Sometimes dad forgets…

By Becky Andrews

There’s an episode of “The Golden Girls” where Sophia befriends a man on the boardwalk in the Miami town the show takes place. In a pivotal scene, her new friend becomes confused and frustrated. Later, Sophia learns that he has Alzheimer’s Disease. I remember watching this episode years ago and thinking how sad it was, but that’s it. I couldn’t relate. I didn’t get it. Now I do.

Above: My dad, Ralph and his favorite child; Becky. (C’mon! I had to add that!)

My dad has a great story. He was an Italian Yankee who moved down south to attend college on a football scholarship at Western Carolina University. That’s where he met my mom. “Italian Yankee” was my grandmother’s nickname for him. (Actually, the real nickname she had for him was inappropriate.)  She didn’t care for him when she met him for the first time. She hated him when he moved her only daughter and only grandson to Tennessee after he and mom graduated. That’s another story altogether.

Dad was hardworking. While he wasn’t perfect, he loved his wife and kids with fierce devotion. He was strict and protective and funny and loving and strict and strict and suspicious. Suspicious mostly of his teenage children. We were guilty until proven innocent. In fact, all teenagers were guilty until proven innocent.

In 2012, dad got the diagnosis. First, his specialist thought it was Lewy Body dementia. After more tests, they settled on vascular dementia. It didn’t matter what they called it. Each one shared the same sad ending. We knew life for all of us would never be the same.

The worst day was when he realized what was happening. “I think I know what’s wrong with me, but I don’t want to talk about it, ok?” So, we didn’t.

Most of the time he was perfectly fine. We would even think the doctors were wrong. Then he would tell a story about how he stopped a “stick up” in the Kroger parking lot at 3 am or give a detailed account of his trip to Hawaii the week before. Even going so far as trying to find the slides he took while visiting. Guys, he’s never been to Hawaii. He’s still fine. Most of the time he handles his normal with cool indifference.

Last week, dad fell at home. I was with him. In fact, he fell on the kitchen floor that I had just mopped. It was kind of my fault. For the few minutes it took to get him up, I must have told him “I’m so sorry” 100 times. I even started to cry. He finally said, “Stop it with the ‘sorrys!’ Help me get up! Why are you crying?! I’m the one that fell!” We went to the ER, and dad was fine. No broken bones. No stitches. Nothing.

If you have cared for anyone living with progressive dementia, you know that it’s the hiccups in daily routines that create the perfect environment for an incident. The incident results in your loved one traveling a little bit further down the rabbit hole.

Four days after the fall, dad called. I knew this tone of voice. He was nervous.

Dad- “I think I’ve hurt my neighbor’s feelings. We just passed each other, and he didn’t say anything.”
Me- “Why do you think you hurt his feelings?”
Dad- “We were talking at the morning coffee, and he kept talking over me. I think I said something like, ‘Jesus, do you ever shut up?!’”
A phrase, I must admit, I’ve wanted to say to my dad on a few occasions.
Me- “Do you think maybe you had a dream? Dreams can feel real sometimes. It happens to everyone.”
Dad- “You’ve had dreams where you’ve told my neighbor to ‘shut the hell up!’”?
Me- “No, I’ve had bad dreams that seemed very real. It bothers me even after waking up.”
Dad- “I don’t think this was a dream, Becky. I don’t ever want to hurt anyone’s feelings.”

I called his neighbor to check. He reassured me that nothing happened. He did tell me that dad had asked him the same question a couple of weeks ago. This sweet man, who has become one of dad’s closest friends, even stopped by later that day  to check on us.

The following morning, dad told me about the dream again. To him, it was real. He was adamant. I told him we talked to his neighbor and he said nothing happened. Dad’s facial expression went from confusion to sadness. Where he didn’t recognize the difference between a dream and reality, he did silently acknowledge that whatever has been taking pieces of him, isn’t finished. He let his head drop, defeated. Those are the heartbreaking moments.

Later, I was flipping through the channels and stopped on “Nik at Nite” where I caught the end of that episode of “The Golden Girls” I mentioned earlier. Sophia looks at her daughter Dorothy and says, “People think if you live to be my age, you should be grateful just to be alive. That’s not how it works. You need a reason to get up in the morning and sometimes when you find one; life can turn around and spit in your face.” Now I get what she meant.

It’s been one week since he fell and it’s the third morning in a row that he hasn’t mentioned the dream. He’s back to working out at the gym. He’s back to writing down everything he eats. He’s back to calling me ten times in the morning and night to make sure I’m not texting and driving. He’s back to telling me the dark lipstick I wear “looks like something a prostitute would wear.” He’s back to being a dad again. I’m so glad that’s something that is proving hard to forget.

There’s my dad. He’s pretty cool. He knows it too. 

 

Comments? Email becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com

Share This:

Thank you Blake Leonard

By Angel Kane

So most Sundays, I sit and write my articles. The columns Becky and I pen are not Pulitzer Prize-winning prose but just something meant for fun and fluff.

This week our middle child finally decided on her college of choice. My article was going to be all about our Zoe. It was going to be light, maybe funny and probably a little sad too, because whenever I think of my children flying the coop, I become melancholy.

But this morning as I grabbed my coffee and sat at my computer to begin to compose my column, my fingers aimlessly first scrolled through Facebook. And there, in one of the photos, I ran across a photo of Blake Leonard. Blake is the son of Leah and Daniel Leonard. Leah was my very first friend when I moved to Lebanon. We were neighbors. Little Blake was their first born. We shared birthday parties and backyard plastic pool parties. I have photos of Blake and Zoe, from many a Halloween, when we would walk the neighborhood together.

We moved across town when they were both in elementary school, so like all things do, certain things came to an end. But Leah and I have remained friends. She is one of those people that I can always count on and while we don’t see each other often, when we do, it’s like time stopped.

But I digress, so there was Blake on FB. Leah had posted a photo of him from his Navy boot camp graduation. I hit “like” and scrolled on past.

But then, a minute later another photo popped up of Blake dressed in his finest navy attire proudly standing for a photo. He looked so grown up. So strong. I stopped at the photo and clicked to enlarge it. Then enlarged it some more. He looked a little different than I remembered. He had purpose in his eyes.

And while Zoe picking a college is a big deal in our little life. The fact that Blake Leonard has joined the Navy is a big deal in all our lives. Our Zoe going off to college is bittersweet, but our daughter will be a phone call and a two-hour drive away. And while we are unbelievably proud of all she is accomplishing, I am 100 times as proud of Blake. And 100 times as proud of his parents.

Blake Leonard is doing something momentous. Blake Leonard is committing himself to our country. Blake Leonard is going to protect my life, your rights, our world. He has endured basic training, which in and of itself, is a mighty feat. And at some point soon will be on a navy ship, out in a vast ocean, defending our shores and, oftentimes, shores that seem to have very little do with us but in reality have everything to do with us. His parents, grandparents and entire family are no doubt enduring sleepless nights and overwhelming fear and yet they let him go. Bravery like theirs is something I don’t know that I have myself. While my Zoe will be tucked in her dorm room bed, Blake will be across the world ensuring she wakes up the next morning to the same world that existed when she went to sleep the night before.

So today, on this Sunday, when I should have gone to church but instead got up late and am sipping on my, now, lukewarm coffee, trying to compose a light and funny article, today, I pray for both Blake and Zoe. I pray the good Lord will watch over Blake and continue to give him the courage, wisdom and determination he needs for his chosen path. And I pray Zoe will use her college days to grow into a productive citizen. I pray she will use her talents to make our world a better place.

I pray most of all though, that she will thank Blake Leonard. I pray she will thank Blake and the Blakes that came before him, the Blakes that are with him now and the Blakes that come after him. Because without the Blake Leonard’s of this world, Zoe Kane would not have the blessings that now await her.

 

Share This:

The other ‘F’ word…

By Becky Andrews

When my youngest child was six- months old, my little sister came for a visit. One of her many visits
trekking from the northwest to Tennessee that summer. That was the last summer we had we our mom.

When I picked her up from the airport, she asked how I was doing. “I’m fine,” I responded.
With a laugh, she said, “When I started labor and delivery rotation in nursing school, one of my
professors told us that fine is just an acronym for Frustrated Insecure Neurotic Exhausted.”

I don’t like to brag, but I WAS NAILING IT! FINE was my jam.

So every time someone says, “I’m fine” that’s what I think of.  Maybe it’s just easier to say what we think
someone wants to hear instead of going into a 30-minute rant about how life stinks sometimes.

With social media pages that showcase photographic evidence of how fabulous life is, it’s no wonder no
one wants to reveal those warts. If we tell the truth about our less than perfect life, kids, jobs, in-laws,
we then become what we fear most…human. If you are anything other than fine, you’ve failed at this.
Whatever this is.

How’s the new baby?
“He’s perfect. A gift from God. I don’t know what we did before he/she was here. I feel complete. I was
made to nurse. Bloody nipples be damned! My baby is going to be a genius because of me.”
That’s wonderful! How are you?
“Me? I’m fine. I get to watch the sun rise and set and rise and set. I can’t remember the last time I
showered, but I’ve discovered that a baby wipe shower works great in a pinch. I’m totally fine.”

I’ve perfected the art of being fine since having children. I was fine when our oldest didn’t want to learn
his letters in preschool. I was fine when he didn’t get invited to a friend’s birthday party in first grade
(This is a lie. I’ll never get over that.) I was fine when he started high school. I was fine when he started
driving and dating. I was fine when he made stupid teenager mistakes that left my gut steaming with
worry. I was fine when he experienced his first heartbreak. I was fine when he graduated from high school. I was fine when he went on his first road trip with friends without REAL adult supervision. I was fine when he came home from that unsupervised trip with something pierced! (That’s a lie. I was pissed. He was smart enough to remove “the ring” before coming home, but still stupid enough to let a friend post it on Instagram.) I was fine when we moved him into his college dorm. I’m fine now even though I have no idea if he’s washed his sheets since we moved him into that dorm more than six months ago. I’m fine not knowing or having any control over what he’s doing while away from my admittedly overbearing, watchful eye. I’ve been the walking embodiment of FRUSTRATED INSECURE NEUROTIC EXHAUSTED more times than I’d like to admit. And I’m sure I will feel the sting of that acronym with my youngest who will begin high school in a few short months. Today I am fine. Really!

For now, I’m done with the “How are you” questions. Common sense and a little life experience prove
that you are probably not fine if you just lost a parent or a job or if you just had a baby eight days ago or
your oldest child only came home from college THREE TIMES DURING HIS FIRST SEMESTER OF COLLEGE! You are entitled to feel all those inconvenient, complicated emotions that go hand in hand with being human.
You know, the ones that are left out of our Snap Chat stories. Because even if things aren’t really “fine” now, it will be eventually. But don’t get too cocky when things are going well. And don’t say, “My kid would never…” As soon as you utter those words, little Kevin might be headed home with some shiny new
hardware on his nipple!

Comments? Email becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com

Share This:

None to spare…

By Angel Kane

So the flu has hit the Kane household.

Like many we know, our youngest was diagnosed with Type A influenza. And given all the dire news reports, of course, we were worried.

Thankfully, my husband was able to take him to the doctor before it got very bad and came home with three boxes of Tamiflu.

Three boxes??? There are four of us that live in the Kane household.

“They wouldn’t give me one for you”, he said.

“What are you talking about? They are supposed to give the whole family Tamiflu if one member is sick. That’s what Becky’s doctor did!” I beseeched.

“I don’t know what to tell you. He wouldn’t give me any for you. Zoe and I were with Neill at the appointment so we each got a prescription.”

And with that, I watched as the three other Kanes each took their pills.

“Well, each of you give me some of yours. There is enough to go around.” I said.

“That’s illegal. You’ll have go get your own.” he said as he finished his water.

Mind you, my husband, had had the doctor test him and he was negative for the flu!

So all weekend, as my youngest has puttered around the house with a blanket around his shoulders and a pitiful look upon his face, the other two Kanes have been popping their pills….just in case…they maybe….possibly …..become infected.

To say the weekend has been strained would be an understatement.

I don’t get mad about a lot of things. But I’m thinking not sharing your Tamiflu when someone in the house has the flu might just be grounds for divorce! In fact, its right up there with using my shampoo to wash the dog or driving my car and changing the seat settings.

Not to mention, for some reason, those on Tamiflu have declared that they can’t help care for our flu victim, because they don’t want to get sick.

“The doctor told us to stay away from him.”

Apparently, because I didn’t have the luxury of seeing the doctor, somehow that meant I was the only one able to tend to the sickly child. So all weekend I’ve been tending to my youngest’s every whim, which has consisted of homemade cookies, take-out from Sake and endless hours of watching “Shark-Tank” with him.

Apparently his Type-A flu has made him hungrier and more inventive!

So on Sunday, as I’m writing this, I’m now sitting at my desk, blanket around my shoulders, slight headache and obvious fever.

“You need to go to the doctor. If you start the Tamiflu right at the beginning it won’t be as bad.” says Mr. Nurse Nightingale.

I refuse to look up as I continue to type.

“Ok. Well I’m just trying to help.”

Visions of using his toothbrush, coughing on his keys, breathing on his phone float through my mind.

“And don’t go writing that I didn’t try to help you. We each had to take our own prescription. There was none to spare. This isn’t our fault. You are quite capable of going to the doctor. Blah, blah, blah…”

Not sharing their Tamiflu is going to be the least of their problems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share This:

Red Dawn – The Sequel

By Angel Kane

There has been lots of talk lately about how the Russians may have covertly interceded with our elections. Hitting close to home, there is even talk that one of the twitter accounts some thought was run by the TN GOP may have, in fact, been set up by the Russians to lead us astray.

The ultimate result, of course, to eventually put in a puppet regime to bring down our country.

If you are my age you must remember the movie “Red Dawn”.

A cult classic, 80’s movie, where the Russians physically invade our country. Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Charlie Sheen were the leads as teenagers fighting against the invaders. The band of kids take to the hills and lead an armed resistance against the occupying Russian forces. In one pivotal part, the teens come across their parents in a prison camp where their parents await inevitable death and as they say their last good-byes – one father screams out to his boys, “Avenge me, Avenge me!”

I still get chills thinking about it.

That was when Patrick Swayze was at his prime, Jennifer had her old nose and Charlie was not that weird old guy that freaks us out today.

Well my fellow 80’s cult movies aficionados, if you haven’t figured it out yet, Red Dawn – the Sequel – is upon us!

I don’t know if the Russians are truly behind fake news or the Trump train but what I do know is that if they are, they have now taken it up a notch. In fact, 1000 notches!

I present you the Asian lady beetle aka those  $#%# flying ladybugs that are invading my home, your home, every home!

Tens of them, hundreds of them, thousands of them!

If you think the Russians are trying to meddle in our day to day lives, to lead us off course, while they slowly take over, then surely my theory may not be far off base.

Think about it??

At first, we didn’t notice them.

It was just a harmless ladybug.

Then they multiplied. And multiplied. And multiplied. To the point that on any given day when we should be working, taking care of our families, studying up on our electoral college, we are instead chasing these tiny, flying demons.

If you are like me, you are now on a daily quest to annihilate them. But as soon as you suck their little bodies into your vacuum – twenty more appear. Out of thin air!

I’ve googled, I’ve called, I’ve taken to FB.

Only to find out, they are everywhere! And no one knows from whence they came or how to get rid of them.

Those Russians are so smart! First the elections, next those gold medal winning Russian Olympic figure skaters (who were actually banned but somehow got to skate anyway) and now, the ever present Asian lady beetle.

Sometimes, it all seems just too much to bear.

And then I think back to “Red Dawn.”

Those of you lucky enough to have been alive in the 1980’s surely recall that at the end of the movie, Americans takes back their country. To honor the teens who gave their up their lives in the movie, a plaque is inscribed for them as follows,

    In the early days of WWIII, guerrillas – mostly children – placed the names of their lost upon this rock. They fought here alone and gave up their lives, so “That this nation shall not perish from the earth” 

And with those words, as read out to me in the closing credits by Patrick Swayze, I’m once again ready to do battle.

 

To read more of Angel and Becky’s blogs go to www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com

 

 

 

Share This:

Can you hear me now?

By Becky Andrews

I walked into the mouth of the beast on Tuesday. It was as horrible and scary as you can imagine. If it weren’t for the barely breathing battery on my son’s phone, I could have avoided the “incident” altogether.

My conversation with “Trevor” started out well enough. He told me nothing else could be done. It was time to say goodbye. And because this cell phone company is so nice, we could trade in our pitifully outdated phone for a credit.

Becky “But we have insurance. Remember, you talked me into the insurance that covers all our phones? I can file a claim. He’ll get a new phone, and I won’t have to pay all of the ridiculous fees you are about to make light of.”

Trevor “You can do that, but they will replace it with a refurbished phone. Who knows what will happen.”

Becky “What do you mean? Is it going to explode?”

Ignoring my sarcasm, Trevor replied, “Plus, you have a co-pay. Or you could just get a new 8 series for $27 a month.”

Becky “The insurance I pay $33 a month isn’t worth it? Let’s cancel it. That will save $6 a month if I get the new phone.”

Trevor “You DO NOT want to do that.”

Becky “You just said they send refurbished phones. Why keep it?”

Trevor: “I just think it’s not worth the trouble to file a claim.”

Becky “Of course, you don’t think it’s worth the trouble, Trevor. I’m paying for it. Every time I come inside this store, I leave with a new device, promises that my bill won’t increase “that much” and a false feeling of hope. And when I come back to this store with problems on that new phone, I’m told the phone that was great a few months ago should be destroyed for being so electronically inept; my insurance doesn’t cover whatever problem I have and a realization that I’ll never get out from under you people.

Please, I beg of you. Please, help me, Trevor. I don’t want to be here for three hours. I need some good news.”

At this point, Trevor looked confused but determined.

“You did pay $22 per month for his phone. But his phone is paid for now.” He continued, “This new phone is $27 per month.”

This math didn’t mean our bill would increase by only $5. Nope. $27. We were well into hour two. I was confused, tired, and smart enough to know when I’d been beaten.

Trevor came back from the storeroom with my child’s brand new (probably already outdated) phone. He went on to tell me that AMAZINGLY the trade-in credit on his old phone ($97) will EXACTLY cover an accessory bundle.

“He doesn’t need it,” I said firmly.

“You don’t want to leave without a screen protector.” Trevor said as he continued to type “NO WAY, that would be a HUGE mistake. That glass breaks so easy. And the cover will protect the body of the phone. They are both fragile. And the car charger is a must.”

Essentially, I was buying my child a premature kitten that needed round the clock care to survive.

“He only needs the screen protector and case. Thanks anyway, Trevor.”

He looked up from his computer screen and with a laugh said, “So, you want to pay $120 plus tax for those two accessories? Instead of $97 for all three?”

I couldn’t take it anymore! “No, I don’t need any of it! I’m going to take our chances that a big bolt of lightning doesn’t hit his phone between now and the time it takes us to get to TJ MAXX to purchase the same things for $40.”

Without skipping a beat, he delivered more good news.

“Ok, so you have to pay the taxes and upgrade fee on your new phone today. We can’t put this on your bill. That total is $97.”

“Perfect,” I said. “Let’s use the credit from his old phone.” Turns out the credit for our trade-in could only be used on merchandise. I KNOW!

I asked to speak to Trevor’s manager. The manager explained that this was company policy and there’s nothing he could do. Beyond the point frustration, I implied that we may just switch companies. Can you guess how he responded? He gave me the 1-800 number I could call to cancel our plan!!!

I wanted to hurl my phone, my children’s phones, my husband’s phone, my dad’s phone, my mother in law’s phone and scream, “IT’S OVER TREVOR AND TREVOR’S MANAGER! WE ARE THROUGH! I CAN’T TAKE THIS ANYMORE. I’M DONE WITH YOUR HIDDEN FEES, YOUR FALSE PROMISES, YOUR WORTHLESS INSURANCE, AND THE SMUG LITTLE WAY YOU IMPLY I DON’T HAVE ANOTHER CHOICE. I’VE SEEN THE COMMERCIALS. YOUR LITTLE DEFECTOR HAS BEEN TELLING ME FOR MONTHS THAT YOU’VE ONLY GOT HIM BEAT BY 1%. I’M LEAVING YOU, TREVOR AND TREVOR’S MANAGER. GOODBYE.”

But I didn’t do that. I left…without the new phone.

I called customer service where William was reassuring and kind. He told me that he wasn’t ready to give up on us. He planned to have the new phone shipped to my house. Only it was shipped to the store instead. The store where I ended it with Trevor.

He tried to act like he didn’t see me when I walked in. “Hi Trevor, I’m here to pick up our new phone. It shipped here.”

He looked like Glenn Close was standing in front of him saying, “I’m not going to be ignored, Trevor.” Then he said, “I’m going to have to refer you to my manager, I’m off the clock.”

In the end, we stayed with the same company…for now. Also, I apologized to Trevor. Not really, but I meant to.

*His name isn’t Trevor.

Comments? You can email Becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com

Share This:

I do it every year. The week leading up to Thanksgiving, I cram.

Every night, I scan Pinterest and cooking blogs and make detailed notes. Food Network becomes my CNN news feed. Tyler Florence, Paula Deen and Ina Garten bring me updates on all things Thanksgiving like Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos keep viewers abreast of all the latest news.

Speaking of breasts, did you know that more than 200 million pounds of turkey breasts are consumed during Thanksgiving? That’s just a sample of what I’ve learned during my cram sessions.

Now onto my planned Thanksgiving feast courtesy of Pinterest and the Food Network or what my husband calls, “The fast, easy way to drive yourself insane before a single relative walks through the door and asks, ‘what’s that smell?'”

They make it look so easy; those television chefs. According to Paula, the success of this holiday is dependent on a single ingredient; “moar reel buuuuttr.” By the end of her Thanksgiving special, I’m saying things like, “Jackson, get yo’ mama the buttr. I think these Fruit Loops will be a mighty bit tastier if we put a big dollop on top.”

I did come away with some very handy cooking tips courtesy of Ms. Deen. One: Real butter does make everything taste better. And two: Just because you exaggerate a southern drawl doesn’t mean you can intelligently explain that a turducken is not a cross hibernation of three birds but rather the main dish for the Andrews’ Thanksgiving feast.

I’ve started preparing my grocery list. For Tyler Florence’s cornbread sausage stuffing, I need 12 spices I’ve never heard of. I’m convinced Ina Garten’s recipe for Pear Clafouti will be a crowd pleaser even though my mother-in-law says, “people won’t eat what they can’t pronounce.” And if my guests don’t particularly care for those, my fried macaroni and cheese is sure to win them over… Or raise their cholesterol 100 points.

I’ve picked up most of the non-perishable grocery items and ordered the bird needed for the Thanksgiving feast.This means I will have a few minutes to rest before the rush of activity begins on Thanksgiving eve. For fun, I decided to try out one of the new recipes while Jacob was home from college last weekend. I summoned the boys to the kitchen to taste a sample of what is sure to be the perfect addition to our Thanksgiving Day dinner; cranberry pudding. Halfway down the stairs Jackson says, “Ugggh! What’s that smell?” Maybe not.

No matter what, I’ll continue to cram for the holiday cooking season. And I’ll always remember that Thanksgiving is not about the food you cook but about the people gathered around your table refusing to eat it. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Share This:

Healthy Living

I’m a sucker for anything holistic.

Some of my first memories are of my grandmother giving me a big, heaping spoon of cod liver oil right before bed, followed by a dose of wisdom. “This will make you smarter than all the other girls,” she would promise.

And with that…I was hooked.

Who needed to memorize multiplication tables each night, when instead, I could endure two seconds of this gross, nasty, magical elixir and just like that, I would know math!

My grandmother was also a big believer in the benefits of fresh goat’s milk. And when I mean fresh, I mean still warm from the utter, fresh. To keep me from gagging, she would add in two tablespoons of chocolate Ovaltine and then place the tall glass of frothy, smelly, awfulness in front of me. “This will make you prettier than all the other girls,” was the promise this time.

To this day, if I pass Ovaltine in the grocery aisle, I have to take a big gulp and look away.

But I continue to be a believer, and so every few months, if I stumble on an article or hear about an amazing superfood that will make me healthier (with no other effort on my part), usually within 48 hours, I’m trying it.

Coconut oil. Check.

Kefir. Check.

Green tea. Check.

Ezekiel sprouted bread. Check.

You name it. I’ve suffered through it.

And most always, I’ve done it alone.

This time, however, my husband was the one who heard about the benefits of apple cider vinegar and wanted to give it a shot. A quick Google search of all this vinegar could promise, and I was in!

Before he could say Kroger, I was home with a big bottle of Bragg’s Organic Vinegar.

This would be easy. I liked apples. I liked cider. And I loved vinegar on my salad.

The bottle said add two tablespoons to a cup of water and then mix in honey to taste.  Are you kidding me? I was weaned on the oil squeezed from the liver of a cod fish.

I drank it straight.

The burn as the vinegar went down my throat was like tiny razors slicing my throat, one paper cut at a time. The taste was like eating a salad puréed in a blender.

This elixir was going to go the way of all the others, but for one small fact.

Throwing away a six dollar bottle of vinegar is not anything Brody Kane can bring himself to do. So instead, every morning, he brings me my vinegar water.

“I promise, two more weeks and the bottle will be done,'” he tries to remind me.

I close my eyes, hold my nose, and gulp it down.

This worked a lot better, when I was the only health nut in the family!

Share This:

To Be Cool

When I had children, I knew that I would be a cool parent.

My kids were going to be fully aware that the only thing a stork carries as he flies over our house is a strain of bird flu. When it comes time for “the talk,” we — my husband and I — were going to be honest and open for any questions.

From the time my children could talk, I thought it necessary to call a body part what it was. None of the cutesy little names like oo-ah’s and tete’s for my kids. This was all in preparation for the questions they would have later. I was determined to answer those inquiries better than my parents.

While I loved my mom, when it came to “the talk,” she simply said, “That’s none of your business, Becky. You talk too much.” I couldn’t understand what the big deal was. Yes, my parents were raised in a different time, where having the talk meant giving your children brochures and telling them to see the school nurse with any questions. But there had to be a better way.

My decision to be open with my kids was derailed for a short time when I was pregnant with my youngest and my oldest asked me how the baby was going to get out. I knew this was a pivotal moment for my little boy.

He was almost 5. I gave him an answer and he was satisfied. No more questions. He was brilliant. The next day I picked him up from preschool. After the teacher buckled his seatbelt, she looked at me and said with an enthusiastic tone, “He was so excited today! He let everyone in the class know that his new brother was going to come out of his mama’s BAGINA.” That should have been my first clue that maybe it’s better if the stork visits instead of honesty.

When I hear people fret about how they are dreading the talk, I don’t understand. I say the more uncomfortable the better. In other words, BRING IT! This probably has a lot to do with me being so cool. Granted my children were 10 and 5 at the time, I was too dumb to realize that when you say something like, “BRING IT,” you better be prepared for something very uncomfortable to get brought.

It turns out, I wasn’t as cool as I thought I was back then. Or now, for that matter. Although, I do have a pretty woke playlist. (My children hate when I use slang, for reelz.)

Anywho, at the same time, I chastised my friends for not talking openly with their daughters, about that inevitable step of womanhood, I was secretly thanking God that I didn’t have to worry about that talk. You know…since I have boys (insert sarcasm).

Then one morning while my boys and I were getting ready for school, my oldest said, “Mom, what’s a period?” Before answering, I thought about how this could be yet another pivotal moment in his life.  “It’s what comes after a sentence. You talk too much, Jackson.”

You can reach Becky Andrews at becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com.

 

Share This:

The Purge

This weekend, we did something that all family’s dread.

I had put it off long enough but finally marched up those stairs.

It had to be done!

I knew it. and they knew it.

And it was going to be horrible.

My pitiful children followed behind me with garbage bags in hand. We were going to be at this for hours, days even.

Yes…the time had come to clean out their closets. Oh, the horror!

The annual cleaning out of the closets is a precursor to winter school clothes shopping. And with it being almost November….I was cutting it close.

How my children accumulate masses of clothes is beyond me. But they do. And by the end of fall, these clothes can be found stuffed in random drawers, under their bed, on top of the armoire, in each other’s rooms, on the floor and sometimes, just sometimes, in their actual closets.

Hundreds of socks in all sizes and colors are dumped in the hall as we try to find pairs. Jeans and skirts they forgot they bought are found. And usually, I’ll find at least five items belonging to my husband and I.

“So that’s where my yoga pants are! In Neill’s closet, why of course!”

We toile for hours, and with each passing hour, I become more and more irritable.

“This still has the tag on it! Why do you have five of the same blue polos? This is my belt!”

“No, I’m not giving this away because it’s ugly. When you asked me to spend $30 on it, it wasn’t ugly!”

“Yes, if it doesn’t fit Madison, then it moves to your closet. That’s the role of the younger sister. She wears hand me downs. Look it up.”

Back and forth. Back and forth. We carry on for hours.

Sometimes they try to escape, and I’ll turn to find one gone. I wouldn’t notice but for the fact their sibling immediately outs them.

“Bring me more garbage bags,” I yell to the one now hiding downstairs.

Drawer by drawer, closet by closet, we fill bags to the brim with too short pajama pants, mustard-stained polos, out of style cargo shorts and shoes whose match is long gone.

We also reorganize, color code and finally see the bottom of everyone’s closet.

Why yes…the carpet is still there!

And at the end of the day, we drag bag after bag downstairs and then proceed to pass out from exhaustion.

Rest up. Tomorrow we shop for new school clothes.

Oh, the horror!

Share This: