Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloweekend.

Happy Hallo-weekend. We had a really good weekend around here. We've had great weather, went to the annual pumpkin party at the Mitchell's and Hudson and I did some cooking today while E went golfing (double bonus.) Tomorrow is Halloween, which means it's one holiday closer to Christmas.

Hudson and those crazy Mitchell kids.

A series a Samurai moves

$100 homemade pizza.
Because, my bill after going to the store to get all of the ingredients to make our pizza and a few other things, it cost me $100. This better taste good.
(Wellnitz family secret pizza sauce and sausage recipe, store bought crust. )

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When I think about my thoughts....

Do you ever think about your thoughts? Today, I did and here is what I think. (It feels good to think about your thoughts by the way.)

As I was leaving for work today, I was greeted by a police officer in my driveway "Are you Amanda AFTERburn?"

"Um no but I'm Amanda ARTerburn. Afterburn would be a horrible last name."

"Oh well, here you go. Have a nice day."

He handed me the updated supeona for the court date. The court case where the guy who did this to E will be tried and I will be on the stand. We were supposed to go to trial in 2 weeks but they pushed it back to the end of January. Have a nice day?

So I get in my car for my long journey half way back to Palm Springs where I would be working for the day. I started driving and I felt angry because in my mind, pushing back the court date is pushing back our life. I just want to move on from this. Then I started to think about what needed to be done the rest of the week. I remembered Hudson needs to bring his costume to school tomorrow and Friday as they will be celebrating Halloween. This reminded me he is going to be a red Power Ranger. I thought about what Power Rangers do. I wish I could be a Power Ranger for one day so I could take care of the bad guy myself. Then I wouldn't need to deal with all of this court date bullshit on top of everything else we are trying to manage. Then I thought, ok Mandy, you are a Power Ranger. What are you gonna do?

I'm not gonna zap the guy with a laser gun (although it may be fun.) No, what I would do is fly to Montana where he is living his "normal" life and I would serve him with a 1 year sentence. He would need to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 360 days at a brain injury rehabilitation center. No pay. He would have to figure out another way to get by that year. Its part of the journey. And he better give it his all every single day or the days would start over. And at the end of the year, he would bring me flowers (hey, its my vision) and have dinner with E and I. He would apologize and we would accept.

Forget arguing in court over what happened, why it happened, how it happened. It happened and we all get what we give in this life.

So you, bad guy, give someone else, who is deserving, a year of your life that you stole from ours and we will call it good. If you have any kind of a soul at all, which I believe you probably do, it will change your life just like it has changed ours.

Hey bad guy, you're welcome.

Hudson, in costume and deep thought.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

7 months Yo and Palm Springs we go.

E and I snuck out to Palm Springs for 2 days and 1 night. Today is the 7 month "anniversary" of E's TBI. He told my grandma today that he was almost 100% back, which tells me.... he's not. He is doing fantastic but when the doctors say it takes a FULL year to recover from a Traumatic Brain Injury, they are not bullshitting. Just ask the wives (significant others ) of the brain injured.

Was if fun? Yes.
Was if relaxing? Not unless you consider sitting by the pool with someone who has no more than a 5 minute attention span for anything, especially "relaxation." This is not his fault, I blame the brain injury for this one. Everybody knows the old E loved to nap.

We stayed at our favorite hotel (The Parker Palm Springs), we went to our favorite vintage shop, Dazzles, ate at our favorite breakfast spot and had lunch with my favorite Palm Springs grandma and (grandpa) Dan. I think at this point Dan qualifies as grandpa considering they've been "dating" longer than I've been alive (more than 3 decades). I think they are getting serious.

This lasted as long as it took me to take the picture.


Mike, the owner of Dazzles. The rest explains itself.

Vintage magazine rack, a good DIY project for E.

Getting ready for our "big" night out. We were both sleeping no more than 1 hour later.

Breakfast. Pressed coffee and Tapatio. The 2 ingredients for a perfect breakfast (and body cleanse.)

Dan and "Grandma from Palm Springs" (because that's her full name)

Mom and Hudson, holding down the fort. Thanks Momma!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fight or Flight

Fight or flight reaction (as defined by dictionary):

The response or reaction of an animal to a situation perceived as a threat to its survival, which involves physiological changes in the animal body through the action of the sympathetic nervous system, priming the animal to deal with danger by staying, fighting or running away.

I've been exhausted lately. When I say exhausted I mean, really god damned tired. My friend/acupuncturist, Amy, finally layed it out for me today. She said my body is recovering from "flight or fight" mode and my adrenal glands are depleted. I was like, is "flight or flight" really a "thing?" Then I Googled it and as far as I'm concerned, Google knows everything. I'm pretty sure we've ALL been in a "fight or fight" mode at some point in our lives.

The reason I'm telling you this is, well, I'm tired like a zebra who has been wined and dined by a pack of lions for the last 7 months. Thankfully, there is a dim light (thus far) at the end of the tunnel. (It's getting brighter but that may just be the wine making my eyes sensitive.)
Nonetheless, there are some things on my agenda in the immediate future (the first one is a good nights sleep) that I am genuinely EXCITED for.

As for E. He is doing well, today. "Today" being the key word.

The best way I can describe him at this point is he is living the life of a 40 year old man, with the reasoning (decision making and impulse control) of a 16 year old boy.

Of course this is only my point of view (and that of his doctor) but if you ask him he would probably say "Whatever Mandy, you're lame sauce."

(for you Melissa Leraas, a good laugh, but not too hard because you have some serious broken bones, but a strong will!)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Who's your mommy?

Well, my mom has arrived from Minnesota.
Mom being here means I eat well, I sleep well and sometimes drink my weight in red wine. It also means Hudson ignores me, I ignore Eric and yet we all seem to get along just fine.

E and I will be going on a little overnighter to Palm Springs on Monday. I'm looking forward to it because a little sun, a few cute pool boys and a large breakfast bacon platter might just be what the doctor ordered. (Although I'm not sure which one.)

Hudson got sock puppets today. Best. Invention. Ever.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Autobiography in 5 chapters

So, I am in the midst of taking an 8 week course called MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction). Brilliant right? Anyway, it's taught by one of E's Neurologists and his wife. It's a little yoga, a large amount of meditation and a ton of self insight. I will share more when I complete it but it's been a fantastic way for me to try to stay as "sane" as possible throughout all of this. Not to mention, it is a lot healthier than confiding in a bottle of wine, although it still has it's place.
(Plus, the doctor knows us fairly well from chasing E down the hallway at In-Patient Rehab, when he was the great escape artist.)

Below is one of my favorite "deep thoughts." As long as you are human, you can probably relate to this one. If you read this and you say, I've never actually fell into a hole in a sidewalk, you're not getting it. ;)

Autobiography in 5 chapters

1. I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost...I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
I takes forever to get out.

2. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I'm in the same place, but it isn't my fault.
I still takes a long time to get out.

3. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall's habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It's my fault.
I get out immediately.

4. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

5. I walk down another street.

(by Portia Nelson)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The week End.

Things we did this weekend......

We went to our friends (Jordan and Annika) wedding.

The boys.
(Apparently E didn't get the memo that it wasn't a "crazy" photo.)

Hung with the cutest baby ever. (Siena)

E made Hudson this sword.....and then they proceeded to bedazzle it.

Hudson did face paint. Not sure what this is.

My face paint is a princess warrior. Obviously.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Are you there Gods? It's me, Mandy.

The bad days are bad and the good days are great. Today was great.

A little conversation I had today with Gods.
(Yes I speak to all of them and no, they are not all males, as I have a LOT going on and we all know men do not multitask very well. In addition, having a team behind me in life feels a little more comfy.)

Whats up Gods?
I know I don't always talk to you as much as I should. Although lately, we've been speaking quite a bit (sorry for all of the late night phone calls.)
I don't want to be one of those people who only call on you when they need something. So first and foremost, I'd like to know what I can do for you? (Just get back to me in one of my meditations, thanks.)

Secondly, I wanted to say thanks for answering me by showing me that I have a plethora of strength, confidence, and even a little humor left. The humor is a big one so whomever threw that in there, I sure appreciate it.

Finally, you know how they say "God doesn't give you anymore than you can handle?" Well, are we about done with that one? Can we move on and try something new like "Gods want you to take a year off and travel and write and have some fun?" I'm just throwing that out there.

I trust you've got my back and I know you're ALL listening. So thanks. Keep me posted on anything else you have in mind for me (us.) I'm pretty open but also fairly happy, even through the bad shit.

Sunset tonight.

Good night.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Think happy thoughts

Lots going on at the moment. The great thing about having a 4 year old is that no matter what's happening in adult land, it's business as usual in kid land. It happens to be October and my kid happens to love holidays. ALL holidays. He would celebrate Secretary's Day if he knew when it was and that keeps everything happy.

Life is as hard and complicated as we make it. Ok, I'm not gonna lie, this brain injury has really made life hard and complicated (shitty and difficult.)
Nonetheless, it is Hudson, who forces me to take time to stop and smell the plumerias (we have a tree in our yard) and he keeps "little" things like pumpkins VERY important. Without him, today would have been just another shitty, difficult day.....but it wasn't.

Bringing his pumpkin to his pre-school pumpkin patch today. He insisted on carrying.

About to drop the pumpkin.

Vampire grill.

4 year old version of candlelight dinner. Mac and cheese and jack o'lantern lights. Very clever Hud.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lots of thoughts, few words

I wrote this in my head (and on paper) multiple times throughout the day.
All I can say is, I (we) continually feel the good in all of our friends and family who surround us, near and far. Unfortunately, this past week, I (we) have officially felt the bad. Just to be clear, I'm in this for the long haul and every day, I grow less tolerant of others who make this journey harder than it already is.

My first instinct is to spell out what's happened, who's done it and all that it entailed.
Instead, I'll leave it at this.....

"People pay for what they do, and still more, for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it simply: by the lives they lead." ~Edith Wharton

When life gives you lemons, make pumpkins.

(made by E and Hudson)

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Letter.

I didn't mean to evoke such a large response by my post yesterday. But I wear my heart on my sleeve and if you are really in this journey with us, you gotta take the bad with the good. Not every day is sugar plums and fairies. Most days, I'm able to see the bright side but there are days like yesterday that completely devastate me, in that moment (or 4.5 hours.)

Today was a better day and that's all I can ask for. I take it one day at a time and hope for miracles in the meantime.

I thought I would share a letter I wrote today. It also explains a little bit.

Dear Officer Schmoll,
You are a good man. We first met in the ER on March 24, 2011. You followed the ambulance that my husband was in. You stayed with me much longer than you had to. You were kind and comforting. You ever so gently let me know, that the sweatshirt I had brought for E, was probably not going home with him that night. We had an instant bond as soon as I heard you say "about" and it sounded like "a boat."

"Where are you from?" I asked.


It sounds weird but I knew then that E would be ok. You were a sign from something/someone much larger than myself saying it's going to be ok. Plus you were a cop (like my dad and grandpa) and bald (also like my dad and grandpa.) For the record, I like bald guys and cops.

Then yesterday came along. My brain injured husband had been "missing" for 4.5 hours. He had not returned back to brain camp and no one (except for 1 person, we found out later) had seen or heard from him. No wallet. No phone. I was worried sick (hysterical.)

It was you, officer Schmoll who came to my front door to see if I was ok. (after the local sheriff department was notified.)

You made me laugh, as you laughed your ass off when my non threatening puggle barked and practically scared the gun belt off of your tall, skinny, dorky looking understudy. (Don't tell him I said that.)

Thank you.
Is it reassuring to know we have a local guardian angel, who happens to be a cop?

-Mandy from Minnesota

(Officer Schmoll. Yesterday. In our driveway.)

(no caption needed other than I made him do it.)

(yes, I put ice cubes in red wine like an 80 year old crazy lady.)

(chocolate shake to celebrate a great visit at the dentist.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Today was a really bad day

Today was a really, really, really, really, really bad day.
I have officially, MENTALLY, mourned the death of my husband twice.
Thats 2x in the last 6 months.

To our REAL friends: Thank you.
To our pretend friends: Fuck you.

Everything is fine. Now. Thanks for following.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Oh I love a rainy night.

I love a rainy night. (Eddie Rabbitt)

Showers washed
All my cares away
I wake up to a sunny day
'Cos I love a rainy night
Yeah, I love a rainy night
Well, I love a rainy night
I love a rainy night
Well, I love a rainy night
You can see it in my eyes
Yeah, I love a rainy night
Well, it makes me high
Ooh, I love a rainy night
You know I do, yeah, yeah
I love a rainy night
I love a rainy night