Friday, May 29, 2020

Thoughts on George Floyd Headlines

I know my last post hit a political point as well, but this needs to be said. 

With everything in the media going on, there's a lot of conversation surrounding what happened to George Floyd, the black lives matter movement, and police brutality. This is by no means new, it's not surprising, but it doesn't make it any less wrong. 

Today I re-posted on Facebook what a friend of mine said on the subject because there's little more I could add to it without making it seem redundant. After thinking about it, there are only a few things I can say from my point of view. 

1. Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter - Although I do not subscribe to the 'all lives matter' movement, I do believe that every life should be weighed equally and that ALL LIVES do in fact matter. However, I realize that would suggest that all lives started off on the same playing field, which they of course do not. Some (myself included) are more privileged than others. 

Unfortunately, history has shown that in the majority there has never been an equal start between different people (in race, religion, nationality, sex, etc). 
Women's suffrage.... did it change things? yes. Has it demolished sexism? no. 
Abolishing slavery....did it change things? yes. Has it gone away completely? nope
Civil Rights Movement....did it change things? yes. Does that mean Racism is gone? absolutely not

Where there is a clear divide in social class, there is a growing amount of life privilege, and as history has shown it is incredibly hard to get rid of no matter how hard people fight for equality.
This videos is a great example of 'Life Privilege':

2. Protests & Riots are NOT the same thing - There are so many posts going on about how people in Minneapolis are burning down stores, looting businesses in 'protest' or to 'get justice' for George Floyd. I can't even...fathom... just no people. no. I saw this video on Facebook that I agree whole heatedly with: 


Cliff notes version: 
  • Stealing TVs is not getting justice
  • Burning down a Target is not going to bring George Floyd back
  • You've just taken away jobs from people in your community that NEED it to survive
  • Destroying your own neighborhood is antithetical to what you're trying to achieve
  • Go Home
3. I am part of the problem - I am fully aware that I am a privileged white girl. Most of the reason why I don't speak up about the injustice of racial headlines is because I feel like it would by hypocritical and none of my business. I see it as the same way I see the United States getting involved in foreign conflicts -- "We're bigger, badder and better than you little country, so we'll just come over and fight your war for you". No. Don't be a dick about it U.S.A. And I refuse to be a dick either and butt in when I've not been asked to.

But I'm beginning to realize now through other people's posts that me staying silent is perpetuating the problem. I'm inadvertently accepting racism as the status quote by not speaking out or acting on my beliefs- It's wrong. Police Brutality is wrong. The fact that racism is still alive and kicking is wrong. People say that racism is 'getting worse' and that's SO not true.
In a era where everything is documented on social media with videos and pictures, it's getting harder for people to ignore. Hate crimes continue to be caught on film and spread on the internet like wild fire. Each time it doesn't mean there's more of it in the world, it just means that people are wise enough to film what is happening and spread awareness.  

I myself have not publicly witnessed anything like the brutal death of George Floyd, but I have been in the presence of people who make racial slurs and comments. The only thing I have done up until now has been to scoff and call them out on their racist comments. Best believe THAT isn't going to stop anytime soon. I will continue to speak up about how distasteful those slurs are, but now I have the job as a parent to make sure that my little boy knows that while he is so blessed, others are not as lucky and it will be up to us to try and end the cycle along with so many others.

(Thank you Adam, for the following article on this subject:

I will have to warn my son about the injustices that surround people of racial minorities, people of colour, and that it is wrong. I will teach him to have the courage to speak up against these injustices & how that may save someone's life and make him a superhero in another mother's eyes. 

In the end, I know now that I'm not 'fighting others battles'. I am refusing to be complacent & I'm promising to teach my son not to be complacent either. The Cycle must end. There has to be a better future for our kids, especially for black men and women who fear for their lives because of dipshit bigots. 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Worst Apocalypse Ever

So besides the fact that there's a raging disease circling the earth and there are no zombies, no dystopian futuristic happenings, things still aren't looking good... 

All of the preparing mega nerds did, having thoughts of 'What would I do in this situation?' when watching World War Z, Contagion, The Purge, etc has simply gone to waste thus far during this global pandemic. BUT WAIT! There's still time!


According to the recent announcement in the UK, from Monday people may now gather in groups of up to 6 people in gardens or other privately owned outdoor spaces, provided they keep 2 metres apart. There is more guidance on this than from any other press junket, but it still seems like bloody common sense to me: 
  • "Try to avoid seeing people from too many households in quick secession" to help "avoid the risk of transmission from lots of different families"
  • Those deemed most vulnerable should still isolate themselves
  • People still need to be vigilant in maintaining good hygiene and social distancing 
Duh.

It's safe to say from my previous posts that I will not be going out and enjoying any backyard BBQs anytime soon. 

I think it's nice that people are able to see their friends and family again--to boost moral, manage signs of depression, spend time with loved ones whom are having a hard time, etc. But I also think that this change to regulations is coming too soon, especially with previous lock down adjustments (surely people should have been able to see their families first in private gardens before being allowed to exercise with members of another household in public outdoor spaces where let's face it, after the restriction changed was a bit more packed than usual). 

Until there is significant change in the rate of infection and it looks like this thing can finally be beat, I will be earring on the side of caution. As much as I want to see my loved ones and be social again, I think the risk outweighs that desire. 

My anxiety has been through the roof anyway and I think that being near other people (even distancing) in a private social gathering would set me off more than just simply staying home and using skype/zoom/video messenger to see people. All it would take is for a friend to invite me to a BBQ, where one of the 6 people have not been social distancing properly, or picked up COVID during a supermarket shop and from plating up food, to eating someone hasn't washed their hands and I've contracted it unknowingly. 

In my opinion, part of the reason this adjustment is happening now is because there's been quite the scandal going on with one of the Prime Minister's chief advisors, Dominic Cummings.

The above Facebook 'Event' has been created to make light of the current headlines.


Long story short, a civil servant broke the law. On March 27th, Dominic Cummings drove roughly 260 miles with his family to be with relatives when his wife developed COVID-19 symptoms

There's a lot of other BS involved in it and it looks so much like a political cover up, but the main point is that prime minister Boris Johnson went on record in a press conference right after the press had a conniption fit about this scandal, and he defended Cummings actions saying, "I do not mark him down for that"... "He has acted, responsibly, and legally, and with integrity."

Well that's a bunch of bull because the prime minister himself has told the British population on live television the contrary multiple times: 
  • March 16th: "If you or anyone in your household has one of those two symptoms [high temperature or new and continuous cough] then you should stay at home for fourteen days." 

  • March 18th: "Everyone. EVERYONE must follow the advice to protect themselves and their families, but also more importantly to protect the wider public. So STAY AT HOME for 7 days if you think you have symptoms...whole household to stay at home for 14 days if one member of that household thinks that he/she has the symptoms... "

  • March 23rd: " You must stay at home, because the critical thing we must do to stop the disease spreading between households. That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes: ...[shopping for essentials, exercise, to help vulnerable people, to travel to work]... That's all..... You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home."

Ergo, the British people are maaaaaaad and for good reason. The commoners are told to do one thing while the elite are allowed to do another? Smells like Favoritism to me. 


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The chompers have started coming in

So we've just been having so much fun with all things medical, why not carry on?

Over the last few days Rob ans I have noticed that our little chomper seems to be sprouting a pretty sharp vamping fang. That is to say...Henry is getting his first tooth.

He's been groaning and drooling, exhibiting red cheeks etc and chewing on all of the things for a good long while now, but it hasn't been until this week when a tiny sharp obtrusion popped up. There's definitely a lot more crying (my poor baby). I was so thankful that the penicillin he was prescribed doesn't effect his ability to have any liquid pain killers at the same time.

So we give him liquid paracetamol, as well as teething gel to numb it, and let him chew chew chew till his hearts content. We have several options for him:

  • Monkey teething mitten, with one ribbed & one dotted silicone flap to massage the gums
  • his 'keys' which are a ring of 3 plastic/silicone soft gel filled keys that are meant to be popped in the freezer to add extra relief. Truth be told, we can't really get him off of them long enough to go freeze them 
  • a comfort blanket or anything fabric...normal blanket, burp cloth, his soft fabric baby rattle...he just sucks on anything he comes close to that he can fit in his mouth
  • a while ago I crocheted a bunch of teething biscuits--two oval shaped pieces sewn together. we soak the yarn biscuits with water then pop in the freezer. The water inside the pocket between the two pieces freezes into a thin ice chip and makes in nice to chew on. Henry loves them.


Of course the other thing we have to consider now that his first toothy has arrive is brushing it! Thankfully a while back I saw an offer on baby toothbrush/toothpaste and I bought one of each in anticipation. Here's a short compilation video of his first brushing tooth experience.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Clear skin... "I don't think"

When we first brought Mush home from the hospital we thought he was going to have my lovely soft, pale, smooth skin. He didn't have all the baby rashes and spots from being left a bit sticky or snotty, the way some kids do, so I thought the McClellan side fought through.

Low and behold, nope, the Vidler eczema gene recently cropped up.

We first noticed the back on his left knee getting a bit red and blotchy around the same time the weather started getting nicer. We thought, he runs hot anyway so the back of his knee where the heavy baby fat creases are must be sweating overtime. We made sure to wash him a bit more carefully and dress him in some cooler clothes for bedtime.

It started getting worse towards the weekend when the surgeries were closed when we thought 'maybe we should have a doctor look at him to see if he's developing eczema'. By the time the working week came around, we didn't bother ringing the doctors because it looked like it was clearing up. Maybe it was just a combination of poor washing and the heat.


These are pictures of his Left Arm on 8 different days.
But then it got worse, and it was starting to effect the back of both of his knees and his left elbow crease. Sometimes it would be more dry and he would itch it like crazy. Then the left side leg/arm got red, we thought it was going  red from him scratching it all the time. We tried to moisturize it when it got dry & flaky. Then when it got red and inflamed we tried putting tea tree oil to help with the inflammation. Hoping the combination of drying out the infection, then moisturizing it would make it go away but it didn't.

His left & right legs, on 4 different days.
When we got round to the idea the second time to ring the doctor it was the weekend again, and a bank holiday one at that so Friday and Monday the surgery was closed as well. I felt so bad. His little arm and legs (and parts of his face) continued to get worse and no matter how many times I had to remind myself 'I need to ring the surgery when I get a minute' the next minute I was distracted with something else. That's the curse of the life of a parent I'm beginning to realize -- baby brain is NOT JUST for when you have a newborn. This may be a reoccurring theme for the next 18+ years.

[Short Side Story: It's mums and dads alike that get baby brain. Rob isn't the greatest at remembering things at the best of times, but he has some major baby brain along with me. One time, as he was headed out the door, I asked him to roll the recycling bin down to the end of the drive for the bin man to collect that morning. He acknowledged it and said he would, finished putting on his shoes, picked up his keys and was out the door 30 seconds to a minute later. Yep--you guessed it. He drove off and forgot to wheel the bin down. Baby Brain....it happens to everyone. I mean, the other day I left my keys in the door for a good 24/48 hours (on the outside...where anyone could walk up and break in or take them for later) before Rob pointed it out to me. No wonder we're rubbish at our Saturday night Skype Pub Quizzes. We can't retain the simplest of life skill information, let alone retain facts.]

Anyway, I finally remembered to ring the doctor for an appointment on Tuesday, had to do it over the phone due to social distancing but i got a call later that day after requesting an appointment. The doctor asked me some questions over the phone, then she sent me a link to a place where I could upload pictures of the effected areas, and after assessing the pictures I sent she called me back to discuss a course of action.

Mush mush did in fact have eczema, and it had been infected at that. She rattled off a list of all sorts of things that she was going to prescribe for him to help with it as well as instructions on how and when to use them as doctors do. It sounded like I was going to picking up half the pharmacy over the phone, but it ended up being just four things:

  • Flucloxicillin (Contains Penicillin)- 4x a day, to treat the infection
  • Hydrocortisone Cream- x2 a day to help the infection
  • Liquid Bath Emollient - for his bath water to keep skin hydrated
  • Cream Emollient -  To use as a body wash instead of normal soaps


The first two we were told to give it to him for a whole week, and the bath/body wash emollient we're supposed to use long term for his eczema to prevent flare ups. Today's the last day and I have to say that Flucloxicillin is one of 'The Good Drugs'. Besides the fact that it's a nasty pink liquid that he HATES having to swallow, it's been a miracle worker.

Below are pictures of his worst spots (from left to right: his left elbow, behind his right knee, behind his left knee) the day before we started his medicine, and then after. We got meds Tuesday night and only gave him 1 dose before putting him to bed. The second row of pictures is from Wednesday morning, roughly 12 hours after we gave him the first dose, and then the third row are the same areas after giving him 'a day's worth' or 4 doses.

We've had to space it out in between his feeds which is annoying (the bottle instructions say it has to be taken on an empty stomach so you can't eat anything for 2 hours before, and for 1 hour after --but that was NOT happening with my son who likes to eat every 2 hours). We had to do an 'every hour' feeding (except for nap times)...whether that was drugs or food....to make sure he got in all his dosages and didn't kick up an absolutely hangry crank.

It was interesting, when I picked up the meds from the pharmacy the employee there had to check that this was indeed for my 7 month old son because they normally don't give anything with penicillin to under 3 year olds unless it's very severe. Yep...it's bad, it's infected, the doctor prescribed it to him...so hand over the drugs lady! It just made me realize that what my poor little mush was suffering from was seriously bad.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

My Mental Health vs. A Global Pandemic

This lock down has got me feeling some type of way so lets talk about mental health....

Let me start by saying that the current state of the world has got people showing signs of mental health issues who didn't think they suffered before. It has also brought out the worst in people with existing conditions, or have them exhibiting new behaviors/ticks/feelings. There are SO many people suffering all over the world physically and mentally, and I know that my story is just small potatoes in comparison to the global suffering.

That being said, the longer lock down goes on, the worse my mental state is. I find that I have more low mood days now, which is understandable given everything that is going on, but I feel like it's too much for me some days. If it builds up enough I get angry and tearful and I have to wait, sometimes hours for Rob to get home from work or a run so I can finally hide away and cry it out of my system so I can carry on taking care of Henry day to day.

I get sad about the state of the world. I get concerned for my safety, my family's safety & the safety of my friends. I get worried what will happen if Rob or I bring something home to each other or Mush because we didn't take every precaution. I get overprotective of my mum who's self isolated, when she was such a social person before. I get angry when people take the lock down lightly and continue to go out like nothing is wrong. I get upset because the more idiots decide to risk it, the higher the risk of the infection rate going up which will means we stay in lock down longer and I (and many other people I know) have to suffer with heightened depression and anxiety.

I watched the Drag Race reunion show today, which normally would be prerecorded in studio earlier this week. They did it via Video chat because as it was said on the show... "It DO take Nerve to Flatten the Curve". Nerve to stay home and beat this virus. 

Even though our government allows us going out multiple times a day for exercise, I rarely exercise (pun intended) that right. If I want to exercise, I can do yoga at home. I'd rather stay safe, at home, in my own little bubble and take extra precautions. It almost feels a little OTT the precautions I've taken (sanitizing and wiping down outside door fixings & bins on trash collection days, washing hands immediately after touching envelopes or packages, wearing gloves/mask when I have to go into a supermarket/pharmacy for supplies, etc), but someone had to remind me that those are relatively normal reactions for right now.

As well as my postpartum & pandemic induced depression, my anxiety is off the charts to the point where my medication is barely touching the surface. It seems like every time I think I'm in a good rhythm the past few years, something life changing comes in and smacks me in the face. My dad getting sick, harassment and bullying at work, having a baby, and now a global pandemic.

This was me on one of my bad days. I had to lay
down outside, cry it out & watch kpop music videos
to cheer myself up. Hubby snuck a photo of me.
I've noticed old ticks that I had pretty much under control creeping back into my life. Example, when I feel super anxious, I start fiddling my fingers--the most destructive behavior is picking at spots/scabs/imperfections on my skin (mostly my cuticles/fingernails). I have this thing about having my skin/hair be 'perfect' and it started in my childhood that I would get upset over a stray wisp of hair being out of place. In the teenage acne years I would hate spots/scabs/abrasions and would pick my skin raw, until the spot was perfectly smooth, and then cover the red with makeup so it looked like perfect smooth skin. 

Through CBT and medication, I thought i had those ticks under control, or at least i would recognize when I started to pick and would force myself to stop. With the pandemic, I've noticed this behavior not only starting again, but it's gotten worse. I've absentmindedly started doing this everywhere...not just the cuticles on my hands, but on my feet which is new. The thing that scares me is that I've started projecting this on to my son.

Henry's had a bad flair up of eczema(more on that later), and I've noticed myself itching to pick at his scabs/flaking skin/etc. It really didn't help that I gave myself permission to do it to some extent- the fibers from his clothes would get stuck in his wounds and I would pick at his abrasions to get the little fibers unstuck so the wound wouldn't heal over trapping them inside and risk it getting more infected. I'm fully justified in doing so, but i'm also really ashamed of myself at the same time.

I think, "should I have a consultation with my doctor to get on a higher dosage?", but then again, one of my anxieties is inconveniencing people and with everything going on right now, I don't think me suffering a little bit more than normal is worth bugging NHS staff.

I just wish people will stop being stupid. Stop going out with friends. Stop going to the beach. Stop putting yourself and others at risk for one afternoon of selfish behavior. And just because restrictions are being eased doesn't mean you HAVE to exercise your right to do something. Use your head, let common sense flood you and realize that we are in a state of survival. If you don't HAVE to do something, then don't do it people. You may want to do something....you may have the right to do so....but is it necessary?

Thursday, May 21, 2020

How I Met Your Father...

In one of my previous posts I touched on the subject of a band called The City Drive...without whom I don't know if I would be in England right now.

I get asked quite a bit how I came to live in England:, 'why did you move?', 'where are you from?' 'Why would you leave Sunny California to come HERE?'

Well kids, this is the story of how I met Smushy's father:

I was 17 and promoting my favorite band, The City Drive. On their Myspace page I spotted this cute emo kid from England and my little heart yelped.

I comment on his post on the City Drive's Myspace page and added him as a friend. We started talking about the band first, then it developed into more. I said how I loved and wanted to visit the UK, and he said the same about visiting America. We made a promise to one another that if we had enough money to visit either country, we would put the other one up at our house.

We communicated with each other nearly every day, sending each other private messages on Myspace, and even wrote each other 'old fashioned love letters' in the post. I still have those letters actually. it's funny to look back on them now and see what a softie Ben was when he's infatuated with someone.

Fast forward to when I turned 18 and graduated from highschool....

My grandmother had set aside money every year on her grandchildrens' birthdays for them to access later in life. It went through the ups and downs of stocks so when we each accessed our money was our choice and we all got different amounts.
There were 3 stipulations to access the money:
1. We had to be 18
2. We had to graduate from high school  and get our diploma
3. We had to use the money on something *worth* it. Not just blow it on food, or drink, or gambling, or something superfluous.

I decided that I wanted to use the money to go on a trip to England for a little over a month to go visit Ben. So I asked him if he was serious about his offer to come let me stay with him. He said yes, and I started planning my trip to go see him in the English countryside.

Little did I know, that my parents (overprotective as they were) would meet Ben before I did. Whilst I was planning my trip, mum and dad had already planned a trip to Paris and London for themselves and went out there before I did.

On the letters that Ben wrote me, it had his phone number and address on the letter head. My parents had google mapped his address to prove he wasn't cat-fishing me and he did actually live where he said he did, but they weren't okay with me going out on my own to meet 'this guy Ben'. So, while they were in London, they called the phone number on the letter head and spoke to Ben's parents. Basically the conversation went something like this, or so I've been told:

My parents: Hi, This may seem a bit strange but we're the parents of Jennifer. She's been talking with your son Ben online?

Ben's Parents: Oh Jennifer! Yes, we know they have.

My parents: We understand you are okay with Jennifer coming out and staying with you?

Ben's Parents: Oh yes! It's absolutely fine!

My Parents: Well, we are in London for a few days and we wondered if we could come out to you, to meet you and Ben and make sure it's safe and still okay that Jen comes to visit you.

Ben's parents: Yes, absolutely! We can have lunch! When's good for you? We can pick you up from the train station. Do you know how to get to us?


Blah blah blah....So THAT happened. They met Ben before I did, but I didn't know about it until after the fact when he messaged me online and said "Uuuh....your parents are at my house." I went mental. In hindsight I know they just wanted to make sure I would be safe abroad, on my own, for the first time in my life, but as a 19 year old I was fuming that my parents didn't trust me to do my own fact checking.

That aside, in June 2009 I went on my first adventure abroad in England. It was an amazing trip, I got to see lots of English countryside, see some well known sights, and meet some of Ben's friends while I lived at his parents' place.


SIDE NOTE: While looking for pictures for this blog, I was reminded that before I even moved to England to live here, I made a short appearance on British Radio! One of Ben's mates was a DJ for Youthcomm Radio at the time, and so one day while Ben was at work, I went and hung out with Adam and got to be on the Radio one afternoon. Moderately cool fact.

Anyway, despite spending so much time with Ben over the summer and thinking that we were 'boyfriend and girlfriend' (FYI according to him we weren't) I sung a different tune when Ben took me to a house party and I met Robert James Vidler.

Rob was (and still is) one of Ben's closest high school friends. He was 'funniest boy in year 11' so he was the jokester of the group. On the way to the party we picked up Rob from Hereford train station and I can remember meeting him there for the first time. In the car he talked about how he had just finished his final performance piece at school. He said he went to theatre school in Birmingham and that he had to perform a monologue as part of his final assessment.

When he mentioned acting, he piqued my interest. The whole night I kind of hung around him, as well as Ben, because Rob was fun to talk to. He even made some cheesy pick up line that I'll never forget. He said I was the 3rd hottest girl at the party in terms of looks, but the 1st hottest in personality. Not the smoothest thing to say to a girl you just met who's maybe kind of dating your best friend, but it made me laugh and it was endearing that he tried to save himself with the neg.

As the party raged on, I felt Ben ignored me more to hang out with his bros, I got drunker off Scrumpy Jack Cider (urg, never again), and Rob became more and more interesting. To the point where we ended up kissing in his section of the group tent we had set up for the night.

Things between me and Ben didn't quite work out. As I said before, he never really saw us as dating. I think I was just a bit of strange -- that American girl who was good for a bit of fun, until he got bored and found someone new. I got home from California and found a friendly message in my inbox from Robert James Vidler, which was timely because the few days after I got back Ben had changed his status from 'Single' to 'In a Relationship'...with another girl, not me.

I was distraught, but Rob was there on Myspace/messenger/Facebook to pick up the pieces of my broken heart and show me that not all Englishmen are pricks.

We messaged each other every day, using Myspace to start, then Instant messenger, and Facebook and eventually moved to Skype. Rob had to sequester his brother's laptop that had a built in camera so we could skype, but eventually he bought his own so that we could have more time to video message one another. We also discovered Rebtel - a phone service that uses routing numbers to call other countries so you didn't have to pay international calling charges.  


We talked about him coming to visit me, so I saved money, did my driving test, & got a car so I could show him the sights around LA. When we talked about me coming over to visit him, he did the same for me. He took driving lessons, and passed his test so that when I came out, he was ready to take me places.


Less than 6 months after we first met, in Januray/February of 2010 Rob came out to California to spend some time with me. While we were together, we decided to start dating, and we spent our first Valentine's day together



Then in December 2010-January 2011 I went to England to visit Rob and stay with his family for Christmas and New Years. Fun fact: It was the first Christmas in a very long time in England where it snowed on Christmas day... I for sure thought that every Christmas would be like that one, but no. That was a fluke. The snow is a lie!


Anyway, in January Rob and I took a trip to Ireland to visit some of his extended family in Kilkenny and spend a weekend in Dublin while we were there. It was then that Rob proposed to me. We got to our Dublin Hotel and while I was looking around the room to see a bottle of Champagne and chocolates on the dresser, he was getting down on one knee behind me. Turns out he got his aunt who lives just outside of Dublin to plant the treats in our hotel room before we arrived. 

Going home to California after that, leaving my new fiancee was one of the hardest airport goodbyes (the only other time was saying goodbye to my frail, dying father -6 months before he passed- after our last family holiday. In that moment I thought I would never get the chance to hug him again...and even then I couldn't hug him the way I wanted to because his body hurt so much. It broke me).  


But it was time to start planning the wedding which we set for the date we 1st met - July 8th - of that year. We planned a wedding in less than 6 months and on July 8th, 2011 we were married in California. 
Photo Credit: Cherie Starke


People comment on how we went from knowing each other to being married SUPER quickly. In the space of 2 years we actually only visited each other 2 times. It's true, those two times were for like a month each visit and we lived with each other in our parents' respective houses so we were 'living' together, but people forget that before seeing and hearing each other through calls and video chatting we just texted & wrote letters. We messaged back and forth and got to know one another in detail EVERY DAY: what our favourite things were, chatting about ideals and philosophies, sharing funny stories of our childhoods, etc. 

Whenever I got a letter in the post from Rob my heart fluttered and it brought us closer together to smell each other's cologne/perfume on the envelopes so we could feel like the other was right there with us. I think I also stole a pair of his boxer shorts when he came to visit me so that I could wear them as short shorts/PJs -- is that weird? That sounds weird and stalkerish, but it was comforting to know I had something of his until we were together again.



For two years, besides the time we spent living with each other and our families, we had no physical contact and instead we had to rely on getting to know one another intellectually. We knew that we were meant for each other pretty early on because of the conversations we were able to have and how easy it was to just talk to one another.


That's not to say there haven't been trials over the years, but we got through them and now we have a beautiful son after a decade of knowing each other, and nearly 9 years of marriage. 


I remember a comment that was made to me about going to visit Ben... I was warned, something to the effect of 'You know it's not going to be like The Holiday, right?' meaning that I shouldn't expect some cheesy romantic comedy movie about falling in love with a fit Englishman. Well, I certainly didn't get that with Ben, but I did fall in love with a fit Irishman instead. And I wouldn't have had it any other way. 



Tuesday, May 19, 2020

a brief intro to my brothers

"Now here's a little story, I've got to tell... about three bad brothers you know so well."
-Beastie Boys, Paul Revere

So, I grew up with three older brothers and there are many a story to tell, but I thought I'd introduce my readers to my brothers in a few sentences.


This is Steven: 

Nine years older than me, the youngest of the boys. Steven is married and has 4 children now, which I'm not sure is the smartest move with his track record. Steven....is almost as accident prone as Mr Bump. He's nearly blown up the microwave by leaving marshmallows in there just a little to long. He almost lit my other brother/his car on fire by wanting to burn off the excess gas with a match while the gas was still dripping from the opening. There was also one time he 'parked' on a slight incline to put a gate code in, and forgot to put his handbrake on... then proceeded to try and stop the car rolling back by sheer force and ended up getting a bit bumped and bruised.

Anyway, I digress.... Steven, when I was a kid, was the one I looked up to the most. We had the most in common...sort of. I ended up liking a lot of things that he liked. He would listen to certain bands (Aquabats, Vertical Horizon, REM, etc) and I would listen with him and started liking what I was hearing... so I guess I developed a bit of his music taste. He was also the nicest one to babysit me--like the one time we carved pumpkins on Halloween while listening to Smashing Pumpkins. :) He was the one who introduced me to weird unusual nerd things like Homestarrunner.com , Napoleon Dynamite, and The Vlogbrothers.


This is Greg: 

He is slightly less than a year older than Steven, the middle of the three boys. Greg is married with 3 kids and since he had his first little one, he was winning in the 'favourite family' category. Between him and his wife, they are the medical professionals in the family and they have the whole tough but fair love parenting style down, which is something I use as an example in my parenting style.

When I was younger Greg was the one who taught me how to play soccer (football)...but he was also the one who liked to pelt his little sister with a paintball gun.There was a time when I idolized Greg and followed him around like a little puppy... maybe that was the phase of him being nice to me. Who knows? Now a days, he's low on the totem pole because whenever he and my husband are together it becomes a 'let's take the piss out of Jennifer' day cause...BANTER. Yeah, not impressed. I usually ignore them trying to get a rise out of me and go hang out with Greg's wife in solidarity of  having to deal with our moronic husbands.


This is Jason: 


He's the eldest boy and eldest child of the family-It's weird to think he's passed forty now. He has a wonderful wife and 1 son. Growing up he was my least favorite brother. He would drag me across the floor giving me carpet burn when he babysat me because I refused to go to bed (fair).....so at the time I resented him. Everything suddenly changed when we went on a Cruise with my family & my brothers wives in 2010.


Jason had moved out when I was quite young; he was a bit of a rebel with his smoking and gothy-ness and disobeying of mom and dads house rules. He left home and moved out to the east coast with some friends and ended up making a life for himself out there. It turns out he's the only other one in my family who drinks (alcohol), and one of our ports of call on this cruise was in Canada where the drinking age was 19, which meant I was legal at the time. So, Jason and I ditched the family, and went for a drink together in an irish pub, next to a celtic shop that we saw in town. We caught up on nearly a decade of each other's lives and it turns out... we're not that different and we get along quite well. BONUS: His son might also be my favourite nephew and favorite little besides my own son.