Parenting is Hard, You Guys.

Before I was a parent, I never understood that you could have a job that was simultaneously the most difficult and most rewarding thing you could ever experience.  But, it truly is.

I had my oldest son when I was 24-years-old.  I occasionally envy my friends who waited until 35 to have their first.  Age 24 was long before I had any clue what I was doing with my life let alone what to do with someone else’s.  Having Tyler gave me direction.  It made me understand that there was more to life than partying and making friends and buying things.  My unexpected pregnancy made me grow up in a really real way and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.

In just a few days, he starts high school.  It’s a transition in my life as a parent that I wasn’t expecting to be quite so emotional.  I’ve cried at least a dozen times this week.  Registration, tears.  Orientation, tears.  Picking up books, tears.  Paying fees, tears.  School supply shopping, tears.  The people at Target give you weird looks when you tear up while buying pencils, FYI.

Tyler and I have been through so many things together.  Two miserable break ups.  The death of my Father.  The loss of his great grandparents.  Multiple surgeries.  Four moves.  Three jobs.  The birth of his brother and sister.  A new marriage.  Through all of the changes, this kid has been my constant when everyone else disappeared.  I can’t believe he’s 14.

I feel like we’ve grown up together.  In my head, I’m maybe 25…26 max.  I’m certainly not a 39-year-old wife and mother of 3 with an important job and a very real mortgage and student loan payments and stretch marks.  I’m just not.  So, it’s not possible to the me that exists in my own head that my kid is going to start driving soon.

The past fourteen years have gone by in a blink.  I can still recall the way his little head smelled when he was a baby.  The way he would snuggle on my chest after I’d had a long day of work.  I remember his first tooth, his first steps, and his first sentence (It was “Oh, son of a bitch”, by the way.).  Now, he spends his days taking selfies in the bathroom mirror and flirting with girls who wear shorts that resemble underwear.  When.  Did.  This.  Happen?

The first day of Kindergarten seems like yesterday.  To think that he will be an adult in four years is mind boggling.  It is too soon and I’m not ready.  Good God, y’all.  If I can’t handle high school, what the hell am I going to do when he goes off to college.  My husband is going to have to talk me down and keep me from locking him in the basement forever.

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How Roller Derby Saved My Soul…

I heard this song by Rachel Platten a few days ago (and, yes, I realize it is now in a car commercial).

And all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

It made me think about the past few years of my life and roller derby specifically.  I get a lot of questions from people like “Why the hell would you ever want to play roller derby?”

You see, roller derby fundamentally changed my life for the better.  I wouldn’t change a minute of it. Let me explain.

I had been stalking local roller derby teams for over a year.  It sounded like the most fun.  I loved roller skating when I was a kid and I thought this was an opportunity to do it as an adult.  I read Facebook posts, studied the rules, and followed all of the local teams.  I bought all of my gear, but still had not worked up the nerve to actually attend a practice.  Why?  I was scared to death.  Scared I wouldn’t fit in.  Scared I’d fall.  Scared I’d make a fool out of myself.  So, for over a year, I sat staring at my brand new pair of skates and trying to muster the balls to go to practice.

Then, something amazing happened.  My friend, Morgan, suddenly tells me that she has joined a roller derby team and she thinks I should come to practice with her.  She continued to pester me every week until I finally showed up one Sunday night. My fears of fitting in were quickly gone.  There were women of all different ages, sizes, professions, races and they greeted me like an old friend.  It was clear that there was no “fitting in” in roller derby.

There was a girl named Straight Jackie who was assigned to show me the derby ropes.  She was 18, had a bright pink mohawk, and was wearing the cutest red sailor dress I’ve ever seen.  In my 36 years, I’d never seen anyone like her and I suddenly wanted to BE her.  She was testing my skills and I kept repeating “I don’t want to fall.  I’m scared to fall.”  After I whined about falling the 100th time, Jackie shoved me to the ground with all her might.  I looked at her with a stare that said, “This crazy bitch half my age just knocked me to the ground.  Who do you think you are?”.  She simply said to me, “There.  You fell.  You didn’t die.  Get back up and let’s do it again.”  At that moment, I realized life really was that simple.  You fall.  You fail.  You get back up.  You survive.

When I joined the roller derby team, I was in a really bad place in my life.  I was in a miserable relationship (we were both miserable…not just me), I hated my job, I missed my family, I was overwhelmed.  I was doing everything for everyone else…kids, work, boyfriend, school, community, friends…but, I had nothing that was for me.  I was unhappy and stressed out.  I was drinking too much and avoiding reality.  I think there was maybe one friend who actually knew how bad things had gotten and what a terrible spot I was in.  I was excellent at pushing down my feelings and pretending things were A-OK.  I knew, however, it was only a matter of time before the facade I’d built came crumbling down.

Derby gave me an escape from all of that.  It gave me a place where I could truly be myself for the first time in a long time.  I finally found the old Ginger again.  I found new friends who loved me, flaws and all.  I realized that I could get knocked down a million times and still get back up.  I discovered that nothing makes you feel quite as powerful as having bruises all over your body and knowing that you earned every last one of them.

Derby gave me the courage to leave my bad relationship.  It gave me the strength to be my authentic self.  Roller derby has made me a better mother because I have an outlet for my stress.  Without derby, I never would’ve had the guts to go on an online dating site and meet the wonderful man who would become my husband.

People are amazed that I still plan to continue playing once my ankle is healed.  Why would I leave something I love so much behind?  It would be like abandoning an old friend.  An old friend who made you discover a strength inside yourself that you never knew you had.

For all of you considering stepping out of your comfort zone, I highly recommend it.  Train for that marathon.  Go skydiving.  Strap on some skates.  Travel to a new location.  Change jobs.  Go back to school.  You’ll be amazed how much letting go of your fear will change your life for the better.

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For Father’s Day

Since Father’s Day is rapidly approaching, I thought I’d write a post for the Dads out there.

I was blessed to be raised by a pretty amazing Dad.  He worked incredibly hard to provide a good life for my Mother, brother, sister, and I.

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No matter how gruff he was or how much we disagreed, I knew that I was loved.  I knew that we all were.  He especially loved my Mother and greeted her with a kiss every day when he got home from work.  They were best friends, sweethearts, and gave me an example of the kind of relationship I wanted (although, it would take me years to find it). He liked to make up rhyming nicknames for everyone (Gingy Wingy, Lizzy Whizzy, etc.) and to do little dances when he won a fight with my Mother.  He loved Budweiser and Kools and canned meats.  He had forearms like Popeye and an impressive beer belly.  He was either deeply loved or violently hated by all who knew him because he refused to take shit or back down from what he believed.  He was my Father and I have missed him every single day since he passed in October 2012.  I still pick up the phone to call and ask him how to fix a leaky sink or what kind of car to buy or to talk about the crazy weather.  I have to remind myself that he’s gone and that calling him is no longer an option.

I got a tattoo of his signature shortly after he died as a small reminder of him and because I knew a tattoo would drive him absolutely insane.  (Daughters still have to cause trouble sometimes…)

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I now have three children of my own from two different relationships.  (I know! Slut!!) They are amazing kids. I am thankful every day to the men who gave them to me despite how terribly our relationships turned out.  I couldn’t imagine life without these three little humans.

I still get along with the men who gave me these children and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I could spend my days filled with hate and anger and tears, but I simply refuse.  People often ask why it is important to me to maintain a good relationship with my children’s fathers.  First, I never want to be the reason that my children don’t get along with their other parent.  If they screw it up, that’s on them.  Second, the things that happened between us to end our relationship, is between us.  It has nothing to do with the kids.  We are all adults and should be expected to act like it.  And, finally, I’m tired.  I don’t have enough energy to hate anyone or to spend my time worrying about someone else.  My goal is to raise happy, healthy, productive members of society.  That’s all.

I am now re-married to a man who is an amazing Stepfather to my children.  He has never for a minute treated them like they weren’t his.  He loves them unconditionally and does his best to have a good relationship with their biological fathers.  He has changed our lives so dramatically in the past year and I am so very grateful.

I am fortunate that the kids love him just as much as he loves them.  One of my girlfriends told me that he is the best thing to ever happen to my kids and, sometimes, I think she is right.  He paints my daughter’s nails, gives them bubble baths, transports them to their activities, makes them brush their teeth, treats their boo-boos, and worries about them growing up right.  He also loves their Mother and greets her with a kiss every day when he comes home from work.  There really should be a Stepdads Day…

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That Time I Didn’t Poop for 15 Days…

I told you all about my Stupid Broken Neck a few posts back.  It caused me more pain and misery than I have ever experienced in my life.  Unfortunately, most of the pain wasn’t coming from my neck.  It was coming from an area a little lower.

When I went to the ER the first time with neck pain, the doctor gave me a great deal of morphine and Valium to help with my suspected “muscle spasm”.  I was also sent home with prescriptions for Vicodin and Valium which I took every four hours for three days.  I don’t know about you guys, but narcotics do things to my bowels.  Very bad things.  I become a plugged up, backed up nightmare.  Sadly, I was too high on pain meds to really care about what was going on down below when the whole situation began.

Three days later, I was seen in the ER again, prescribed more narcotics, and given even more through an IV.  At this point, my neck was hurting so much that I hadn’t really thought about the fact that it had been four days since I pooped.  Four days.  I’m usually an every morning pooper.  One sip of coffee and I’m emptying my bowels.  Not now.  Not this time. Nope. No way.

After three more days, I was seen in the ER again and the doctors determined that I needed surgery to repair my neck.  I was given more narcotics in an IV and prescribed many, many more for home.  This time it was much stronger stuff to adequately treat the girl with the Stupid Broken Neck.  We are at Day 7 of no poops at this point.  Not even a little.  Now, I’m starting to get uncomfortable and also starting to realize that, even in my narcotic induced haze, I should really be going.  I try.  I take ExLax and Colase and glycerin suppositories.  Nothing.  No movement.  I start to look like I’m in my first trimester.

On Day 9 of no poops, another strange side effect began.  I realized that I could not pee either.  No pees.  No poops.  I was drinking water like crazy because narcotics make me dehydrated.  After nearly 24 hours of not urinating, my husband dragged me kicking and screaming to the local Immediate Care.  The nurse kept asking if I was pregnant.  Nope.  Just a poop and pee baby waiting to be birthed, lady.  They gave me a catheter and drained nearly 3,000 ccs of urine from my bladder.  (FYI…A normal human bladder should only hold about 2500 ccs.)  I was sent home with a feeling of relief and a urine bag strapped to my thigh.

I saw my regular doctor on Day 10.  He removed the catheter and prescribed the same prep solution that you’d drink for a colonoscopy.  I drank it.  Nothing happened.  Nothing, you guys.  I’ve drank this mess before and have pooped constantly for 24 hours.  This time nothing.  I just got more miserable, more desperate.  Now, I was a gurgling, gassy, constipated, neck brace wearing, crazy person.

On Day 12, my husband had to call an ambulance because I nearly fainted in front of my children.  Why?  I hadn’t peed for another 24 hours.  I was screaming and begging the EMTs for a catheter which they do not carry on their rig. (Um, WTF?) When they tried giving me more morphine in the ambulance, I nearly punched someone to keep them from inserting another IV.  If you’ve never screamed at strangers “Please help me poop!”, good for you…I can no longer say the same.

At the hospital, I was given a catheter again and sent home with another bag.  This time, they didn’t remove it because I was scheduled to have my neck surgery the following day.  At Day 13, I had surgery on my neck. My doctor did not allow me IV pain medications (after SPINAL SURGERY, y’all) or anything other than a liquid diet while in the hospital.  I was pissed and mean and hateful.  I begged to go home.

I was released to go home on Day 14 because I was somehow miraculously able to produce a thimble of urine for the discharge nurse.  However, no one bothered to ask if I’d pooped.

I went home catheter-free and still packed with two full weeks worth of doodie.  I looked more pregnant than I did when I was actually 9 months pregnant.  It’s also important to mention that I was wearing a neck brace and walking with a walker. (Sexy, right?)

On Day 15, I woke up and realized that something had to be done about this situation because I lost the ability to urinate again.  I tried giving myself the “two finger sweep”, an enema, more stool softeners, more laxatives, more suppositories. I managed to do nothing except give myself a sore ass.  I dissolved into tears on the bathroom floor.  My sobs went something like “Please, God.  If there is a God, please make me poop.  Please.”  I have never wanted something so gross so badly.

At this point, my loving husband decided it was time to take matters into his own hands.  He left the house and returned a few minutes later with a jumbo enema and some rubber gloves.  Now, keep in mind, we had only been married for four months and had only known each other for six months during this whole ordeal.  We didn’t have years and years to get to know one another’s disgusting body habits.  Thankfully, I was desperate and he didn’t care.

The instructions on an enema say to lie on your right side, insert, and squeeze.  You are then supposed to “wait until you feel the urge to go and quickly hop up onto the toilet”.  This is a lot easier said than done when you are wearing a neck brace and have lost most of the feeling on the right side of your body.  Still, we continued on.

My loving husband inserted the plastic tube and despite my screams to “go slow” emptied the liter bottle into my colon in about 10 seconds.  Within two minutes, I felt it coming but had no ability to simply “hop up” on my own.  My hubs heaved my chubby ass up while I proceeded to blow 24 hours worth of urine and 15 days worth of packed in poo all over our powder room.  (Don’t ask why we didn’t do this in our upstairs bathroom instead of the one that our guests use.  We were desperate and not thinking clearly.)  He sat me on the toilet while I yelled, “Get some towels!! So many towels!”  I literally pooped for an hour and tried not to take in the destruction I had caused in the powder room.  My loving hubs stood by the closed door and shouted words of encouragement like I was a two-year-old learning to use the potty.

After the ordeal was complete, he carried me to the bathtub and cleaned the sewage filled powder room.  And, that is how I knew we would be together forever.  If your man is willing to stick a rubber hose in your ass and clean your poop off the tile floor, you have found a keeper.  Don’t be jealous.

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Things that Keep Me Awake at Night (aka Reasons I’m Not Right in the Head)

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I don’t sleep well.  I’ve never really slept well.  I have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep and then I have trouble waking up.  It’s a whole vicious cycle and I hate it.  The reason I can’t sleep has nothing at all to do with a medical or psychological condition.  It is that my brain decides to come up with the most random shit the minute I lie down.

I decided to keep track of a week’s worth of random insomniac thoughts and share them with you.

  • There are lots of people who think I’m really nice.  If these same people could see my thoughts like a little cartoon bubble over my head, they’d probably never speak to me again.
  • I’d never survive the zombie apocalypse.  I couldn’t go a single day without running water.  The combination smell of rotting flesh and stinky living people would be more than my gag reflex could handle.
  • I wonder if I have a stalker.  Is there at least one random person in this world who is just totally obsessed with me?  Let’s be real…of course there is.
  • I wonder what happened to that spider I tried to kill that ran under the coffee table earlier.
  • Did  you hear that?  Nope.  Nothing.
  • I paid $100,000 to learn how to drink a beer bong because there is nothing else I remember from four years of college.
  • I wonder what that other guy from Wham! is up to these days?  Hell, what’s George Michael doing now?
  • Are there alien life forms out there who see things like Keeping Up with the Kardashians and the Republican primaries and just move on assuming there is no intelligent life here?
  • If someone (probably the aforementioned stalker) were to murder me, please let them have the decency to bury my dead ass.  Please don’t let anyone find me wrapped in a tarp in nothing but my bra and panties like they do on SVU.
  • I really want a Twinkie.  Really, really, really.  Twinkie’s are delicious.  I’m so glad Hostess made their way back.  What a travesty if generations of people were denied Twinkies and Snowballs and cupcakes.  Now I want a Snowball.  Damn it.
  • I wish I could be 6 feet tall just for one day.  I’d just go around getting stuff off of tall shelves for people and being able to reach the bottom of my washer.
  • Remember that time the lady at the Post Office thought I was my ex-husband’s daughter and my son’s sister?  That was amazing.
  • Maybe I’ll get up and go to the gym in the morning.  Hahahahaha.  Who am I kidding?
  • I can’t believe they remade Poltergeist with an even scarier toy clown.  I didn’t sleep for a week when I watched the original.  Make a mental note to remove all clown-type toys from the house.

I Like to Break Stuff.

Earlier this week, I scheduled my third surgery in two years.  They are not due to illness or disease, but instead my eternal clumsiness and inability to stop breaking bones.  I have been checked for bone diseases and weaknesses.  I’ve been scanned for tumors, had my bone density measured, and have verified that my clumsiness is not due to a neurological disorder.  Despite all of this, since 2005 I have broken nearly every major bone in my body.  And, as you will see, it was all my fault.

My reign as Queen Bone Breaker began in 2005 when I slipped on some ice and fractured the fibula in my left leg.  I did it while standing still pumping gas.  The piece of ice was like the size of a quarter.  I was wedged under by car for a few minutes, totally stunned, hoping that no one saw.  I walked around for nearly three weeks in terrible pain on a broken bone because I was too embarrassed to go to the ER and admit I slipped on the stupid ice when I wasn’t even walking.

While moving into my new house in 2007, my then boyfriend dropped our washing machine off the back of the moving truck.  I tried to catch it.  With my 5 foot tall body.  This resulted in a crushed left hand and wrist…broken scaphoid, thumb, and metacarpals.  The doctor said that it would require surgery, but I fooled him.  I found out I was pregnant with my second child when they were doing pre-surgery blood tests.  Surprise!  You’re not getting your wrist fixed, but you are getting a brand new baby boy!!  My wrist still isn’t right and I totally blame Kid #2.

My most famous injury was the 2012 New Year’s Eve head first tumble down some concrete stairs.  Later, I would realize that this also caused the 2014 “Stupid Broken Neck”, but I’ll get to that.

I had had a very rough 2011.  It included cheating boyfriends, troubles at work, my father falling ill, and various other tragedies.  I decided to end the year with a bang and drink my troubles away.  At precisely 12:02 AM on January 1, 2012, I shouted “fuck you 2011!!” and promptly fell down a flight of concrete stairs.  On my head.  My head smacked the ground like a melon, but I somehow managed to get up immediately and not drop the beer or lit cigarette I was holding.  I was treated in the ER for a broken eye orbital, broken nose, broken rib, broken patella, a completely skinned forehead, and a terrible concussion.  I spent the next three days vomiting every twenty minutes (not fun with broken ribs) and swearing that I would never drink again.  (We all know that’s bullshit.)

In the summer of 2012, I did perhaps one of the stupidest things a clumsy, fragile girl like me could ever possibly dream of doing.  I joined a women’s flat track roller derby team.  I took on the alter ego “Big Girl Panties” and within a month, I was seen in the ER for a broken tailbone after a particularly violent fall on the tush.

Three months later, I fell on my right wrist and fractured it during our first home bout of the season.  I was in a “thumbs up” cast for six weeks.  At this point, I believe I had fully paid for four years of college for my orthopedist’s children.

After healing from the broken wrist, I came back to derby determined to do something no one in the world (especially me) thought that I could ever do.  I skated in several bouts, lost about 20 pounds, and was actually starting to show some improvement.  But, at practice in April 2013, I broke myself again with all three of my kids watching.  This injury included a bimalleolar fracture of the ankle, spiral fracture of the tibia, and crack of the talus.  I remember getting hit, falling, standing back up, seeing my foot was totally on backwards, and being loaded in the ambulance.  Everything between backwards foot and ambulance is a bit of a blur.

This break resulted in the first of three surgeries.  I had open reduction / internal fixation surgery with lots of hardware to repair the fractures.  I spent a month in a wheelchair, six weeks on crutches, and twelve weeks in physical therapy just to get back to walking “somewhat” normal.  I refer to this as my “Stupid Broken Ankle”.

I managed to heal after the surgery and return to playing derby in August 2013.  I played for another year before my next bizarre medical condition would occur.  In August 2014, I started to feel some tightness in my neck for a few weeks.  I assumed it was a bit of stress, thought nothing of it, and continued about my normal routines.  I hosted my daughter’s 4th birthday party which included inflatables.  Of course, I had to jump in them with her.  We went home, went to bed, and I woke up in the middle of the night screaming in pain.  I went to the ER where I was told I had a muscle spasm in my neck and was sent home with pain meds.  I returned two days later in worse pain and was told the same thing.  I returned after another two days when my right side went numb and was finally given an MRI which revealed fractured cervical vertebrae and two ruptured disks.  Um, excuse me, how did I break my neck exactly?  It appears that the 2012 tumble down the stairs fractured my vertebrae, they were never identified, and they never fully healed.  My doctor actually said that it was a good thing that I’m always a big stress ball because my neck is so tight it probably kept them from moving out of place sooner and paralyzing me (thanks, kids!).  I could have died, you guys.  This whole insanity resulted in a cervical fusion surgery and another twelve weeks of physical therapy.  I also have a scar that looks like I got in a bar fight and someone tried to shank me with a bottle.  And, we now refer to this as “Stupid Broken Neck”.

And that brings us to surgery #3.  My Stupid Broken Ankle has caused significant pain since the day the surgery was performed.  My foot has felt like it is burning or being shocked constantly.  I cannot walk for longer than 20 minutes without my entire leg swelling and throbbing.  I can feel the pins and plates poking at my skin.  I have returned to my original surgeon multiple times begging to have the hardware removed and I’ve been told it is unnecessary.  I have complained of pain and have been given Tramadol or Vicodin which I cannot take and function.  Over the past few months, the pain has increased to the point that I’m not sleeping, not eating, not enjoying my life.  I am certain that my friends and family and co-workers and anyone else who will listen are sick to death of hearing about my Stupid Broken Ankle.  I finally sought out a surgeon who is a foot and ankle specialist and he is going to finally (hopefully!!) fix my Stupid Broken Ankle after two years of misery.

June 8th just can’t come fast enough.

Getting to Know Me. Getting to Know All About Me.

I have no idea where to begin…

I have been writing these stories for years.  And, I’m constantly delighting my friends with stories of my crazy life.  Usually, these story telling sessions end with someone saying “You should write a book”.  I’ve finally decided to make the stories public and publish them one by one.  Maybe no one will ever read them, but it somehow makes me feel better to put it out there.

I guess I’ll start by telling you a little about me…

I’m a thrice married, twice divorced, nerdy, chubby, Mother of three.  I have an amazing husband who likes to wear all things hi-vis yellow and is probably way too young to be putting up with my shit.  We literally got married two months after meeting each other in person.  We’re a pretty great team and I wouldn’t change our impulsive beginning for the world.

I have three kids 14, 7, and 4 who make sure that there is never a dull moment.  They insist on breaking a bone or getting a raging bladder infection anytime I think “Wow, things have been going great lately”.  I live in constant fear that our medical insurance company will just have enough and drop us one day.

I work full-time doing a super nerdy job involving some special nuclear stuff that in no way utilizes the education I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars getting.  I pay my student loans every month with a long sigh and eye roll.

I’m severely over-committed and have a weekly schedule that can be deciphered only by a top-secret decoder ring that fell out of my vagina along with kid #3.  My husband and kids have given up trying to figure it all out and just depend on me to boss them and tell them where to be when.  I’ve somehow become the boss of everyone…kids, hubs, ex-husbands, co-workers, friends, family…and I hate it.  I hate being in charge.  I hate that I have a constant list running through my head of things that need to be done, picked up, dropped off, cooked, mailed, organized, attended, and purchased.  I’m pretty sure the inside of my brain resembles a Filofax and all I want is to do nothing.

I cannot remember the last time I had a day off that was relaxing.  Vacations are filled with an over-planned schedule that usually makes at least one kid fall into a tantrum mid-day.  Days off work usually involve running children to the dentist or getting a bikini wax that is long overdue.   Weekends are usually dedicated to home improvement projects, Little League games, birthday parties, and dance recitals.  I’m fascinated by women who are able to fit in spa days and massages.  I want to grab them and shake them and beg them to take me with them.

That’s all I can think of for now.  Welcome to the crazy.  I’m glad you’re here.

The roof! The roof! Has a giant leaky hole in it…

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I often get the feeling that people in my life don’t exactly understand why I am the way I am or why I do the things I do, particularly the men I’ve chosen to spend my life with over the years.  I admit I can be a tough nut to crack, but there is one character flaw that I am 100% sure of the origins.

One thing I can’t stand is to leave something broken.  For example, if the sink springs a leak, I will hire someone to come fix that sink the very next day.  I will have it fixed whether I can afford it, whether it is something that could be temporarily dealt with, and whether the repair will be more of a pain in the ass than leaving it broken.  It tends to drive people crazy.  I’ll be all yelling and nuts about getting it fixed.  I will stress and cry about it.  Even I admit that it is ridiculous at times and I seem like a perfectionist lunatic, but there is a reason behind the madness.

You see, I grew up in a house with a giant hole in the ceiling.  A. Giant. Hole. In. The. Ceiling.  When I was approximately two years old, a bad storm blew several shingles off of the roof, caused a leak, and eventually the plaster fell off in a huge chunk.  Did my parents fix this hole?  Nope.  They just left it…for 18 years.  As a kid, the giant leaky hole seemed totally normal until I’d have a friend over.  The friend would eventually ask “Why is there a giant hole in your ceiling?” and I’d have to make up some story about how my parents were just too busy to fix it or how we liked getting the fresh air indoors.  In reality, I have no idea why they wouldn’t fix the hole.  It got to the point where we didn’t really notice the hole and I think my parents just forgot about it until it would start to rain.

On rainy days, we’d have to gather up buckets and pans to put under the leak and even had several specifically designated for this purpose.  I got very accustomed to falling asleep to the sound of dripping water.  My brother and I would sometimes splash it at each other like it was our own personal in-home sprinkler.  More than once, I slipped on the water and fell down the stairs.  But, for the most part, the hole was just embarrassing.

During my teenage years, I’d beg them to fix it.  I’d have stupid teenage girl tantrums about the hole.  I’d cuss and sneer at my parents for not fixing the damn thing and declare that we were living in utter squalor.  My Father would generally reply with “That damn hole ain’t hurting nothing, Hun.  You just need to learn to deal with it.”  And I dealt with it until I turned 18 and left for college.

Now, I am a parent. I cannot bear the thought of my children being embarrassed to bring their friends to our home.  For there to be a leak or a stain or something so awful that they find ways to avoid ever bringing anyone here.  If they are embarrassed because I host nightly kitchen dance parties while preparing dinner or because I refer to all of them a Puddin’ Pop on a daily basis, so be it.  But, I won’t have them making up stories and being mortified about why I haven’t bothered to fix some broken shit.

When I was 20, I was home from college helping my parents prepare to move out of my childhood home.  And, wouldn’t you know it, they hired someone to fix the damn leaky ceiling.  Why?  Because, according to my father, “You’d have to be a crazy person to live in a house with a giant leaky hole in the ceiling.”  And, it’s shit like that that has made me the neurotic nutball I am today.