The Big DumpTruck

Throwing Little Thought Pebbles at Your Windshield Since 1996

Tag: family

Going Deep

Not Jack Handey-like Deep Thoughts, just a little interlude to unload my brain.

Not that we don’t all obsess with death, because I know we do, but I have as of late been thinking about it more than usual, and it has been dragging me down. If I still had all my girl organs I would say I was deep in PMS-land, but those have been dust for two years now.

I used to avoid posting certain things here because I knew my aunt was reading my website and she sort of became my primary audience. So I filtered a lot of thoughts and language. But we lost her last summer and that makes this a “safe space” again, but that is small comfort. I adored my aunt. She was everything wonderful (I can say that based purely on my own interactions with her. If she ran some sort of underground “Racists for Kitten Murder” group, I don’t want to know.

My endocrinologist died in April, and I just learned about it. I’m feeling a bit bereft with this one. I really liked the guy. Our last appointment was over the phone, so I didn’t get the in-person experience (which was great). I felt like a friend. I knew all his issues with the medical establishment and insurance companies (he went cash-only years ago). My prescriptions were fairly complex combinations of new drugs, and compounded drugs to meet precise amounts per his unofficial studies of how different treatments helped or hindered himself and everyone in his practice. He observed trends and solved problems I didn’t know were related to my thyroid. There isn’t possibly another person who will treat my symptoms the way he did, and now I have to face a future where I could spend the rest of my days being mildly symptomatic again. Living like that isn’t fun. I wish he’d taken my needs into consideration before allowing himself to die (I can only assume he was taken by illness, he was actually well past retirement age.)

We’re getting old. My parents are still alive, thank God and my mother’s ferocious insistence on controlling every bite of low fat, low sodium, small-portioned food my dad eats. As I ease into the age group that gets a discount on coffee at McDonalds, and the realization hits I’m never going to be the toast-of-the-town ingenue, the center of attention. Maybe I can still pull off the wacky matronly type, but I am getting into the invisible years (women of a certain age, especially if they aren’t thin and sexy, become invisible.)

I guess I need to ponder my remaining days, and how best to use them. I’ve become somewhat obsessed with RV shows and record several to the DVR. I watch the tiny house programs, knowing that I could never survive in 300 square foot shipping container, or use a composting toilet (I mean, maybe I could, but the idea scares me) but do think it’s cool to just take your shit with you wherever you go (literally). I still have to work another 20 years, if I want a chance at not dying in poverty, so maybe I won’t hit the road quite yet.

Is this is my midlife crisis? If so, good news, everyone! I’m going to live to be 104!

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My Christmas Card

I know it’s after Christmas, but you know you very much want to hear the story of how a photo of me posing with a shark and an Ewok was my official Christmas Card this year. You have your cold beverage ready? Okay.

So a million years ago or two or so years ago (one of those) my sister and her family went to Disney during the flower and garden festival. They posed in front of a Miss Piggy topiary that a person that may or may not be my boyfriend confused for an Ewok.

So I used an iPhone app I owned (KnockOut) to “fix” it after my sister said “I was looking to see if there was an Ewok in the photo with us and Miss Piggy. This combination would have been fabulous and makes me laugh just thinking about it.” So of course I had to add one to that photo.

I added him to a lot of additional photos from their vacation. They started leaving space for me in the photos, so I added myself (and others) because they didn’t take me with them.

Apparently one of my sister’s co-workers (Cathy) was very amused by me adding myself to their vacation photos (something I continued to do on subsequent vacations). In fact, she started asking where I was when my sister or her husband posted new ones. Here I am on a rope swing in Hawaii, I believe.

This December, Cathy, a person you will remember I have never met, posted a photo on FB showing the first three people who had sent her a Christmas card. Because my sister was tagged in the photo, I saw it. Now is it my fault she left a giant hole right in the middle, inviting someone like me to fill it? So I ran to the Knockout app, found a background of something Christmassy, added myself and and ewok, then added it all to her photo.

My sister’s neighbor Beth saw it and demanded “I HAD BETTER GET ONE OF THOSE!” so I had to print them out and stick them in cards for people, my first Christmas cards in years. And that’s the real story of the Happy Holiday Shark. And Ewok.

 

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Thanksgiving 2013

I have some things I’m thankful for this year. Some things I’m not, but now is not the time for that. Talk to me next week for complaints.

My son, for finally learning where everything goes when he empties the dishwasher, and for being the one person who consistently makes me belly laugh. That sarcasm 101 class at court jester school really paid off. You are top-shelf, kid, which is, by the way, where the wine glasses go.

My iPhone, which serves as my connection to the universe, my way to shop, my alarm clock, my kitchen timer, my camera, nightlight and radio. I don’t know what I’d do without an automated way to crush candy.
My parents, for everything they do for me, whether I ask them to or not. I know I’m blessed beyond belief to have you both. But I also promised to not get mushy.
My spare kid, and the girls who formed a fan club fighting to replace him, for making me feel loved and appreciated and all-powerful. I do love each of you special snowflakes. If you are reading this, you are my favorite.

Last but not least, I am thankful for second dates, and boys patient enough to wait for you to come out of your silly fog. I am thankful I came to my senses before he gave up on me. And he’s better than a plate full of turkey (but not better than stuffing because let’s not get crazy, okay?)

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Dick’s Last Resort Hattage

So to honor and respect me, my child and the spare made me go to Dick’s Last Resort at Fanueil Hall in Boston. The waitstaff verbally abuses you so it’s a lot like eating at home.

Here are the official hats they made us wear. A little too close to home, Mickey the Waiter!

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Hope for Parents of a Fussy Eater

Hi, my name is Jody and I am the parent of a recovering fussy eater.

For years, my son would only eat one or two foods. Those foods would change over the years: where once he would only eat chicken fingers, he switched over to pasta with red sauce and never wanted chicken fingers ever again. He basically loved beige foods: chicken nuggets/fingers, french fries, dinner rolls, apple sauce, bananas, green grapes, dry Cheerios, toaster waffles, pancakes. All beige/yellow. All carbs (excepts, I guess, for the chicken, but really, processed chicken is probably more a carb than a protein.)

The boy was breast-fed (for 11 months), made the transition to solid foods at the normal time. He’d eat anything. Green goo, orange goo…it was all good. He loved his rice cereal mixed with apple sauce. To the point where he had it for breakfast every day for about 4-5 years, until he made the switch to toaster waffles, where he stayed until they discontinued his favorite brand a few years ago.

When he was being fussy, we worried and took him to the doctor. He was off the charts for height and weight (but in proportion) for his age, ate a ton of fruit, and only had red sauce (tomatoes) on his pasta, so the doctor declared he was actually a pretty healthy eater, all things considered. So he told us not to stress about it, because making food a source of stress is never a healthy thing to do. So we didn’t.

My son didn’t like hamburgers or meatballs until he was about 10. Then he loved them. He suddenly started loving salad with Italian dressing. No creamy dressings. Nothing creamy. In general, he rejected all dairy as something he didn’t like. We later learned he’s lactose intolerant, but seriously, when we went out for ice cream he would pick sorbet because that’s what he wanted.

I remember going to Disney with him when he was four, and planning every meal around whether or not the restaurant could serve pasta marinara. Any restaurant that has ANY kind of pasta dish can usually pull it off. Disney is the greatest place to take people with food allergies, etc., because they go so far above and beyond to make sure there’s something for you to eat. I will ALWAYS remember we went to the buffet at Crystal Palace and they only had mac and cheese on the buffet. Our server went down Main Street to Tony’s Town Hall restaurant to fetch my son a plate of pasta with sauce. (My friends, THIS is why Disney rocks my world.)

We had heard people say their kids outgrew being fussy eaters, but when you live with one for 10+ years, you start to think maybe they just meants small changes; and quite frankly, those were welcome. He added steak to his list of okay foods, which opened up a LOT of restaurants. Hell, even adding burgers did that.

But then something happened last spring. He was 12, and we were again at Disney, traveling with my sister’s family. My sister’s kids were always bottomless pits for trying new things. My BIL had a hard time understanding why we couldn’t just force my son to eat new things. He never lived with a fussy child so I suppose I shouldn’t have expected him to understand.  Prior to the trip my son and I talked about the restaurants we’d be visiting, and my son declared he’d use this trip to “try new things”. I thought that was a great idea.

What happened during that trip was that I had to start a log of all the new foods he’d tried, because nobody could believe it. Sushi (he loved), scallops (he loved), bison (he loved), etc. etc.  There was NOTHING he wouldn’t try. We were all floored. And then it continued. He went on a trip with his father and tried pot roast and lamp chops – loved both. He continued the trend by ordering things even I thought he wouldn’t like. Trout at Longhorn Steakhouse. On another trip this past January, he ended up trying 4 different kinds of new fish (flounder, mahi-mahi, smoked salmon). He’s since ordered mahi-mahi at the local Mexican place. He orders these dishes and cleans his plate. Last Saturday we went to a Tapas place in Waltham and he tried everything – including a cold crab and mango salad, a shrimp and lobster ravioli, ceviche, duck, an onion and potato omelette and goat cheese. He loved almost everything he tried. He’s starting to freak me out! He orders his burgers (previously plain only, not even ketchup on them) with onions, pickles and mustard! He’s also become quite the expensive date compared to the days of chicken fingers and ziti with marinara sauce. But my God, the options for restaurants!

I’m not saying this will happen to every fussy eater; my son may have be a statistical aberration. But his father is now officially fussier than he is, and food is no longer the biggest issue in our house. It’s really a different world now.

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Upon Photographing My Son

It’s not unusual for me to take photos of my son. I have a lot of them. A LOT of them. I took one of him today picking up dog poop in the back yard.

I like to take pictures of him, I think because it is tied to my fear of loss and my hatred of growing older and my tendency to hoard things, including memories. Every snapshot captures a moment, and when I look at it later, I remember the circumstances under which I took the photo. Someone was angry and only pretended to smile for the camera and then later we had ice cream and that fixed everything. Or the last time we all went on an outing somewhere before the place closed and was torn down.

I may or may not have an irrational fear of losing things. Places, people, products. They discontinued my soap recently. It’s just one in a long line of products that have been taken away; my favorite flavor of Kool-Aid, my favorite jarred spaghetti sauce. A true hoarder would have had a case of the soap the hallway, so the loss might not be felt for a year or more. Me, I had one bar left when I found out. I’ll find something else that I like – maybe not as much, but it’s just soap. I will adjust to the loss of my soap.

I have two specific photos I’ve taken in my life that I would call morbid. One of was of my grandfather, in his casket. It didn’t occur to me that people didn’t take photos at funerals, but I was just a little kid, I owned a camera, and my parents said it was okay. All the flowers were so pretty; why wouldn’t you take a picture? But looking back, it is an odd photo. I remember taking it. I remember my grandmother looking at me, and me thinking she was checking to see if I was crying. My cousin was crying. I felt guilty because I wasn’t. All that comes back to me when I even think about that snapshot. The other morbid photo was one I took of my son when he was 15 months old. We were taking him in for surgery that morning, to get ear tubes to prevent the constant infections he’d had since he was born. Horribly common surgery for babies, but you have to sign all those papers that say you understand the risk, and any parent who doesn’t break out in a cold sweat signing those may need some kind of intervention. I took the photo the morning we were going in for the surgery. I couldn’t not take one. He was happy, in his red PJs and had bed-head. That’s how I would want to remember him; that this was how he looked, right up until the moment of whatever fate had in store for him (and us.)

Luckily, the surgery went fine, changed our lives for the better, and he just turned 13 last week. I still take his picture all the time. Some part of me just wants to capture all the memories so that I won’t forget, won’t ever forget. Places and people and products get taken away from me all the time, and I guess the only way I can fight back is to take pictures and store them on hard drives, DVDs, shoe boxes and in photo albums. I hoard memories, and if I take a picture of you, don’t get annoyed with me; I’m trying to hold on to you tightly the only way I know how.

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Dora the Explorer Dinner Discussion

Quick disclaimer: I haven’t watched Dora in years. I haven’t ever watched the spin-off Go, Diego Go. Or whatever it’s called. But I used to watch Dora. My niece was obsessed, and in fact, one year she insisted I needed a Dora cake for my birthday. Which I did. I also didn’t do research to see if these plot holes were address (or raised) on other websites. This is actually a re-creation of a conversation between my son his friend (both middle-schoolers, represented below as “Boy” because I can’t remember who said what) and me at dinner last night.

[The conversation begins with one of them asking why people say Mazel Tov, which segued into asking what Cinco de Mayo means. Which segued into a question about the Day of the Dead, which featured a comment that Dora the Explorer had a show about going to Mexico for the  Day of the Dead. Or something.]

Boy: Dora lives somewhere in South America.

Me: I don’t think so. Pretty sure she’s American.

Boy: She hangs out with a Monkey, so she must live near a jungle.

Me: She doesn’t live in South America.

Boy: She’s from Mexico, originally, but she came over the border and her fox followed her.

Me: It’s not “her” fox. And no. He doesn’t even have an accent. What about the monkey?

Boy: She took it with her.

Me: You can’t just bring a Monkey into this country like that. It’s against the law. You can’t just go through a border check with a monkey and not get stopped.

Boy: She did. Where else would she get a monkey?

Me: ….

Boy: I still don’t think she lives in America.

Me: I’m just concerned that Boots will eventually chew her face off. I don’t think monkeys make good pets.

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Happy Birthday to My Sister

It’s my sister’s birthday on Saturday the 3rd. I am posting this early to give you all time to go out and buy her a card and/or a present. I just remembered that I bought a card for her a couple of years ago that I never gave her, so it’s time to find it and dust it off. I think the last time I saw it, it was in junk drawer #2, aka the drawer where we keep the restaurant menus, scissors and tape. Not to be confused with the drawer with the playing cards, screwdrivers and rubber bands.

Everyone has two junk drawers, right?

Anyway, Happy Birthday, to my lovely sister, who is younger than me but I will deny it until we are old and decrepit. Which may be soon.

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Hoop Dreams

Photo take today at Strawbery Banke, Portsmouth NH, as Mr. Dump made every effort on the planet to give me a typical touristy vacation day. They have some old-fashioned toys available for today’s modern child to try out. Junior was VERY taken with rolling a hoop and trying to get the little wooden ball into the cup. (Shades of Stewie Griffin, anyone?)


old-fashioned toys, originally uploaded by Big DumpTruck.

He was also very taken with the Jacob’s Ladder toy. Seriously, we were amused by how much he loved these hundred + year-old toys. I could trade in a bunch of his video games and buy some little wooden toys. I’ll bet that would go over really well.

Actually, this is a kid whose most valuable possession is a beat-to-hell blue plastic bat. So wooden toys might be good.

Please note the blinding sunlight in this photo (actually screwed up most of my photos so I have to add fill light in post-processing). After we grabbed a traditional Irish Pub [late] lunch at Molly Malone’s (Mr. Dump had bangers and mash, nuff said.) we headed home – into the worst thunderstorm so far this summer. And that’s saying something. I’m waiting for the power to go off.

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A Mini Space Movie by M & M

My son had a sleepover here last night and all he got me was a short video movie he made with his friend. The file is stored over at flickr (they do video now too) and I think MAYBE you can download this one to watch on your iPod. I’m not sure if it will let everyone, or just me because it’s in my account. Actually, can someone let me know? If you can’t, I can try to upload the M4V version here with a link. Because I know you want to watch this daily on your iPod or iPhone. I know I do.

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