A Letter to Mother Nature and Old Man Winter

Dear Mother Nature and Old Man Winter,

I’m not sure what the hell is going on with the two of you, but you need to get your act together.

My children’s brains are slowly turning to mush because they have not used their brains since honestly Dec. 21. The three-day jaunt back to school last week doesn’t count. That was a tease.

They have not used a pencil in just as long. I’m not sure they even know how to recite the alphabet or count to 100 anymore.

And let’s not even talk about the amount of TP that has been used!! Seriously … I should have bought stock in all-things paper-made 30 years ago!

The days of them being home are long. I am beyond tired.

They roll out of bed at 9 a.m. Demand breakfast and then an hour later, they want a mid-morning snack.

On occasion, they have played PlayDoh and Monopoly, but for the most part, they wander around the 2,400-square-foot house whining about being bored.

Today, I told George if he didn’t play with his toys from Santa, I was gonna toss them in the trash.

I walked over to the stack of toys … he followed and grabbed one. That kept him busy for maybe 15 minutes.

By noon, they are demanding lunch. And then, naturally, an hour later, they want a mid-afternoon snack.

And just as 4 p.m. rolls around, they declare it’s another snack time.

I actually went to the store last week and hide $20 worth of food in my bedroom closet. I need to have SOME food to pack for school lunches … IF they ever go back.

Today, my daughter whined when I told her a Red Baron pizza was dinner.

“Aw, I want a home-made meal,” she whined.

“We had steak yesterday. You missed it,” I told her. (She was at friend’s house.)

“Aw, all I want is a home-made meal mom,” she said again.

“Well, I want you guys to GO TO SCHOOL. WE CAN’T HAVE IT ALL,” was my reply.

She is now searching the pantry for a pre-dinner snack.

So, Mother Nature and Old Man Winter, for the love of God … and for the sanity of all parents who are affected by your harsh weather that you are bestowing on much of the United States … please, get your shit together … before I lose mine.

Sincerely,

Mom of Three Living in BFE

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A note to Mother Nature and Old Man Winter

Dear Mother Nature and Old Man Winter,

I’m not sure what the hell is going on with the two of your, but you need to get your act together.

My children’s brains are slowly turning to mush because they have not used their brains since honestly Dec. 21. The three-day jaunt back to school last week doesn’t count. That was a tease.

They have not used a pencil in just as long. I’m not sure they even know how to recite the alphabet or count to 100 anymore.

And let’s not even talk about the amount of TP that has been used!! Seriously … I should have bought stock in all-things paper-made 30 years ago!

The days of them being home are long. I am beyond tired.

They roll out of bed at 9 a.m. Demand breakfast and then an hour later, they want a mid-morning snack.

On occasion, they have played PlayDoh and Monopoly, but for the most part, they wander around the 2,400-square-foot house whining about being bored.

Today, I told George if he didn’t play with his toys from Santa, I was gonna toss them in the trash.

I walked over to the stack of toys … he followed and grabbed one. That kept him busy for maybe 15 minutes.

By noon, they are demanding lunch. And then, naturally, an hour later, they want a mid-afternoon snack.

And just as 4 p.m. rolls around, they declare it’s another snack time.

I actually went to the store last week and hide $20 worth of food in my bedroom closet. I need to have SOME food to pack for school lunches … IF they ever go back.

Today, my daughter whined when I told her a Red Baron pizza was dinner.

“Aw, I want a home-made meal,” she whined.

“We had steak yesterday. You missed it,” I told her. (She was at friend’s house.)

“Aw, all I want is a home-made meal mom,” she said again.

“Well, I want you guys to GO TO SCHOOL. WE CAN’T HAVE IT ALL,” was my reply.

She is now searching the pantry for a pre-dinner snack.

So, Mother Nature and Old Man Winter, for the love of God … and for the sanity of all parents who are affected by your harsh weather that you are bestowing on much of the United States … please, get your shit together … before I lose mine.

Sincerely,

Mom of Three Living in BFE

Winning for Kayden

“All Day.

Every Day.

No Sleep.

100%”

– Kayden D. Williams

I love basketball.

Not college basketball or pro-basketball.

High school basketball.

There is something about the passion the players exude on the court.

The sound of basketball shoes squeaking on the court.

The sound of the basketball hitting the backboard before swishing through the white net.

But on Saturday night, in Elyria, Ohio, there was something more.

Something almost … magical.

That night, two rivals came together to honor one family whose connection to both communities was as strong as the bond shared between siblings.

It was one of love and hate.

The love was for Kayden Williams, and his family.

The hate, well it wasn’t really hate. It was more of a passion burning inside both teams to get the “W” for Kayden.

You see, he and his older brother, KJ, were Wildcats.

His sisters – Pioneers.

Kayden was a Wildcat when he passed away on Dec. 27 from injuries sustained in a single motor vehicle accident on a country road.  KJ graduated from Keystone several years ago.

The Williams family now has two daughters left in high school – and they are both Pioneers through and through.

But on Saturday night, both teams came together to honor Kayden and what he stood for – high school sports – leaving it all on the field/court – and an unwavering dedication to both.

As the game started, the Elyria varsity team ran onto the court wearing a T-shirt remembering Kayden. Moments later, the Keystone varsity basketball team did the same. For several minutes, the two teams just seemed to blend together.

The rivalry paused as the crowd gave a moment of silence for Kayden.

Then, it was game time.

To say both teams gave it 110 percent is an understatement.

It’s as if Kayden was fueling both teams on the court.

But, in the last seconds, it was Brody Kuhl’s three-point shot that gave Keystone the edge they needed to win.

And then, the unthinkable happened. Keystone fans ran onto the court before the game officially ended.

A technical foul was called on Keystone for charging the floor.

Yet, a small miracle happened at the same time. Just as Keystone was charged with a technical foul, the referee determined that Brody had been fouled during his three-point shot.

He was going to the free-throw line.

And he scored.

Elyria also had the opportunity to score due to Keystone’s technical foul, but in the end, the player only made one shot.

The night belonged to Keystone.

It also belonged to the Williams family.

To see Kayden’s brother, KJ jump up and down, cheering for his alma mater was a sight I will never forget.

To watch players run over to the Williams family after the game ended, embracing parents, Sarah and Keenan – I was filled with such pride to be a Keystone Wildcat.

Then, finally to witness Coach Jeff Holzhauer walk over to KJ, saying, “I told ya didn’t I?”

It wasn’t just a win for Keystone Saturday night.

It was a win for the Williams family because I am pretty sure Kayden was whooping and hollering from the heavens just as his family was down on Earth.

Somehow, I think it was his way of letting his family know that he was just fine.

And that in time, they will be too.

 

 

Talking on the phone – now vs. when I was 15

phone

In 1993, I had a best-friend.

I’d rush home from the bus stop (Yes, I rode the bus home in high school – that’s because we had busing back then and my parents worked.) and immediately run toward her.

I held her in my hand, sitting at the kitchen table and pure magic happened right there.

I’d punch in the phone number of my other best-friends, and from 3 until 4 p.m., I’d just sit there and talk, talk, talk.

I’d talk my life away – literally – seconds and minutes would tick by and I didn’t care. That was the one hour of ME time. My parents were still at work and my brother, still at school. I was the ONLY one home.

And then, oh, and then, when three-way calling was invented – Oh Lord – that was the best thing since Rave Hairspray at the time. No, of course, I didn’t have three-way calling (I didn’t even have a phone in my room, despite my constant begging and pleading) – but my friends did.

The kicker was … I had just seen my friends all day at high school, but there was something extraordinary about talking on the phone.

And I loved it.

I loved it so much that eventually even though I never had a phone in my room, my dad did buy a 10-foot phone cord that I stretched all the way into my room – choking anyone who walked in the hallway.

That three-way calling came in handy when my one friend called the boy I liked and had him on the other line, and I was there too – secretly listening in their conversation.

“So, would you go out with Melissa if she asked …?” “Do you LIKE anyone in your English class?” “What about a dance … would you dance with her IF she asked you?”

Girls these days have no flippin’ idea what it was like growing up in the 1990s. We didn’t have texting, or email for that matter. We were forced to talk to people either in person, on the phone or by way of a folded-up piece of paper that looked like a triangle.

And now, the world of communication is wide open.

Cell phones that text or even voice-text; email; and social media messages.

Gone are the days of me having to use a phone to actually converse with another human being.

Now that I am adult … when I can go into any room in my house and carry my phone with me to chat, I refuse to do it. The thrill of talking on the phone is gone. The excitement of “having the phone call be for ME” has vanished. I’d rather NOT have the phone call be for me.

Am I the only one who is openly admitting that “I hope you can’t hear me now?”

Hell is indeed freezing over

snow flake

Parents from the Midwest to the East Coast are currently at the threshold of hell.

And it’s all thanks to Mother Nature and Old Man Winter. I think they are having one hell of a fight over something because according to Time Magazine, a “BOMB CYCLONE” has formed off the East Cast that “could bring the coldest temperatures in 100 years.”

According to the article, a bomb cyclone brews over the water where drops in barometric pressure can make it an EXTRA forceful weather event. The article also noted the “storm” could trap the “bone-chilling cold” and put the United States in a deep freeze over the Atlantic coastline.

Really, all they needed to say was “Hell is Close to Freezing Over – Be Prepared/Stock Up on Alcohol and Milk.”

But, meteorologists actually gave this hell-freezing-over a name – “Winter Storm Grayson.”

I used to like the name Grayson, until about two seconds ago.

Grayson has forced schools to close; flights to be either delayed or canceled; and amusement parks in Florida to close.

It’s actually SNOWING in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. It hasn’t snowed in those states in nearly 30 years! Kids who have never seen snow are now making snow angels and having snow ball fights according to Twitter.

Do you know what kids in Ohio are doing today? Well, for starters, they are not in school. Nearly 100 schools have been closed in Northeast Ohio alone.

And while some parents are absolutely thrilled with the extended winter break, I am “this close” to hiding in a closet with my Kindle and “share-size” bag of Skittles that I found in my pantry. I don’t even care how long they have been there because as the day goes on, I plan on dropping a few into a wine glass to give my Pinot Grigio an extra KICK.

The last time my kids stepped foot inside a classroom was Dec. 20. It’s now Jan. 4. You do the math.

All I know, it feels like it has been forever-and-a-day since they have opened a text book.

Currently, my near 15-year-old is still sleeping; and he’ll be that way until I go into his room, turn on the light and unleash the hounds known as the twins in his room. The twins are playing a new version of “hide-and-seek” using their cell phones. They are using the GPS-type function to locate each other within the 2,400-square-foot house that as the week has dragged on really feels like a 400-square-foot studio apartment. The good news, we have already taken down Christmas inside the house (so, it’s slightly less cluttered), but as a friend of mine said, taking down the lights and decorations outside, well, that probably won’t be happening until JUNE at this rate.

And to everyone telling me to “take them someplace FUN” – It’s OHIO. There is nothing to do here. And even if I opted to take them to one of those indoor trampoline parks, I am THAT mother who will indeed turn into a HELICOPTER PARENT because I can honestly close my eyes and visualize one of my kids landing on a trampoline the wrong way and breaking an arm or a leg. Which would end up costing me an arm and a leg at the ER. I don’t even watch when my kids ride bikes. I am that crazy – but at least I can admit it.

And I can’t send them outside because it’s so damn cold that their snot would freeze inside their nose. (That was my husband’s idea – and he also wanted them to shovel and chisel the driveway, but only if I put the space heater on in the garage where they could go and warm their hands when needed. Yeah, OK … that sounds like a wonderful idea!)

Sure, I could take them to see a movie, but we can do that here IN the house and save myself $50 in snack food money. Plus, I also need gas in my van and there is no way in hell I am standing at the pump to even insert my credit card into the machine, let alone pump the gas.

So, I’m at a stand-still … a holding-pattern if you will … of just sitting in my house while looking out my frosted-over windows at hell literally freezing over outside.

YOU SUCK GRAYSON!

 

Coping with community deaths

keystone

Death …

I don’t even know where to start.

But I do know this … while searching the Internet, scrolling for the right inspirational quotes to help me get my start, I came across two.

The first one read: “Keep your head up. God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers.”

The other read: “Today only comes once.”

Well, in our tiny village, we must be the BEST strongest soldiers because within the past five days, we have endured two life-altering battles.

And we are still here for one another, holding each other up through all the pain.

We will not break, oh no … but we are allowed to hurt.

And we are.

On Saturday, a mom whose children once attended the Keystone Schools, passed away. She was 36; and left behind two children. Her smile was infectious and her hair, stunning.

While parents were left wondering “Why?” and “How did this happen?” all while trying to explain to our children that Jessica is “in a better place” we are really trying to understand … is she really? Is there a better place other than being here on Earth with her two little ones?

So, for five days, parents living and working in the same community that Jessica once did, did the best we could to enjoy the Christmas holiday with our loved ones, all while trying to cope with our own grief.

We put on smiles, ate too much and watched as our kiddos opened presents on Christmas morning.

I’d like to say we were slowly coming to realize our worst fear had come true – Jessica was indeed gone too soon – but I still think most of us are in a state of denial.

Then, just as we began to piece our lives back together, our community and spirits came crashing down.

On Wednesday morning, the word that a 17-year-old Keystone High School student died from injuries sustained in a single car crash spread through the LaGrange and Elyria communities like wildfire.

Kayden Williams – a football player with a heart of gold who was loved by all families in the area – will never step on the football field again. He will never walk the halls of Keystone High. He will never live the life his parents dreamed of for him.

The worst part of Kayden’s death? I had to tell my son, a freshman at the same school, that a fellow student who he saw on a daily basis, died. How does a parent even do that? There isn’t a book, outlining the steps on how to tell your son that someone who had his entire future ahead of him has died. That there is no rhyme or reason why Kayden is no longer spending the holiday break with his parents and siblings.

My 9-year-old daughter said it best … “I know he’s in Heaven with Jesus, but Mom, he didn’t even get to play with his presents from Santa.”

So, on this Thursday – a day when I will be paying my respects to the York family – I will keep my head up.

I will be a soldier for my children, to let them know that bad things happen to good people, and there really is no explanation.

And then, then I will remind them to live each day like it is their last … because TODAY only comes ONCE.

RIP Jessica and RIP Kayden