Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How it All Started

Wow!  It has been forever since I've written a post.  I guess it's because I can't keep up with all the ways and all the reasons that I can't believe my life.    I would never accomplish anything else if I kept writing about all those events.  Seriously!

Today, however, is different.  I feel compelled to write, to share my story, a part I haven't shared with too many people.  It's a joyful story - a story in which everything that could go wrong went wrong but, at the same time, went right - miraculously right.  The only way to explain it is to say that it was meant to be. I'll start at the beginning but this is gonna take a few posts.  Hang in there.  It's a good story. 

January 24, 2009.  After nine long years, my boyfriend became my husband.  Let's just say that the wedding wasn't all I had hoped for. You would never understand the reasons unless you intimately knew my husband and I.  So instead of going into long, boring details, I'll keep it simple.   The wedding was originally planned for April, 2009 surrounded by friends and family.  For those reasons you'll never understand, things changed.  Vegas.  4 guests.  I almost missed my own wedding because I was so hung-over.  Actually, I was probably still drunk.  I barely got down the aisle without throwing up but wound up marrying a keeper.  I thought I loved him, but had no idea how much more that love would grow - could grow - over the next few years.  

Fast forward.  April, 2009.  After meeting with a few adoption agencies and being told we would NEVER get a newborn, we decided to go with an agency that just felt right.  We started our PS Map classes - or as I like to call them - 12 weeks of hell.  Every Wednesday night for 12 weeks we spent 3 hours in a room with people who were way too happy and too eager.  You know the ones - they always raise their hand and have to contribute their life stories; the suck ups and brown nosers; the overly religious "praise the Lord-ers" every 5 seconds; the ones that are really too dumb to live, let alone adopt.  Yep, there we were with the melting pot of America.  All we wanted was a baby, but we had to suffer through this first.  Some day I'll do a post about these classes.  I left these classes every week wondering what I had done to God to make him hate me so much.  I muttered under my breath, "I can't believe my life."  But, it was a means to an end.  

June, 2009.  My 12 weeks of hell was finally over!  I cried tears of joy. We spent the next few weeks preparing our home for the inspection.  We needed a pool fence and other minor fixes.  We got them done.  A means to an end, a means to an end. It became my mantra.  We passed the inspection with flying colors.  My husband said he knew we would.  I had been stressed out about it for days beforehand.  Damn him and his calm unflappable manner!

Then, the other shoe dropped.  Our agency told us that they weren't going to file our application for certification.  We were told the Arizona courts would not approve our application because we hadn't been married for a full year.  WHAT?  I lived through hell only to be told to wait another 6 months and come back in January, 2010????  I cried again - tears of anger and frustration.  I couldn't believe my life.  Was I Lizzy Borden in my first life and this was just penance for my prior crimes?  The agency called the court, I called the court, and we were both told the same thing: No certification would be granted until we had been married a year; it didn't matter that we had nine long years together.  My husband, an attorney, told the agency to file the application anyway. Without going into all the legal issues here, I'll simply tell you my husband - my rock - said he'd handle the legal issues when the Court denied the application.  So the application was filed.  

June 24, 2009 - two weeks after our application was filed.  I opened a letter from the court. A pink form fell out of the envelope to my feet.  As I bent down to pick it up, I saw that it was signed by the Judge.  I was confused.  It usually takes longer than this - even for the denial, which I was certain this was - especially coming so soon after we filed.  I got a little woozy.  Not wanting to get my hopes up, I read it carefully.  I read it again.  And then one more time.  Yes.  It was true.  We had been approved.  A check mark in a box on a form on pink paper indicated our Application for Adoption Certification had been approved.   I called our agency and they were in shock, too.  No one could believe it - except my husband, my rock.  He smiled that smirky I-told-you-so-smile. 

Early July, 2009.  Our agency social worker met with us to go over what seemed like a "menu."  Are you willing to adopt an African American child?  A Hispanic child?  A child with severe mental issues?  Do you have a gender preference?  It was almost silly and yes, we did laugh at the absurdity of it all.  "Normal parents" didn't get to make these choices; they played the hand they were dealt.  Here we were ordering up a child like we were buying a new car and picking our options.  We chose a Rolls Royce model - perfect in every way.  We were told it would never happen.  My husband smiled and said ti submit it anyway.  Our choices would be placed into the State database and then we would sit and wait - maybe years - for a match.  

I also called our lawyer.  She is the best - the best in Arizona, maybe the country.  A wonderful person and a wonderful lawyer.  We told her we were certified and ready to adopt.  We wanted a newborn; a boy.  She laughed a little and told us not to choose a gender.  What if a birth mom chose us and then 4 months into our relationship with her we found out she was having a girl?  Would we reject her and the baby after putting in all that time and money?  We insisted - we wanted a boy; a newborn; a perfect one.  She smiled and told us it could take a long time - years maybe.  We nodded and smiled, and left her office to go about our lives... for a long time... years maybe.  

Still July, 2009.  I was at work just like every other day.  My phone rang, just like it rang a myriad of other times that day.  But this one was different, it was our lawyer.  Another attorney had contacted her.  There was a birth mom looking for a family to adopt her baby.  The baby was due in 2 1/2 months; it was a boy.  Could she give our profile and "letter to birth parents" to this attorney to provide to her client?  "Of course, of course!"  I was told not to get too excited. Several profiles would be sent to the birth mom.  She could choose to meet all the families or none; the ball was in her court.  She could decide in an hour or not until she was in the hospital giving birth.  Continue to live our lives normally.  I cried again and called my husband, my rock, with the news.  I could tell he was smiling.  Was this really happening so soon?  

Well, we did continue to live as normally as possible.  We even went on a mini vacation.  My husband had to go to San Francisco for work so we turned it into a long weekend to visit our dear friends.  On Friday, day 2, of our trip, my husband was dressing to go to a big meeting with his client.  I was still in bed.  My cell phone rang.  I looked at the caller ID and it was our lawyer.  I looked at my husband and we smiled, until I started to cry - happy tears.  The birth mom had chosen our profile.  Was it okay to give her my cell number so we could talk?  "Of course, of course!"  I was given pointers of things to talk about, things to avoid talking about, how to plan a meeting if the mom wanted one, where to go...  Was I hearing any of this?  Would I remember it all if/when the mom called?  She wished us luck and told me to let her know how it went. 

My husband, the techno-phobe, promised to keep his cell phone turned on.  He went to his big meeting and I went to our friends' house.  My cell phone remained glued to my hand.  I checked it every 30 seconds.  Did I have enough battery?  Did I have enough bars?  Can you hear me now?  How about now?  3:00 pm.  My phone rang.  It was a number I didn't recognize.  I answered, my voice quivering.  From that moment on, my life would never be the same.  "Hi. This is *D*.  Do you know who I am?"  "Of course, of course!"  After a few awkward starts and pregnant pauses (pun totally intended), we laughed about how awkward we both felt and that changed everything.  I hardly had to say a word; she talked enough for both of us.  We made plans to meet for lunch on Sunday.  We hung up.  I cried.  I called my husband and told him every detail of the conversation.  He told his client and she got a little weepy, too.  We had dinner with his client and I am happy to call her a friend now.  When someone shares such a special part of your life with you, they become your friend.  It just happens that way.  

We spent Saturday with our friends but couldn't really think of anything other than lunch the next day.  We flew home, still in a fog. Do we remember the admonitions of our lawyer?  What did she tell us NOT to talk about?  Where should we go?  What if she is hideously ugly?  I don't want an ugly baby!  What if she hates us?  What if she likes my husband but hates me?  I was Lizzy Borden in my first life... what if she figures that out?  

Sunday arrived.  What do I wear?  What if she's ugly? What if she doesn't like us or me?  We pulled up to her mother's apartment where *D* was living and I started to cry.  My husband, my rock, hugged me and reminded me... it's just a means to an end, a means to an end.  He grabbed my hand and we walked to the door and knocked.  The door was opened by a very pregnant young woman - and she wasn't hideous.  She was kind of cute.  I smiled.  Take that, Lizzy Borden!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Private body parts Exposed!

Recently Johnny Knoxville was in my bathroom while I was dressing.  Not "the" Johnny Knoxville; my Johnny Knoxville.  I had on my underwear but had not yet put on my pants.  I bent over to pick up something off the floor.  As all "real women" will understand, one of my butt cheeks popped out of my underwear.  Johnny said, "Uh oh!  Butt out!" and proceeded to grab my underwear and pull it over said exposed butt cheek.  The other cheek then popped out and Johnny tried to cover it as well.  Realizing in his own 2-year old mind that this was a futile effort, he gave me a disgusted look, grunted, "Oh no" and left the room.  Thanks for the self-esteem boost there, Johnny.  I know that one day you will likely marry a stripper, but I can assure you that her butt cheek will also pop out of her underwear when she is in her 40s!

Just a day or so later I was running around the house in my comfortable clothes. Ladies, you know the ones - shirts that used to belong to our husbands or ex-boyfriends and tattered yoga pants that we never wore to yoga because we don't believe in exercise.  As I bent down apparently the shirt bagged quite a bit.  Johnny Knoxville smiled broadly and said, "Boob! Touch it?"  "NO!  You can't touch it! Wait til you get that stripper girlfriend in a few years and then you can touch them.  Although mine are real and I'm sure hers will not be, and they will likely be bigger than mine but no!"  He seemed confused but also oddly satisfied with that explanation.  My husband, however, seemed intrigued by the idea of a stripper girlfriend. I told him I was just preparing myself; set my standards low and be pleasantly surprised if Johnny and Steve exceed them.  Note that I said "If", not "when."  Again, I'm a realist.  

Yesterday I was wearing a shirt that zipped up the front.  Once again, Johnny Knoxville was up to no good.  He grabbed the zipper, pulled it down, got a big grin on his face and proudly yelled, "BOOBS!"  

Who teaches him these things?  Is it just innate in the male species?  We have already had the "private body" discussion but for some reason, this just makes it all the more intriguing to Johnny.  

Steve O really hasn't been obsessed with the body all that much - or so we thought.  However, he is always very interested when we go to the bathroom. In a restaurant bathroom last week, Steve O completed his job and then I had to go.  In the middle of my hovering pee (yes, I'm a germophobe, of course I hover!  You don't really think those tissue paper covers keep germs from transferring from prior asses to yours, do you?)... Okay, where was I?  Yes, I see it now - in the middle of my hovering pee, Steve O announced, "Mama has no penis."  I heard the woman in the next stall giggle a little.  I assured Steve that it was true; I have no penis.  He then announced in the loud voice that all two year olds seem to have, "Steve O has a little penis.  Daddy has a BIIIIIGGGG penis." (He used his real name, however, not his recently changed moniker.)  The woman in the next stall really lost it this time and burst out laughing.  As my husband was waiting at our table with Johnny K, I didn't want to let him down, so I replied, "Yes!  Yes he does."  The woman took an awfully long time washing her hands and appeared to be following us back to the table.  Hmmmm, was it my cute kids or the chance to check out my "big" hubby?  No one will ever know, but my hubby was quite pleased when I reported back.  

What has happened to me?  I used to analyze medical records and read about urine and feces and genitals and subdural hematomas and traumatic brain injuries and broken bones, among a myriad of other things.  Now I am reduced to boobs and exposed butts and proclamations of penis size.  I can't believe my life!

Monday, January 16, 2012

There isn't enough hand sanitizer in the world!

My name is Sandi and I'm a germaphobe.  Technically, I'm a mysophobe but we're all friends here, right?  I can use regular-people words.  Yes, I turn on faucets with paper towels, flush public toilets with my foot, don't allow shoes in my house and stock my home with hand sanitizer by the gallon. I never put my purse on the floor and I throw up in my mouth a little every time someone blows their nose in a restaurant.  Have you heard about Erin Carr Jordan in Tucson and what she found in the McDonald's playlands?  If not, Google it.  You'll be even more disgusted than you're currently thinking.  My husband prohibited me from seeing the movie Contagion citing that becoming a recluse at this stage of my life was not an option and he knew the movie would drive me to it.  If left to my own devices, I'd live in a bubble.  I smile just thinking about it.  No contact with anyone or anything....ah.... Hey, a girl can dream!  It's a wonder I have kids. 

Johnny Knoxville and Steve O, as we have taken to calling our boys, (it's less offensive to people than Satan and Lucifer, as we were previously calling them), have put my phobia to the test.  They sneeze, I have to wipe their butts and noses, they throw up on occasion and cough.  They touch stuff and put stuff in their mouths.  All the time. Weird stuff.  Gross stuff.  Stuff I can't always identify.  As a result my hands are constantly cracked and bleeding from all the washing I do.  I carry large bottles of hand sanitizer with me at all times.  (Let me tell you, it burns like hell when it gets in the cracks of your dried out knuckles!) But, Steve and Johnny have worn me down a little over the last two years.  I don't gag as much when I have to pick big boogers out of their noses, and their coughs and sneezes don't make me run to the decontamination shower anymore.  But these new rules only apply to them - the germs of MY babies. 

Little Johnny Knoxville took it to a new level the other day.  I may never recover. My friend and I took our cumulative three children to the park.  That, in and of itself, is a challenge for me.  All those snotty, germy kids touching the slides and monkey bars.  Ugh!  And you know no one ever comes along to wipe that stuff down with antibacterial wipes.  I'm shuddering just thinking of it.  But, ya gotta do it; and I do, begrudgingly.  So the little petri dishes were having a hell of a time sliding, swinging, hanging, climbing, etc.  I  stood nearby chatting with my friend all the while in my head I am thinking of all the diseases we could be contracting.  Ebola, MRSA, VRSA, necrotizing fasciitis, bird flu, swine flu, H1N1, lice, coxsackievirus, scabies, ringworm, conjunctivitis... and the list goes on.  Really, I could go on for pages and I don't even have to look them up on the internet.  

Anyway, Steve O announces that he has to go potty.  The disease list in my head continues to roll like the credits at the end of a movie. My friend's little girl is being potty trained so she has to go, too.  We drag the three little angels (yes, that was sarcasm) to the public restroom.  Friend goes in the handicap stall with her little girl.  I place Johnny Knoxville directly outside the stall into which Steve O goes.  I tell Johnny to keep his hands at his sides and not touch ANYTHING.  Johnny is 2.  You know where this is going.  I turn to Steve O and help him up onto the toilet, all the while holding the stall door open with my foot and yelling at Johnny K. to stand still and not touch.  Steve O makes a move to hold onto the toilet; in a panic I turn to yell at Steve not to touch.  Johnny makes his move.  He's gone.  He runs into the handicap stall to check out his little friend and make sure "everything's coming out okay."  

Next thing I hear is my friend in the next stall yelling, "Oh My God.  Put that down.  Put that down."  I throw up in my mouth.  I know it's Johnny and it's not good.  I rush Steve O along and start frantically yelling, "Oh God. Oh God. Oh God. What is it?"  Friend states, "Just get the hand sanitizer."  Now I know it's really bad.  My friend is not a mysophobe.  She can handle this stuff with grace and a smile.  At this particular moment, however, she is not graceful nor smiling. I feel like I'm having a heart attack.  The room starts to spin.  It gets worse.  The faucet in the restroom does not work so there will be no soap and water hand-washing; not that that would have been enough, but every good mysophobe knows you start there and then end with a good coating of Purell.  I keep asking what it was but my friend is hesitating to respond.  Suddenly I just knew.  I feel the blood rush to my feet and start to get a little woozy.  
"Oh no," I say. She nods yes and then... the words I will never forget... "Yes, it was a used tampon." 
An incredible wave of nausea overcomes me and I start to pass out.  But, I realize that if I were to pass out I would wind up on the floor of this public restroom.  The very restroom where some moronic woman can't figure out to place her "waste" in the little trash can on the stall wall specifically marked for such uses.  What kind of woman can this be?  What is wrong with her?  Yes, yes, what IS wrong with her?  Does she have AIDS, gonorrhea, chlamydia?  Are we all going to die a slow and painful death related to some disease she has now shared with Johnny Knoxville???  

My friend douses Johnny K. in hand sanitizer, but in my mind I knew it wasn't enough.  What kind of sanitizer did she have?  Was it a generic?  Did it kill 99.9% of germs on contact or only 99.8%?  I doused him again.  In my mind, however, I know it will never be enough.  I washed him no less than 200 times that day.  

Since that day, I have been on-line searching body bubbles.  (Just so you know, you better be careful when you search that.  It's amazing that they can link porn to just about any search words.) Sadly, I'll never look at little Johnny Knoxville the same ever again.  

I can't believe my life...