Sunday, October 31, 2010

I'm a bank robber....Well sorta

My brain woke up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday. All day I had been having moments of being an airhead. Kept forgetting things, going back to the house 3 times before leaving in the car, and then forgetting the check that I needed to deposit, but not the deposit slip, and had to drive all the way back to the house.


The biggest airhead moment was when I got home from the bank. It was my last stop of the day and I started to grab all of the stuff on the passenger seat. AAAAACK!!!!!!!! Sitting there nice and shiny was the pneumatic tube that the bank uses in the drive thru. I felt like I had just robbed the bank. I tore out of the driveway and hauled a## back to the bank. Luckily the bank was closed and the tube was sitting open so I put it in there, pressed the button, and got the h@## out of there. Ugh!!!!! Talk about humiliating.


I realized that when I was getting my stuff out of it I got distracted when the teller walked away. I hadn't finished what I was doing and needed to get a question answered. Annoyed and tired I finally got him back, got my answers, and then drove home.


After that heart attack I just stayed home and figured I should be safe until my brain gets back on the right track. Hopefully today will be better.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Being a Marine Mom

Early this morning (3 am) the phone rings and I ran to get it because I knew of only one person who would be calling me at that ungodly hour. My son, who is a Marine, was calling from Afghanistan. He just graduated from boot-camp in June and is already in country. He was calling to let me know that he finally made it after a very long journey compiled of some long plane trips, a boat ride, and another long plane ride. He said that he is still in shock over the jet lag and the culture shock of being there. He knew what it would be like from talking with my friends and his recruiter, who had become a close friend, but was still not prepared for the reality of it. He said that the desert gave him a welcoming party in the form of a huge dust storm. Talk about getting a rude awakening..

It was surreal talking with him and picturing him in my mind still as the baby that I fought so hard for. Not long after he was born he contracted a long term illness and was in and out of hospitals for over a year. We almost lost him a couple of times. I stayed with him in the hospital day and night and would only go home every other day to shower and get a change of clothes. I became an expert in sink showers and sleeping in a recliner.

Later when I got divorced the kids would go back and forth between their dad's house and mine. When I moved to Arizona the kids decided that they wanted to stay with their dad because of their friends. I hated not having them with me but my primary goal was whatever made them happy despite my feelings.

Later on Max got into the usual teenage troubles. One day his dad called me and said "I am done. He is your problem now. He will be at the airport tomorrow morning" WHAT???? Well I was shocked and not at all prepared for that. I picked up at the airport a VERY ANGRY teenager. He and I fought and darn near killed each other the first year. I just kept thinking somewhere in there is that sweet boy that I raised. After a couple of wake-up calls he changed into a wonderful son. He made up his classes he failed and went to online school to get extra credits. He ended up graduating early from school and enlisted into the Marines. We fought about that to but I knew that his happiness came first despite my wanting to protect him.

We became best buds and went on many road trips together. We had tons of laughs and I made him try new things. I have so many fond memories like the time his eyes bugged out when he saw firecrackers for sale in New Mexico. He was like a kid again. Yes, we bought some and he had a ball setting them off in an empty field. The first road trip without him was hard. Way to quiet and I kept remembering our trips together.

It was actually harder for me than I expected when he left overseas because all through training and boot-camp he was still close enough that I could bail him out if he got into trouble. There I have to leave him to the care of his Master Sergeant. Talk about feeling helpless.

We talked so much about everything and he was unsure about a lot of things. By then end of the phone call he was feeling much better.

Guess he still needs his Mama...:-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

One persons definition of Adventurous


ad·ven·tur·ous

[ad-ven-cher-uhs]
–adjective
1. inclined or willing to engage in adventures; enjoying adventures.
2. full of risk; requiring courage; hazardous: an adventurous undertaking.
An adventure is an activity that is perceived to involve risk, danger or exciting experiences.

I was reading the other day on a forum what a person defines as adventurous. It was quite funny how each person's definition was so different. It seemed like the person's background had a lot to do with it. I define it as doing something outside of your normal day to day life.

For some people it would be riding a rollercoster (done that too many times). Some would say it is taking a trip to another country (done that too). Or doing something that you never in your life thought you would ever do. For some rare people, it's just jumping in the car and just driving til you feel like stopping to smell the roses.

My latest adventure was taking a last minute trip to El Paso,TX. I had been working 21 days straight and was totally burned out. About 4 am Friday morning I woke up, tossed and turned, couldn't get back to sleep, and finally said I need to get outta here. I packed my bags, fed the cat her daily treat, put out extra food and water, and got in my car.

I got on the road with my trusty Ipod and just cranked the music. So here I am just rolling down the road, rocking away, and thinking nobody I know would do this.

It was awesome to get away and forget about the real world for a while. I even called my mom on the road and asked how she was. She said "Good. Nothing much is going on here. What about you?"  Me, "I am on the road to El Paso and won't be home for a few days".  She blurted out "WHAT????? What do you mean you are on the road to Texas?"  I told her what happened that morning and that I was feeling great. She just laughed and said that she hoped I had a great time and to call when I get there safe and sound. It was so much fun to just get on the road and disappear. 

I got into town and then sat there thinking "I'm Hungry!" I called a buddy of mine in town and said "You are a foodie like me. Where in town is a good place to eat?" He started to rattle off places by my house. I told him, "NOOOO, where is a good place here in El Paso to eat?". SILENCE......"HUH?"
I am laughing and explained what happened. He couldn't believe that I just woke up and drove 450 miles to get away. He took me to the most awesome BBQ place, Smitty's BBQ. Gotta go there if you are ever in town. Best BBQ I have had in a while. That trip was a blast and just what I needed to recharge my batteries and it also gave me ideas on what I could do in the future when I need a pick-me-upper.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The ups and downs of moving around ALOT!

Growing up we moved a lot because of my dad's job. I loved moving because I got to experience a new place and see new things. I also hated moving because it required meeting new people. Because of my insecurity and shyness I was nervous as to how I would be accepted. As you have probably read in other posts, school SUCKED so I didn't like starting in a new school every time we moved. 

It is probably because of moving around so much that I get what is called "itchy feet", where you can't stay in one place for very long. None of the other kids inherited this. To this day I enjoy going places and usually don't find it a problem with my hearing.

The only real challenge I had was when I went on a Caribbean cruise with my mom and some friends. The crew members on the ship are from all over the world. Because I supplement my hearing with lip-reading I was truly lost because I encountered accents I had never seen or heard before. It was pretty funny because I would turn to mom or my friends and say "What?" After the first few times my friends understood what was going on. So all I would have to do was just look at them and they would translate right away. No questions asked.

My sister, who will probably kill me when she reads this, is perfectly content staying in one place. I have given her a hard time because she has a very predictable life. Boring by my standards. She has her routines and is comfortable with it and has only moved a few times since she got married. I asked her if she ever gets bored and her response is no. She said that she doesn't need any adventure and gets plenty of it living through me and my adventures. Even my parents said that life with me was funny and it was fun seeing what I would do next. Guess I could never be called boring.

File:Rv classa.jpg

My dream is to one day leave everything behind, get into an RV, and travel around the country. I loved the trip my parents took us on and it was amazing to see how in one country there were so many different cultures, accents, food, and ways of life.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The crazy stuff you see as a Volunteer EMT

Names may have been changed (omitted), as needed, to protect the identities of the (not so) innocent.

I worked as a volunteer EMT after passing my college class. It was a blast and I enjoyed helping people and ran across some pretty stupid/funny stuff.

I worked on a crisis unit that specialized in situations where additional help was needed. Our unit tends to be very busy and covers a large area. Some days we will leave in the morning to get my partner some coffee at Starbucks and end up with back to back calls until late in the evening.

Here is an example of some of the things I came across.

One day a guy decided to change the fuel filter on his car. He pulls his car into his garage and starts to change it out. Never mind that there is a water-heater sitting right next to him. BOOM!!!!! 

Gang banger is sitting in his car and decided to put his gun that he was flashing around back into the belt of his pants. Bang, precious Jewel is blown off.

Watching a little, tiny 90 yr. old woman argue with a very large Captain as to why she can't call 911 whenever she needs a ride to the Dr.'s office.

Best one to date......

One afternoon my partner and I were trying to decide where to get something to eat because we were across town from our station and couldn't make it back in time for dinner. Just as we decided where to go we get a call to go to a sister station. We looked at the radio puzzled as to why we were needed at a station. We got there and the Captain was just sitting there grinning like a Cheshire cat. I knew right away something funky was going on. He proceeded to tell us that there is a "transient" in the back parking lot that we need to take care of.

Well it was obvious right away that A. they were shuffling their problem off to us, B. Wanted to see what we would do with him, and C. looking forward to the entertainment of watching us deal with him.

We were talking with "transient" and it was obvious right away that he didn't have just a few marbles missing but a TON OF MARBLES MISSING! We ended up calling mental health services to come get him and had to wait and keep him occupied until they got there. Once they got there "transient" got all riled up and all of us were doing some fast-talking to keep the situation under control.

During this time the Captain and his crew were sitting in their patio chairs smoking their after-dinner cigars and having a ball watching us. Suddenly they got a call and left the station. We were standing in the parking lot in the back of the station for an hour trying to get the "transient" to agree to go with the mental health service people.

As they were talking with "transient" I heard the engine roll back into the station. Next thing I know I heard a big crash. My partner and I looked behind us and saw their engine had neglected to wait for the garage door to open completely and crashed into it with the AC on top of the engine. The entire crew scrambled out and looked at their engine with a very smashed garage door sitting on top of it. My partner and I just looked at each other and turned around quickly and pretended that we didn't see what was going on behind us.

Now I am standing there looking up, down, around, pinching my finger, thinking of math, anything to keep from laughing. The mental health people looked at us and both of us are just looking back like, "What? What are you looking at?" Trying to pretend like there is no commotion going on behind us.

After the call was done we got back into our truck and started busting up laughing until there was tears rolling down our faces. PAYBACK TIME!!!!!!! We got the last laugh on that one!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hearing Loss and Jobs

I have to this day an insecurity about my hearing. Sometimes I forget to tell someone about my hearing and they will think I am being snobby by ignoring them. In reality I didn't hear them talking to me. Sometimes I would purposefully not tell them because of prejudice. Yes, it still lives in this day and age. For example, people will doubt I can do a job that I applied for because of my hearing loss. Well, I may have ears that do not work, but my brain between them works pretty darn well, thank you!

After a few times of knowing that I didn't get a job because of the hearing loss I started not telling them. I had long hair and it would hide my hearing aid and my speech was pretty good. Later after I had a job for a while they would find out and ask me why I didn't tell them. I would bluntly ask, "Would you have hired me?" Usually their honest answer would be no. By then I had proved that I could do the job so the lying by omission was a moot point.

I despise beards because they make lip-reading really hard. One time at my job in Kentucky Fried Chicken there was a customer who had a beard. He was frustrated because I was having trouble taking his order with all the noise and his huge beard. Finally he blurted out "What are you? Deaf?" My calm response was, "Why, yes I am. Here is my hearing aid. See" The look on his face was pure horror. My friends started turning purple and left the front counter FAST to keep from laughing out loud in front of him. It was a priceless moment, even if it was mean of me to do that. But what do you want me to say!

Whenever I set out to do something, job or college classes, I would go about it like any other person. Sometimes I would have to be upfront about my hearing loss. Usually they would respond with doubt and I would tell them to let me try and if I can't do it I will quit. One of the toughest one's was going back to college to get an EMT certification. It required a lot of meetings with different people. Everyone who registers for the class has to get approval because of limited seating and that was a tough one for me. I knew from their actions that they had major doubts and wondered if it was worth giving me one of the few openings in the course. I got them to give me a chance and I passed with flying colors. At the beginning my instructors were leery but partway through they were impressed and happy to have me.

Every time I have won a challenge I feel great but I have also had times when I had to acknowledge when I couldn't do something. It sucked when I had to admit that and it would get me down for a bit. But then I would go ahead and find something new to challenge me.

I call those times when life got the better of me "Potholes in the road". I just keep going on and eventually I will find a nice patch of road.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Traveling around the Country.

Cover of "The Long, Long Trailer"My parents traveled around the country before I was born. They went from job to job in a very large trailer, pick-up truck, and a Karmann Ghia. Their trailer was just like the one from the movie, "The Long, Long Trailer" with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. In fact many details in it are similar to my parents. Traveling to engineering jobs, size of trailer, and a few mishaps along the way.

Even after they settled down they continued to travel whenever they had a chance. Their passport is loaded with stamps of places they went to. Sadly, all of us kids got the fun job of staying at home with family and friends on those trips.

Mom and Dad would take us on road trips in the old station wagon all over the place or camping up in the mountains. My favorite part was cooking up some yummy s'mores. No dessert compares to a good old fashioned s'mores. Mmmmmm.....

One summer my parents bought an old motor-home and took us on a trip around the US. If I remember correctly we logged 8,000 miles in 30 days and hit 23 states.  The boring part for us kids was the hours logged on the freeway getting from one stop to another. Now the places we stopped at was a whole different story. Wish I could post all the pictures on here but there is a TON. My mom is the photographer in the family and is always saying "Wait, Stop right there, I want to take a picture of that" and we would have to freeze and stay still until she takes the picture.

Highlights of the trip: Meeting a badger (very moody little guy), Breakdown #1, Texas Cows, Cajun Gumbo, Breakdown #2, Gazillion bugs on the front of the motorhome (Yuck!!!), Disney World, trip to the local ER, Washington D.C., Great Lakes, Niagara Falls, Amish Families, Tornado's, Black Iowa soil, the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Grand Teton, Breakdown #3, Yellowstone Park, Grand Canyon, Laughlin, Keno Jackpot, and then finally home sweet home.

To this day they both are busy and on the go. Dad is busy with my step-mom on their horse ranch and traveling to different horse shows. Mom travels as much as she can and goes to California often to be with her mom. In fact, she recently went on a Couch Surfing trip up the coast of California visiting old friends and family. Couch Surfing is where you take a road trip and instead of staying in a hotel room you stay at a friend or family's place on their couch or spare bed. Mom and I have taken several trips and a Caribbean cruise together and we have a blast.

As for me I get itchy feet easily and like to travel every chance I get. Guess I inherited the adventurous and traveling spirit from Mom and Dad.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Things that make you smile and feel better.

I got up this morning in a sour mood. I HATE dentists and had a dentist appointment to get a tooth pulled. (The one from Friday the 13th) I was dreading the upcoming pain and misery.

On the road to the dentist I pulled up to a red light and noticed something that made me get a huge smile and lightened my mood. On the corner was a guy just dancing away while waiting at the crosswalk. It was not just some little moves or a leg jiggling but an all out body, arms, and legs moving. And he was waving at people driving by to boot.

It was the most amazing thing to see and made me think. Most people worry about how they are perceived by others and hold back their emotions because of that. I am sure some people at that intersection were thinking what a weird guy and how they would never do that. Well, why not???? I have always wondered why we must hold back how we feel. Why we must act like emotionless robots at work. Be judged on what we wear and look like. How we are not honest with ourselves and others.

Passion about your job, life, and family makes us human and also a happier person. I belong to a running group and I love how I can be myself with them. They don't judge you. They appreciate you for just being you. I am always nervous about meeting new people and being judged because of my hearing loss. Well, when I first met them they were like "So. Big deal. Want a beer?"

I love that they just want to have fun and hang out with friends. So what if Joe dances like a bad disco flashback, or John has no hair on his entire body because of a medical condition, or Jane has Tourette. We all love each other and appreciate each other for who we are, not by looks, race, religion, or politics.

So I dare you to stop one day and break out in a dance just for the fun of it. I guarantee you will get more smiles from people around you than stares and will feel great afterwards.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Friday the 13th.

Friday the 13thFriday the 13th was here not to long ago and I was biting my fingernails about it. I know not everyone is superstitious but life has taught me to give certain days/things a wide berth with one exception.

Friday the 13th
I cannot stand Friday the 13th. I have the worst luck on that day. I can prove it!

I have had the following happen all on a Friday the 13th.

Car transmission literally blew up on the road where there was NO cell phone transmission. Figured with my luck a serial killer would stop under the guise of helping me. A sweet off duty officer pulled over and ending up helping me. He stayed with me until the tow truck showed up and even followed us down the road to Blythe. Mechanic later said he has never seen a transmission blow up like mine did.

Had the front door knob on my apartment break and I couldn't open it. It was late at night, I had a bad day at work and just wanted to go home and crawl into bed. I had to wait 2 hours for someone to show up and fix it. Maintenance guy said I looked really lost and down when he finally showed up. I told him that after the day I had, I just sat down on the stairs and gave up. Figured as long as I didn't move I was OK.

Car broke down again and was stuck in a hotel overnight. Mind you I was wearing contacts and it was only supposed to be a day trip. No solution or nothing. Needless to say I was driving home the next morning blind and a nervous wreck.


Full Moon Fridays
If you work in certain fields like hospitals, fire dept, and police dept they all can tell you it is real. I work in a hospital and dread full moon and especially on Friday. All kinds of freaky things happen.

Summer Vacation
When I go on vacation in the summer to be with the kids something major always happens. One year was a doozy with Friday the 13th mixed in. (That was the overnight hotel stay)

I have spent the day in the ER for 6 hours with a son who split his lip only to have the DR say they can't do anything and here is a prescription.

I shattered one of my toes in the pool on the very first day of vacation. To this day it is still not normal.

My daughter was playing with the caps from the boy's cap gun and somehow it exploded. Burned her arm good and singed a bit of hair. Still can't figured out that one.

Daughter got lice. UGH!!!!! Still makes my skin crawl thinking about it. 

Son got an ear infection and ended up in Urgent Care because it was the weekend.

I was getting home from diner at my sister's house and discovered the car's transmission was stuck in Drive. I was sitting there trying to figure out what to do. I didn't have a cell phone back then and it was late at night. I ended up driving to the dealership that fixes my car and had security call my brother-in-law to come get me and the kids. Because the keys won't come out of the drive column unless the car is in park we ended up having to lock the keys in the car and block the wheels. I went home praying my car would still be in the parking lot when they opened the next morning.

Black Cats 
Now the only exception to this is Black Cats. I have a black cat and my previous one was also. I didn't choose a black cat on purpose but it just happened that way. I have never had a problem with her or my other one. Go Figure!!!!

Bet you are wondering what happened this past Friday the 13th.
Drum roll please.................I broke one of my crowns! So I am sitting here taking Motrin like it is candy and waiting for Monday so I can go to the dentist.  See, I told you I have the craziest luck!

MG, My partner in Crime.

My best bud was MG and boy did we have some fun times. The stories told here are real and not made up.

We met when she started working for Kentucky Fried Chicken. We started hanging out after work and going to different places since we had the same days off at work. I was getting over my shyness and she was totally outgoing, loud, and crazy. I still laugh at some of the stupid things that we used to do or get ourselves into. Here are some examples of that.

She suggested a bunch of us sneak into Chabot park one night and hike up to the top of this hill to party. I had a heart attack when we almost got caught by security patrol going up the hill. After the party I got road rash on my butt trying to get down the hill to fast. There were searchlights from security zooming around looking for us. They heard us coming down and were searching around trying to find us.

Picture of butt damage: PRICELESS

We were are at our marine buddies party and MG got the bright idea to play a joke on some new marines. Mind you we had just met this particular group of marines that night. Playing a practical joke on a bunch of drunk marines was waaaayyyy to easy. Next thing I know I am seeing a very large Sargent chase MG after falling for the joke and looking like an A**.

Sight of a drunk, embarrassed, and angry Marine: PRICELESS

One day we needed to take some pictures for a photography assignment. We were parked next to the base to get some shots of the bay and San Francisco at sunset. MG got on top of my car and next thing I know she is waving at a base security van to move so she can take a shot. The shot was of the sun setting behind an aircraft carrier. Next thing I know we are getting arrested by same security guys for taking pictures during a major weapons transfer. Huh? WHAT!!!!! OH S****!!!! Best thing was seeing MG make the arresting officer mad when she started making jokes about the doughnuts sitting next to him.

Ride in paddywagon to police station: PRICELESS

MG setting me up on a blind date (knowing I don’t like to date guys shorter than me). Date shows up. Me 5′ 10″, date 5′ 2″.

Look on my face: PRICELESS

One weekend we are sitting on the beach and there is no alcohol is allowed. To bypass that we kept a bottle of wine and a bottle of 7-UP in the cooler and mixed it up in plastic cups to drink. While laying in the sun recovering from a party the night before I notice a shadow. I look up and a police officer was standing there asking me what we were drinking. I tell him 7-Up. He asks for my cup. Figuring we were busted (we were only 18 at the time) I gave it to him and gave him a big smile. I got us an invitation to a cop party later that night.

Seeing MG’s face when he grabbed my cup:  PRICELESS


Best one of all……Toilet papering a police car……

                       PRICELESS      
     
(Information withheld to protect the guilty)

After High School

So I survived WWIII with my parents and I am now out of High School. It was such an abrupt thing that I was hanging out at home wondering what to do. It was October and I shouldn’t have been out of school yet. It totally threw me off and I was aimless for a bit. I wanted to join the military and discovered that hearing loss is not accepted but if you wear coke bottle thick glasses you can still get in. Basically I told the recruiter this ” Well the govt. is pretty screwed up in their thinking. I would think when the S*** hit the fan it would be more important to be able to see where you are running than being able to hear.” He didn't take too kindly to my comment. Oh Well!

I didn’t want to waste my time and money going to college because I couldn’t decide what to major in. So I just applied for jobs until I got one and starting working a 9 to 5 job. My first full-time job was a customer service rep. for Trans Union Credit Bureau. I got quite an education in people’s lives and credit card companies. Basically I took care of people’s complaints regarding their credit report and investigate it by contacting the offending credit company. It was an educational experience as to the claims, arguments, and excuses that people came up with. Some truly were innocent of what was being reported but a good percentage were not so innocent.

I rented a room in a cute 1940′s bungalow and lived on Alameda Island. I loved it there. Small city charm with nearby access to big city amenities. Plus it had a huge navy base with plenty of cute young guys.

My best friend MG from high school would hang out with me on the weekends. We went everywhere together and were either having fun or getting into trouble. The antics we got into is another story (or book if I was honest and told you EVERYTHING).

One day we met some marines at the park by the beach and became friends with several of them. This was a beneficial friendship because they provided security for the base. Since I didn’t have a military ID card they would let us sneak on base to go to the EM Club (enlisted men's club). What is funny is to get into the club you must have an ID or be escorted by someone with an ID. Well we would walk into the main lobby and look for one of our friends and if none were found walk up to a guy and sweetly ask him to get us in. None of them ever said no. Man, the power of being young and single. Young guys with hormones off the charts are putty in your hands.

So my weekends were composed of days on the beach and nights drinking and dancing at the club. Life was great during this time. If I could go back in time and relive a period of my life, this would be it. How much more could you ask for:  big hair, super skinny body, 80′s music, drinking, dancing, dating, and endless energy. What time period would you love to repeat?

High School

Ugh!!! The good, bad, and ugly memories.

We moved again to Phoenix,Az. I was to start high school that year and had mixed feelings about it. We moved there in the middle of August (VERY, VERY BAD IDEA). Since all of us kids had never stepped foot outside of California it was a HUGE culture shock. Temp of 120, humidity, rain/dust storms coming out of nowhere, and thunderstorms that I had never experienced before. No access to water at all.

Well all of us kids threatened mutiny and said we would move back to Calif. with our grandparents if we didn’t get a pool. Well mom and dad had already figured we would do that and had signed a contract for one to be installed. That ended up being one of the few things that we liked about that place.

I was excited and nervous about starting high school. It was to be the first year that I was a totally normal student. No speech therapy, tutoring, or special treatment. I could be totally anonymous and not worry about standing out from everyone. Hearing impairment is an invisible disability.

Most people by then didn’t know that I was deaf unless they saw my hearing aid (rare) or I told them (even more rare).  High school there ended up being decent and I made a few friends.  Not anything major but good solid trusting friendships. Yes, I was a geek and joined the marching band. I actually had the most fun there than anything else. It was a challenge but fun. We traveled to competitions and won several awards. It was a great feeling belonging to a group and accepted for what I am and what I had to offer.  I got to spend my freshman/sophomore years there before we moved again.

Our next stop was to Castro Valley, Ca. It is a small town set in the hillsides across from San Francisco, Ca.  The high school there was radically different from the one in Arizona. Arizona had farming community kids. Castro Valley had middle class & rich kids. Well, I didn’t get along with them at all. I guess the hippie roots of my parents rubbed off on me and I was most at home with the blue-collar types.

Bored to death because I had no friends to hang out with I got my first real job. As embarrassing as it is to admit, it was Kentucky Fried Chicken. Yes, I wore the disgusting brown polyester get-up and smelled like chicken every night I went home. Mom actually had a bucket that I had to put my shoes in when I got home and had the shower open and ready for me. It was there at the job that I made a couple of great friends.

After much negotiating with my parents, I devised a way that I could transfer to my friends school. Their school was more like the one in Arizona and I ended up being much happier there. I would hang out with
my buds on the weekends doing so many different things. We would drink and play quarters (I sucked at it), go to what they called the beach (Alameda), and go to San Francisco or Berkley to try new foods and people watch. Berkley was the most interesting for people watching. Hippies, Bums, Yuppies, and tourists everywhere.

Life was going pretty good until I hit a brick wall. One day during my senior year the principal called me into her office. I was sitting there trying to figure out what the H*** I had done lately to get into trouble. When I did get to see her she said that I was 1 (yes, read it loud and clear ONE) credit short of graduating and would not be able to walk with my class. Well, I was mighty mad because they had not warned me during my junior year about that. I would have taken a summer class. Since I was 18 I looked at her and said “Well, then just pull whatever papers I need to sign because I QUIT!” She looked shocked and tried to talk me out of it. I told her “Why? I don’t get to walk with my class and I can take the GED and be done now and get a job.” After much arguing it was finally done. That was the easy part. Going home and telling my parents was
another story.
                         

Middle School

Middle school is an experience that I never want to relive. Talk about feeling gangly and awkward. We had moved to San Clemente, CA by this time and  I was able to finish speech therapy but still had to have tutoring for classwork. I hated school and was bored. Either the stuff was boring or I was lost and didn’t understand it. My hearing played a big part of it. Middle school had 6 classes and the majority of the classroom work involved lectures. Well I had 6 different teachers and had to deal with 6 different teaching styles. Some were awesome and helped me tremendously and some were total jerks about my hearing problem.

To make matters worse I was extremely shy, one of the tallest girls in school, and had trouble making friends. I had a couple of friends but none that would be called close friendships. Some of the friends that I had are what you would call users today. But I was both shy and naive and believed that they were friends. Today I realize that they just used me and hate that kids at that age were so manipulative. Because I didn’t have many friends I didn’t have to deal with peer pressure. I did the usual experimenting with drinking and smoking pot. The first time I tried pot I didn’t have anything happen. No funny feeling, munchies, or nothing. Needless to say we got a dummy batch. It was just herbal tobacco. Talk about feeling stupid later when I realized the switch up.

During this time I went from hating my sister to having a close relationship. We grew up fighting like cats and dogs. One day it just changed. My sister was also shy and didn’t like to go anywhere by herself. Since I was home most of the time she ended up having me go places with her to keep her company. She had her own car and boy did we have some memorable times.

I would go to parties, rock concerts, and hang out at the beach with her. I learned what pot was really like. We never did any of the hard-core drugs. I never wanted to and I was happy with alcohol and pot. A whole new world had opened up to me. Funny enough the older people who were my sisters friends didn’t care about my hearing and treated me like anyone else.

We would spend days hanging out on the beach, going to Pete’s for a disgusting but oh so yummy fish burger, and go to a friend’s house to party the night away. I had been so happy there and the entire family agreed  that we should have never moved from there to the next job. We all were happy there and missed it. But then life would have turned out completely different if we had stayed. Funny how looking back a simple thing can have a major effect on your life.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The next phase.

I spent several years even before starting school going to a deaf school and speech therapy. My parents were determined that despite the hearing loss that I would have as normal life as possible. I learned to read fairly early because the basics of speech therapy is looking at letters and then sounding them out. To this day I still have trouble saying the “S” sound.

When I started elementary school I spent half of my time at the deaf students classroom and half of my time in the mainstream classroom. It was really weird because I wasn’t totally accepted by the deaf kids because I had some hearing and didn’t know sign language very well. My parents wanted me to learn to speak and not depend on sign language at all. I did learn to lip read and depend on that along with my hearing aid. I wasn’t accepted by the “normal” kids because I was deaf in their eyes.

I can say that I never enjoyed going to school because of that.
I can’t tell you how many battles that my parents had with the school district over my schooling, speech therapy, and sick days. One of the school’s so-called psychologists tested me and said that I seemed bright and smart but because of my hearing I would never finish school above the 5th grade level. (All because I couldn’t hear very well). Well World War 3 was unleashed on that person.  I do owe mom & dad a huge thank you, because of them I have a great life now. I wish I could go back to that psychologist and say “Boy, you sure misjudged me. Good thing my parents didn’t listen to you!”.  I wonder how many other parents he told that to and they believed him.

Price Is Right Photos - 16Since I was a kid that caught EVERYTHING known to mankind I spent a lot of days at home sick. Bob Barker entertained me daily during those times and books were my best friend. They were always ready to take me to some faraway and exciting place.

 I eventually got used to hearing aids but having them comes with quirks. Back then it was notorious to break on a weekend when everyone was closed. Or we would run out of batteries because we got a bad batch. It is basically like a really high maintenance girl. Think of owning a car with over 100,000 miles on it. You know it is going to break down and that it usually does at the worst time.

The start of my life.

  I came into this world in 1967. Boy, what a year that was. Flower power, Summer of Love, Vietnam, Make love not War protests, Beatles, Dirty Dozen movie, Rosemary’s Baby book, and Andy Griffith just to name a few.

 My parents were young middle class workers with a good dose of hippie mixed in. They had the jobs but also had the parties. They traveled in a big trailer and went from job to job. My sister was born in 1965 and went along on the road with them. When I came along they finally decided to leave the travel trailer behind and buy a house. They figured that traveling in a trailer with 2 kids was too much. 

My mom got German Measles when she was pregnant with me and they didn’t know what would happen. At that time it caused lots of genetic defects including deafness. After I was born my mom counted all my toes and fingers and the Dr. pronounced me healthy. They brought me home and went on with their lives but my mom was carefully watching me for any hearing loss. Because hearing wasn’t tested on babies back then nobody would know if there was a loss until later on.  I was a pretty happy baby and did everything a normal baby did. Was curious about everything and got into EVERYTHING. My mom said that compared to my older sister I was a tornado. Going everywhere and into everything. I was finally diagnosed at 1 1/2 yrs. old. I would have been diagnosed earlier but with a little bit of residual hearing and no real testing equipment I responded to most of the things they did.  It was eventually discovered that I was deaf in my right ear and had an 80% loss in the left ear.

Now my parents world would change. My mom was awesome and was determined that I would be as normal as possible. She started taking me to a special school an hour away everyday for training and working with me at home on speaking normally. I got fitted with 2 hearing aids and started doing speech-therapy to get me on the right track. Well as you all know how babies are I didn’t take to the hearing aids very well. I kept taking them off and losing them. Or I would hide them and forget where I put them. Best one’s were I fed one to one of our boxers and flushed another one down the toilet. Boy did that freak mom out.

Hearing loss didn’t seem to slow me down. If you watch old 9mm movies of me you will see my girly-girl sister sitting pretty in the middle of the camera view and me running around like a maniac. Never could sit still for long and still can’t.