THIS IS ONLY A TEST!

Like most of the “popular vote,” our family mourned the election results on November 9, 2016. My 11 year old niece was in tears, asking my sister, “But how could HE be elected? He’s mean. How could America elect a bully to be our next President?” Indeed.

She wasn’t the only kid to react this way. I have friends in Florida, North Dakota, Wisconsin, California, Maryland, New York, Georgia, Arizona and everywhere in between who held their children on Wednesday morning, wiping away tears of confusion and disappointment that someone who bullies others in public and on television and LIVES the example of what they are NOT supposed to be, could be elected to lead our country.

I gave myself that Wednesday (and honestly, the following Thursday and Friday, too) to grieve Hillary Clinton’s loss of the election. And then I chose happy.

My sister has a sign in her kitchen that says: Happiness is a Choice. Of course, she keeps that sign on the counter right next to the knife block. So, I guess if you can’t choose happiness, you can always choose the butcher knife. Still, it’s a choice. I chose happy.

Am I happy that Donald Trump is our President-elect? Hell, no. But I am happy to have the next four years to find someone better to run against him in 2020. (Sidetrack: Wouldn’t that be an awesome campaign slogan? JOAQUIN CASTRO FOR PRESIDENT- Because hindsight is 20/20. I digress.)

Look, I am an American Muslim of Irish descent, married to a naturalized Egyptian. We have a disabled daughter and we live under the poverty level and we don’t have health insurance because it’s not offered at my husband’s job and we fall through the cracks of ACA because our dumbass state officials in Texas decided to “show them” and not expand Medicaid….EVEN THOUGH Texans are still federally taxed. So we’re paying for Medicaid in other states and not insuring the poor in our own. I had EVERYTHING to lose in this election. But I’m choosing happy.

My faith teaches me that I must be PATIENT. I can be patient for 4  years of a Trump administration. I can USE that patient 4 years to write letters, investigate and research better qualified Democrat candidates and help to promote them. If we move NOW and are patient through the next 4 years, we can help put forth far better qualified candidates to win in 202o. Hey, you third party voters. PLEASE, do the same. If you in the Green Party and in the Libertarian Party work hard at finding a better candidate NOW….start fund-raising NOW….to get better candidates than Stein and Johnson…..get the monies needed to build up a great campaign 4 years from now…..I’ll bet you have a shot. Hell, you guys come up with someone better than the Democrat nominee and I’ll vote for him or her. But
ALL of you, Democrats, Greenies, and Libertarians: Let’s start NOW. Let’s get out in front
of whatever is coming down the 2020 Republican turnpike and make some serious changes in our government. Start finding mid-term candidates for your congressional representatives now. Put some effort in early so that you can all make our Congress more honest; more representative of US, the voters. They work for us. Make them earn their pay.

This is a test. ONLY a test. Somebody wanted a big shake up and change to the status quo. They got their wish. Let’s take their wish for change a step further and use the next 4 years to work toward true greatness. We’ll have a lot of pieces to pick up. Maybe we can build something new instead of just putting it all back together again. It’s not over. It’s a bump in the road. We can do this.

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Overbooking and Aging

I’m not really old. But I’m no Spring chicken, either. And for those of us who have been in the “over achiever” category all our lives, this whole aging thing is just ass-kicking. No, not a little tiring. I mean, beat-down with a baseball bat, friggin’ leaving you taking 3-hour naps in the middle of the day, exhausting.

When I was 18, I lived in an apartment with my sister. We both worked several jobs in order to pay the rent, utilities, phone bill, gas/maintenance on our cars, and our part time college tuition and books. And by several jobs, I mean that we were like that overworked family from the West Indies whose members all had multiple jobs on “In Living Color.”  I remember at the time working 5 days a week for my office day job from 7:30 am – 4pm and then from 5- 9pm bagging groceries on Ft Meade 3 days a week, answering the switchboard at (the now closed) Laurel Toyota and Jaguar in Laurel, Maryland from 4-9pm twice a week and all day Saturday and loading boxes onto trucks for E.I.Kane Office Movers on Sundays and days off with the other jobs. I sometimes worked overtime at my day job watching over contractors to keep them out of the “off-limits” corridors or working for our own internal office movers.

The older I got, the more part-time jobs I held down after my day job. I worked as a cashier
for Rite Aid, Romano’s Restaurant, (the now closed) Rumblefish Nightclub, Damon’s Ribs (closed down within a year of my leaving allegedly due to the owner embezzling), and various babysitting jobs, tutoring jobs, and once as a free-lance maid.

Once I got married and had kids, part-time jobs were a thing of the past. I couldn’t juggle all the schedules of five children and work plus a second job. So I made up for the “not enough to do” feeling by over-achieving at housework and cooking. I learned to sew. I would scrub down the walls and shutters and windows every month. I would scrub area rugs and wipe down cupboards and appliances. I scrubbed floor tiles and hung my laundry out to dry on the line.

I’m in my 40’s now. Screw all that shit. I keep a tidy house…mostly. I still cook amazing foods…because we can’t afford to feed a family of seven at a restaurant frequently. I now over-achieve by volunteering all the time and this Summer, my kids decided to kill me slowly by signing up for Summer School to take accelerated Physics and Geometry. That would be fine ordinarily….except they signed up for different sessions. The two taking accelerated Physics took it in the first session. The one taking accelerated Geometry signed up for the second session. Ugh. Also, the two that took the first session now both have jobs so I feel like I’m constantly behind the wheel of a car. My rotator cuff is threatening to go on strike…permanently, due to all the gear changing and u-turns required in a car that does not have power steering.

I’m currently attempting to set up 3 different fundraisers for a non-profit organization and I’m running into brick walls while trying to meet the deadlines I set for myself thanks to all the driving. Today was supposed to be a “get the house CLEAN clean” while the kids were at work and school. I ended up losing in a battle of wills with my bed that kept taunting me. I took a 3 hour nap.

I think I’m just going to admit that I’m too old to take on all of the things like I used to do. The sooner that my family can just learn to applaud when I’m able to fold and put away a basket of towels AND get the dinner made, the better. And so what if I’m getting all this accomplished while still wearing pajamas? At least I remembered deodorant and I’m remembering to put actual pants on before going grocery shopping. What more do you people want?!

 

My Body is a Traitor

Rotator cuff is screaming at me and has been since January that it is being overused. I tried taking it to the doctor and all she prescribed was NSAIDs and ordered an x-ray which didn’t show any bone issues. I took it back in April and said, “Hey, this thing is worse.” She sent me to physical therapy. I did the prescribed exercises for a week regularly. Then for two weeks irregularly. And then I got busy. And now my rotator cuff is threatening to just go on strike or worse.

The plantar fascia in my left foot has been quiet lately. I’m pretty sure that it and the diminished cartilage in my big toe have been waiting for a surprise attack once ole rotator cuff chills out. Stupid arthritis has been just gnawing on that cartilage all this time without any problems thanks to your brain only being able to recognize one severe pain at a time while drowning out the sounds of the others.

Through all of this, my eyes and skin continue to dry out regardless of the copious amounts of water that I drink daily. And you’d think with all this stinkin’ sweat that is pouring out of me day and night, regardless of clothing, air-conditioning, or temperature outside, that I’d obviously have some sort of moisture in my body. (Aside from the urine that escapes with every step, sneeze, cough, laugh, or wrong move.) Yeah, not so. Menopause is just life’s way of backing that dump truck over a woman following mowing her down the first time during menstruation and childbirth.

I always heard that aging is not for the faint of heart. I can attest to this. But as good as I’ve been to my body over the years, I find this treasonous blitz the last two years to be a huge betrayal. After all of the exercise and good foods and even those cheesecake treats I’ve given it, that it could just turn on me and cause me constant agony makes me sad. But what does one do? Aging is NOT for the faint of heart. And I guess it beats the alternative.

 

Parental Winning

I spent this past Thursday-Saturday at a statewide Family Engagement Conference. It was amazing. I managed to hit 3 classes on time and even 2 more slightly late (thanks, kids) due to appointments and being the academic version of today’s Soccer Mom.

I was so inspired by so many of the speakers and the presenters and the people at the vendor booths. But the people who I found the most inspiration in were the other parents and Family Engagement Liaisons from the other school districts. Now don’t get me wrong. I DID learn a lot from the presentations. But the ideas that some of the other districts had on how to engage parents and their students in increasing the community outreach for our schools were nothing short of genius.

The high school I volunteer for in the Arlington ISD is Sam Houston High. My oldest graduated from there last year and the other 4 kids are all enrolled there this year. So in my ever-increasing desire to avoid folding socks and towels, I spend as much time and energy as possible assisting at the school where ever I’m most needed. I like working with the Family Engagement office because it seems to have its finger on the pulse of the majority of the school.

Our two FELs service a student body of 3,750 students and their families, over 600 faculty members, probably about 150-200 staff and administration members, and facilitate networking between all of them and our elected officials and community leaders and government, local business communities and post-secondary education institutions, as well as the elementary and junior high schools that feed into our school. They are superheroes working to build bridges and strengthen the Sam Houston Family on a shoestring budget.

We have engaged the local businesses to serve the needs of our community through sponsorship of recurring events such as “Coffee with the Principal” and “Teacher Appreciation Luncheon” held each month. We have provided booths for vendors to advertise their businesses by sponsoring our Open House events each semester, our Fall BackPack Rallies, our Math and Science Nights. We held our “Weird Science Night” this past October  with a variety of local businesses participating, as well as the Arlington Police Department’s very own Crime Scene Investigator showing the students how science plays a great role in crime solving on a real life setting. It was a huge success.

This past weekend, I met people from Canutillo ISD, Houston ISD, and even Beeville ISD. I was amazed at some of the programs that these innovative parents and FELs have sown within their communities and the awesome results that they have reaped. I want to try some of their SO COOL ideas here and see if we can get Sam Houston in the AISD even better results. I think that if we can employ some of the ideas presented by the guest speakers and the other FELs and parents, the sky is the limit with how far we can take our kids. Thank you AISD and Title I for sending us to this conference. I plan to repay you in ideas and volunteer hours to help you continue to help my kids.

Blood Typing Information I Didn’t Know Before

One day last month I was cleaning out my purse for the first time in about 10 lbs of collected crap or more and I ran across one of my husband’s “dog tags” from his days in the army.  I noted that his blood type was A+ on the tag and thought about how I was B+ and how maybe one of our five kids may indeed have AB+ blood type.  I tried to do the whole matrix thingy like they taught us back in 9th grade Biology but I couldn’t remember all the rules for dominant and recessive alleles and all that.  So I mentioned to my husband that maybe we ought to get the kids blood typed and he said that it seemed a logical idea. Imagine that! ME…logical. (Yeah, I never thought I’d see that in the same sentence either.)

So he left yesterday on a business trip abroad and I was worried because I hadn’t heard from him yet so I thought I’d take my mind off of things and took the two youngest on an errand and we happened to pass by the medical lab.  Samiya noticed and said, “Mom, can we go get my blood tested to see what I am?”

Aiman, of course, thought this was a fantastic idea, too.  How often is it that the youngest boy gets to do something before his two older brothers get to do it? “Me, too! Me, too!”  I checked to make sure I had the money for such a frivolously logical endeavor and I did….so I said okay.

We went in and Samiya hopped in the chair.  The phlebotomist poked her finger and smeared 3 drops of blood onto 2 slides.  Aiman began to have second thoughts about this whole blood thing and I told him to park it.  If we’re going to do one, we’re going to do them all. So, Samiya came out O+.  I thought that this was weird. Maybe my husband’s “dog tags” were wrong. It wouldn’t have been the first time that the Egyptian army had made a mistake in paperwork, right?  I mean, I’ve always had B+ blood.  I typed it myself in that same 9th grade Biology class AND I had donated blood religiously all my life until some idiot decided that I might be spreading Mad Cow Disease because I lived and ate meat in Germany back in the 80’s.  Whatever.  Then Aiman’s test came back A+.  WHAT???!!

So, I told the woman, “Uhm, they have the same father and I’m B+. How can I have and A and and O baby?”

She said, “Are you sure?”

I said, “Of COURSE, I’m sure! Are you suggesting I CHEATED on him???!!”

“Uhm, no, ma’am,” she said.  “Are you sure you are B+?”  Oh.

“Yes, of course, I’m sure,” I replied.  But then she’d put that little tiny iota of doubt in me so I shelled out another 12 pounds and had mine tested.  And as sure as peanut butter is special food group all its own, I was B+ just like I said.  The phlebotomist scratched her head and seemed perplexed.  I told her I’d look into it and she promised to do the same and we’d meet back at the lab the next night.

So much for getting my mind off of worrying and my husband!  Crap!  I got on the computer as soon as I could (this morning at 6a.m. because that rotten Randa wouldn’t let me have a turn!) and searched Google.
I FOUND it!  It actually IS possible for me to have ANY blood type child.  Check out this cool chart I
found on http://www.bloodtyping.com/inherited.html

PARENTS’ BLOOD TYPES POSSIBLE CHILD NOT POSSIBLE CHILD
      A and A    A, O    B, AB
      A and B    A, B, AB, O    no
      A and AB    A, B, AB    O
      A and O    A, O    B, AB
      B and B    B, O    A, AB
      B and AB    A, B, AB    O
      B and O    B, O    A, AB
      AB and AB    A, B, AB    O
      AB and O    A, B    AB, O
      O and O    O    A, B, AB

See? A and B parents’ blood types equals a possible A, B, AB, or O child.  (I’m guessing that the word no means that it’s not possible for us to have children with no blood type….I’m kidding.)
SO, there you have it.  The internets have provided information where a health professional could not. I’m guessing that it may be due to the fumes of all the stool samples she has to work with so I don’t blame her, really. But I’ll give her my chart and maybe she won’t cause any more future divorces because she’ll be in the know.  
Can’t wait to find out what the rest of them type as.