November 29, 2009

More Car Trouble

It’s been a few weeks and we are still having some car trouble. Adam did successfully get his “new” car running. Brake lines were an easy fix. Unfortunately, we can’t fit our family in a Nissan Sentra. Sadly, the van is still sitting in the drive way, and Adam is working on it as I type.

We were getting by with our one tiny car and occasionally borrowing our neighbor Jackie’s car. She's been a real angel, letting us use her vehicle at the drop of a hat. Things seemed to be looking up until Thanksgiving.

Adam, being a chef, had to work on Thanksgiving. (Nothing says “Happy Thanksgiving” like going to a fancy steakhouse! Sorry if this is what your family does, but I personally don’t understand.) Since these kinds of people take my husband away from me and our children on all holidays I have to say:

Lesson 35: Going to a restaurant on Thanksgiving instead of celebrating at home with family = white trash

Sorry for the brief distraction, I had to get that off my chest. Anyway, like I was saying, Adam had to work Thanksgiving and on the way home at 9pm he was in a car accident. This was no ordinary accident. It is the type of accident that only my family is lucky enough to be involved in.

Adam was driving down the right hand side of the road. The left side was completely open. Adam took a quick glance at the passenger side mirror and saw headlights.

“Well this can’t be good.” he said to himself. Boy was he right! There, coming up beside him, half on the sidewalk, was a truck. The truck tried to squeeze past Adam, destroying the whole passenger side of our newly fixed, only driven for a couple of weeks, “new” car. It cut Adam off and drove up onto the median on the other side, slid down, and then came to a stop. Adam pulled off on the side of the road and called 911.

While on the phone, Adam watched as the driver jumped frantically from his car and ran to the back. He searched until he found a flashlight and a gas can, with both items in hand, he began to run around with no apparent purpose.

Adam sighed, “Oh boy.” He could tell this wasn’t going to turn out well. “Sir,” he yelled out the window, “you should probably get out of the road.”

The man turned to Adam, realizing for the first time that he wasn’t alone. “Oh, right, right.” he responded. He ran over to Adam. “I’m half black, half Mexican.” he felt compelled to tell my husband. “Can you drive me to my house? I have a doctor’s appointment at 9 am. What time is it?”

“It’s 9:30.” Adam told him.

“Oh crap, I’m late!” he yelled, beginning to run around again.

“No, sir, it’s 9:30 at night. You still have a good twelve hours to get there.” He told the man, trying to calm him down.

“Oh good. Can you take me home?” he asked again.

“We better wait for the police and the ambulance.” Adam suggested. He figured this man had bumped his head or was under the influence, which would definitely require some sort of medical or legal attention.

The ambulance soon arrived to Adam’s relief. Adam pointed them in the direction of the man and informed them about his odd behavior and that he had to have hit his head or something. They went over to the gentleman and began asking him questions.

“Are you allergic to any medications?” they asked.

“Bananas.” was his response.

They checked him out further, but found nothing wrong other than his bizarre answers. A little later, the police arrived. The man explained to the officer that his truck got stuck in cruise control and he panicked.

After the interviews, Adam and the man stood together, waiting for the officer to return. Adam was highly amused with the man and his incoherent small talk. He spoke of things like how he was nervous for the tow man because he thought when they started his vehicle, since the cruise control was stuck, it was going to "blast to the moon". He also spoke of how tall his son was. He said he was going to be 9 foot tall by the age of 20, but then told Adam that was going to be hard since he was already 22.

Adam’s favorite part of the night, by far, was when the man’s face suddenly lit up. He held his finger high in the air as if he had some sort of brilliant idea, and then ran back to his truck. After rummaging through his car he returned with his arms full.

“I feel really bad,” he said, “I want you to have these. I just got this cd." he held the cd up triumphantly, "Here’s a hat, a pair of sunglasses and a piece of hard candy.”

Adam stood dumbfounded. “Uh, I don’t want your stuff man.”

“But it’s really good hard candy!” he insisted.

Adam looked at the lint covered piece of candy. “I’m sure it is. I just don’t need any of that stuff right now, but thank you.”

When the ordeal was over, Adam was released to come home. A few days have gone by and we've done everything we can to try and get our car fixed. Unfortunately, after speaking to this guy’s supposed insurance company, they are telling us they don’t have him on file. Adam hung up the phone and told me the bad news. After a few minutes of silence, Adam stated, “I should have taken the hard candy.”

Lesson 36: accepting a piece of “really good” hard candy in exchange for car damages = white trash

November 21, 2009

Ode To The Basement Dweller

We've been basement dweller free for a little over a month now, and in honor of those who have dwelt in the completely unprivate depths of our spider haven here is a poem:

No one to help Adam with manly chores;
No one to watch kids while I run to the store.
No bumpin' Bronco driving up the hill;
No Alex running up our electricity bill.
No one to laugh at with a morning hangover;
No Brett to eat all the dinner leftovers.
No more Monday tubes and barbeques;
No soothing buzz of home done tattoos.
No one to yell at Jackie's barking pets;
No Friday night dance party with Marky and Brett.
No guys outside smoking around that ridiculous hobo fire;
No one to help fix my broken clothes dryer.
No one to torment and scare the kids;
and then tell me you're just giving them the biz.....(ness) lol!
No more fights between you about choice of music;
Poopy diapers aren't funny any more with out making Brett sick.
No smell of Axe coming out from the shower;
No burning toast in the wee morning hours.
No one for Adam to teach his two tricks;
No one to advise us on our movie rental picks.
No one to talk with when Adam's at work and kids are in bed;
No annoying guitar song being played to get stuck in my head.
And though I can now use my cellar
We sure do miss our basement dwellers!

November 15, 2009

Jude Dude

My youngest son (for now), Jude is one of the most unique characters you’ll ever meet. As a baby he started smiling before two weeks old and laughing way before any baby I have ever known. His sense of humor is off the charts and has always been that way.

Unfortunately, shortly after he turned 2 he moved into the boys’ room, and sleep deprivation has proved to be quite unbecoming on him. Not only did Jagger start waking him up at 5 am, but he couldn’t stand hearing his brothers downstairs playting while he was supposed to be taking a nap, resulting in him not taking one at all. My sweet funny boy has turned into a tired unhappy child who on most days I am convinced has been spawned by Satan himself.

Not only is he sleep deprived, but he also suffers from the small man syndrome. He has acquired the wee-gene from my father’s side of the family. He’s thin and short, which is a big contrast to his brothers who are all on the tall and muscular side. Somehow, despite his size, he has more testosterone than all his brothers combined. He walks around with his chest puffed out and talks in a deep manly voice, dishing out his demands.

He does still have his sweet moments where you can’t help but be overtaken by his charisma. When people come to the house they immediately fall in love with Jude. He pulls out all the stops for company. He bats his big beautiful blue eyes, speaks in his high squeaky voice (which is his actual voice), and laughs his laugh that is most contagious. I can’t tell you how many times I hear, “I’m going to steal Jude.” And they are always very surprised when I say, “Please do.” (I never worry about it. They'd take him and return him before sunset. Trust me!)

Jude definitely has what my husband calls “the Johnston charm”. It is a gift endowed to all Johnston men, according to Adam. It’s a gift very similar to the Force. Supposedly all Johnston men have the ability to woo any woman. I personally think it’s a pile of malarkey. If this were true Adam would be married to someone much more exotic than me! (Even though I am quite a catch!)

It is quite amusing to see Jude around little girls. He flirts and presents them with gifts. Yesterday, my friend came to visit with her daughter who is close in age to Jovie. As soon as she was in the door, Jude wouldn’t leave her alone. He was up in her face giving her kisses, covering her with his blanky, and giving her his favorite toys. He leaned over and whispered sweet nothings in her ear. That’s when it happened. From his mouth came the best pick up line I have ever heard. He leaned in close, batted his eyes, and said oh so sweetly, “I poop in my underwear.” My friend’s daughter babbled happily and smiled, seeming to be taken by this intimate conversation.

“Wow, Jude’s got the moves.” I said rather embarrassed.

Lesson 34: your best pick up line being “I poop in my underwear.” = white trash

November 14, 2009

New Car

I’m so excited! After six years of being a one vehicle family, Adam and I finally got a second car. I can’t express how happy we are.

For those who don’t know, Adam works in another state. It only takes him an hour to get there, but it’s an inconvenience when small things come up like birthday parties, school functions, and going into labor! Not to mention when I pick Marky up (70 miles from our home) the kids and I are in the car for a minimum of 7 hours those days. We drive Adam to work, then come back home, wait a few hours then make the trek to pick up Marky, then come back home, wait until midnight which is when I wake up all the kids, load them in the car for the umpteenth time and go pick Adam up from work, then finally, we come back home. Ugh….I’m tired from writing about it!

I’m sure you see why a second car is a dream come true. A friend of Adam’s had a car he was trying to get rid of and we were all too happy to take it off his hands. We were going to take it no matter what it looked like.

When we got there I chuckled. It was a 1996 Nissan Sentra with only 74,000 miles on it. It’s missing the driver’s side mirror, a chunk of driver’s seat, and there’s a giant dent in the back where his daughter backed up into a fire hydrant. The bumper is adorned with fabulous stickers such as “Folk Festival” and “I heart Mountains”. It makes me feel as if I need to dred my hair and smoke from a hookah pipe while I drive down the road, but it ran and that’s all that mattered.

Adam took it for a test drive and when he returned he had a huge grin on his face. He got out of the car and said, “Please tell me the tape in the tape deck comes with it!”

“What is it?” I hesitantly asked, afraid to know.

Adam flashed me the goofy smile I love so much, “The Ghostbuster’s theme song by Ray Parker!” he exclaimed.

I laughed. The song that ruined Ray Parker’s career according to my mom, but to Adam’s delight it was included.

An hour later, Adam was driving it home as I followed in our van. Everything was great until five miles down the road when Adam pulled off to the side and got out.

I rolled down the window, “What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I don’t have any brakes.”

“Are you serious?”

“Uh, I’m pretty sure. They went straight to the floor and nothing!”

Adam crawled under the car and found that the brake lines were extremely rusted and one of them had fallen off. It had to be towed home.

Lesson 32: driving your new car for five miles and then having to have it towed home = white trash
This happened on Monday. Tuesday, Adam went back to work and requested a week of vacation so he could get the car running. He couldn’t wait to get started.
Friday, I got a phone call from Adam when he should have been on his way to work. This is normal. He gets bored on those long car trips and sometimes just wants someone to talk to. I answer and hear him give a little laugh.

“Guess what.” he says.

“What?” I ask thinking he’s going to tell me something funny.

“The van just died.”

…………………… *crickets*…………*tumble weed*…………………

“You’re kidding right?” I was hopeful.

“No. Everything was fine. Then the check engine light came on and it shut off. Now it won’t start.”

I sat dumbfounded, but was awakened from my stupor when I heard “kr-kr-kr-kr-kr-kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk” coming from the living room. I looked up to see Jet and Jude running away from the printer to hide.

“What the heck is going on?!” I scream.

“Let me call road side assistance and I’ll call you back.” I hear as I hang up my phone. I think Adam thought I was yelling at him.

These are the points in my life when I understand why some mothers commit themselves to the loony bin.

I walked over to the printer to see the screen flashing, “Call Epson”. I pushed the power button and turned it off. Curious, I turned it back on. Kr-kr-kr-kr-kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk……”Call Epson” ………..out comes a piece of plastic.


I had gotten the boys some left over Halloween candy that was 50% off at the store the other day. They were individually wrapped gummy bloody body parts, eye balls, and brains, because you can never have enough edible body parts in a house full of boys. Each piece is also cradled in a sturdy piece of plastic to hold it in place in the wrapper. That is what my printer spit out.

“You don’t put candy wrappers in the printer!” I yell as my phone starts ringing again. I got up to answer it. It was Adam again.

“I think it’s the timing belt. I tried to adjust it but it still won’t start. It must be broken. The tow truck is coming to get it. I have someone coming to get me to go to work. Tell the tow truck guy to put it at the top of the hill. I don’t want the van to block in the car if it’s going to be cheaper to fix. I’ll talk to you later.”

I hung up the phone, not able to respond. My brain had blown a gasket and oozed out of my ear. I sat at my kitchen table staring into oblivion for a very long time. Then it happened, I began to laugh…..hysterically. At that point what else can you do? It was too ridiculous, the whole situation! I recovered in time to welcome the tow truck driver and instruct him on where to go.

Lesson 33: having two cars towed in the same week and not having a vehicle that works = white trash
At the end of the day I was happy it was just material things that were broken and not friends or members of my family, and even though things are extremely stupid right now there are still some things I am very thankful for.

November 7, 2009

Influenza With a Side of Pork

My family was one of the lucky groups of people blessed with the H1N1 virus. Oh yes, that dreaded flu that has everyone up in arms. With me being pregnant, Marky with respiratory problems, and kids that carry staph we were probably one of the highest risk families in the area, but we made it out alive.

I had called our family doctor a month before trying to get the kids vaccinated; they told me they weren’t giving shots to anyone under 18 this year. “Go to Walgreens.” was their solution. Unfortunately, that would have cost me $100, and we haven’t had $100 that didn’t have someone else’s name on it for months now.

The day after I fell ill my OBGYN’s office called to tell me they were offering the H1N1 vaccination. I chuckled and politely told them, “Thanks, but I’m currently in the process of vaccinating myself the hard way.” I could have used this swine flu protection a month ago.

I know we aren’t supposed to call it the “swine” flu, but I’m educated enough to know we didn’t get it from some bad bacon. Since we are still eating pork I think I should be able to call it whatever I want, and swine flu sounds so much more fun.

Now this particular illness really sucked. I’m not going to lie. Two of my kids had to go to the hospital, and all of them had fevers that reached 104.5 degrees at some point, but the awesome thing was that it was the most time my family has spent together in years.

The kids stayed home from school, Adam called off work, and I refrained from chores for almost a whole week, leaving us nothing to do but snuggle. Adam pulled up the futon mattress from the basement and nestled it into the corner of our sectional couch. We then brought down all our comforters, and the six of us spent the week laying around in our “nest” watching t.v. and eating out of the very large box of candy the kids had gotten from trick-or-treat the day before they got sick.
The one day Adam was tired of not being able to breathe and he said to me, "I have a great idea!" Phrases like this coming from Adam's mouth scare me. "I'm going to boil a pot of Vicks."
"Oh gosh." was all I could work out in the form of a sigh. I was too tired to deal with his crazy at the moment.
I know it sounds crazy, but it worked. After seeing what a fine job the half a tub of Vicks Vapo-rub did, he became more curious and decided to throw a Shower Soothers in the pot, or in "the brew" as he liked to call it. We spent the day in a mentholated sauna. I can only imagine what Jagger's teacher thought when she stopped by to drop off his missed work. My living room looked like a mortuary hosting the Up In Smoke Tour.

So, even though we all felt really crappy, I’m thankful that we experienced it together. I’m sure it will be something we’ll all look back on fondly......that's so sad.

Lesson 31: Looking back fondly on having the swine flu = white trash

November 1, 2009

All Saints Day

Ah, November 1st, All Saints Day. Being Catholic, I’m no stranger to asking these extraordinary people to pray for me. It’s like having friends on the inside, putting a in good word for me.

I’ve had experiences where it was apparent the saints are on my side. My favorite, by far, is my run in with St. Theresa of Lisieux.

My mom used to subscribe me to a great daily devotional called The Word Among Us. It had the readings for the day and a short reflection to go along with the theme. In addition to the daily readings, there were personal stories or biographies of the saints.

One month, the feature biography was about St. Theresa. At that point, I had never really heard much about her. The story told of how she desperately wanted to be a saint, and tried to obtain sainthood by doing small things of holiness. She is referred to as The Little Flower, and it is said that if you are close to her she’ll send you flowers.

At the time of my encounter, I was only a mother of four. My brother-in-law was our basement dweller, as he finished Culinary School. So, technically I still had 5 kids. Adam had recently upped his time at work, leaving me home with the kids more than usual. I felt really alone and unappreciated.

One particularly long day, after Adam had left before I woke up and still wasn’t home at 10 at night. I tried desperately to plunge the toilet of the worst clog in history. I remember thinking to myself as I broke a sweat, (I’m telling you, it was THE WORST clog of all time!) “This is what my life has come to? I’m a smart person. Why am I standing here overexerting myself on a toilet when no one here appreciates a darn thing I do? The kids treat me like crap and I take it. I’ve taken on some of Adam’s chores and he doesn’t seem to care.....I wanted to change the world dang it!”

Just then, the toilet gave way. I watched the water swirl down the big hole feeling relieved, yet unfulfilled. I was about to walk away when I noticed something pink coming out of the small hole on the other side of the toilet.

“Oh my gosh! I broke the toilet!” I said to myself. (Yes, I talk to myself. Don’t judge!)

I quickly ran and got the phone to call Adam.

“What do you mean you broke the toilet?” he asked.

“I think I plunged too hard and the insides are coming out. It’s pink and coming out the small hole across from the big one.” I told him.

“The insides? Honey, there are no insides. You’ve seen me take that toilet off twice and clean the whole thing, inside and out. There should not be anything pink inside of it. Don’t worry, you didn’t plunge so hard that it broke. I’m almost home. I’ll check it when I get there,” he reassured me.

When he got home we went up to the bathroom so I could show him the weird pink thing.

“What the heck is that?” he asked. “Did the kids flush something down there?”

I looked at him for a long while waiting for him to catch on, but he didn’t. “Honey, it’s pink! We don’t own…pink,” I told him.

“Oh yeah.”

This was very true. I’ve never been a girly girl. At the time, I owned more shoes with skulls on them than high heels. So, even with me in the house, it was very unlikely they could have found anything pink to flush.

Oh, of course……

Lesson 29: mom with skull shoes = white trash

“Get me a hanger,” Adam instructed, still hunched over looking perplexed at the mysterious pink thing.

After retrieving the hanger, Adam poked it and tried to get it to come out. A few seconds later the pink thing came loose and floated to the top.

“Is that a flower?” he asked.

Sure enough. There floating in the toilet was the top of a little flower. He got it out and put it in the garbage. Going back over to the toilet, he peered inside and realized there was now something thin and green. He stabbed at it with the hanger, but nothing happened. He finally went and got some forceps. He pulled and pulled. After a few minutes the green string gave way and a whole bouquet of pink plastic flowers pulled through the little hole of my toilet.

Adam held the forceps as the flowers dripped over the potty. “Did I just pull a bouquet of flowers out of my toilet?” he asked skeptically.

We both burst out in laughter. Adam peeked back into the toilet bowl, “You don’t think a rabbit is next do you? I’m telling you, if Sigfreid and Roy come out of there with a white tiger I’m out of here!”

Lesson 30: plunging your toilet so hard you make flowers appear = white trash

Seeing the little bouquet of flowers in my garbage can made me smile. They appeared right when I felt the most unappreciated for the small things I had been doing for my family. It was nice of St. Theresa to remind me that God found the things I believed to be insignificant, meant something to Him . It was also nice to know St. Theresa actually understands how I work. She knew I would enjoy a nice toilet bouquet to a real one any day. I needed the laugh!

So, today, I would like to personally thank all those saints who pray for me every day. I really appreciate and need it! You guys rock!