Saturday, March 3, 2018

Paying Myself

So, I've learned a lot about my ADHD, and one of the most important things I've learned is that ADHDers have addictions. Usually drug and alcohol addictions that help to suppress anxiety and stress, but addiction can also manifest in the form of shopping problems. That I am guilty of.

Luckily, I am on the verge of paying off some big credit card debt. It's piled up over the years, between the car accident, poor paying jobs, losing my decent-paying job, car repairs, adulting bills, and a joyful, semi-indulgent lifestyle, but I'm excited to get my tax return and be almost-debt-free for the first time since I was rear-ended in 2009.

Another problem ADHDers have is trouble with memory circuits and interruptions. In the book I read by Dr. Hallowell, I sympathized with Sarah, who said, "It's been so many years living like this, thinking I'm stupid, but knowing I'm not." Sarah shared a list of things of her irritating symptoms with Dr. Hallowell, including this story:
"Someone left (a cough drop) on the dashboard of our car. The other day I saw the cough drop and thought, I'll have to throw that away. When I arrived at my first stop, I forgot to take the cough drop to a trash can. When I got back into the car, I saw it and thought, I'll throw it away at the gas station. The gas station came and went and I hadn't thrown it away. Well, the whole day went like that, the cough drop sitting on the dashboard. When I got home, I thought, I'll take it inside with me and throw it out. IN the time it took me to open the car door, I forgot about the cough drop. It was there to greet me when I got in the car the next morning. (My husband) was with me. I  looked at the cough drop and burst into tears. (He) asked me why I was crying and I told him it was because of the cough drop. He thought I was losing my mind. 'But you don't understand,' I said, 'My whole life is like that. I see something that I mean to do and then I don't do it. It's not only trivial things like the cough drop; it's big things too' that's why I cried."
--Driven to Distraction (2011)

I'm the same way. I forget to close cabinets, do my laundry, dry my laundry when I remember to wash it, fold my laundry when I remember to dry it, and so forth. It's embarrassing, but I can get so hyper-focused on a task that I forget about eating.

I tried medication for a while, and that really helped me slow down life so that I could function. During that time, I managed to get in the habit of some good routines, but I did eventually stop the medication after I was bullied out of my job. I was an emotional wreck and I needed sleep. I was depressed and miserable after a year of torment and abuse. I also needed to detach from life.

My ADHD diagnosis was something I struggled with emotionally. I'd only come to recognize the symptoms in myself after I'd begun teaching. This is true for many ADHDers--when life's demands increase, the deficit begins to show--and I was lucky to have been working with diagnosed children at the time, because that allowed me to recognize the symptoms in myself.

I had to fight to get a diagnosis--my old PCP refused to treat me and told me it was depression--but I wasn't depressed. I absolutely LOVED my job. I LOVED working with kids. I just had a hard time prioritizing, and I couldn't stay organized to save my life. I'd put a piece of paper down, and I wouldn't be able to find it for hours. I'd catch myself walking circles in my classroom late into the evening. My brain would say: "Go make these photo copies. Oh wait, you need those things photocopied too! Go get those to save time. Oh wait! Why are there crayons all over the floor? You have to pick up these crayons. Oh, why is my stapler here? Go put it on the desk. Oh wait, you forgot to clean your desk. Clean your desk. Oh wait, you didn't make your copies!! Where did I put them. Go look for your copies!! Okay.... wait, what was I looking for??"

That isn't depression, that is ADHD, and I was so lucky to have a young boy in my class that year whose mother was a doctor. She advocated for him, and even though I didn't see it at the time--she was patient with me, and that patience ultimately led to a self-realization that I never imagined. I, without a doubt, had ADHD.

After changing doctors, I was eventually referred to a specialist who confirmed what I had suspected. With my newly confirmed diagnosis, I became so mad and frustrated with myself. "No, you are just lazy. Stop being Lazy. Just do what you need to do."

That didn't help, and I eventually caved and began taking medication. Medication helped, but so did counseling and the support I received from my doctors. But I know medication isn't a cure-all. Medication helps slow my brain down so that I can make better choices in the moment. So that I can listen to the voice inside my head that says: you need to do this. Medication helped me develop a level of autonomy I didn't know existed.

With all that said, I'm not on it as of right now--though I do think about going back to it. However, I've realized that some of the expectations of my former work environment were not humanly possible and that the toxic climate of my old school was one that really exacerbated my disability. Now that I am in a functional work environment, I am better-able to use my passion and love of teaching to drive my organizational deficits. Granted, I'm still not perfect, but no one is. Maybe when I get back to teaching, I'll give the medication a second go--but for now, I'm content with being me.

Paying Myself
At home, however, I'm struggling a bit. I keep forgetting to do my laundry, and my room hasn't been "clean" a day in my entire life (though it is marginally better than it has been at any other point in my life). I forget to bring my clothes upstairs to my room, and they sit on the stairs. I lose paperwork, and I'm really not where I should be for this point of my life. So, I've decided to give myself an allowance (and hopefully curb my impulsive spending habits; two birds, one stone, right?)

So far, it is kind of working. Because I'm still on a small income, I'm treating myself like a child. $1 per task, with an occasional bonus for bigger tasks. (If I fix my resume, I'll get a whole $10, by golly!) It's stuff I need to do anyway, but I'm just too overwhelmed internally to do it. I'm also punishing myself by taking money away--especially if I eat too much junk food in a day. (Damn Captain Crunch cost me 25 cents!) I've been really honest with myself about things, and I'm so far enjoying that--it's really helping my slow down and focus on my priorities.

I've earned:
$1 for cleaning up my room
$1 for unpacking my suitcase
$1 for helping around the hosue
$1 adulting with the insurance companies and getting my refund from groupon (phone calls stress me otu)

I've also lost $7 for an impulsive purchase I made for water shoes. I deliberated this punishment for a while, and decided it really wasn't something I needed.

4-7= -$3

Which I earned back, mostly.
$1 for walking the dog when I felt too tired to
$1 for spending more time organizing my room
$.25 for picking up dog poop I was tempted to leave to pick up tomorrow
$1 for cleaning up after the cats.
$.25 for starting to pack for next weekend

Right now, I've got a whopping 50 cents to spend!

It sounds silly, but I have to start somewhere, right?

Hello Again; The story of Pria

I have been meaning to blog. So much has been changing in my life, and I'll never remember it all. Since my last post, I've started teaching, had a rock-star 2 years, was diagnosed with ADHD, bullied out of my job, just about hit rock bottom emotionally, and have been slowly building myself back up.

The ADHD is tough, and so I have started an experiment with myself. It's based on what I do with my students, whom also needed a little extra motivation. So far it has been helpful.

Anyway, I am currently working in my dream-district and hoping to be teaching there next year. I love my job and I'm so happy to be back in a positive work environment. Looking back over my experiences, I have to say that 3/4 districts I've worked in have been dysfunctional for one reason or another. It's truly scary. But more on that later.

My family has two dogs. It's weird to think of because I can still remember a time in my life where I wanted ONE dog so desperately, and when I got him he was a handful. Even though I wanted more, I never actually pictured having two of them. One had been a handful, though, and as loving and intelligent as our dog was, he was sure a pain in the ass! He would do whatever he wanted, constantly get into trouble --eating candy or whatever he could sniff out-- run away after deer for hours at a time, listen selectively, and he was occasionally difficult/aggressive with other dogs.

After my first dog, Lucky, died at age 14, my mother swore we would never get another dog. About a year or two later, I started having an itch to get another. I'll admit that I'd been a bad dog owner before, and that was partially due to being young and ignorant. I'll even admit that my cousin, whom I now haven't spoken to in years, was a big factor in my decision to get another dog. I watched him raise his police dog, Marco, and I learned so much about dogs in doing so. I didn't just want another dog, I wanted an amazing dog. One that could do tricks, be taken places without stress, one that wouldn't run away, and--most importantly--one that would listen.

Flash forward to me and my sister waking up at 6AM and driving over to Lewiston in our old Saturn, with no heat, on a cold winter morning to be first in line at the Androscoggin Humane Society. There was this adorable little puppy up for adoption. I was going to call her Pheobe, and she was going to be amazing.

After waiting in the freezing car (our heater didn't/still doesn't) work, we were first in line. Unfortunately, the lady who gave out the tickets that morning gave us ticket #2. They'd given the first ticket to another lady, who'd curiously looked in the window and pointed to a staffer--now I know she was pointing to one of her friends. They'd had an inside connection, and they stole the puppy I wanted right from under my nose. Something I'll never forgive any of them for.

We left without a puppy, devastated.

Then maybe a month later, we found a website--Molly's Moments. They were a rescue organization that was saving a litter of Australian Shepherds-mix puppies from South Carolina. I fell in love with a little boy named Jensen, but his adoption was already pending. So I wanted a beautiful tri-girl named Julia, I think. She was also pending adoption. My third choice was a tie--There were two pups left--one Jessa and one Jenna. They were both cute, and the only notable difference between their doberman coloring was that Jessa had more brown on her face, and Jenna had more black.

After much deliberation, I put in a request to adopt Jessa.

The original transport fell through because they puppies tested positive for a parasite, and so about a month went by before they were deemed healthy enough to make the huge trip. My sister and I volunteered to assist with the last leg of the transport. As we were waiting in Portland, we received news that one of the girls had to stay behind because she was ill. We spent about 2 hours fearing it was Jessa not arriving that night, and when we were assured Jessa was still on her way, we spent a whole week worrying if there had been some mixup.

The puppies arrived in Portland, and we loaded them into my mom's Ford Explorer. They were scared, and I really wish we had taken more time to admire them, but they were loaded in and we were on our way to Bryant Pond, to deliver them. Out-of-state rescue dogs must undergo a week of quarantine when they arrive in Maine, so that was truly agonizing. I remember when we arrived at the shelter, the woman's son picked up Pria and put her in my arms. I never wanted to let her go. She was so tiny, with long legs and a beautiful coat. It was so late that we didn't want to keep the woman up late, so we left rather quickly, but not before snapping a few shots with our cell phones-- I wish we had taken more.

All week, I kept waiting for a call: "Amanda? Sorry, there was a mixup and Jessa didn't make it up. Your puppy will be here ____ and after a week you can pick her up?"

That call never came. If memory serves, we were supposed to pick her up on the 8th of March. It was a Saturday.  Something happened, though, and if we didn't get her sooner, we wouldn't be able to get her until later, so the woman agreed to meet me at Food City after work on Friday, the 7th. I was so excited I asked my boss if I could leave early (this was back when she liked me) and went to get my puppy. This was another time I wish I'd savored the moment more, but I was bursting with new-mom jitters that I didn't. She also didn't come with a collar, so Heather showed me how to use a leash as a make-shift harness and I was so worried about the traffic on 302 that I quickly put her in the crate in the back of my mom's truck. I was determined to do right by her, and that meant crate training.

I was so full of new-mom jitters, that I'd forgotten to tell my mom and sister that I was picking her up an hour earlier than planned. As I was driving home with a traumatized, crying puppy, they were on their way to meet us. When my mother called to see where we were, and heard the puppy crying in the back, she internally cringed, and later shared that cringe with me repeatedly. "What did I say yes to?" she'd admit. She thought this puppy would be obnoxious and horrible.

I got home and took a quick selfie with her outside of the car before bringing her inside.We'd set up a small area in the kitchen for her and put on her beautiful collar that my mom had bought her at the Goodwill--black leather with colorful glass beads. She was perfect.

It took my mother a whole hour to say, "I love you" which I still tease her about today. And even though I can still remember the exact moment (and location I was at when) I picked  the name, Pria, my mother spent a year trying to get me to change it to Breeya.

That is the story of how I got the most incredible puppy ever.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Back from falling off the face of the Earth

Water splashes on the rocks behind me, as I lounge in a recliner on the dock. The sky is black, littered with stars... Ok, that is an exaggeration. The stars are scarce, and the fireworks that once colored the horizon are now dwindling. Mars stares back at me-- a tiny, red marble in the sky. Jupiter is to my left, with a slightly yellow hue.

Across the darkened lake, a myriad of colored lights from boats and houses disturb the blackness that would otherwise be lost to a great emptiness. It is like sitting at the end of the world. Even though I have seen what is out there, from this space and time, it is nothing.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Slightly annoyed with my family right now. I sometimes feel like I'm the only person aware of the happenings in this household. Of course, I'm being melodramatic, because honestly I don't really give a flying flip, but it just goes to show how things are run here.

Example: The printers in our house have been broken for about two months now. When I first noticed this, and became frustrated with this, nobody gave a shit. I was talking to myself. And so, I gave up, because no one else seemed to care about the printers, so why should I? I could always print from work.

Now the tables have turned. My sister is back in college, sure. She needs to print. Sure. But instead of asking me to help her with this issue, she has a secret pow-wow with my mother in which she complains that the printers don't work.

I actually hadn't even noticed the printer had been relocated, until my mother asked why it wasn't working. "Why isn't the printer working?" She asks me out of the blue this morning.

"I don't know, I told you guys that it wasn't working months ago." I reply.

"Oh, well if you get a chance, your sister needs you to help her fix it."

Um... Can she not ask me herself? She's currently upstairs playing her guitar, so excuse me if I don't want to stop everything I'm doing to go fix a printer. Yes, I'm doing stuff too. Reading for work & attempting to write a book, but, yes, let me drop everything to work on your problem!


I'm a bitch that way, I guess. But if she isn't going to ask me herself, and she needs to get mom to ask me, I find that insulting. Truth is, she probably just made one subtle off-comment about the printer not working, and my mom being who she is takes the driver's seat on the issue and starts hounding me about the matter. Except she doesn't come out and hound me as much as she does so covertly.

As I'm sitting down, deep in thought  she comes out and says, "Well, what does the printer cable look like?"
or, "I guess I'm going to go downstairs and look for the printer cable."

Seriously? Can you not let your 21 year old daughter fix her own damn problems? Why is it your job?

I suppose I'm just being hyper-analytical after our last big blow-out. It happened the same as last time. I wake up on a Saturday morning, and after a week's worth of work, I am mentally and physically exhausted. I choose to lay around and relax and this notion is supported. "It is ok if you take it easy, honey, you work hard all week." She says.

In her head, she feels I'm a lazy, useless, individual that doesn't do shit.

So I relax, read, check my facebook, and lounge around. But around 9AM, the questions begin. "Aren't you going to go to the post office? Don't you have some deposits to make?"

No, if I cared about the flipping post office, I would go. My mail will still be there Monday, I really don't care. If I had something to deposit, I would have done it Friday. Really don't care either, because it isn't like I'm overdrawing my account or anything. Everything can wait until next week--this is my veg-time.

Ok, so mother gets all huffy and decides she cannot wait and goes out to the post office, then she gets back from doing that and becomes irritated that I haven't cleaned this or that. So rather than say rationally walking away and finding something else to do, she either does it herself or starts getting passive aggressive about it. Yesterday she told me I should clean my bathroom, which, I had already cleaned three days earlier.

"Oh. I didn't know that."

Well, why did you think I should clean it then?

So she cleaned up the frying pans and dishes from the breakfast I had made. She didn't care about that, though, because it was nice of me to make breakfast and that was her way of helping. And she cleaned the entire bathroom, because it was stinky from the dog. And the next thing I knew I was the worst scum this planet had ever seen, because I was just "relaxing" while she was killing herself cleaning.


Ask for help, you'll get it. I might not drop everything I'm doing to come running and help, but seriously!

I know I'm not perfect, and that I can be lazy, but I don't take my shit out on other people. I don't think I do, anyway. Maybe I do? I don't know, but I'm getting sick and tired of being on the receiving end of people's shit.

The other day I came home from work and Sister was listening to music. Normally I do like to have a few minutes of quiet time when I walk in from work, but this has been a bone of contention for her, so I let it slide. I made one silly joke about the song she was listening to and she jumped right down my throat. What did I say?

"Oh, this might actually be a pretty song if it didn't sound like he was singing, OH Mamamamama to his mom.It's a little creepy."

Well, boy did I hear it after that! So much for lightening the mood with humor!

Then, when she pulled a bunch of burnt tortilla chips out of the oven, I tried one and immediately inherited  the batch. I actually got scolded for attempting to try a not-burnt one from the second batch, "You already picked your serving!" She tells me.

I did? I thought I was just trying one, I didn't realize it was an eternal commitment--otherwise I would have waited for a better batch of chips. When I asked to trade a few burnt ones for a few not, I was considered rude for not asking the right way. Apparently my request was too one-sided, and it wasn't fair for mom to get burnt chips... Uhmmm ok?

So they ask me how my day went at work, and when I explain, I'm lectured about how "unclear" my description was, and that I confused them and that I needed to speak more clearly. I got crap about the vegetables I brought home, because I didn't put them away BEFORE I started searching for cough syrup. (Oh, yes, I was sick as a dog, couldn't breathe or talk, or think) I got crap about the whipped cream I didn't put in the fridge (that they left on the counter, so I assumed they wanted it out for their own strawberry shortcakes) And I got crap for not drying the dishes, even though they told me not to because I was all germy.

Umm? #@(*&@#*!(&

Are you shitting me?

Every single thing I said or did was nitpicked into a negative conversation, and finally I just said fuck it and went upstairs to take a shower.

I might be lazy, I might be forgetful, but at least I'm not intentionally bitchy.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dear Officer, What Did I Do???

I am always wary of public-postings of my run-ins with the law. They are few, harmless, and quite frankly, hilarious, but as a teacher I have a reputation to uphold, and the way things are so easily misconstrued on the interweb, well... I'd rather just not.

However, this blog is a reminder to take things with a grain of salt, so here is the story about my rebellious behaviors.

Today is Father's Day, 2012, and last night my sister and I went to a concert. Jukebox the Ghost. I'd never heard of them, but my sister really loves them and wanted to go, and despite the fact I'd spent the day hacking up a lung with my cold/flu/sinus whatever, I had promised her months earlier that we would go together, so I chose to suck it up and go.

The first crew was pretty amazing. I had no idea what they were singing about, but they were culturally diverse and very talented. The guy with dreadlocks played the trombone and guitar. The lead vocalist played base, trumpet, could whistle, and I'm sure he had a handful of other talents incorporated into all of their songs. It was pretty cool to watch them play all the parts. They were called Bright Moments, if you're into that stuff.

The next group also had a great sound, though they stuck to the basics. They also played so loud that I couldn't understand a word they sang, but you could tell they were very charismatic. Unfortunately, the more my mind struggled to understand their lyrics, the more it wandered, and I was soon off in my own little world. I wondered if the two lead singers were involved romantically--maybe they were married, or in love like Johnny and June. Or maybe the geeky looking guy that reminded me of Reid from Criminal Minds was secretly in love with the girl, and was hoping to save her from falling in love with the other guy, because he seemed very cocky and arrogant, even if that was just his stage face. As you can see, my mind should not be left idle. I tend to overthink and create crazy scenarios in my brain.

Well, after plotting out the band's entire future, I decided I didn't quite care for them, which was slightly disappointing considering I really liked the music. I also made a mental note to check them out online, if I could remember their name--I really couldn't understand that either. It sounded French, and the venue was very loud. I'm sure I'd see it somewhere before I left, though. Regardless, I found them resembling certain people I've met throughout the years and will not loose sleep if I never see them again.

The third band was very good, obviously--being the main attraction and all. My mind still wandered, though, as I started imagining what their lives were like off-stage. What were they like? Did they have girlfriends? Kids? Were they nice people, or did they have star-complexes? Which lead me to thinking I should write a book about a traveling band, only to realize I know absolutely nothing about bands or music. I'm so lame that way. In fact, as we waited for the bands to set up, my sister mocked me for my inability to do a schoolyard trick that involves locking your hands together and wiggling your middle fingers about. Seriously, what kind of trick is that? Don't we frown upon the middle finger anyway??

Well, like I said, I had a good time at the concert, especially since I wasn't the only sickling in our crew. In fact, had it not been for the occasional cough and whatever came rising out of my lungs with it, I probably would have forgotten I was sick. I was tired, but it was late, and at least my nose wasn't constantly running.

Yes, so, the concert was fun. The drive home wasn't.

Driving around at midnight is a very awkward feeling. None of the streetlights work as they are constantly flashing; the city is dark and empty. Me and my overactive imagination get the best of me, yet again. Well, it started long before the drive, I suppose. My car has been acting funny for a while--though all the mechanics I've taken it to have said it has passed all its tests with flying colors. The day prior, though, the check engine light was on. A week before that, the battery light was flickering. That paired with the feeling like it is occasionally about to die on me as I'm driving, makes for quite a tense commute. But what do you do when you know something is wrong and all your mechanics say things are fine??

Regardless, before we'd parked for the concert--as we were driving around for probably a half hour TRYING to find a spot to park in this city which I barely know--my battery light flickers a few times. Great. Whatever, I have my triple A card.

Ok, so we find a very shady back-alley street to park on. There is one other car parked, and a want-to-be-gangster waddling down the road with his undergarments showing. As he does this, you hear him holler out something along the lines of, "FIVE OF US AND ONE OF YOU, YOU REALLY WANT TO DO THIS, @$!!@!*-ers" Insinuating he is about to fight with someone. We did not see 5 of anyone, in fact we only saw one, so either the guy was @$!!@!crazy or we were lucky to be parked behind a big truck. Either way, we were stuck between continuing down the one way and becoming a witness to a murder/asskicking/psychotic break and driving around another half hour, with my car possibly about to die, trying to find ANOTHER parking spot--OR just park in the shady alleyway and run for our lives. We chose to run for our lives.

We spent a few minutes debating if it was safe to park in this alley--(1) because of the potential murder/asskicking/psychotic break, and (2) because I've already received 1 parking ticket in the area, and I just didn't want to risk getting towed. Eventually we deemed making use of this spot the better option. As we sit in the car, shady-car guy pulls up behind us. He sits in his car, making me nervous, until I say, "LETS JUST GO!" and we grab our valuables, pop them in the trunk, and quickly inspect the meter.

Then shady-car guy gets out and walks up behind us. "You all set?" He asks, and as I try to decide whether he is a stalker/serial killer/ or just interested in the meter, we decide he is just following our cue on the parking. So we as three laugh and say why the heck not and start trekking up to our destination.

"You going to the show?" He asks.

"Yeah," We say,

"How do you know the band?"

"I don't" I admit that I'm just tagging along. Sister says she's a fan and we laugh. Eventually, we realize this guy is going to a different concert, and we part ways. But in the back of my mind I can't help feeling as though he'll be waiting for us when the show is through. Or, that the backalley is going to be filled with cops, or thugs, or my window will be smashed because I left my GPS holder in the window, and my dad always says to take that down in the cities. But it's fine where I work, and that is far more dangerous--even if it is a school in broad daylight. I envision my windshield smashed, my battery dead, and thugs who want to kill us.

 I am seriously paranoid. I get that.

Well, we leave the concert in a slight rush, because if any of my horrific thoughts actually happen, I would like the people leaving the concert to be able to hear us scream. We hop in the car and quickly drive down the shady alleyway--thankful there are no people to be found. We drove around for several minutes until I was completely lost, and had to pull over to get my GPS out of the trunk. I figured it would be safe to do this in a hannafords parkinglot, but then my GPS added to the discomfort by telling me to drive over the curbs of the parking lot and drive behind the the abandoned store towards the dumpsters.


So we drove around the parking lot until I found an exit, then Michelle recalculated the route. My sense of direction wasn't too off, because I ended up bypassing a lot of Portland by getting lost. Still, I'm glad I had my GPS.

As I'm driving, through the deserted post-apocalyptic feeling city, feeling like a criminal for disregarding all the blinking traffic lights--some new blinking lights appear in my rearview mirror. I nearly die.

What did I do??

I frantically review the past few minutes of my driving--the lights are all blinking! That means they aren't working and to proceed with caution--right? Isn't that what it means?? Was there a stop sign? What did I do? Was I speeding? I couldn't have been! What?! What did I do!!?

I pull over instantly, thankful that my mother had at least returned my registration--but where did I put it? What the fuck did I do?!

The cop pulls up behind me, then pulls out, lights still flashing. Then he pulls up ahead of me and pauses before pulling out again and shutting off his lights.

What. The. Fuck. Just. Happened.

I'm shaking at this point, trying to figure out what to do next. I am actually quite tempted to take my sister's friend up on his offer to let us spend the night--but I shake it off and say, "You obviously did nothing wrong, otherwise he would have given you a ticket."

I look to my sister and she is equally as confused.

Ok, so I get the courage to drive again, pull back onto the street and continue home--being hyper-vigilant now. I continue on, until all of the sudden, I spot the officer ahead--idling at the exit of a laundromat. The second I'm about near the entrance, his lights flash on and I hit my breaks, stopping as he darts out in front of me.

I'm shaking again! What do I do? How do I pull over when I am blocked by him? Is he after me? What is going on? Is he a cop? What the hell did I do?

The thoughts race through our minds, and we eventually wonder if this is one of those fake-cops rumored about--the kind that trick you and kill you. Yes, I'm paranoid, but what the hell--really! After time freezes, his lights shut off again and he drives off.





Just go home. I want to go home.

This is why I don't have fun.

This is why I stay home.

Why am I here?

What did I do??

Ok, you are blocking the road. Just drive.

Continuing on, we spend the better half of our ride trying to make sense of the encounters and trying our best to shake off the scare. I've pictured jail time. False imprisonment. Mistaken Identity.  Being framed. Dirty cops. Fake cops. The works. But we cannot make sense of what has happened--or what hasn't happened. I'm so stressed I can barely focus. Some of the lights I noticed afterwards were NOT blinking. Maybe I ran one by mistake? But what about the second time? Did he change his mind and want to pull me over? What the hell did I do??

All the drama seems to have remained in the city, but it is dark and I miss my turn. I find myself in the dark on a stretch of land I infrequently travel in the daytime. I do my best to estimate the speed limit--it's either 40 or 50 at any given point, so I figure 45 will be safe. I'm home free. I just have to find the gas station and turn and I will be able to curl up in bed and relax.

At this point, we are now laughing uncomfortable about the whole thing. We're maybe 10 minutes from the house, and all I can think about is bed. Bed, and the cop lights that light up as we pass the only other car on the road.

My heart freezes again. Seriously. What did I do? What the fuck did I do?

I pull over instantly, and realize this cop is not letting me go. What is the speed limit here? I had to have been 40. Or 50. It's so dark, I don't even know where I am, and I just want to cry. The lights are still flashing behind me, and I realize I don't know where my registration is. It's in the book--the book I threw in the back seat. The book I can't find. My license is in my pocket. The registration? I'm mortified. I'm going to be put in jail--no they can't do that! It will be fine--oh God, what did I do? Here he comes... Stay cool. Stay calm.

"What did I do???" I cry. I feel obligated to tell him I've already been almost-pulled over twice, but then feel that information might lead to more of a hassle. I realize that opening line is probably incriminating enough, though.  Still, I'm wracking my brain to figure out what exactly I did wrong. I'm shaking again, ready to cry.

He tells me my headlight is out.


Are you shitting me?

That's it?

We make small talk, and that's it. He runs my plates, my license, it takes forever. I hop out of the car, and sure enough I have only one working headlight--until I tap it a few times--then it comes back on.

I laugh, and wait for him to return to let him know it IS working. He is surprised and says I'm lucky--not in a smug way, but in a sincere, "hey, that is pretty cool" type way, and I finally relax. He gives me my things and tells me to have it looked at just in case. I thank him and I'm on my way.

I still can't believe it.

Stay tuned for my pre-Mother's Day fiasco from a few years back....

Never a Dull Moment

A few years ago, one of my good friends told me that my life was like, "an episode of Desperate Housewives." I laughed, of course, but knew she was correct. Mind you, I hate the drama, and though I have spent a great deal of precious energy following my another friend's advice to just "ignore drama,"  it just always seems to find me.

I will avoid the more serious issues I've been having, as of late, with the interpersonal aspect of my life. Those issues are far too sensitive, deep, and frustrating to blog about today. Today I would much rather talk about the dramatic morning I've had, and the incredibly frightening, though harmless, encounter I had with the law last night.

Like I said, never a dull moment.

This morning, I awoke to the rabid squawking of our bird. He sometimes doubles as an alarmclock (not really, but if he is covered for too long in the morning he rings his bells and alerts us that he wants to wake up.) The chatter in the morning is usually soft, unless he hears other birds outside. Then we assume he is delusional and planning his own jailbreak.

Well, the first few times I heard his wings flap and squawk, I thought nothing of it. The second time I became concerned, but the third time I knew something was wrong. I did not jump right up, assuming it was something silly. The cat likes to jump on top of the cage and stare at him--scary until you realize she's more afraid of him than he is of her. He pecks at her, and her claws have no way of reaching him through the tiny bars.

Then I hear the wings flapping again--they've been stuck in the cage in the past, and knowing birds are all hemophiliacs, I start to panic. I quickly toss on whatever I can find and run down stairs to check on him. He's still covered from the night, so I carefully remove the draped blanket and find him pinned to the top of the cage.

Well, hooked.

Hooked like a fish.

It takes me a few minutes to process him hanging upside down from his beak--claws clinging to the top of the cage. What do I do? What the hell?

Apparently, birds' beaks are not entirely attached to their faces (a fact which we've known after long ago discovering the awkward armor-gap that would technically be considered his chin.) They remind me--or at least Olie's does--almost of a turtle's shell.

Well, for whatever reason and by whatever chance, his beak became hooked on the hanger of one of his bells this morning. I still don't know how, but it was quite difficult to understand, and even more difficult help.

Midst the jungle of toys, swings, and perches that decorate his cage, he was more than 3/4ths of the way inside, clinging not but an inch from the top of the cage, wings flapping, completely frazzled. This paired with the fact he hardly ever trusts a human hand made his rescue impossible.

Ok, THINK, I thought, and instantly call for my mother. After explaining about 3 times that the bird is stuck, I decide calling her into help was not my smartest choice, but as it is her bird, I don't get hostile. I get a glove instead, and hope that he can position himself into an escape. No such luck--he just freaks out more, flapping and clinging to the glove.

Failed attempt number one.

My mother then puts on the glove and tries grabbing him to unhook him--but with how far he is in the cage, the shortness of her arms, and the angle of the cage's opening, I wind up yelling that she's doing more harm than good. I try thinking of something else, but we just can't. Can I take apart the cage? Not without freaking himout more--it is too secure.

Bird 911? Do we load up the cage and bring him to the vet? What the hell do you do when your bird is hooked to his cage?? I call my sister, running upstairs to try to inform her of the situation--hoping a fresh mind will find a strategy to free him, meanwhile in the back of my mind, I think Wirecutters. Wirecutters! I will tear open the cage. Can I tear open the cage? Where will the bird live? Whatever, we can fix it after we get him out, because he isn't going to live if he is stuck to the cage.

I run to the tool cabinet and pull out a pair of pliers and flat head screwdriver. Not really sure what the hell I need that for, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Perhaps I could pry open the hook he's hooked on? But how without moving the bird? Mom yells that wirecutters are useless, but I don't see another option.

All I have is pliers and a screw driver, and eventually the knowledge that the bell is fairly cheap and consists of 3 main parts.

Ok, the lovely wikipedia informs me that there are more than 3 parts to a bell. 10 total, but screw that, this is my story, and there are only 3. Maybe 4--can't quite remember since I have destroyed the bell at this point, but whatever.

Ok, part 1, the "dress." That rests ontop of the cage for some reason--we sometimes put toys on top of his cage for him to play with, and this is apparently a VERY BAD decision--nothing like this has ever happened in our 3+ years of bird ownership.

The S-hook is not really part of the bell, but it is part of the problem. Both parts of the S-hook are inside the cage, and much smaller than in the picture I've provided.

The "tongue" as they call it, and whatever keeps the tongue from falling out--those are also atop the cage, obviously with the bell's dress.

With that in mind, and knowing that the bell is cheap, I grab the top part (alleged head) of the bell with the pliers and decide to start turning the dress. The metal is strong enough to resist, but with no other option, I keep twisting and turning--doing my best to keep from turning the bird as well. Eventually the bell falls apart, tongue falling into the cage, hook falling out of the bird's jaw, bird hanging upside-down only from his feet.

He quickly climbs down the cage and for the first time ever, accepts my outstretched finger. Unfortunately, we can see his wing is bleeding--again, a very serious problem for birds. But he is so shaken, we definitely cannot grab him just yet. We let him sit on our shoulder and do our best to inspect his disturbed feathers. Two spots are bleeding, but surprisingly dry and a bit crusty. This settles our anxiety for a while and we do our best to dust him with flour (as we have read acts as a clotting agent)

So with our battered, floured, bloody, frazzled bird, we try to figure out how long he has been stuck for. We surely would have heard him during the night--so hopefully this tragedy was recent. Hopefully I heard him soon enough. He spends the better part of the morning with us, but won't eat--not even noodles--his favorite treats.

About a half hour later he caves and tries a noodle. The blood still looks crusty, and is not dripping. Still, we grip him with the gloves and open a wing to further inspect the damage. Some wings a cracked but not bleeding. He seems ok, and he's since eaten and had something to drink. Now he sits perched on the back of the sofa, in his glory, listening to my sister pretend to play the guitar.

Fingers are crossed that is the end of this story!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Quote me, I'm brilliant!

I had to share this, just because I think it's pretty amazing.

"I protect my brain cells by NOT drinking; I wouldn't expect my aunt to understand the helmet thing either."

Backstory: My family is full of alcoholics. I've recently found out that one of my aunts continuously accuses me of being socially awkward because I refuse to hang out and get drunk with the rest of my family. This is also the same aunt who started the rumor that I was a lesbian, because I haven't dated much.

The latest gossip from said aunt is that wearing bicycle helmets when riding bikes "is stupid." When my mother tells her that it is the safe thing to do and that my sister and I wear our helmets, she replies, "I know, they look stupid."

So I repeat: "I protect my brain cells by NOT drinking; I wouldn't expect my aunt to understand the helmet thing either."

End rant.