkin is right in that it is getting late.  As in getting ready for Halloween.  But, if you are perpetually last minute like we are, then heck, you're right on time for carving those pumpkins.   So to help you with your last minute spooky prep, here are some great pumpkin links.
Pumpkin Stencils:
HGTV's 24 free printable pumpkin stencils- classic Halloween themes:
WWFs free pumpkin stencils- 9 nature themed stencils:
Better Homes and Gardens page of pumpkin ideas- includes links to free stencils for every level of skill and ambition:
           What to do with those pesky pumpkin guts and seeds-  Compost the guts.  Next spring's plantings will thank you.  As for the seeds, roast those little suckers up. An easy peasy, yummy, good for you snack!
Roasted pumpkins seeds: wash and drain (very well drained) seeds. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Toss seeds with 2 tbs melted butter (or oil if you prefer) and a little salt.  Spread in a single layer on cookie sheet and bake for about 45 minutes.  Want to get fancy?  Add cinnamon and 1TBS sugar (for sweet) or garlic powder ( for savory and, bonus, keeps away those pesky vampires) when tossing in the butter and salt.
            Don't know what to do with those left over pumpkins AFTER Halloween?  I take our carved ones and simply fill them with bird seed or corn and leave them for the squirrels.  But if you have any of those little ones often left uncarved, you can simply cut the top off, clean them out, and stuff them for dinner.  I like rice or barley with garlic, onions, mushrooms, any veggies you have left lying about, sausage (for the carnivores) and a little allspice and maple syrup.  Simply saute the sausage and veggies. Mix with precooked rice or barley, stir in some allspice and maple syrup.  Stuff into the little pumpkins and bake at 375 until the pumpkin is soft on the inside (like you would expect any squash to be when done.) Smells like autumn, tastes fabulous, and if you don't fess up, the kids never know exactly how healthy it is for them.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween, take one

              We're a little nuts for Halloween around here.  I know, you're shocked.  Quiet, straight laced us?!? Get all nerdy and put on funny outfits and wallow in scary and spooky and chocolate?  Us?  Yup, believe it or not, Halloween is just our thing.  (Seriously, I even love the week after Halloween. All my kids' favorite things go on clearance at the stores. I do half my Christmas shopping then.) And since we do adore Halloween, I have been saving all sorts of links and ideas and tips for the next few posts. If my saved emails were a person, it would be Tim Burton in drag. So please, bear with me as I try to whip into shape this giant trough of pumpkins, spooky awesomeness and glitter that is my inbox right now. 

             I thought I would start first with some cheap and cheerful costume ideas. You make an of these at the last minute and in under an hour.  (Trust me- we do EVERYTHING last minute and under an hour.)

1) Ghost- an oldie but a goodie.    You can either go the Charlie Brown route and simply cut eye and nose hole (in not quite the middle) and throw over your kid/yourself.  Or, you can do what we did with Feisty Pants, which was cut a hole in the center of a sheet like it was a poncho.  We then powdered her hair and face with white powder and added a bit of eyeliner for that extra cool dead girl look.   We cut a tombstone out of cardboard and attached it to her goodie bag. She chose RIP , made up a century old death date and used Abby Normal as her nom de dead.  Steal some chains from your local teen or dog walker to finish the look.  You can get an old tacky floral sheet and go as an ironic ghost if you are so inclined.

2)Gargoyle- Plain grey sweats serve as the basis for this costume. FP already had these so we spent a total of three bucks that Halloween.  We bought a dollar store devil mask, used a extra pair of her sister's fairy wings (Yes, my eldest had spare fairy wings, why do you ask?) and a can of silver hair color (the spray on kind at the dollar store.)  We simply sprayed everything silver, including Feisty Pants' hair.  If you don't have hippie, artsy teens at your house, you can easily make wings by shaping a wing out a wire coat hanger (make two) and stretching a pair of colored tights over the frame.

3) Need an idea for a duo?  Red sweats or a red union suit or red footie pjs make a great basis for Thing 1 and Thing 2.  Spray on blue hair color and make two circle labels out white construction paper or cardboard and you're good to go.  This also works as an excuse if your kids are heathens.  You can just say they are really into their characters.

4) Dead anything- seriously, it's Halloween.  Got any outfit or costume that looks a bit generic. PERFECT- go as a dead one of those.  Suit?  Go as a dead executive. Uniform of some sort? go as a dead one of those. Mailman, garbageman, hunter, cheerleader, prom dress, or old church clothes?   Anything screams Halloween if you look dead.  Put on very pale make up, use blue or green or grey eyeshadow as blush.  Smudge the eyeliner.  Throw on some red paint or fake blood.  If you're good at make up, craft a scar or three.  Make up a gross, horrifying story of how you died, and boom, you're the next hit at the party.

                     So, there you go, have fun, be safe and don't take any wooden silver pennies for the ferryman.  Happy Haunting!


Thursday, October 16, 2014


           Well, they weren't kidding when they said this was a supercold.  Feisty Pants is handling it well. But, but, but.... she is whiny and wheezy and achy and out of sorts.  Mind you, I know we have dodged a bullet on this one. Even a tiny bit worse would have meant an er visit, chest x-rays, and more than likely,  an admission.  And every day she seems progressively better.  It's just that we seem stuck on the O2/ fever treadmill.  FP either wheezes and pants when we try to take off the O2  or she randomly pops a temp thus eliminating the idea of going anywhere for five minutes, let alone going to school all day. 
               I feel terrible for her nurse, too.    The woman is sweet and kind and FABULOUS at her job.  And every night, we are calling her up and telling her not to come into work the next day.  It must be like winning a crappy lottery every night.  Or hearing the worst joke ever. ( Riddle me this, who's gonna get to sleep in but miss a day's pay, AGAIN?)  The school hired her through a temp agency, so I hope they can just send her to another assignment for the day.  Hopefully, without said assignment being so fabulous we lose her over it. (Does that make selfish?  Don't answer, I actually don't care...  I love the way that nurse works with my child.)
               I shouldn't whine too much either, really.  Feisty Pants is on the mend.  The torrent of goop coming out of her face is now clear, not scary,icky colors.   She is much more talkative (read that as bitching up a storm because we are tormenting her with our boringness.)  She won't leave the cannula on for more than 30 seconds.  These are all great signs in a medically fragile kid. If you have the energy to misbehave, you are feeling better.  Not being a pain in the tush is a danger sign.  They are either sick or plotting.  Oh, but I cannot seem to get anything done around here.  FP is literally tied to her O2 supply right now.  If she is tied to the house, so am I.  Normally I have no problem with that.  I like the idea of spending my days in my backyard or just strolling my neighborhood.   But the second the choice is out my hands, I turn into Feisty Pants and hate it.  What if I wanted to hike the Himalayas or walk to Macchu Pichu?  (You don't know. I could too want that.)  The work around just seems to be piling up too.  I swear the Universe thinks "Aha, she's NOT hiking the Himalayas this week.  Let's send  a million more emails that seem urgent until she opens them. And break something easily fixable, but time consuming.That way she won't be bored."
              It also doesn't help that weather has been strange all week.  Too hot at night too sleep with the windows closed.  Too rainy to sleep with them open. (It's OCTOBER, Universe, where are my chilly, creepy, ghostly nights??)  So I am tired and cranky on top of it all.  Poor Feisty Pants, she really is stuck in the house with miserable, cranky old farts.  She needs to get better and plot her escape.