Going To The Mattresses


 

 

 

I’ve never seen “The Godfather”. But, I have seen “You’ve Got Mail”. Many, many times. In the movie, Meg Ryan’s character, Kathleen, is at odds with a big businessman named Joe Fox, whose company is about to put her’s under.  Unbeknownst to the both of them, they are each other’s secret online love interests.  Joe Fox, played by Tom Hanks replies with the following message to Kathleen when she asked him for business advice:

“Go to the mattresses. You’re at war. It’s not personal, it’s business. It’s not personal its business. Recite that to yourself every time you feel you’re losing your nerve. I know you worry about being brave, this is your chance. Fight. Fight to the death!”

This post was a tricky one to write.  There are so many variations of what it means to fight.  You can fight for an injustice, for someone’s well-being, or for something you believe in. My family has been tackling some of those lately.


My first lesson about “Going to the Mattresses”

For my entire life, I have been terrible at all sports. Awful. I have no business being on any sort of field or court in a competitive setting.  However, in 7th grade, I signed up to play on our middle school soccer team.  Every sport I had played leading up to this, I had been coached by my dad or his friends at the rec department.  That wasn’t the case this time.

During one match, our team was winning 7-0 and we were in the final minutes of the game.  The coach called my name for the first time that day and put me in as fullback.  The whistle blew and an opposing wing came at me with the ball.  I managed to take it away and kick it in the opposite direction.  A few seconds later the whistle blew again and I had been replaced.  As I came off the field I saw my dad get out of the car and start walking towards our sideline.  I thought “he’s probably coming to tell me what a great job I did, kicking that ball away.” I was mistaken.

“Darci! Get your shit, we’re going home!” I stopped in my tracks, shocked.  He didn’t stop there though.  He then turned to the coach.  “Hey!  You’ve got an awful lot to learn about coaching!” he said.  “You’re up 7-0, and you can’t leave her in there for more than 30 seconds?  You’ve been playing your first string the entire game!”

That was the end of my soccer career.  I was so embarrassed.  I remember crying and dreading going to school the next day.  We are from a very small town where everyone knows everyone.  I knew kids and their parents would be talking about it. Later on that night, dad came to have a talk with me about what had happened.  I believe this was after he had had a phone call with my former coach.  While I don’t remember his exact words, the moral of the story was “That wasn’t right.  That’s not how to be a good coach.  And she needed to know how I felt” My dad lacks subtlety, at times.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  But, I’ll never forget that day and the lesson I learned. He fought for what he believed.  It’s a story I tell often.


 

Our family has fought our share battles recently. All of the varying levels of intensity and for different reasons. Some have been fought as a group and some have been taken on singularly, and even internally.

My mom, for example, has fought for my step-dad every day since September 1st.  He was in a car accident and has been in the hospital since then.  Most of the time he hasn’t been fully awake.  She has fought for an adequate level of care. She has fought to keep him alive, more than I believe the doctors have since the first days after the accident.   She has been at the hospital (with the exception of when my brothers’ accident happened) every day she could since the beginning.  My mom with her vigilante style bedside monitoring, and her demand for answers.  She’s fought real hard.   He woke up last week, and I got a phone call from him. He said, “What’s going on, kid?”  That’s always how he started a phone call with me. It was probably the most amazing phone call I’ve ever gotten in my life.  Unfortunately, he did have a bump in his recovery road a couple of days after that phone call.  But, he’s still here.  He’s still fighting.

Today is the 3-month mark since JJ’s accident.  There is no way for anyone to really understand what he must battle with every day.  There’s no way to measure how much he has to fight on a daily basis.  Even in his first days in the hospital, the doctors and nurses all talked about how tenacious he was.  How much strength and determination he had.  And all that was said before he was able to talk.  My family knew he had all that in him.  But I never truly noticed the degree of it until then.  When he would insist on doing things himself when he had 6 very willing family members in his room to help.  When he would surpass every expectation the doctors had set.  Stand with almost full weight on a leg that he doesn’t have full feeling in.  And most recently, when he was told he wouldn’t be on a snowmobile this year.  He showed them all just how much fight he had in him.

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Just from a personal standpoint, my brothers fight aside.  This is what I’ve learned in the last 3 months:  Fighting is hard.  It is exhausting and often tear-inducing.  And because of the recent uptick of occurrences in which going to battle is required, I’ve had to pick them more carefully.

My brother is home from the hospital.  And everyone in the family is ecstatic. We have been looking forward to this for three months.  We knew that the transition would be tough, but I was totally unprepared for how tough it would be at the beginning.  In one week alone, I have cried at 2 different pharmacies trying to pick up my brother’s prescriptions because of issues related to billing.  I’m sure I looked like a lunatic.  And then, inevitably feel immediately embarrassed and start pleading my case as to why I’m not a lunatic and then probably look like even more of a lunatic then I did at the beginning. It’s a vicious cycle.  Anyway, One of the battles we’ve taken on is making the house handicap accessible.  We have been begging for 2 months for someone to come in an access our house.  Get it set up for him so when he got home, he’d be able to be mostly independent.  We were met with every stall tactic and excuse they had.  And I, having never navigated through anything like this before, fell for it.  At this point, there are 5 or 6 different people or companies involved in this.  The caseworker, the caseworkers assistant, the insurance company, the contractor, subcontractor,  and as of today the owner of a very large home modification company.  Everyone is pointing the finger at the other as to why this is taking so long.  I make multiple phone calls a day trying to figure it out but usually end up more confused than I was at the beginning.  Today, I made an extra phone call.  To a lawyer.  As this process goes along, I’m seeing that sometimes you can’t fight your battles alone. And I need help fighting this one.  There won’t be many more niceties.  It’s not personal.  It’s business.

I have yet to find a manual or script anywhere to offer me any guidance on how to fight. The desire alone, to fight, comes from within.  It’s propelled by a person’s heart, gut instinct, and moral compass. And not very often, do those 3 things combined steer you wrong.

 

“If you’re feeling froggy, go ahead and leap” – Butch Hanson

 

 

 

 

Surviving Succulents – Part Two

I had no idea there was going to be a “Part Two” when I wrote the original.  But here we are.

Guys!  What I wrote about in the original post almost happened (If you’ve just started reading my blog, you can find the original here).  I almost gave up.  My blog hit a bump in the road and I wavered.  I have been counting the days since my last post, but couldn’t bring myself to write anything.  And here’s why.

Do you ever have an idea or vision of how you want something to play out.  Or how you want something to look?  We’ve all seen those “10 epic pinterest fails” lists of people who try to create or recreate something amazing that they’ve seen and have come up so very embarrassingly short.

When something doesn’t quite seem to be turning out the way I had envisioned, I immediately start a quiet downward spiral.  Most of the time, when this happens nobody can see this slippery slope of doubt and over-thinking.  It sneaks up on you. Even I find myself being surprised by its onset.  I try to fight through it.  Find a way around it.  Fix it.  But more times than not, it gets the better of me.  I can’t get past my shortcoming.

Let me give you an example:  Kruno’s parents had been looking forward to a traditional American Thanksgiving.  And I had the added pressure (all internal) of transporting the meal to Boston the next day to celebrate with JJ, my dad, and aunt Nanette.  I had imagined a Norman Rockwell-esq presentation at both my house and the hospital.  However realistic or unrealistic it was.  I had a vision.  I prepped two separate turkeys, one for each day.  I timed out everything perfectly and at the second basting session, when I removed the roaster lid, all I saw was bone.  I had cooked both turkeys upside down.  Kruno’s mom was beside me to watch as I prepared the most important meal of year.  She saw the horror on my face and the tears in my eyes.  The Norman Rockwell scene in my mind disintegrated just as the bottom half of the turkey’s had.  Lots of expletives started flowing out of my mouth. Along with sentences like “I ruined it, I ruined Thanksgiving.” and “How did I mess this up so badly?”

The turkey was delicious.  I didn’t ruin Thanksgiving.  It just wasn’t presentation worthy. But, that small detail, the vision of this beautiful whole turkey being presented on my grandmothers antique turkey platter, and not being able to have that image come to fruition, was enough to send me down that spiraling slippery slope.

So, back to my blogging bump in the road.

Two weeks ago I had an idea.  I wanted my blog to have it’s very own page for recipes.  My grandmother was a fantastic cook, my mother and aunt inherited her intuition and I like to think that I did too.  I reached out to my family for their copies of her recipes and was ready to start editing in a couple of days. I logged on.  I fiddled with the settings in WordPress, sought assistance through the handy “chat now” feature and researched everything I could find on relevent topics.  For days and days I tried to figure it out.  I knew how I wanted my site to look, and how I wanted it to read.  But everything I read and all the helpful chat people told me what I wanted wasn’t possible.  I couldn’t get passed it.  I’ve had several posts I’ve wanted to publish, but because of this hiccup, I couldn’t.  I even turned off my Facebook setting, so my friends couldn’t see what I was doing.  I didn’t want them to see if I made a mistake or if something looked weird.

Well, I figured it out today.  I fought my way up that damn slippery slope. I rose to the top and compromised on my vision.  My site is still under construction, but the template it set.  Content will be added soon.  And I’m happy.  Not just with the website, but that I didn’t give up.  I’ve given up on far too many things.  Too many ideas and projects.  But not today.

 

 

Decision 2016: What’s my blog about.

I’ve only told a hand full of people about this blog.  I’m nervous.  I am my own worst critic and I’m concerned that my writing isn’t particularly good.  All of my friends and family would be very kind and probably far too generous with their critiques if I were to send the link. But I’ve told a few close friends.

This is how my interactions with people have been so far.

Me  – “Hey So and So, I started a blog and I’m super excited about it”

So and So – “Awesome, what’s it about?”

Me – ..…blink…blink. “Dear god, I have no idea”

or

Me – “Well, it’s kinda hard to explain. I’ve got a lot of things going on that I’m wanting to write about.  So I think I’ll be whittling it down as I go.

or

Me – “Lots of things.”

From the research I’ve done, none of these are acceptable answers in the world of successful blogging.   There are so many resources out there for new bloggers. I mean, a treasure trove of info at our literal finger tips. And then you have to keep in mind successful tags and categories, and which are trending at that very second and this and that and other things and whats SEO, and I don’t know how to creat a page let alone what to put on the page.  It’s intense and intimidating. But here I am.  Blogging til my heart’s content.  However, I did think it would be helpful if I made a list of things that I’d eventually like to focus on within this blog.

  • Home and lifestyle – My husband and I recently bought a house.  It was quite my style and we’re slowing working towards making it our own. We are also planning on starting a family soon but just about any legal means necessary.
  • Food and Recipes –  Because of a recent medical situation, our household needs to focus on more of a plant-based diet.  For someone who doesn’t love veggies, it should be interesting.
  • Writing and Blogging – While I’ve only been doing this for a short time, I am really enjoying it.  The other night I got 2 new followers, my adrenaline was through the roof and it took hours for me to fall asleep. It is a thrill!
  • App Building.  I’d really like to learn how to do that. I’ve got some idea’s.

This is the short list.  I could come up with lists within these lists. But that’s for another post.  For the time being, I’ll just send this message into the blogosphere.