Posts Filed Under Ramblings

Bessie

posted by Momo Fali on March 2, 2009

When I turned 16 years old, my mom bought me a used car from one of her co-workers. After she brought it home, I gleefully jumped inside to go for my first solo ride.

I went exactly two blocks before the power steering went out as I was turning a corner. All you modern youngsters may not know what I’m talking about, but when the power steering went out on a car made in the mid-seventies, you were no longer trying to drive an automobile. I would compare it to a cruise ship…or maybe a planet. A planet whose orbit you are trying to control with only the power of your biceps.

I got my second car a couple of weeks later (yet, for all intents and purposes it was really my first…two blocks does not a first car make). It was a hand-me-down from my pregnant sister, who could no longer climb over the center console to get to the driver’s seat. Why didn’t she just open the driver-side door? Because it didn’t open. At all.

It was a 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass, and that door wasn’t the only thing that malfunctioned. One time, I went to make a left-hand turn and the entire turn signal stick broke off and fell to the floor. I couldn’t drive over 55 mph without the tape cassette ejecting and flying into the back seat, and once when I was unlocking the only working door, the entire lock mechanism came out with my key.

My mom often tells stories about her first car. She had three young kids when some people from her work felt sorry for her and gave her a very old, very used jalopy. There were no seats in the back so my sisters had to stand, which had an added hazard because there was also a hole in the floor. And, and those three young kids could often be seen giving the car a push to get it started.

Speaking of pushing…my cousin’s first car had a broken gas gauge. Since she was old enough to drive, and I wasn’t, guess who got to push it every time it ran out of gas?

I went through three other used cars before, in 1997, I bought my first new car and have been driving it ever since. It’s the only car my kids have ever known me to drive and they have affectionately named her, “Bessie”.

Coming home from school the other day, Bessie was making some strange sounds when I looked in the rear-view mirror and said to the kids, “Bessie is getting old. I don’t know how much longer she’ll be running.”

My 10 year old daughter matter-of-factly said, “Well, when we get a new car we still have to keep this one.”

I laughed. “No. We won’t be keeping this one. Why would we do that?”

“I don’t know. Just so we could look at it, I guess. Can’t we keep it in the driveway?”

I replied, “No. We can’t keep it in the driveway. We don’t have room in the driveway to keep cars just so we can look at them.”

She said, “Aw! That really stinks!” She was genuinely upset about it.

But, what she doesn’t know is that I’m planning to drive Bessie for five-and-a-half more years…so it will be in perfect condition to hand over to my daughter as her very first car.

Hear Me, Touch Me

posted by Momo Fali on February 27, 2009

My six year old son has always dealt with sensory issues. He was in occupational therapy for years because of problems eating foods with certain textures and for his mental battle with being touched. As far as touch goes, he’s now on the opposite end of the sensory spectrum and can’t seem to keep his hands off anyone showing bare skin.

But there is another issue that the therapists don’t know how to deal with. He gags. A lot.

Now I’m not talking about gagging when he doesn’t like how mashed potatoes feel in his mouth. We’ve moved past that. I’m talking about gagging when a bike helmet strap rests under his chin, or when he’s wearing a turtleneck, or when he’s in a wedding and is supposed to wear a bow-tie. One time he was a ring bearer and wouldn’t wear the tuxedo tie, jacket OR vest. We couldn’t even button up his shirt. He came down the aisle resembling Eric Estrada, minus the chest hair.

When he has a cold it’s even worse, as he proved the other day during his quarterly hearing test.

At the ENT’s office, the audiologist had put my son in a sound-proof room and placed large headphones on his ears. These were the same headphones he’s worn many times before…but, the other times he didn’t have a cold.

Never mind that it was Fat Tuesday and my kid arrived at the doctor’s office wearing FIVE beaded necklaces around his neck. He likes to keep me guessing about what will really bother him, so I didn’t see it coming when the pressure from the headphones made him start gagging.

I could see him through a window and I quickly ran into the room and took the headphones off, as he began pulling on the collars of his shirt and undershirt, trying hard to get them away from his neck. I started unbuttoning his oxford to remove it as I explained to the audiologist what was going on.

We then tried putting the headphones on and letting the wires run down his back, thinking it could’ve been those wires touching his chin or neck that bothered him. No go. He gagged again and pulled on his undershirt collar, so I took that off too.

We finally figured out that he was okay doing a test with ear buds instead of the big headphones, but I had to hold all the wires behind his head so they weren’ t touching him in any way.

And in the middle of the hearing test his other sensory issue…his love of bare skin…reared its ugly head.

There I was with my hands full of wires, staring down at my half-naked kid who couldn’t hear a word I said…as I helplessly watched him rub his own nipples.

Catholic Cliffs Notes – Ash Wednesday

posted by Momo Fali on February 25, 2009

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I said I don’t talk about religion? Well, scratch that. I saw a lot of comments on the internet last night from people who were confused by Lent. Never fear! Momo is here! Here to set you heathens straight.

Let’s start with Ash Wednesday, because well…it’s today, and if you see people walking around with ashes on their foreheads, you won’t just think they need to bathe.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Roman Catholic church, which is the 40 day period of preparation before Easter. For those of you who think Catholics can’t count and say, “You people drink too much! There are 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter!”, that’s because Sundays don’t count. It’s kind of like kissing your grandma, in that you probably kissed her first, but you don’t consider her your first kiss. Some things just don’t count.

Ash Wednesday is a day of fast. Many Catholics will take the money that they would have spent on food and give it to the poor. Though, you know…recession. The act of fasting allows us to begin this period of reflection with a clean slate. It is a form of penance for our sins. It also makes most of us grumpy and gives us bad breath.

At Ash Wednesday Mass, the priest, or deacon or someone else authorized to do so, will take ashes made from burning the palms from last year’s Palm Sunday Mass and put a cross on the congregant’s forehead and say, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

This is to remind us to shape up real quick-like before St. Peter meets us at the pearly gates and says, “Sorry ’bout your luck.”

So for 40 days and nights we reflect. We think about our sins, we fast, we pray, we give alms and we repent. A lot of Catholics offer up sacrifices. I am giving up chocolate. Mm-hmm. That’s right. Just when the Girl Scout cookies get delivered too. This is why my Fat Tuesday dessert consisted of chocolate molten lava cake with ice cream and Reese’s Cups on top. What?

When it gets hard to bear…like when your husband eats an entire sleeve of Thin Mints in your face…you remember Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, think about how you have sinned against Him and try not to smack your husband. Then you can offer up that you didn’t eat the chocolate AND you didn’t smack your husband. That’s a Catholic two-fer.

If you see someone with ashes on their forehead today (including me) now you will know why. We are reminding ourselves that we won’t be on this earth forever and we need to be sorry for our sins. It may not hurt you to remind yourself of that as well. Catholic or not, you can’t deny that life is short and good morals aren’t so bad.

So, if you see us, we don’t care if you stare at our ashes, but don’t get close enough to smell our breath. Fair warning.

Tired

posted by Momo Fali on February 23, 2009

There comes a point as an insomniac where you learn to live with a lack of sleep. You become accustomed to needing a cup of coffee to get you through the afternoon, but not before you have tried drinking tea because everyone who knows anything about insomnia knows you shouldn’t drink coffee in the middle of the day. I digress.

I digress because I’m typing this at such a level of exhaustion that my brain convinced me (albeit for a split second, but still…) that maybe I could prop my eyelids open with toothpicks. I also briefly considered creating my own Red Bull eyedrops.

Since Tuesday (it’s Sunday night now…I think it’s Sunday), I have slept a total of 19 hours. That’s 19 hours in five nights if my mind is working right, which it isn’t. All I know is that it’s less than four resting hours a day if you average it, and you have no idea how long it took me to do that math.

Once upon a time, I used to climb in bed at 10:00 p.m., fall asleep within a minute, and stay that way until 6:45 a.m. Almost nine blissful hours of sleep every night. That was before kids. That was when my only responsibility was me.

Seeing as how my responsibilities have greatly increased, I have learned to live a slumberless life. A life in which I stumble about like a drunk half the time. It’s not easy, but I manage. It is one of many sacrifices that I’ve made as a parent, and because I love my kids my zombie-like state is worth it.

But seriously, where did I put those toothpicks?