Tuesday, September 27, 2016

That Phone call....

You would think that I would be used to receiving phone calls from the school.  In fact, I should be an expert at recognizing the number on caller Id.

On most calls, they are concerns about Hope's health or her behavior.  She has a booger nose. She is farting too much.  Or she knocked over the table and chairs and wiped out the bookshelf.  Simple calls.

I remember once I got a call from the nurse with concerns that she had scabies.  When I picked her up, I was handed the health form that explained how she could possibly get them and how to treat her for it.  I can tell you, right now, the school nurse was not my friend.  I felt like she was condescending and needed to give me "the education".

Well, she did not have scabies on her scalp.  The night before she had poured an entire bottle of hair conditioner on her head and I sent her to school without it completely washed out.  Yes, it did look suspicious..but...HEY....it wasn't scabies!! Give me a break!

On a different call, I was told that she had pinworms because she was itching her butt. Think about it, don't you sometimes just HAVE to itch your butt?? That confrontation led to a printout on how to detect pinworms. This phenomenon involved purchasing a flashlight.  I never have one when I need one or I am out of batteries.  You see, this piece of medical equipment is for finding the pesky little worms in the middle of the night by shining the beacon up a butthole.  It is a fact that the little devils are active at night and come out of the butt. EWWWW. I don't know about you, but if someone came into my bedroom at night, spread my butt checks and shined a flashlight up my.......YOU GOT THE PICTURE....again...no pinworms....just another printout to put in our file of possible things to be called about by the school!  Same nurse!

Hope coughs and hacks and then sometimes throws up....It is daily, I wipe it up and get on with my day.  I got a call from the school nurse last year that insisted I take her home because she threw up.  She said that the flu was going around and Hope had it.  I argued....yes I did....and I lost!   I sent my daughter Bissy to pick her up....she argued also.  Bissy knows Hope....she knows her routine....she lost the battle of the barf  too.  Hope got home and was fine. She had to stay home for 2 days because of the "vomit rule"
 Vomit Rule
If you throw up in school, you must remain home for 24 hours.

Stupid rule.  With that rule, she would never go to school.  I got out her IEP ( because I knew for a fact that it was listed somewhere under CONCERNS that she vomits with a side notesaying don't send her home.)  I couldn't find those words anywhere but as I reread the IEP, I did find that she could wear crowns and bring dolls to school. Guess what she did that next day? YES,she wore a crown and a wig! And I bet anything....she threw up too!

Oh, the phone calls from school!  I never know if I should stop the car, turn it around and then answer.  Or if I should let it go to voicemail and let them call the home phone or just let them give Tom a call at work. Sometimes I just don't want to know what is happening in school!

Yesterday, I got the call.  I love having a smart car that all I have to do is push the little button on the steering wheel and answer my phone.....This time I didn't recognize the number.
On the other end was her teacher.   I gasped....because I am very good at gasping.
He said, " Hope is OK!"
I sighed....that is my calm.
He said, "But,".....
When he said "But" ,my immediate thought was "Someone else is NOT OK"
He said, "But, she brought some things in her backpack that probably shouldn't be here!"

My thoughts swirled. What could be the most embarrassing thing in the whole world sitting on the desk, at school, in front of teachers and helpers. My Bra? Tom's underwear?

I can't put anything past her. She steals my stuff all the time! And she would steal your stuff too!

On this phone call, I had to pull over. I had to fan myself with both hands!

Her teacher went on to explain, " She has an envelop that has all the car tag stickers dated 2017 that belong on your vehicles, I thought maybe you needed them.  And......."

He said, "AND...". I leaned over and cranked up the air conditioning, my imagination was going wild...where did she get the stickers, does that mean she has all the birth certificates and my wedding license too?

"And," he said, "She has an envelope from St Vincent Hospital, and some other important looking forms from Toyota."

All I could say in response was, " Whew!" and in my thoughts....Thank goodness it wasn't my underwear!

She brought 2 purses to school that day plum full of treasures that I knew nothing about.  Just her typical "pile".  That day she dumped everything out on the table to show and tell all.   And what she was most proud of was in her wallet....She had a twenty dollar bill!
This time, she wasn't sent home and there was no printout on how to remedy this dilemma. After she got home, I did get the tags on the vehicles but still haven't recovered my $20. That will be another day!

Phone Calls, sometimes you just gotta answer!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bus Ride to Work

Have you ever taken a bus?  Not a school bus, but a city bus!  A city bus in a big city?

When I was growing up, I often times would ride the bus downtown.  It cost 10 cents.  The walk to the bus was 1 mile, uphill both ways! ( I don't know how that was possible, but whenever old folks tell a tale that is how far they walk)

Our city wasn't considered a large city, but to me, it was the biggest city I knew and it was my city.  I can tell you right now....I would never ever EVEN ever....let my grandchildren walk 1 mile uphill both ways to ride a bus downtown all alone...never ever EVEN ever!!!  Times have really changed!

Last century, when my children were in grade school and high school, I had no problem with them riding a bus, their bikes, walking, running, hopping or skipping anywhere in town...up a hill or down a hill.  That was then, this is now.

My bus ride,in the 70's, to downtown Sioux City included sitting behind the grumpy driver.  I remember once, he yelled at me because it was the weekend and I wasn't suppose to use my student pass on the weekend.  Yes, I cried!  I had a job at the Younkers Department Store in the men's department and the bus driver, after he yelled at me said, " Just this once!"  Believe me, I had my dime the next time I took the bus on the weekend.

Working in the Men's Department was a great way to get dates.....NOT!  Classmates mom's would shop in this department. These woman were buying unmentionables for my male friends.  I got paid $2.10/hour to be embarrassed! In the 70's the speedo changed the underwear business.  Tighty Whities were out...color and silk were in!  Don't even ask me what size I think you should buy!  Boxers?  I don't think they were invented yet! That job lasted through the Christmas season. Next year is a 45th class reunion....I wonder if I should tell the guys what I know about them!!!

The bus ride home was treacherous in the winter.  Iowa had snow, they also used salt on the road, this would create a slush.  The slush usually ended up on the curb and, of course, the curb was the bus stop.  FYI...Salt slush leaves rings on leather boots!  And then there was the walk home in the snow!

You can get a great education on a bus ride. Back then there were no cell phones or ear buds for music.  Back then, eavesdropping on a conversation or listening to your benchmate was a source of entertainment.  There was a girl next to me that was talking about how she knew The Beatles.....HA, ya right!  But I listened...she needed to lie to someone!

AH.....the good ole days...when a bus ride cost ten cents, the entertainment was free education, and getting yelled at by a grumpy man in a uniform was the norm.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Faint of Heart

Having Down syndrome is not for the faint of heart.  Hope does just fine with her diagnosis.  She is carefree and does her own thing.  She says hello to anyone in her line of vision.  She puts out her hand and say, " Hi, I'm Hope!  What's your name?"  After they answer or not...she will say, "Nice to meet you."

When I say not for the faint of heart, this is directed to those who don't live daily with the quirks, the smiles, the tantrums, the fashion statements, the exerted dependence and/or independence, and the health issues. A person who is faint of heart does not accept differences.  This person sees black or white...no gray area.

I always thought that I was faint at heart when it came to persons that were not like me.  But I have learned through a great teacher, Hope, that even the most intolerant person can be changed. That person is me.

 When I was growing up, a little girl down the street was deaf.  I wasn't very nice to her.  A few blocks on the other side of the street lived a little boy who probably had Autism.  I wasn't nice to him either! And then there was the kid up the hill who had seizures.  He just plain scared me!

I remember when I was a freshman in college many of my friends were entering a major that was called"special ed".  These people had the nerve to tell me that I should consider it too.  Seriously???
I took a personality test and an aptitude test that determined that I should be a dental hygienist, a hair stylist or a Home Economics teacher.  I eventually chose Home EC. Definitely not Special Ed.

Fast forward to this century.....I have a child who is in "special ed".  God has a sense of humor, and he knew that I did too!

I was in total denial that she had Down syndrome.  She looked like a baby to me with chubby cheeks and hands.  I already raised 3 daughters, she wasn't anything different.

Oh I had her enrolled in the First Steps program and she received all the therapies weekly, but I knew that she really didn't have a syndrome.

When she was 7 months old, our family took a trip to DC. While at the Smithsonian, strangers would comment on how cute she was.  One lady told me that her child was at home and that he was 12 years old and doing well.  I had no clue why she would tell me this, until she mentioned that he had Down syndrome.  My baby didn't look like she had Down syndrome.....how could this lady possibly know.

Well, duh, Hope looked like she possessed the extra 21 chromosome.  I was so much in love with this baby that I didn't see her differently.

Now that Hope is 17, enrolled in a Special Ed classroom that she loves, I can say out loud that she has the characteristics of a person with Down syndrome. She is who she is! Heck, she is one of the funniest kids I know!

Many of her friends have cardiac problems. When she was 2 months old she saw a cardiologist and he said, " You may fire me, she has a great heart!"  Hope is not faint of heart!

I am so glad that God plopped her in my life. Because of that, I am no longer faint of heart.  Gray is the new black and white for me!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


A few life lessons learned......

Lesson 1

I celebrated my 62nd birthday last week.  Ya, I know, I look so much younger.  I swear my youthful appearance comes from the knowledge of a class I took at the YWCA in 1970. Or perhaps my Norwegian genes! In the last century I took  a course on etiquette!  The gymnasium was crammed with teenage girls who arrived from throughout the city. Big ones, small ones, fashionistas, not so fashionistas and those who were forced by their parents to attend.  Etiquette....what a funny word to use in the same sentence as Midwestern teenage girls!

We learned how to sit, stand, walk, BE a MODEL!! The most lasting lesson I learned came from the Bonnie Bell cosmetic lady from the Younker Department Store.  What she impressed upon my young, teen mind was ....

 You. Must.Wear.Moisturizer.On.Your. Face.Every.Day.

She was absolutely right! That was 50 years ago...That would be a half century ago. My habit became a lifestyle.

Lesson 2

I celebrated my 62nd birthday last week applying for Social Security benefits for Hope.  In July, when I applied for mine online, I received a phone call, shortly after it was processed, to inform me that Hope could draw benefits because she has an OLD mom!  The SS office didn't say that, they are very nice people to work with....but face it...Hope's mom is going to receive benefits and she can too.  WINNING!!!

We.Will. Have. Dollar Store.Money.

Lesson 3

I celebrated my 62nd birthday last week and had to be educated on what exactly is the definition of Senior Discount.  Did you know that there really isn't a set age for a senior discount.  Some places consider 55 years old to be a senior!  Seriously, 55....that is soooooo very young!

Tom, Hope and I spent the weekend at the cabin.  On Sunday, we ventured out to the neighboring Hoosier National Forest campgrounds.  Our discussion on our way there was....do we buy a daily pass or should be get a year pass and do they take a credit card.   We pulled up to the tiny cabin that housed the park ranger person.( I really need to figure out what that money takers position is called so when I apply to do this job i don't sound stupid!) We stared at the pricing menu. We thought a year pass would be great. That thought was smashed when  we found out that they didn't take credit cards. I handed Tom my one and only $10 bill.  A daily pass is $5 a car or $2.50 for seniors.  The  Park Ranger person handed us the change of $5.  We smiled and thanked him.

Senior.Discount.Lost.  Moisturizer.Adds.Youth.

Lesson 4

I celebrated my 62nd birthday last week.  If you want a senior discount, make sure you show them your ID to prove your age. And don't forget to thank the Bonnie Bell Cosmetic lady while you are at it!