Thursday, April 28, 2005


I have an English Budgie named Galileo. For those of you that are saying "What the hell is an English Budgie?" It is a large parakeet, twice the size of a regular parakeet. She is the second bird I have had. I've had her for a year and a half. I know that she is a female because she has laid 2 clutches of unfertilized eggs. What a good mother she was to them too.

Budgies are little birds with BIG personalities. They don't realize how small they are and will take on the big bad kitties or humans that they dwell with. They're smart too. Everyone thinks that African Greys are smart because they are such great talkers, but it's actually a parakeet that holds the world record for the largest vocabulary - over 1700 words. They are a low maintenance, inexpensive bird that bring loads of enjoyment to my life.

I love my pets. They are part of my family. I have two cats named Tabitha and Cuddles. I also reside with a Leopard Gecko named Apollo and an Albino Corn Snake called Cerberus. Welcome to my zoo. My son named the Gecko, snake and bird. He was studying Greek God's when we obtained the Gecko and snake, hence the names.

I had a cat named Shotgun that had to be put to sleep in 1998, he was 21 years old. He was my Boo Boo kitty. He had been with me through most of my adult life. That was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. He was diabetic and weighed all of 6 pounds at the end. He was a beautiful black and white angora. When he couldn't make it to the litter box anymore, I knew it was time. It was my responsibility to end his suffering. I did what had to be done no matter how much it broke my heart. Today, I find myself in that position once again, and it fucking sucks.

A few months ago I noticed a growth peeking from beneath the feathers of Galileo's backside. A tumor. A trip to the vet and $200 later, they could not confirm if it was cancerous or not. They could operate, to the tune of $400 and no guarantee that they would get it all or that the bird would even live through the surgery. I do love my pets, but.....I couldn't justify in my head spending $400 on a $50 bird and such a risky surgery. I opted to just take her home and deal with things as they happened. If it was cancerous, she would become very sick and either die or I would make another trip to the vet to end her suffering. If it wasn't cancer, then she would live her life with an ugly lump on her ass.

Galileo shows absolutely no signs of being in pain or suffering. She is her energetic sassy self. Demanding attention and loudly shouting when ignored. She shakes the cage door a chirps when she wants to be let out. She becomes so excited when I come through the door each night. She likes to be held up so close to my mouth that her feathers tickle my nose when she is finally free of her cage and she says her hellos. She whistles and talks and wants to interact with me. A few minutes of wolf whistles, "Hi babies" and "You're such a pretty bird"'s and she is off to explore and get into trouble. My windowsills are chewed to pieces and she'll attack you if you interrupt her work. She loves to bathe under the running faucet in a plastic chicken tray from the grocery store. She swims through the water and splashes with much exuberance. She bobs her head up and down when she plays with my fingers. She really is loads of fun.

The problem has become the size of the tumor. It's about the size of a ping pong ball now. It hangs from her left hind quarter and drags when she walks. It has become so large that it almost blocks her vent (read: poopchute). It has come to the point where I have to hold her under the faucet daily and wash the tumor of the fecal matter that becomes stuck to it to prevent an abscess from forming.

Now I know that you're probably thinking "It's a stupid bird, put it down", but it's not that simple. I adore this bird, and she adores me. Do I end her life because she isn't financially worth the risk of surgery? If she was a $12,000 Hyacinth Macaw it would be a no brainer, and the surgery would have been performed months ago. I don't have a lot of financial investment in her, but what of the emotional investment? If I could afford a $12,000 Hyacinth Macaw then $400 wouldn't be an issue. What if it's noncancerous and $400 would seem like nothing if she lived her lifespan of 10 years. Am I just being selfish because I don't want to feel the pain? Am I being selfish because I don't think she is worth risking $400 on an iffy surgery? Am I just postponing the inevitable?

This may read like a shitty post. I'm not doing a draft, I'm not editing myself. I'm just letting it out and posting it. Obviously I'm conflicted about this and trying to find the right answer within myself. Sometimes, I really hate playing the grownup and I want to be a kid again so I won't have to make these impossibly difficult decisions. This sucks.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Where the hell have I been?

I can't believe it's been 12 day since I last posted. My son was on vacation last week and I "worked from home". I'm sure some of you know how that goes.

I had the best of intentions of getting up at 6:00 AM every morning and sitting down to work for 8 hours. Right. I never even showered before 1 PM every day. I did manage to get all my work done. It was piece meal though. A couple hours here, a couple hours there and then the weekend suddenly arrived. I say suddenly because I don't know what the hell happened to the previous 4 days. I must have been kidnapped by aliens, my only explanation for the 'lost time'.

It came down to crunch time and I ended up putting in 10 hours on Saturday and 12 on Sunday. I couldn't put 12 hours on my timecard for Sunday though, can't justify double time if I didn't put in my regular time hours.

So, because of my laziness all week I had to work all weekend. It didn't help to have a whining almost 15 year old telling me how bored he was all week. Oh sure, what kind of an example was I setting? Sitting on my fat ass watching TV in my bathrobe on a beautiful 85 degree day? My telling him that I have work to do when he asked about going to the movies didn't really hold a lot of weight while sporting bedhead.

I've never been so glad to get back to work. Right, lesson learned.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Track Record

My son joined spring track a couple weeks ago at the suggestion of his gym teacher. She knew just how to stroke his young male ego by telling him how fast he ran while playing soccer. I thanked the powers that be for that one. I have wanted him to get involved in something for years. When he was 6 I signed him up for softball. At his first practice he got hit in the face with a ball - that was the end of that. I am thankful he didn't get into soccer. I am so not a soccer Mom, but if that's what he wanted to do I would have sucked it up and done it. This is the first time he's really shown interest in anything sports related. My Dad told him to give it two weeks, if he didn't like it he could quit.

I think I was more excited than he was, when he told me about it. I encouraged him as much as I could. We went shopping for new sneakers, shorts and sweatpants - not an easy task with Mr. Fashion sense; we hit the grocery store for Gatorades and Powerbars - anything to encourage his participation.

I think it's good for kids to be involved in team sports, they learn a lot of healthy life skills, the physical activity is good for them, and they get to hang with friends in a safe and monitored environment. Prior to this my son was home alone for 2 1/2 hours every day. An almost 15 year old and free time is a dangerous recipe. He was fine for the most part, he would do his homework and then he'd either watch TV or play video games. He deserves more in his life than that though.

He's finding out that track is work, and he's not too happy about it. Practice is every day from 2:30 - 5:00 PM, they have two meets almost every week and meets can run till 6:30 PM, if it's an away meet that ends at 6:30 he might not get home till 7:30. Definitely cuts in to the PS2 time. There are storm clouds on the horizon and rumblings of wanting to quit now.

Freshman are low men on the totem pole and don't get to pick the track events they want to participate in. They can make suggestions to the coaches, who have the last word on what they will do. The coaches are smart and have a plan though. They try the freshmen out in various events to find out thier strengths.

I was there cheering him on at the finish line at his first meet. He looked like an out of control horse coming down lane 5. His torso bobbed side to side, he kept looking over his shoulder to see where the other runners were, 3rd place was really good for a first time out. I gave him heartfelt congratulations. As we watched some of the other events I pointed out how the best runners ran. "See how he keeps his eyes on the finish line? See how his upper body hardly moves at all? See how he's pumping his arms? Try to put all your energy into your legs and forget about what anyone else is doing, just focus on getting to the finish as fast as you can" His second meet he took 2nd place in the 400 meter. His form was much improved, even though he said he felt like he was going to throw up when it was over. They would have had to take me away in an ambulance if I had run it. His 3rd meet was an away meet and I was unable to attend. He phoned me and told me that he had come in first in the 100 meter. He's fast in the shorter distances, I think he needs to build up stamina for the longer distances.

I'm very impressed with the comradery of his school. At every meet, fellow students on the field competing in other events shout out encouragement to classmates running by on the track. It's a positive atmoshpere than has given me goosebumps on more than one occasion. I want my son to be a part of that, I want him to have those great memories for adulthood.

He's been whining about wanting to quit. "I don't like it, I get home so late, it's boring" I can't fault him too much for the last comment. Freshman can only compete in one event. The upper classmen can do several. It makes for a lot of standing around and doing nothing time at meets. I still think it's better than being home alone watching the idiot box or playing GTA San Andreas. I've given the speeches about how I quit track after my Freshman year and I regret it, it's only till the end of the year, you'll get to compete in more events next year..blah..blah..blah..... I'm running out of encouraging words here.

I consulted with Dear old Dad. My Dad is more of a Father figure to his Grandson than his own father is. Grampa laid down the law "He can't work for me this summer if he quits track". "OOoooooook, but you can tell him that" I replied. Dad has his own forklift repair business, my son made some good coin working for him in the past. Right now it's all about making money to buy a car when he gets his license in 19 months. 19 MONTHS?! Ugh, where does the time go?

After whining this morning about not wanting to go to track after school I sprung the secret weapon. "Grampa said that you can't work for him this summer if you quit" Silence, then I overheard the mutterings from his room "First it was 2 weeks, now this? That's a total rip off. I did the two weeks and now I'm getting ripped off again!"

I relayed the mutterings along with this mornings proceedings (read last post, cause I don't know how to link yet) to my Dad when I dropped off the overnight bag. Dad chuckled at the "shit for brains" events and simply stated "Well that's too bad, sometimes life isn't fair"

Now, I don't want to force my only child to do something he doesn't like, but I want him to give it a fair chance. No change in routine is easy, especially for my son. I really think he has the potential to be a track star if he sticks with it. He inherited his fathers naturally lean and muscular physique. This is one of those "pains of parenthood" deals where kids can really hate you for doing whats best for them. He needs this. I hope the car wash fundraiser he has Saturday will show him that just maybe, track isn't all that bad. After all, there will be cute girls in T-shirts and water involved. What's better than that to an almost 15 year old boy?


I'm being tested. I resolved yesterday that I would be more patient and self aware in the mornings, and I'm being tested.
My son finally got out the door and up to the bus stop, I was putting on makeup, the phone rang. "I might get a ride to school with Dave and I forgot my bathing suit for gym today (he has swimming)". Logically, I asked "If you're getting a ride why don't you just swing back home and pick up your suit?" Obviously not the answer he was looking for. He huffily told me he would be right home to get it. He stormed in and stormed out. 5 minutes later the phone rang again, "I'm taking the bus, Dave said I can borrow the CD after school". Patience....patience.."OK hon, that's fine". Ironing my shirt now, only 10 minutes late, the phone rings again "Hello? Hello?" Nothing. 2 seconds later it rings again "I forgot my towel, can you drop it off at the school?" OK, I'm already 10 minutes late, I still have to swing by my parents house to drop off his bag for his overnight stay at Nana & Grampa's (thank you very much!), what's another 15 minutes out of my way? "Yes, I will drop off your towel at the office on my way to work. I'm late hon, I gotta go, bye - I love you". 4 phone calls in 15 minutes, he's using up those minutes like dirty kleenex. He's lucky his head is attached, although the brain doesn't fully function at times.
I'm thankful that I have a flexible schedule at work. I'm thankful he's staying at my parents house tonight and I get a break. I'm thankful I was patient this morning. I'd say I passed that test.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Mornings in my house are usually not pretty. I am not at my best in the morning. I can be a little cranky. OK, fine, just don't talk to me until I've head my coffee or you run the risk of being strangled by your own tongue. My son has lived with me long enough to know that you don't piss of Mom in the morning. He's caught my wrath more than once - sometimes deserved, sometimes not.
This morning was quiet and uneventful. I didn't have to tell him to hurry up and get out of the bathroom so I could have my turn. There were no wet towels laying on the floor. All was going smoothly up until I was putting on my makeup and my son made some ridiculous request from the kitchen. I don't even remember what it was. I was about to snap a too sharp reply when I noticed a small card that my son had stuck above the full length mirror in the bathroom. This wasn't there yesterday morning.
It was one of those little prayer cards that my Mom had given me years ago. It had become an unseen fixture on the fridge for a long time. It was the Prayer for the Single Mother.
I read it.......I cannot recall at this moment what it said word for word...but it there was something in there about patience and holding my tongue before I say something I will regret.
That gesture made my morning. I smiled and answered my son calmy.
That's the nicest and most subtle way anyone has ever told me I was an uberbitch in the morning.
I think I will be more self aware in the mornings from now on.
Smart kid.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

SuperDad to the Rescue...Again Part #2

Luckily, I was able to borrow my Grandfather's Honda Accord Wagon. My Grandfather is 87 and hasn't driven since he had his triple bypass & valve replacement a couple years ago. He should have stopped driving long before that, but he hung on to his last vestige of independence as long as he could. But Papa's driving skills are another blog.
The Honda is a 5 speed manual transmission. I learned to drive on a stick, I've had several manual transmission vehicles over the years and it came back pretty quick. I scored a few 'Mom might actually be a little cool' points with my son. My son really likes the car and thinks it would be 'cool' if we could get it permanently. I'd rather drive the Grandma Mobile into the ground first. I'm not a wagon person.
It turns out, the tie rod was the culprit of Tuesdays commute from hell. SuperDad informed me that they would replace both tie rods and give it a front end alignment. "You still haven't gotten a sticker for that?" SuperDad asked. I had tried for an inspection sticker back in October - it failed emissions across the boards. They gave me a rejection sticker and a wad of papers. I was supposed to get various sensors, relays and such replaced by a mechanic, have the paperwork filled out that the work was done and return for another inspection. If it still failed I could apply for a waiver. I never managed to hook up with my fathers partner's son to get the work done - something always came up. So I've been driving around with a rejection sticker for 6 months. I explained this to my Father.
"You are so hard on cars." He observed. "But....But...But......" I stammered. Why is it that a parent can turn you back into an errant, hand in the cookie jar 8 year old, with a word? I don't beat on the car, I just drive it back and forth to work. I add oil.....Well, it has been 8 months since my last oil change, (Better not tell him that), and I did let the brakes get so bad that Dad had to replace the rotors from the deep grooves left by the padless brakes, and the exhaust I had replaced a year ago has another leak (must be the cheap Meinke metal)........I really didn't have an argument. So, I hung my head in shame and squeaked out "I don't mean to".
"When will you be done with that big debt?" "November" "Well, when it's paid - buy a new car!" "Yes , Daddy". Sidenote: I'm 40 years old and I still call my parents 'Mummy & Daddy', I always will. Around 16, my brother couldn't handle the 'uncoolness' of 'Mummy & Daddy' and started calling them 'Madre & Padre'. We're middle class totally white folk from New England. Who's cooler?
Anyway, I was supposed to pick up my car Thursday. SuperDad had gotten caught in traffic on 128 caused by a bad accident. I got in touch with him about 6:30pm. "I was hoping we could do this tomorrow morning, I'm beat" Dad hadn't even made it back to the shop due to traffic, so he didn't even talk to the mechanics. "Oh good! Now I can put on my jammies and relax!" Thursday nights are my sanity nights. My son stays at Mummy & Daddy's and catches the bus to school from there. I get an evening and morning of head time that helps keep me sane. It's amazing what 24 hours alone can do for my outlook on parenting. SuperDad said that he'd get someone to drive the car to his house on Friday and I could pick it up on the way home from work. God Bless SuperDad!
I changed into my jammies and curled up on the couch. The phone was SuperDad: "They want us to pick up the car now" All I could utter was "FUCK!". This response elicited a hearty chuckle from Dad. "Just kidding, pick it up tomorrow, here." Ha, Ha, My Dad, the comedian.
I picked up the car, it was a lot better than Tuesday. I phoned SuperDad and he informed me that they couldn't do a front end alignment because the struts are gone. Poor Old Reliable is on her way out. "It's not worth putting anymore money into it, just make it last until November". Now came the painful part, "What's the damage? How much do I owe you?". "Don't worry about it" was his response. "Thank you, so much" I said. It just isn't adequate enough to express my gratitude for all he has done for me.
He's just a SuperDad.

Friday, April 01, 2005

There Goes Another Bit of my Youth

Boy do I feel old. Foghat was one of the favorite bands during my teen years. I feel a pang of saddness when I hear news like this:

Foghat guitarist dead at 57
Thursday, March 24, 2005 Posted: 9:59 AM EST (1459 GMT)
WILTON, New Hampshire (AP) -- Guitarist Rod Price, founding member of the blues boogie band Foghat, died Tuesday after falling down a stairway at his home, a family friend said. He was 57.
The London native's solos drove Foghat to three platinum and eight gold records during the band's quarter-century career.
Foghat released its self-titled debut album in 1972. The group was best known for the hit single, "Slow Ride," from the 1975 album, "Fool for the City."
After many years of touring he settled in Wilton in 1994. Many in town knew Price as a loving dad who never missed his son's baseball, soccer or basketball games. Fewer people knew of Price's musical background.
Price had played with Champion Jack Dupree, Duster Bennett, Eddie Kirkland, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon and Honey Boy Edwards.
In recent years, Price concentrated on his blues projects, cutting several CDs and giving private guitar lessons at his home.