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If you would like to participate in The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge:
Thanks for visiting!
*Written in response to The Green Study’s “Worst Job I Ever Had” contest. If you’d like to enter, just follow the link to her post. Thanks for reading!*
I was eleven years old. I’ll give you a minute to picture an eleven-year old.
At 11, you are just a kid. So much to learn. So many mistakes to make. You still need someone to look after you.
But we needed the money.
So I placed an ad in the newspaper:
Summer Babysitter/Mother’s Helper: Responsible 11-year-old girl available to care for your child(ren). CPR-certified. 3 years experience. References. Light housekeeping/cooking if needed.
I received a number of calls. I’m not sure that all of the men who called actually had children. But that’s another story!
Anyway, I had been babysitting for my younger sister for years and had branched out to babysitting for friends, neighbors, friends of friends/neighbors since turning 8. Think about that for a minute. I have eight-year-olds. Two of them, in fact. And I cannot picture leaving them alone for 20 minutes. I cannot picture them cooking. Or cleaning. Or caring for other people’s children!
But I did all of these things at the tender age of 8. So, by 11, I was an old pro.
Of all the calls I received, the most appealing came from a woman who said she’d need me Saturdays and most weekdays and that I could start that Saturday.
Why was it the most appealing?
1.) I could walk to the house. We did not have a car, so proximity was important.
2.) She had a two-month-old son — and I loved babies.
So I said yes. And I walked there on Saturday morning, arriving early because I was a very responsible eleven-year-old.
But I was not prepared for what I would find or for what this job would be.
I had passed the house many times on the school bus. It was a weathered old white house in poor repair. The lawn was littered with bits and pieces from at least a few vehicles. And there, in the long gravel driveway, was a run-down old truck with a skull and crossbones bumper sticker on the back window and a pair of panties hanging on the rear-view mirror.
But I was not one to judge. I grew up quite poor. Owning an old white house and a run-down old pick-up truck (with or without the panties) would have been a dream come true for us.
When I knocked on the front door that first day, a tall, hairy guy motioned me inside. He looked me up and down and gave me a smile and a wink I had seen before. Then his wife swooped in, red lipstick-stained cigarette dangling from her mouth. She handed her infant to me with as much care as you’d expect from a football player tossing a football. “Here are the other two,” she said, pointing to Jimmy, age 7, and Cassie, age 4.
And with that, the man and woman left, promising to be back “later.”
In the months that ensued, “later” meant anywhere from 2 to 10 hours. I never knew. Sometimes the couple would leave and go to an unnamed place. Sometimes their bandmates would come and they would all go out to the old barn in the back to play while I looked after the kids all day. And sometimes it meant that the mother would leave me home with the children and the hairy man. And on those days, he often wore only a pair of boxers and said he enjoyed watching me bathe the kids. Yes, hairy guy was a weirdo!
And the kids, oh, the poor kids. I fell in love with 4-year-old Cassie and 8-week-old Joe. They were sweet and cuddly and needed to be nurtured.
And, to my dismay, 7-year-old Jimmy fell in love with me. I learned this when he took me back to the old weeping willow he called his treehouse and attempted to kiss and handcuff me to a tattered backseat his dad had dragged in there from his old car. Of course a discussion about boundaries ensued.
And yet I returned. All summer long. And on the days when their parents came home drunk and/or stoned, I stayed late without pay and walked home in the dark. Those kids needed me.
And I will never forget them — or the worst job I ever had.
I know I have been M.I.A. this week and that I’m barely squeaking this week’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge entry in, but here is my submission for the challenge topic: Kiss.
Thanks so much for visiting. And if you’d like to participate in a Weekly Photo Challenge, just click on the links at the bottom of this page.
May your life be filled with kisses…
My Son & His New Friend
A Mom and Her Baby
My Beautiful Sister and Her New Husband on Their Wedding Day
I thought I would take a minute to wish you all a very happy Valentine’s Day.
I was unable to eat and drink today because of a test I needed to fast for. So when H and my sons came to pick me up from the hospital at 4 this afternoon (and I was cleared to eat & drink again), I was both hungry and thrilled.
I had big plans for the evening with my two Valentines (my twin sons). But I was too tired to follow through. I could barely keep my head up at the dinner table. It wasn’t long before I needed to retreat to the coziness of the couch and my thick blanket and loyal dogs.
I thought my boys would be disappointed — they usually are when I need to lie down. But they amazed me by understanding my exhaustion. They thanked me for making their special Valentine cards (I stayed up all night last night crafting Valentines for them and for their teachers) and for the little gifts I made for them.
And then they brought me the gift they made for me. They found an unused box and filled it with 2 new rolls of Scotch tape, a giraffe-shaped soap dispenser, and some special things from around the house (seashells, bits of coral, a photo of a sea turtle). They then decorated sheets of copier paper and wrote “To Mom” and “Love, Us” on them. They wrapped the box in their creations and topped it with an old Christmas bow.
They were grinning from ear to ear when they presented me with their box. They were taking a rare reprieve from bickering with one another, so I knew this was important!
Struggling to keep my eyes open, and soaking wet and shivering from alternating hot flashes and night sweats that are really day sweats (thank you, radical hysterectomy and Tamoxifen!), I thought I was letting my kids down. But when they presented me with that special box, I knew I was wrong. They were happy to have me as their valentine, whatever my condition. And I realized how lucky I was.
Their squabbling soon resumed and we had to get the homework show on the road, but I still felt like a lucky girl.
Tonight I realized that I have two very special valentines.
I hope that you, too, have a special person/child/dog/cat/friend/goldfish in your life. Good night & warmest wishes, dear readers…
***Reblogging this post because I think it is full of terrific info.
I have been meaning to write a Lymphedema and Cellulitis post since I started this blog, but Denise beat me to it — and I think her post is GREAT, so I’m just going to reblog hers.
I think the section on cellulitis is especially important. I had my first run-in with cellulitis at the end of last may when we were on vacation & I had no out of state coverage. I didn’t know what it was — I thought it was a terrible and painful sunburn (that only appeared on my lymphedema arm (an arm that was fully covered and couldn’t possibly have gotten burned!)). And it did almost kill me. I had to seek emergency care on vacation — and when we got off the plane at home, I had to go straight to the emergency room at the hospital (where I remained for much of the next few weeks). It took multiple hospitalizations, a ton of antibiotics, and a wonderful infectious disease specialist to get it under control — even still, it was September before it was finally considered “controlled.” I just had it again a few weeks ago (on vacation!), but knew what I was looking at this time, so I immediately started on the emergency antibiotics I brought with me, and I came out of it unscathed this time.
Special thanks to Denise! You are doing everyone a GREAT service by posting about LE and especially cellulitis. I hope everyone who has had lymph nodes removed (or who loves someone who has had lymph node surgeries) takes the time to read this!
~L @ CancerInMyThirties
When the title of this Blog Post entered your Inbox, let’s face it, your heart did not go pitter patter with excitement. Please try to stick it out!!! You will learn something and I will attempt to give you a few laughs along the way! You and your Lymphatic System have something in common– misunderstood and under appreciated. There are 500 to 700 lymph nodes in the body. Who would think if you have one or a few of those removed, in my case 14, it could cause so much trouble?
My Lymphedema was under control until I picked up those 3 plastic bags of groceries with my impacted arm and then my POOF of Lymphedema came back with a vengeance. Now you cannot yell at me because admit it, you have done it and later regretted it even if you have no chance of Lymphedema. Who wants to…
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This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge subject is: Home
These images represent HOME for me… Thank you for taking the time to visit…
If you would like to participate in The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenges, click here:
Written in response to The Daily Post Challenge
Chubby little fingers grip a wooden banister
He leads her toward a strange basement
She is scared
And for good reason
They reach the bottom and he takes her aside
This is where it happens
Her young mind can’t wrap itself around this
And for good reason
No three-year-old should understand this
But she will one day
And leads her back upstairs
She does what she is told
He is her dad, after all
He takes her to the pony rides on the way home
This will wash the dirty memories away
That’s what he thinks, at least
But he is wrong
I will always have the dirty memories
If you’d like to respond to a Daily Post Daily Prompt, click here:
The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge for this week: Unique
I hope you enjoy my photo choices. To participate in the Weekly Photo Challenge:
A Lone Coconut on the Beach
A Lone Boy Beneath the Setting Sun (one of my sons!)
I found this zoo’s fake flamingo enclosure to be rather unique. It’s not often that you see a display of faux animals at an animal park!
Thanks for visiting!
Thank you to everyone who cheered me on as I embarked on my first “bucket list” adventure. I am glad to finally tell you that our intended mystery destination was… Puerto Rico. Visiting this lovely place has been a dream of mine for many years. Why?
#1: Thanks to photos and travel shows I formed this picture in my mind of a beautiful island filled with old world charm and beautiful beaches.
#2: I have always wanted to visit a Caribbean isle. Our passports expired long ago and P.R. is one of only two Caribbean destinations (that I’m aware of) that doesn’t require them from U.S. Citizens. Since it’s the cheapest of the two to reach, it was an easy choice.
But this was hardly what we found… And when I say we, I am referring to my twin 8-year-olds, my husband, and my dear friend, jme. Jme and I grew up together (she was Jamie back them). We’ve experienced many milestones together. And we’ve experienced some significant losses together. And you may recall that when jme first learned that I had the disease that played a role in her mother’s death, her reaction involved getting on a plane and flying clear across the country to show up on my doorstep. She is the kind of friend you would feel lucky to have — if you were one of the rare few fortunate enough to know someone like her. Anyway, she flew across the country again a few weeks ago, but this time it was to say a quick hello to her family before getting on a plane (a bunch of planes, actually!) to seize the day and make some memories with me and my sons.
I’m getting side-tracked already! Okay, enough backstory…
The First Uh-Oh.
We left the house at an ungodly hour for this region. Okay, 4 a.m. is probably an ungodly hour anywhere. But in western N.Y. in mid-January when it is as cold as it is dark, you get the sense that you are violating some unwritten law by being outside at this hour. It just feels wrong. Especially when you haven’t slept a wink in a couple of days.
But I was excited and determined. I had been waiting for this for most of my life. So my husband (I’ll refer to him as “H” for husband from now on)… Crap, where was I? Oh, yes, so H dropped us off and drove off to park our minivan at an economy parking lot nearby. And we went about the business of checking in for our flights, begging for seats near one another, printing our boarding passes, checking our bags, and ensuring that they were free (thanks to a credit card perk) at the counter. This shouldn’t have been a big deal, but when 5 people are booked under 5 separate reservations (this is a requirement for getting the huge travel discounts that we do), it is. No big deal. Still excited. Let’s get to security.
After taking our shoes off and putting all of our belongings in buckets on the conveyor belt, I was told that in lieu of a traditional walk through the metal detector, I would need to stand in the full-body X-ray scanner. Not one to speak up or slow a line down, I reluctantly said that I would rather not. I was asked if I was refusing the security measure. So I explained that I had had enough radiation in my lifetime to grow a tail and start glowing and, thus, I was leery of the X-ray scanner if another option was available. I told him that I would prefer the pat down option.
The T.S.A. agent was rather smug and made me feel as though I was I causing a major problem. He set me off to the side and told me that I would have to wait for someone to come to give me a pat-down — and did I want to reconsider in lieu of being a giant P.I.T.A.?
I told him I’d wait for the pat-down.
When the patter-downer arrived, she asked if I would like to have it done out in the open or if we should go to a private room. I jokingly said that I’d had enough surgeries to make my dignity a non-issue and told her to go ahead right there. She smiled and began. It was my first pat-down and not a big deal. It did take much longer than I expected, especially given that I normally walk through the metal detector and that’s it — quick and simple.
I passed, of course, but my jar of peanut butter didn’t fare so well. It didn’t cross my mind that the sealed jar of organic peanut butter I brought to make everyone’s sandwiches with during the long day of travel wouldn’t make it through security. Alas, it did not. And my inconvenienced T.S.A. agent friend seemed all too happy to confiscate it. Since I would much rather airport security be more cautious than less, I happily sacrificed my jar of contraband in the interest of national security.
We finally redressed (coats, sweaters, hats, shoes) and made our way to the gate, still with 5 minutes to spare before boarding. It was about 15 minutes after we were supposed to board when I started to get a bit nervous. We were on a tight timeline. You see, to do this trip on a shoestring budget, we had to book two separate itineraries with two different airlines — and do it all through a 3rd party website. In hindsight, it was a bit crazy. But it was the only way — and it should have worked out.
We began boarding at about 5:45 a.m., toting our carry on bags out of the warmth of the airport and into the bitter cold and darkness that surrounded the little plane that waited to carry us to New York’s J.F.K. We shivered as we inched up the plane’s steps and found our seats at the back of the plane.
And we waited. And waited. When the pilot announced that we were experiencing mechanical issues and that we wouldn’t be leaving until they were taken care of, I wasn’t surprised. “These things happen,” I thought.
The surprise came when he later returned to the intercom and announced that they were unable to fix the problem and that we were to collect our things and leave his aircraft while further repair attempts were made.
“What??” I didn’t understand. “Why can’t we just wait here while they fix it? It’s going to take longer to get off and get back on.”
I really didn’t understand — until we were told that we could rebook our flights at the gate. Uh oh. We didn’t have enough padding in our schedule to account for this much of a delay.
So we reversed the boarding process and walked the steps down the plane and the steps back up into the airport. At the gate we were told that we could form a line and the gate attendant would attempt to find alternative flights for everyone. H immediately took off. He left the secure area to go out to the main ticket counters at the airport entrance to see what could be done there. So while jme and the boys sat patiently, I stood in gate counter line with a bunch of other passengers and tried to figure out how to get us to Tampa, Florida in time for our JetBlue flights that afternoon. I knew that if we missed our flight out of Tampa, our trip would not happen.
It still seemed possible to get to Florida. But it wasn’t.
There’s more to come… I just know that if I break without posting this first installment, it will be harder for me to carve out the time to finish it later. And I know it’s not that riveting a story to warrant a cliffhanger, so thank you for indulging me!
Reblogging a post from c4yw.wordpress.com (the official blog of the Annual Conference for Women Affected by Breast Cancer). As another young woman with breast cancer, I have touched on the dangers of BPA and other chemicals linked to cancer a number of times in my blog. This post was written by Emily, a 10 year survivor who is educating others about environmental links to (breast) cancer.
Thank you, Emily — and thank you C4YW!
~L of cancerinmythirties.wordpress.com
C4YW is just a few weeks away, and we are excited to see all of the strong, thriving young women who are planning to attend! Today the C4YW Blog is happy to introduce Emily Cousins, another young woman working hard to better herself and other survivors for her first entry! Check back as Emily shares with us her insights on the studies of the environment and breast cancer. Be sure to visit the website and register for this year’s event in Seattle!
I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 32 years old and in the ninth-month of my first pregnancy. I urged my doctors to give me aggressive treatment because I wanted to live for my new baby. Since then, I have religiously done follow up exams, had screenings, and undergone biopsies. Now, 10 years later, I am considering removing my ovaries to reduce the amount of estrogen…
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Just a quick post to let you know that tomorrow, February 5, 2013 is “Free Pancake Day” or “National Pancake Day.” Visit your local IHOP tomorrow to receive a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes and you can either accept your fluffy and delicious pancakes and be on your merry way…or make a donation to help the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals© or a local charity of your restaurant’s choosing.
“Since beginning its National Pancake Day celebration in 2006, IHOP has raised more than $10 million to support charities in the communities in which it operates. On February 5, 2013, guests from around the country will once again celebrate National Pancake Day at IHOP and enjoy a free short stack of Buttermilk pancakes. In return for the free pancakes, guests will be asked to consider leaving a donation for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals© or other designated local charities.”
Great pancakes for a great cause!
And if you still have room in your tummy, consider a stop at Pizza Hut to try their new Pizza Sliders. According to Bloomberg’s Businessweek.com, Pizza Hut will be giving away samples of it’s newest product between 4 and 7 p.m. on Tuesday. These mini pies will measure 3.5 inches across, while a personal pie is 6 inches. I’m assuming each visitor will receive a slider of their own, but you can call your local Pizza Hut for details if you are interested and don’t want to stop in without knowing the details.
Happy eating — and giving, too!
My bucket list adventure post is a work in progress, but in the meantime, I couldn’t resist this opportunity to pass along an opportunity to win a FREE pizza.
I have neglected the “Freebies & Special Deals” section of my blog, so I hope this post makes up for that a bit!
Here’s the deal: Papa John’s is giving a FREE pizza to everyone who guesses the outcome of the Super Bowl coin toss. This gives everyone who enters a 50% chance of winning a pizza!
And since they allow up to 4 entries per household, this means that as long as you live with someone, your house is guaranteed to win a FREE pizza!
It’s simple to enter. Just visit:
Then fill out the entry form. Be sure to NOT select the “yes, please send me offers and spam” boxes if you don’t want to receive future texts and emails from Papa John’s (or check them if you do — who knows, maybe there will be more free pizza offers for you?).
Make sure you select Heads or Tails at the top. If you want a guaranteed pizza, make sure the 2nd entrant chooses the opposite side of the coin.
Remember, you & your housemate/spouse/child/dog must have different email addresses or you will be disqualified. I read that up to 4 people per household could enter, but we just did 2 to play it safe.
Be sure to enter TODAY by 11:59 p.m. PST.
“Winners will receive a promotion code good for a FREE LARGE 1-TOPPING PIZZA, which can only be redeemed at papajohns.com. The promotion code will be emailed to winners on Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 by 11:59 p.m. PST.”
As a bonus, after you complete your entry, you will see a code worth 50% off a large pizza that you can use now. We priced it out to be $6.48 including tax for a large cheese. Not a bad deal!
*If you have any questions, just post them below. And if you enjoy non-cancery posts like these & would like me to do more of them, please click the LIKE button. Thanks!*