Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Too Funny!

Jamie told me this story just as I was putting him to bed, and I about peed my pants, it was so funny!

At some point today, his teacher, Ms. S, had to have Jamie come back with her to the female teachers' cabin to take his meds. When he got there, the other teacher, Ms. B, was in there. Ms. S and Ms. B got into a very "female biology oriented" discussion - evidently forgetting that Jamie was there (he can sometimes be so quiet, you forget he's still there and paying very close attention). Ms. S looked up and realized Jamie was in the room. She stammered out, "Oh, Jamie, please tell me you weren't listening to all that. I'm so sorry we forgot you were here!"

To which Jamie replied. "Huh, that's nothing. I hear that kind of stuff all the time. I DO live with three women, after all!"

I about cracked up! Of course, after I tucked him in, the first thing I did was go tell my roomie what he said.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Miss My Boy

While I have to admit that I'm really LOVING the fact that I got to sleep in until 7:45 this morning, and have a small, secret pleasure that I didn't have to spend 45 minutes telling Jamie to get his butt in bed last night --- still, I miss my boy! I'm counting the hours until I pick him up from school tomorrow.

I'm not the only one who misses him. Ziggy keeps wandering around the house, nosing open any door that is even partially closed, then running inside the room. Then he stops suddenly in the middle of the room, sniffs around, whines, tucks his tail between his legs, and leaves the room. Then he stands outside Jamie's room and whimpers, then looks at me like "Where's my boy?"

I'm wondering the same thing, Zig. But don't worry, he'll be home tomorrow. We'll see him in about 24 hours and 14 minutes.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tomorrow I Be Kid Free

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Jamie's field trip; he'll be gone until Wednesday when I pick him up after school. So today is filled with doing laundry, packing his bag, and preparing and packing all of his food. Originally, I was only going to pack him cold stuff to eat at every meal. However, the weather forecast is for chilly temperatures, and I feel at least one hot thing at every meal is essential to keep him from getting sick. So I bought him oatmeal packets for breakfast (all he'll have to do is ask an adult to get him some hot water and he can mix it himself). But lunches and dinners were a bit more problematic; so I went the more expensive route and bought some microwaveable soups that he can ask an adult to heat up for him in a microwave. As skinny as Jamie is, and as easily as he gets cold, I can't imagine that eating nothing but cold foods for three days would be conducive to him staying in good health. He needs something warm in him to combat the chilly temperatures.

I've been trying to hide my anxiety about this trip from Jamie. He's excited to go, but as we get closer to the deadline, he's become more anxious about it. He's worried that he might accidentally be exposed to something he's allergic to, and he's worried that the adults won't know how to react if he does go into anaphylactic shock. There's something so wrong about a 10 year old being (rightly) so worried about the possibility of death. I also worry, because the camp is an hour and a half away, because they don't get cell phone reception and only have one land line, because the nearest hospital is an hour away, because I won't be there to make sure all the kids wash their hands after meals, that the table gets wiped down, etc. etc. But, I also realize that Jamie can't hide his whole life because of what "might" happen. I realize that pretty much any encounter with food is a risk for him, but he can't go through life scared. If he does, that isn't really living. It's merely existing, and I don't want that for my child.

So, even though he's now voicing doubts about going, I'm encouraging him to go. I've told him he can't go through life scared. He should be cautious about things, but not hide from them all. I've put on a brave face, when inside I feel like I'm sending him off to the executioners. But I can't prevent him from being a normal kid just because I'm scared. Any more than he can hide from life because he's scared. Go live, little guy. Enjoy life, don't just exist.

But I'll be praying the whole time he's gone. And I'll give him the biggest hug he's ever gotten when he comes home on Wednesday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thank you

I just wanted to take this opportunity to say "thank you" to everyone who left words of encouragement or offered advice on my extremely depressing birthday post the other day. I've been increasingly down in the dumps as this year has progressed; the current economic situation has not helped one bit, let me tell you! I've been racking my brains, trying to figure out how to squeeze in another source of income into my already hectic schedule; so far, no luck. That is, unless I want to forgo sleep all together. If I don't sleep, I can squeeze a second job in there at night, but then I would be too exhausted for work or school.

I was talking to an acquaintance about the general economic outlook for the whole country and casually mentioned that it's hitting my family, as well. She looked at me and said, "Well, just cancel Jamie's violin lessons. That'll save you some money. It's not like he needs music for anything." WHAT?!?!!???! Please tell me I misheard her! How can anyone say no one needs music?!?! I wanted to grab the nearest textbook and whack her upside the head with it. For my high school portfolio, I wrote a paper on how music and math are linked, and how study of music helps in one's verbal development, reading skills, and math skills. Oh, how I wish I had had a copy of that paper to stuff in that poor, misguided woman's mouth until she choked on it! Doesn't need music, my a$$!

My roommate also suggested that I take Jamie's violin lessons away because that would save me $30 a month in instrument rental fees. Again, NO! First of all, Jamie loves to play his violin. He's no virtuoso, my ears can attest to that! But - he is a lot better than I expected someone to be after only four lessons (they meet for an hour once a week after school). I can tell what he's playing about 3/4 of the time, and there is a very definite rhythm when he's playing. His whole face lights up when he plays, and it's beautiful to see. No matter how the bills get, I'm not taking away the violin, nor will I take away soccer. These are the two extracurricular activities he loves the most, so I'm not taking them away from him. Also, not only does he love them, but according to his psychologist, they are good therapy for his ADHD. They help him learn that paying attention is important, that if he doesn't do what he's supposed to do, he isn't just letting himself down, but he's letting down the whole team/ensemble. They also help him to learn how to work with people, instead of always trying to get his own way. And again, there is the benefit that music brings to the rest of your life (the aforementioned reading, math and verbal benefits, etc.)

Speaking of reading, I may have discovered part of Jamie's school problem, and why he speaks like an adult but reads like a first-grader with no comprehension skills whatsoever. Yesterday, I took a vacation day so I could take a computer equivalency exam and then take Jamie to the opthalmologist. He had failed his eye exam at the pediatrician's, so the doctor wanted Jamie's eyes checked. Because Jamie has migraines so often, and his other concentration problems, Dr. Jardan wanted Jamie seen by an opthalmologist instead of an optometrist. So, at his appointment yesterday, Dr. Zwaan said Jamie has something called "convergence insufficiency." Basically, this means he can't focus both eyes up close like one needs to do when reading and working on the computer, doing homework, etc. It takes so much effort for him to keep both eyes trained on the book/computer/paper, that he cannot comprehend and retain what he's reading. It also causes eye strain because he's seeing multiple images out of one eye due to the strain. Basically, both eyes are supposed to focus down into a "V" shape, with the smalled part of the "V" being trained on the paper/book/computer. Jamie's left eye wants to make more of a "U" and wander off to the left somewhere. This causes him to see multiple images of the object out of his left eye, and normal vision out of the right, which then confuses the hell out of his brain. So then, his brain is so busy trying to unscramble what he's reading, and focusing so hard on trying to make that left eye take information that he can't really process what he's reading. This also leads to eye strain, which then triggers his horrendous migraines.

Great!, you say. You know what's wrong! Now how do you fix it? Jamie has to start what's called "vision therapy" to retrain his left eye. Only problem is, they only do it on Mondays, and they're closed during my normal lunch break. I'm going to try to take him on a later lunch hour than normal, and just hope that traffic isn't too bad on the way there and that they don't take forever to get him in to start the therapy. If it takes up too much time, I fear my boss will decide to go ahead and can me and not wait until January. Until then, keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tomorrow I Be 32

Having reached the age of 32 (well, one day away, anyway), I can't help but think, "Wait. This is 32? Shouldn't I feel older, wiser, and at least partially like a grown up?" The only difference between the way I feel in my 30's to the way I felt in my late teens and at 20 is that now, in addition to worrying about bills, food, my job, the economy, etc., I now have the worry of "how the heck am I going to support my kid?" Shouldn't someone in her 30's feel a bit more, I don't know, settled, by now?

I feel like everyone else my age has gotten their crap together by now. They know who they are, what they want to be, most have found a partner in life and have at least some sort of plan for their lives. Me? Well, if I make it successfully through one day without breaking down crying and get half the things done on that particular day that need to be done, well - that's success for me. I kind of feel like Dorothy in the tornado. There's nothing sturdy to hold on to, I don't know where I'm being blown to, and I certainly don't know what's going to happen next. I feel like everything is out of my control.

Part of this is because I've had a totally craptastic couple of weeks down here. Let me give you a recap:
  • Last week, instead of getting the raise I was really hoping for and desperately needing, I was instead told that I'm on probation and I'll find out in January if I still have a job.
  • I found out my request for an appeal with Jamie's insurance has been denied; which means that starting next month, I have a 923% increase in the copay amounts I have to pay for Jamie's doctor visits and medicines. What was once costing me less than $20 a month will now cost me a little over $200. That's money I don't have, folks.
  • I came to the realization that - between soon-to-be-higher medical costs for Jamie and my own bills, there probably won't be any presents at Christmas this year. I know that Christmas isn't about presents, it's about Jesus, and family, and love. But - oh - how it hurts to know I can't give Jamie what he wants this year!
  • My roommate informed me she's going back on her agreement with me to share bills and split rent until we're out of school and will be moving out when the lease is up at the end of January. She's going back on her word because she's more broke than I am, which a part of me can understand. However, this puts me in a major bind because -
  • I've discovered it may be next to impossible for me to find a place for me and Jamie to live on my income alone. Due to the credit crisis and economic woes, all the rental agencies around here have restructured their income requirements for being able to rent a house. They now require you to have an income at least 4x that of the monthly rent. Even though I'll have school money at the beginning of January to use for a deposit, first month's rent, etc., the rental agencies don't count that as income, so I'm hard pressed to find a place that will even let me rent, much less finding one in a good neighborhood, in good repair, etc.
  • Due to the above, and wondering if we'll have enough $$ just to rent a house, I had to break Jamie's heart and tell him we couldn't go back to NYC on spring break to see Uncle Joel like we had been planning on since last November. Jamie really loves Uncle Joel, and was eagerly anticipating seeing him again. But with our finances up in the air so much right now, I just don't see how that trip is going to be possible.
  • Dad's being a butt, calling me and harassing me about not coming to see him often enough, then hanging up on me when I answer his questions in ways he doesn't like, and
  • I'm failing my Spanish class. I'm so tired, and stressed, and freaking out over everything that I can't concentrate on all my classes. The Spanish is the hardest one for me to absorb, so it's the one that falls out of my head first. I think I'm doing fine, then I go to take the test and bomb. I got a 62 on the first test, and a 55 on the second. It will be a miracle if I can raise the grade up to a C at this point, much less straight A's like I usually have.

However, I keep reminding myself that things are not as bad as they could be. We have a roof over our heads for now. There's still food in the pantry. Although it's uncertain if I'll still have a job in the future, I do still have one for now. Those who have read my last few entries know that God is good, and Tiffany rocks, so Jamie still gets to go on his field trip. In fact, this weekend he's excited about getting to go pick out "yummy never-touched-a-peanut-in-it's-life food" and packing his bags for the trip. Things could be much worse. It's just that, I don't know, I thought that I would have gotten to a point where life was easier by now - I'd know where I was going and how to get there, I wouldn't still be trying to juggle so many balls in the air. Heck, I never expected I'd still be single at this point in my life, either. I guess I took it for granted that I'd have a partner in life by now. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm learning that there really isn't any difference between how you feel in your 30's from how you felt in your teens. And there's no "magic age" when you finally grow up. And just because you have a kid(s), it doesn't mean all of a sudden you have the answers. I think mostly it means you just have more questions.

So, sorry for being such a downer today, folks. I just needed to unload some of this stress, anxiety and what-have-you while ruminating on the status of my "adulthood." I'm not meaning to whine or have a pity party, I just felt like if I didn't get some of it out of my head and down on paper - wait, um... on the computer screen, my head would explode, or at the very least I'd start consuming copious amounts of alcohol. If I ever get it figured out, I'll let you all know. Peace, love, hugs and kisses to you all!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Praise God and Thank You Tiffany!

So, some of you who read my blog read my latest rant, and may have read a comment from Tiffany, a super awesome lady I met at church and with whom I have maintained sporadic contact, offer to provide for Jamie to go to camp. Now, I can be a pretty proud person and stubbornly refuse help even when I desperately need it (c'mon, my first full sentence was "me do it meself". That set the tone for the rest of my life). However, when it comes to my kid, if I truly desperately need help and it's for his benefit, I'll suck it up and ask for help. So when Tiff offered, I wanted to graciously decline. But then there was Jamie, and Tiff pretty much told me she wouldn't take no for an answer. So I tearfully, not a bit of pride in me, accepted her generous offer. Thank you, God, for hearing my prayers for help, and Thank you, Tiffany, for helping me. You should have seen the huge, radiant smile on Jamie's face when I told him he would, indeed, get to go on the trip. Lots of love and hugs to you, Tiff! And love and thanks for your patience to my readers who have read my rants!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oh, I'm Mad and Sad!

I have been doing a lot of ranting lately, dear readers, and for that I am sorry.  But my latest mad and sad item is really bad (why do I sound like Dr. Seuss?).  Anyway, Jamie’s school has an overnight field trip for 5th graders.  No, I’m sorry, let me correct that – the ENTIRE DISTRICT has an overnight field trip for the fifth graders.  They go to a ranch and spend three days and two nights observing animals in the wild, testing water quality, hiking, canoeing, doing some real hands-on science stuff.  BUT – and here’s the part that pisses me off – the ranch is refusing to guarantee its food is peanut or tree nut free, AND is refusing to supply any alternate food for Jamie because “it isn’t in its contract” with the school system to do so.  I’ve already contacted the Texas Dept. of Ag that overseas the school lunch program, and since the food is not in any way associated with the school nutrition services, they don’t have to provide an alternative lunch for Jamie.


Jamie could have gone if I had sent a cooler full of food with him, and the ranch would have supplied a separate table for him to sit at and supplies for Jamie to wipe down the table, BUT – here’s another thing that has me mad and sad – the economic downturn has hit me really hard, and Jamie’s health insurance co-pays increase 923% (that’s not an exaggeration) next month, so I can’t afford to send a cooler of food with him on the trip, so Jamie can’t go.


Poor kid is being punished because of something he can’t help.  I asked the assistant principal if Jamie would be the only one not going, and she said “No, there will be some not going because of discipline problems”.  Excuse me?!?!  The only other ones not going are because they’re in trouble?


I’m no Pollyanna.  I of all people should know the world is not fair and that sometimes things just downright suck, but it breaks my heart that Jamie is being punished for something he has no control over, and is missing this opportunity to go ramble in an honest-to-goodness Texas ranch for three days with his friends and go hiking, canoeing and learn about nature actually out in nature.  This goes beyond suckage.  And the real kicker here?  The ranch they’re all going to is a Christian fellowship camp in the summer that advertises its “openness” and “welcoming policies for all.”  HA!  What a crock!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Double Feature

Suffering from a severe case of school burnout and work-related stress, I took the weekend off.  I didn’t turn in this week’s Spanish homework that was due Friday night, purposely put out of my mind the Social Research exam I was supposed to be doing this weekend (it’s due tonight at 11:55 p.m.), and just plain didn’t care about Speech outlines and Racial/Ethnic Groups quizzes all due this weekend.  My head was ready to burst, I felt like if I had to read one more paragraph, I’d start crying.  So, I played some major hookey this weekend.


Instead of doing all the responsible things I should have been doing, I took my kid to a double feature.  We had some discount movie passes I’d picked up a long time ago, and Jamie had saved up money he’d earned doing chores, so we combined the two to see “City of Ember” and “Eagle Eye” on Saturday.  We used Jamie’s money to pay for the matinee showing of “Ember” and used the discount passes for “Eagle.”  Both were very, very good movies.  Although, at the beginning of “Eagle” there was some language that, had I been aware of it beforehand we would have chosen a different movie.  Jamie really liked both of them (yet another sign that he’s maturing past “only cartoons”), and couldn’t decide, when asked, which one was better.  He also enjoyed the fact that there was a little over an hour between the two movies where he got to use his quarters to play in the arcade.


Yes, I should have been doing homework.  But I just can’t bring myself to care.  I had a blast with my son, and got to spend some precious time with him while he’s still in the stage where he actually LIKES spending time with Mom.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Drunk Pumpkin

A high school friend with whom I've recently been e-mail corresponding sent me this picture; it was so funny, I just had to share it!

Speaking of halloween (well, sort of), anybody have any cheap costume ideas? Jamie can't make up his mind what he wants to be, halloween approacheth, and I refuse to buy a costume. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I Love This Article

I gotta say, I love this New York Times article. Read it, and I bet you’ll love it, too!

***For some reason, the link above doesn't always show up. Just put your mouse anywhere over the words "this New York Times article" and click, and it will take you to the link.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Little Boy's David Beckham Dreams

Jamie has been prattling on about how he wishes he could meet David Beckham at the game on Oct. 18, or see some of the Houston Dynamo players whose autographs he'd gotten before. I had to explain to him that the tickets we got are not VIP tickets like we had for the tournament here in San Antonio. Oh no, I couldn't afford those (besides, they were all sold out; I looked). Nope, we have nosebleed section tickets, way up high in Section 201. I explained that most of the up-close action we'd see would be on the view monitor (if they have one). He was a bit disappointed, but - in true "Jamie-style" - was just grateful to be going to the game. I have such a wonderful son!

We had a scare last night at Jamie's soccer practice. Even though Jamie has played keeper for more than SIX seasons, they keep putting him in as striker. For those of you not familiar with soccer positions, the keeper (or goalie, or goalkeeper) keeps the ball from going in the net. The striker (or forward) is the one who tries to put the ball in the opposing team's net. The striker does a LOT of running (at least, he does in the U11 age group, when they're still learning about passing and team work). Now, one would think that coaches and trainers, upon being informed a child has asthma, would choose a position OTHER than the one that involves the most running; a position that actually involves short bursts of activity, rather than one long, sustained effort; a position that the player has more than THREE YEARS of experience in playing. Nope. Striker it is. And last night, Jamie had his first asthma attack on the field. His team was playing a scrimmage against another team from the same league. Jamie had the ball and was heading downfield to the opposing team's net when he suddenly doubled over, started coughing and gasping, and couldn't breathe. He was able to get off the field and over to his bag to take his inhaler, but even after he was able to fully breathe again, he said his lungs hurt. He said it felt like someone had kicked him in the lungs and left him all bruised inside.

I really worry about him. He loves soccer, but with episodes like this, and Texas' wonderful trend towards Air Quality Alert Days when Jamie can't even go outside (which means no games, no practices), I have to wonder if his soccer days are limited. Which is such a shame because he's so darn GOOD. I think if his downward trend continues, I'll take him back to his allergy/asthma doctor and have them give me their medical opinion about him continuing to play soccer. Then, based on the doc's recommendations, I'll talk to his coach and trainer about whether or not it is wise for Jamie to keep playing striker.