Thursday, June 27, 2013

Caught Off-Guard

I received a call Wednesday afternoon for someone wanting to talk to my husband.  This person was someone that the hubby knew, but I had never talked to in my life.  She started rattling off her phone number before I had a chance to grab a piece of paper and a pen or pencil.  I said, "you gave me that number so fast, can you give me it again?"  Her response back was, "didn't your husband "train" you to take messages?"  Wow, I was caught so off-guard by what she said that I didn't say anything.  First of all, she never once asked me who I was (I guess she assumed I was the wife).  Second, I felt that what she said in regards to my husband "training" me was kind of offensive.  If I knew her, maybe she could say something like that.  She doesn't know me from a hole in the wall. Lastly, after I told her that I would send my husband a message at work through e-mail to let him know that she called, she made a comment about my husband that was out of line too.  This isn't the first time that I've been caught off-guard by someone.  Lauren tells me I "shut down" when someone says something that I don't know how to respond to. I have never been one to think quickly on my feet that way.  I can usually think of something after the fact that I should have said, but by then it's too late!  When the hubby came home and I explained more in detail what this woman said, he at first didn't think it was a huge deal.  A little while later, he said how I might have been bothered, especially since I didn't know the woman.   I told him that this woman's boss should know the way she talks to people on the phone.  I was a receptionist and I answered the phones as part of my job.  I never would have talked to a client's family member like that.  When you answer the phone for a business, you are the one that gives the first impression of a company.  I never in a million years would have asked someone if their spouse had "trained" them on how to answer the phone.  I guess this person thought she was being funny, and maybe I was being a little overly sensitive, but it was still rude!  How do you handle things when you're caught off-guard? do you "shut down?" or do you have a witty retort at the ready??

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Two Years and Counting

In a little less than two weeks from now it will be the two year anniversary of writing this blog. When I first started in July of 2011, I needed a way to get my feelings out. I remember going back and forth the few months prior to when I wrote my first post about whether I should even write a blog. Growing up, my sister was the writer in the family, not me! What did I know about a blog? what if nobody read it? what if I ran out of things to write about? What if nobody liked what I wrote?  I decided that I was going to go for it and I jumped into the blogging "pool."  In my early posts, I wrote a lot about my mother-in-law.  She passed away in January of 2011 and when I first started my blog, my emotions were still very raw.  I have written many posts about Dominic, because I know there are numerous families out there that have children with special needs and I hope that my blog posts help make you feel like you are not alone.  The only time I had ever heard of Autism before Dominic was diagnosed was when I had watched the movie, Rainman with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman.  In my mind,  I thought all children and adults with Autism were severe and only lived in institutions.  Yep, that's how little I knew about it.  For others out there who don't have children with special needs, I hope my posts give you some insight as to what it's really like :)  One of the hardest things I have ever experienced was going to my cousin's funeral in March of 2011.  She passed away unexpectedly at the age of 49 (the same age I am now).  I pray for her every week at church and she is never far from my thoughts.  I hope that the posts I have written about her have brought those she left behind some comfort.  I like to write about the things that a lot of us think about, but might not always put down on a piece of paper, like one of my latest posts about dressing rooms :)  I hope that you enjoy my different posts, I try and write from the heart and I hope I haven't ever offended anyone!  I guess I didn't need to worry about running out of things to write about - I currently have 50 drafts in my blog "hopper."  Thank goodness for Lauren, she is the one who helped me originally get my blog up and running and she continues to be my computer "expert."  I'm glad I have such an understanding hubby, daughter, stepson and son who let me share the details of our life.  It's hard to believe I have been writing my blog for almost two years.  I plan on continuing for many years to come!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Hot Flashes, Anyone???

Summer has definitely arrived where we live here in the Midwest.  Growing up on the East Coast, my parents had the air conditioning on for about six months or so out of the year. The hubby grew up in Cleveland and his parents lived in a much older home without central air conditioning.  Between my husband and I, there have been many a battle about when to put the "air" on in our house. It started getting pretty warm here towards the end of last week, so I decided it was time for it to come on. The projected temperature for the beginning of this week is supposed to be downright toasty.  Last night, a few hours after dinner, the hubby out of the blue said, "hey, how about we turn the air conditioning off?"  My response back was, "excuse me, but have you ever experienced premenopause or menopause?"  His response, "well, no."  I continued, "I have something called an internal heater that is always on!"  I went on to tell him, "unless you want a really cranky wife that will wake you up at 3 a.m. because she's too hot, you'll keep it on."  Back in June of 2010, I had a hysterectomy because based on my symptoms and inconclusive biopsies,  it was a good possibility that I had some form of reproductive cancer.  Before I went into surgery, my doctor told me she didn't know what she would find and based on how invasive my surgery was, I might go into early menopause. She was asking me if that was okay.  I remember telling her, "do whatever it is you need to do."  When I woke up from my surgery, I was told that I didn't have cancer and I would go into menopause naturally.  At one of my follow-up appointments a year or so after my surgery, I asked the doctor if there was a test to see if I was in menopause yet.  She said, "why does it matter?"  I said, "because I want to be able to tell my family if I'm moody or cranky, that's the reason!" I don't remember if she laughed at me or not, but I thought it was a little funny :)  When you are pregnant and give birth, your hormones are kind of all over the place.  It's kind of the same with premenopause and menopause. Hot flashes, anyone?? night sweats? insomnia?  Those are the symptoms I get the most. Oh, good grief, how could I possibly forget the  MOOD SWINGS!?!?!?!?!  The poor hubby got a good dose of that when he asked me if the "air" should be turned off last night :)  Some lucky women never experience the signs of menopause, others get them all.  Just like with pregnancies, some women feel like a million bucks the whole nine months, while others have morning sickness every day of the nine months.  If you have already been through menopause, I hope it was a smooth transition and you didn't experience too many problems (if any).  If you are heading towards it, hang on tight, it could be a roller coaster of emotions and symptoms!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

That "R" Word

A couple of years ago when I was in an elevator with Lauren, two women started tossing the word "retarded" around in a derogatory way.  I was so taken aback that I kind of stood there with my mouth open.  Lauren told me that teenagers use that word jokingly, not really thinking twice that it might possibly offend somebody. That makes me kind of sad that the younger generation thinks that is okay, it really isn't. There is the best website connected with the Special Olympics, here is the link: .  It stands for "spread the word to end the word."  When the word "retard" or "retarded" is used within the content of a joke, in a derogatory way, as slang or as a slur, it is incredibly offensive, disrespectful and insulting to an entire segment of the population. Instead, let's use the word "special needs." I truly can't wrap my mind around how people actually think it's funny to use the "r" word in a joke.  It really isn't humorous at all and it is never acceptable.  I know that I can't go back in time, but I really wish I could - I would have jumped up on my "soapbox" and said something to those women in the elevator!  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

"Helicopter" Dads??

During spring break, Lauren went on a tour of the local university.  The hubby is much more familiar with the campus, so he drove her over to the building where the tour was starting.  When he got back home from dropping her off, I asked him how it went.  He said when he took Lauren to the room where the tour was beginning, there were already kids in the room waiting for the tour to start. Only one kid still had their parent hanging out with them. I asked him if he had thought about waiting with Lauren until the tour "officially" started and his response back to me was, "well, I don't want to be a "helicopter dad."  Dads, I think are sometimes especially overprotective of their daughters.  I know my own dad still kind of is even though I will be 50 in a few weeks :)  My hubby has two sons, but Lauren is his only daughter. Since the hubby is an only child and didn't have any sisters, he isn't quite sure about the "girl" stuff sometimes! Case in point -  I took Lauren looking for bathing suits a few months ago. She knows that before I will buy her a suit, it has to pass my final "inspection." The hubby's response when he saw one of the suits on her was, "you're not wearing that out in public, are you??" Poor guy, I think if he had his way, she would wear a bathing suit from the 1900's. I think it was easier for him when one of Lauren's only main requirements was a bottle :)

My husband is a great father.  When I met him, my stepson was just about to turn 7.  He has always been there for my stepson when he has been needed - hard to believe he will be 30 in January!!  They have always had a great relationship and even though he now lives far away, they have a close bond. They can talk about sports for hours :) Many men my husband's age have grandchildren Dominic's age.  I think he likes to blow people's minds by telling them he has an 8-year old!  I love when my stepson visits and my husband is surrounded by the three kids.  It is one of the coolest things to watch, especially considering the wide age ranges. It is a fine line for fathers, you want to give them their independence and teach them the skills they will need throughout their lifetime, but at the same time, sometimes you want to help them more than they need to be helped.  I think being a "semi-helicopter" dad is good - be "hovering" just in case!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dressing Room "Etiquette"

Yesterday, Lauren and I went shopping for some clothes for her (now is the best time to find deals on anything summer related - which is what she needed), plus of course I had some coupons that were expiring soon! Anyways, given that she was going to be trying things on meant we were going to be using a dressing room.  I have written posts about etiquette in the library, parking lots and manners in general, but based on yesterday's experiences and past ones, I felt that a post needed to be written about dressing room "etiquette."  Hang on, I'm hopping way up on my soapbox!!  The following are some rules that I wish my fellow shoppers would adhere to.  Rule #1 - to the woman a few feet away from us at one of the major department stores yesterday afternoon, while I'm sure you were happy to hear from your friend on your cell phone, launching into a ten-minute conversation about getting your hair done and your upcoming vacation to Illinois, at a minimum, could you please take your phone off the speaker setting? We could hear every morsel of your conversation, plus what your friend was saying.  Rule #2 - if you blow your nose, please put your used tissue in the nearest trashcan, not on the floor or on the seat in the dressing room.  Rule #3 - as hungry and thirsty as we all get while shopping, would it possible to find the nearest bench outside the dressing room to eat?  Finding bits of food on the floor is not very appetizing!  Rule #4 - if you try on a bunch of clothes and they don't fit, could you please put them back on the hanger and return them to the rack outside the dressing rooms? or to the attendant? Tossing them on the floor, on the chair or even hanging them on the hook inside the room makes it hard for the person coming after you to find available space to try on their clothes.  Rule #5 - if the store is really busy and dressing rooms are at a premium, could you please try to adhere to the limit specified by the store?  Trying on 20 outfits when there is a long line of people is a sure way to get dirty looks.  Rule #6 - if you must change your child's diaper in the dressing room, could you please put the dirty one in the nearest trashcan?  Rule #7 - chewing gum does give you fresh breath, but when the gum is done, please wrap it up in a napkin or tissue and take it with you to dispose of later. Rule #8 - I absolutely love children, but if I'm trying on a bathing suit, it's probably not a good idea to have your child(ren) peek under the dressing room door and start a conversation with me.  Now that I'm done, I'll jump back down off the soapbox! I'm not asking too much of my fellow shoppers, am I??  Let me know your thoughts!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Memories of My Grandparents

As much as I love digital cameras and being able to see a picture instantly, I still like to have pictures that I can hold in my hands and look at.  I guess with Lauren just recently turning 17, I was getting a little nostalgic and started looking through old photos.  While sorting through a bunch I found this picture:

The little girl sitting on the older man's lap is me when I was about a year and a half old.  The older man is my grandfather.  He passed away when I was about 5 1/2 years old.  I'm pretty sure that is one of my cousins sitting in the chair :)  One of the very few memories I have of my grandfather (my mom's dad) was riding in the front seat between him and my grandma in a car that had a green interior (a Buick maybe)?  I was so incredibly blessed to have had my grandmother for so long. This picture is from 20 years ago of my grandma and I, but it's a favorite:

The picture below is her holding Lauren.

She passed away when I was pregnant with Dominic, she lived to be 101.  My other grandmother (my dad's mom) is in the picture below:

She is holding me on her lap.  The gentleman on the far right was her husband (my grandpa).  My grandmother was a very honest person and would tell it like it is (kind of like me).  My grandfather was able to attend my wedding to my hubby in 1995, but he passed a few years after that.  I love this picture of all four of my grandparents together.

I think it's cool because they are all dressed up. Guessing from the long coats my grandmothers are wearing, I'm guessing it was the fall or winter.  This is the only picture I can remember seeing where they were all together posing for the camera.  My stepson and Lauren were fortunate enough to have met my mom's mother and my dad's father.  Not a lot of kids can say they knew two of their great-grandparents.  If your children are lucky enough to still have their grandparents (or great-grandparents) they are making great memories to be able to carry with them throughout their lives.  I know I have wonderful ones of mine!

My New "Relationship" with the Sun

Long gone are the days that I would sit on the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean for HOURS at a time with just baby oil on my skin for prote...