Monday, December 28, 2009

A "Shining" Moment

Heeerree's Jackie!! So I took a wee 3 1/2 month hiatus from blogging, I suppose life got in the way a bit . Aside from 37 colds, 18 bouts of the flu, and pound after pound of excrement, I had the joy of celebrating 4 of the 8 birthdays in my house; Halloween; my 15th anniversary; Thanksgiving; Christmas...oh, and let's not forget about school, where I happen to be taking a class in statistical research that is about as enjoyable as sticking my thumb into a tank full of hungry piranhas...whew! Now I have decided to race the clock in hopes of writing one last blog before the year's end. I will say that the longer I stayed away from writing my blog, the easier it became to lose sight of it, in fact, to avoid it altogether. In fact, I wondered if I even had anything left to say or if I was in fact "spent". Then after talking to some interested friends (Thanks Leslie K. & Mark S.) I remembered why I started writing my blog to begin with. I started it for myself and all the therapeutic amenities it offered me. I look back over the last 3 months and am amazed at how easily I replaced the simple joy of writing with a million other needs that had to be met.

Okay, I won't be a complete martyr here...I will now openly admit my recent addictions (although I like to think of it more as an acceptable release for any of my own obsessive compulsive behaviors) to the entire family of Zynga games on Facebook. That's right, in my "free" time I play Mafia Wars, Farmville, Fish World, Yoville, Farm Town and Super Poke Pets. Not only that, but my 5 year old daughter likes them as well, and has created her own accounts for all of these games. It's one of those precious mother/daughter things we share, virtually anyway. So now I have this insane obligation to be her "play friend" in all of these games...not only that but I have recruited several of my co-mommies and old friends to play with her too! I enjoy these games to a degree, but understand that they have driven a wedge between me and reality! I know I simply have no time for this nonsense, but the internal guilt upon which I thrive drives me back to them day after day. My stupid virtual fish may die or my virtual harvest may wither...or what if my virtual cookies burn, or even worse, what if Shannon's stuff dies, withers or burns? Then I have to explain the whole "science" of these events, and let's face it, I am not up for that quite yet...perhaps you can learn that at school honey? Suddenly these games, ya know the ones I am playing as a hobby, to "relax"...have turned into a time intensive obligation...a job! I used to mock my husband for cursing at the Madden NFL games, saying, "Are ya having fun?" or "Enjoying yourself over there?", and, "That does seem like a relaxing hobby, with all the swearing and teeth gnashing!" Now here I sit, madly clicking on mature fish, tomatoes and energy packs...saying to myself, "Am I having fun? as I curse at my computer when Farm Ville won't load or Mafia Wars is down for temporary maintenance...constantly clock watching to see if it is time to feed my fish, or check my crops to see if they're ready. Is this fun...?? My answer has become a resounding "NO!" If your hobbies have the ability to takeover and control you, ultimately making you a slave to them, then they are no longer enjoyable, and therefore no longer hobbies. I genuinely do enjoy a couple of the games, which I will continue to play at my leisure with my daughter, because that IS fun. So what's my shining silver lining? Well, first of all I completed my goal of posting a blog before the New Year, but more importantly it would be the fact that I have acknowledged and admitted my silly game addiction...and now know what to do about it. I plan on using that "free" time to do something that feels more beneficial; something that makes me feel good...and that my friends would be spending time here with you! :) Happy New Year one and all!!!

Oh, and remember...All work and no play makes Jackie a dull girl...All work and no play makes Jackie a dull girl...All work and no play makes Jackie a dull girl...All work and no play makes Jackie a dull girl...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

School Year's Resolution...

Traditionally, on New Year's Eve most of us make our resolutions...whether it be to drop that extra 20 pounds, quit smoking, start exercising (I know these all so well because I have made each and every one of them annually) with no real intentions of carrying through on them. Okay, perhaps it's unfair to generalize, but even my best attempt at carrying through on a resolution usually fails by mid January. Perhaps I should set my goals to something more attainable, like "I solemnly swear not to curse audibly every time I put the wrong year on any paperwork!" At least if I fail at this, I am guaranteed that quarter in the "Bad Word Jar"!

So I have realistically done away with the entire idea of abiding by some resolution at the start of each new year. Instead, I have extended my time frame for self betterment to the start of the school year...after all, how are you supposed to achieve success at anything with 5 children underfoot, muddying up the waters?? I mean, I am successful at keeping them alive, fed, sorta clean and mostly safe, but anything beyond that, nu-uh! Now that the school year is in full swing, I find myself desperately trying to adhere to some sort of normal schedule. For my one ultimate "school year resolution" is organization...pure, sweet and simple, right? Hmph...this is me we are talking about...nothing simple here in the house of chaos.

I have aspirations of getting 4 out of 5 of those little buggers on the bus each morning and "gettin to it". After my morning exercise regime and run, I'd shower (that would be EVERY day folks, greedy? Perhaps.) and take care of the laundry and house duties.
I would mop my floors to ensure that any residual urine, feces, drool or vomit from the night before were all cleaned up and sanitary. I would then take advantage of the quiet time by tending to the mountains of necessary paperwork, such as bill paying, signing & filling out the many forms that come with children - especially special needs children. I would dedicate a solid hour each day to my own schoolwork, and even throw a little time into my blah blah blog. I would get all the errands run; store, post office, accountant or bank. Then I'll be ready for the return of the children, with snacks prepared (yeah, maybe I'll be wearing an ironed linen dress and string of pearls too...). Bring on the therapists!! Occupational, speech...I am waiting with a fresh pot of coffee and the children dressed and ready (understand, the "dressed" part, not so therapists expect coffee and nudity when they come to my house - I am of course referring to the auties!!) After a successful session, where both boys pay total attention, and the 3 typs don't interrupt 97 times, or give the answers for the auties...I prepare a delicious homemade dinner, which we all sit down at the table and eat together. Then bath time, story time...perhaps a bit of tv with a light bedtime snack, and everyone is asleep by 10pm, MYSELF included. Ahhh, that would be perfection!

Instead, 3 weeks into this new school year, it's gone something like this...We wake up the 4 little screaming and crying beasties, and run around like lunatics, racing the bus's arrival that comes anywhere in a 20 minute window. Morning prep is an extra lengthy process when dealing with the auties, since they have virtually no self help skills. This means we clean, dress, and brush them from head to toe, while they fight us the entire time. The typs, well, they are generally whining or crying because they are too tired from not going to bed at a decent hour the night before. The 3 adults, we are snapping at each other and the kiddies for that very same reason. As we stand on the sidewalk waving goodbye to the tear stained faces of our children pressed against the bus window, we all head back into the house, breathing a sigh of relief... knowing we don't have to see them again for 7 hours, and they will surely be smarter and smiling when they return home. Without so much as another word, we all return to the beds from whence we came...and often times, I sleep right up until the children come home. So, I guess my entire "school year resolution" idea is about as effective for me as the real new year's resolution idea. Not at all. The silver lining here my friends is the only thing that is simple...I am cashing in
big time on my sleep debt, and the bags under my eyes are no longer carrying bags of their own!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

2 minutes in the life..

As you have probably already surmised, at any given moment you can look in my window and see some degree of mayhem. To legitimize this claim, let me give you a brief glimpse into 2 minutes of time at my house...and be thankful that you are not the Department of Child/Welfare Services. Ready? C'mon then, let's take a look and watch as Georgie the 3 year old typ approaches me whilst I am sitting on my couch perch announcing, "I like little fings" and happily pops something of unknown and tiny origins into his mouth. As I jump up to do the mandatory finger sweep, I see Harry the 4 year old autie out of the corner of my eye, running quickly towards the hall...not unusual, no worries, right? None up until Kim discovers his Olympic run down the hallway includes him waving a giant kitchen knife instead of merely a gentle flaming torch in front of him...this jaunt makes running with scissors look damn near attractive! Great, okay, Harry screams unhappily as the knife is wrestled away from him and returned to the butcher block in the kitchen (and the butcher block is then moved out of his reach, which is now on top of the refrigerator). Meanwhile, back in the living room, Georgie's mouth has been swept, retrieving the watch battery he thought would be so magically delicious (perhaps that little energizer bunny was thinking it would give him more energy than he already if...he's 3 years old for crying out loud!)

Whew, that was quite a moment, huh? Glad it's over...right?? Not so much, as in an effort to continue his 3 year old reign of terror, Georgie decides to spend some time getting "in-touch" with nature. This would consist of a bit of recreational rock throwing over the child safety fence and into the swimming pool. This might have turned out to be a viable past time for him, had the rock he selected not been quite so big...and if his throw had any arc or pitch to it at all...but alas, the big rock came thundering back down, smashing wee Georgie in the face. Hey, I told him not to throw stuff in the pool...that gentle reminder, however, did not make his blood any less red or his tears any less wet and flowing. This, however, is one of those countless moments where I question my maternal instincts and abilities...because I clearly prefer the logic to the sympathy in these sheer moments of brilliance. This logic somehow fails to make the wee kiddies feel any better though...perhaps hugs, kisses and boo boo kitties are best! So in closing the door on my house of chaos, I suppose today's silver lining would be that no one died...or heck, even went to the emergency room for that matter!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Okay students, pull up your chairs, and you will get yet another lecture on Jackie's medical maladies...this one is all about, me, me!! That's right, I actually took the time out of my hectic life to have my own medical crisis...the nerve!! Well, in all fairness, I allowed myself this medical "LOA" about 9 years ago when life was so much simpler; Cameron was a newborn and I had one of those awesome corporate cushy Archie and Edith sang, those were the days!! Those days came to a screeching halt after a routine trip to the dentist the day before I was to return to work from my maternity leave. I had my regular teeth cleaning and a full set of xrays done, since I naturally avoided xrays (and the dentist altogether) during the pregnancy. When Doc Randy brought in my xrays and said he saw a "suspicious mass" in my right mandible/jawbone, I really thought nothing much of it. I was only 30, and bad stuff just doesn't happen to brand new mommies, and they certainly don't happen to me!! My ignorance was briefly bliss! So Doc Randy made me an appointment to have it biopsied...okay, when the word biopsy got thrown out there, I got nervous...they arranged for the new doctor, an oral surgeon, to see me the very next morning, first thing...this only added to my growing nervousness.

Okay friends, at this point, I'm still believing it would be nothing more than a simple "scooping out" of the area in question, maybe a dissolvable stitch or 2, and I'd be on my merry way! Well the little biopsy was simple enough, and it didn't hurt that the dentist was a hottie, even by my husband's standards. The "results call" came a few days later, and they asked me to come in for a consultation...gulp. So off we went to get what we realized wasn't going to be good mommy, new daddy with new baby in tow, all piled into the doctor's office, the twilight zone. I sat outside of my body listening in as the hot doctor explained that I had an
Ameloblastoma, a rare and aggressive tumor that is most usually benign. This type of tumor is often associated with bony-impacted wisdom teeth, which mine were—one of the many reasons dentists recommend having them extracted. The rest of what he said sorta sounded like blah blah blather blah...but this is what I ended up absorbing through osmosis...Jackie has a big ass tooth tumor, eating its way through her jawbone on the right side of her face. Because it is such an aggressive type of tumor, with a 99% recurrence rate, they must "re-sect my jaw"...and with that, hot doctor was gone to call yet another doctor, who does "this type" of work.

On to the next doctor, who after closely examining my xrays and test results wouldn't touch me with a ten foot pole...he was the kindly gent who explained to me that they would be cutting nerves during the procedure...which meant permanent loss of feeling in the lower right side of my face. This took some getting used to, the idea of not feeling kisses, lip biting, or food hanging there embarrassingly (all my peeps now have the "clear their throat" code, alerting me of food danglers). Then he was off, to consult with the team at Shands Hospital (Go Gators!). Lucky me, my condition was so rare, they wanted me right away...allowing me to cut ahead of many others on their waiting list. The annual incidence rate per million for ameloblastomas for white females is .44... hey, that makes me special - I truly am one in a million!!

So our 2 year journey to Shands Hospital began. This is a mere 2 hours from my house, so it was never a problem to just go up there every couple of days...never being able to go alone, because I was either unconscious or in agony after most visits. Fortunately my doctor/surgeon was an experienced fatherly type who appreciated my sarcastic wit, as I did his...and since Shands is a learning hospital, we were surrounded by beautiful young interns (fond memories and a shout out to Travis, and his never ending prescription pad). This made an unbearable situation bearable. As did the unwavering support of my husband Scott, coupled with Kim's willingness to drop everything and babysit and care for Cameron, made this a doable nightmare.

So the fatherly doctor outlined the procedure(s) in simple English for me. First up, get that tumor outta there! Dr Dad and his team of cutiepies planned on cutting my jawbone from the mandible (think the jaw hinge beside your ear) to the middle of my chin. They would be replacing my jawbone temporarily with a piece of bent steel, shaped sorta like someone's jaw..although I am thinking it was intended for Jay Leno...anyways, I got to wear that beauty for about 8 weeks. Next up, the "real" surgery (wtf...what was that first surgery, Dr Dad?!) which was promised to be a bit more "extensive". Again, WTF...more extensive then severing my jaw bone and the accompanying nerves and removing it from the outside of my face...rendering me with a scar reminiscent of "Frankenjaw"??...Okay doc, whatcha got?? Next Jackie, we will replace that ugly, crude Jay Leno jaw of steel with...a cadaver jawbone. Oh, okay, that is better...part of a dead guy's face...but wait, there's more!! We will inject this cadaver bone with real live marrow out of...your own hip!! That's right, 2 - 2 - 2 surgeries for the price of 1 (small home)...and as a bonus, we'll throw in mandatory wiring of your mouth shut for 6 weeks (3 days, 7 hours and 22 minutes...). Wow, all this at once, just for me...and an additional souvenir scar on my hip too...gee, I hardly know what to say. Which turns out is a good thing, since I didn't get to say anything the entire time my mouth was wired now I think you understand how utterly taxing that task was for was indeed the most painful part of the entire ordeal. I say this in jest, but it was truly horrible, not being able to make mommy noises at my 3 month old...Christ, to even get out of bed to see him at all was difficult. I couldn't hold him, kiss him and even worried that I scared the poor thing. My husband would bring Cameron in and lay him on the bed beside me, until he moved and inadvertently hit my jaw or hip, and had to be removed. My diet consisted of Ensure, smoothies and milkshakes, all 3 of which I still hate to this day. And you know it's bad when commercials for Snackwell cookies, and the smell of microwaved hot dogs are appealing!! After the wires were removed, there were endless trips back to the hospital to get my jaw opening properly and returned to it's regular rapid fire range of motion. Of course, this was all to prep me for the NEXT surgery...the one where I got some fancy new teeth to replace the ones they removed in the first surgery. While most women dream of breast implants, Jackie got dental implants...yeah, people are always asking if they're real too...huh!

So after 3 surgeries, 2 implants, 2 ugly scars, the loss of feeling in the lower right side of my face, and a hefty medical bill, I am left looking for my
silver lining. There's actually a few...first of all, I had an awesome unlimited prescription for Vicodin; secondly, I EASILY dropped all of my baby weight and even an extra 10 on top of that (although it was a painful and expensive diet plan) Third, it cured me of my TMJ - temporomandibular joint disorder (removing the mandible tends to do that...) and lastly but most importantly - I gained a perspective on how fragile life is and what is truly important at the end of each day. I end this lengthy lecture with a begging reminder to see your dentist annually for saved my life! That's all, class dismissed!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I hate poop!

2 things I know, people love other people's misery...face the truth here, it makes us feel better about ourselves (which is why I am a totally awesome friend to have!!) The other thing people like is hearing about poop...I really don't know why this is, perhaps it's because it's the one thing we ALL have in common...Most parents have the luxury of knowing that eventually they will revert back to wiping only their own asses some day, hopefully right after potty training. Once again, I will point out that this is merely a poop pipe dream for me. Cameron still has no clue how to clean up after himself (as you will shortly see) and Harry is still in diapers (well, sometimes...and sometimes he's on..). All of that being said, join me on this laughable (since it's not you), yet miserable, shitty journey!!

Poop Log/August 28, 2009: The youngest autie, Harry, just ripped off his diaper in my bedroom and took what can only be described as a 13 pound shit that closely resembled chocolate pudding in color and consistency (again, this is 50% of the kid's diet)...not odor though...then he proceeded to do his autistic jig through said pile of shit, tracking it in 2 perfect concentric circles on my carpet, ultimately landing his shitty ass on the couch in my room...where he no doubt stood back and appreciated his work; in that it is reminiscent of the infamous "crop circles"...only made of excrement (why can't he draw a circle with a crayon??). Before he did his poop covered entrance into the living room, he was kind enough to scratch his crap filled crack with his talon like fingernails...nice! I just fished steam cleaning my rug; my couch; my kid...It's 2 in the morning. What might you be doing? Oh, and since we finally have this not so gentle introduction to the giant pile of poop stories that comprise my life, let's "go" with it...

Poop Log/August 30, 2009: The scene, it ain't of the worst I've seen in my many years on this grisly task force. To protect the feint and weak of heart and/or constitution, I will try to withhold the many graphic details of tonight's event. Let's just suffice it to say that as the other family members were sleeping in their beds safely unaware, Cameron was awake, and unattended at a very inopportune time. I, however, on this night in question, was the unfortunate soul with the weakest bladder...making me finder of what could only be described as a shit massacre in my bathroom. Imagine the worst case scenario if you will...did I mention that the boy needed an IMMEDIATE shower (as it was running down his legs...which of course was itchy, so he had to scratch...then his chest was apparently itchy, and then of course his least he didn't choose this night to put his fingers into an unsuspecting person's mouth...eww, silver lining??) So the frightful scene that I stumbled upon in my bathroom this fateful night extended all the way down the hall...around the corner right into the back room, where I made a second gruesome discovery...there was more than one perpetrator. This revelation came by way of my stepping in a puddle of dog piss. As I looked up to exclaim, "shit!", I saw more of it...2 more piles of it to be exact...compliments of Blitzen (love her!) I only wish I could call in crime scene clean-up to handle this ghastly ordeal, but alas, that too is me, soo...I need to go wash my hands again...I'd throw up too, but I think the poor toilet has already been victim enough tonight (not to mention, I've seen where that toilet has been!)

Well my friends, I will be "logging" off now...there will undoubtedly be further entries into my poop blah blah blog, quite possibly within the next 5 minutes when I get up and take a walk through the house...Enjoy!

Friday, August 28, 2009

List maker, List maker, make me a list...

I am a chronic list maker. I like lists for lists; daily to-do lists; year long "project" lists; individual lists pertaining to each child. I need to compile a list...of my lists. There is something so utterly gratifying about crossing things off of my list(s)! This is because by my nature, I love organization, neatness; I strongly dislike clutter and disorder. So, needless to say, my lifestyle and surroundings are a constant "challenge" for me. I find all of these mindless daily duties more and more difficult to keep on top of, and myself caring less and less about it. I literally have to convince myself to let some of the little things go, which is difficult for an anal retentive, passive aggressive, borderline OCD gal like myself.

Children come with a certain degree of mess...I realize this, and have attempted to adjust myself accordingly. I've grown to accept the Fisher Price Lil' People and Littlest Pet Shop accouterments being deeply embedded in the bottom of my foot as I try to simply walk across the floor. The fact that Shannon likes to use every washcloth in the house as "blankies" for her little dolls and animals; I have convinced myself this is adorable (until I have no washcloth to use during my weekly shower...). Playdoh, hey, it's so beneficial for the kids both creatively and for use in motor skill development, it HAS to be a good thing...even if it is stuck all over my floors, table and feet. Crayola now makes washable markers, so no difference if the walls, doors, tables, children and their clothes are colored from top to bottom...hell, Gianna even colored her lips red for her first day of kindergarten (which I did appreciate her choice to go with Really Red as opposed to Gothic Black), no worries, it washes right off. As you can see, I'm not too rigid to be flexible here. I have actually learned to find these types of messes "Livable".

So now I find myself attempting to distinguish the often fine line between what is disgusting, and what is livable...prioritize Jackie!! The bathrooms alone in my house, for example, are enough to make me turn my efforts to the more productive and sanitary prospect of digging my own grave...cuz when dirt, sweat, worms and bugs seem more appealing to me, you know it's bad! So the bathrooms, with their pee covered toilets and baseboards; their toothpaste and spit globbed sinks; their hand print covered mirrors and their soap scum coated shower walls containing the children's names...fall into the disgusting category, every day at some point in time. Okay, so how about a shit smear on Cam's sheets... it's down at the bottom where his feet will be, so disgusting or livable?? I'm going with disgusting on that one...excrement almost always falls into that category. As do regurgitated Goldfish Crackers, bananas, chicken nuggets or anything else Cameron might suddenly decide has no business being in his mouth (he actually gagged once when I came at him with a fresh warm cinnamon roll...who does that?) Ewww?? Perhaps, but this works to Blitzen "the garbage can" dog's advantage...the sound of Cameron's gagging is like the sound of a dinner bell to her...which saves me the time and hassle of cleaning up that mess (silver lining, there it is!). So I guess it is all just a matter of priorities...the difficulty is finding that balance between mine and the kids, as we are clearly at opposite ends of the continuum. So I'll handle this as I always do, by making another list...a priority list!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Please deposit another *!@#$%*! quarter...

So as I was sitting in the living room reading my favorite literary masterpiece, Facebook posts, and I heard my then 4 year old daughter exclaim to little Georgie from the dining room that he'd better stop his current behavior or she would, "Smack him on his ass...hole!" Now she couldn't just stop with ass...nah, she had to throw in the "hole" for added emphasis, that's my girl! Which was when I realized...oh shit, that's MY girl! She sounds like mini me...a tiny foul mouthed truck driver. That coupled with her shining disposition will surely get her expelled from Kindergarten...which is why truck driving could be a viable future for her.

Okay, so I admittedly love's so damned expressive; and hell, even spell check recognizes them as words. I think most of us will admit that in moments of anger and complete irritation, profanity seems not only appropriate, but justifiable. Of course, as parents we MUST develop some self censorship. And so I did, at that way of the "Bad Word Jar". Now most of my family and friends are aware of the bad word jar (as many have already contributed to it after spending 35 seconds in my house), but this is how it works, quite simple really. I created the "jar" out of an old plastic Cajun Party Mix container (I love that shit!). I boldly labeled it, including the restitution fees for offenses... 25 cents per bad word (shit, fuck, damn, hell); 50 cents for doubles (this would be your mother fuckers and god dammits- sorry my religious friends, but it happens...). I prominently displayed the ugly (in more ways than one) jar in the living room, so everyone would remember. Hey, I don't want to hear all the bitching when I shake a quarter out from under Cinderella's piggy bank skirt after Shannon threatens another asshole smack, m'kay.

The jar, by my initial design, was intended to fund a trip to Vegas for me...since I was clearly paying the most in. Then I noticed that the other adults weren't coughing up the curse(d) cash for their offenses. Timid as I am, I pointed out to the cheap asses that they needed to start paying in (Momma wants to hit the slots). So they started to get on board by shoving the occasional $5 or $10 spot into the jar to cover past and no doubt upcoming profane proclamations...BUT naturally the greedy bastards; those very same bastards that get to leave the house for work each day, would take it right back as soon as they needed gas, lunch or toll money. Like that's more important than my Vegas tattoo fund...shit! One nice thing however, is the children are swearing less (how fricking sad is that for a mommy to admit??), and have deemed themselves the "Bad Money Jar" police...quick to notify the adults of any violations they make, as well as tattling on each other. If you ask me, I did one fine ass job of parenting in this situation!

One minor issue I am trying to resolve with the jar, however, is Harry...he is a big "double offender". When Harry gets particularly whiny or upset he likes to cry out, "God dammit!" This is an issue of course because, well, he is autistic and has no clue what a bad word, it's actually quite a good thing, since he is using it appropriately and spontaneously...and lastly, he has no money...can't get blood out of a stone. On a more positive note, as I look for my closing "silver lining", is that I swore 23 times in this post alone (with 3 doubles), wracking up a whopping $5.75...My jar is filling up again :o)