Site Metrics and Web Analytics by NextSTAT Why Kids Are Great: October 2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

My Ben Story


After the service we were talking and several people asked me why I didn't say anything when others were sharing stories. They figured I came all this way, I knew everyone there, and Belle is my god daughter. They all knew I am involved in these people's lives. I just couldn't pull it together. And Ray (April's dad) had a grip on my arm, he couldn't pull it together either. So here's MY story:

I moved to Florida 10 years ago with the plan that April would come down to live after she saved up for a couple years. We didn't talk often but didn't really need to, cause best friends are like that.

Then I got a phone call...

April: Hi, I'm pregnant.
Me: What? How pregnant? You had sex?
April: Don't sound so surprised!
Me: Who's the dad?
April: Ben Gallas
Me: Who the hell is Ben?
April: And I'm getting married.
Me: What? To who?
April: To Ben!
Me: Who the hell is Ben?
April: Well, now he's my fiance'
Me: Ok...
April: But I told him you have to approve of him first
Me: Poor Ben.
April: Here, talk to him
Ben: Hi. Will you let me marry April and be the maid of honor? Please like me. I'll be good, I promise.
Me: Of coarse I'll be there but if you mess this up I'll beat your ass.

A month later I'm in MI for a wedding...

April: THIS is BEN!!
Me: Hi, so we're really gonna do this?
Ben, with his head down, looking quite scared: I really love her, please like me. Do you like me?
Me, overwhelmed by his cuteness and giant pleading blue eyes: Yes, you'll do.
Ben: Oh thank God. I mean, I'm gonna marry her anyway but this will be easier if you approve.
Me: As long as you take care of her and the baby its all good.
Ben: That's good action! (Huh Huh)

A couple months later I get a phone call... 

Ben: You have to get here, NOW.
Me: What's up? Is April having the baby?
Ben: Yes, and I think she's mad at me.
Me: Why do you say that?
Ben: She is calling me really mean names and throwing things.
Me: What's going on now?
Ben: The nurse said something about crowning and pushing.
Me: Ben, Get the fuck off the phone!!

3 days later I'm in MI again...

Ben: I have a daughter. And she's little. I might break her.
Me: Babies are very resilient, you'll do fine.
Ben: Ok, Teach me. And you know you're the Godparents, right? 

I spent a week at their little house watching them become a family. The 3 of us would lay on the floor and stare at Annabelle's beautiful face. She was the smallest 5lbs 12oz little angel we had ever seen. Ben was glowing with pride. He carried her around the house. Took pictures, slept right next to her and proved that he was the best daddy Belle could have asked for. I was overwhelmed with the amount of love in that house. It was Venetian Festival in downtown St. Joe. Ben had a show on the bluff stage with his best friends, Bert and Brian. He announced to everyone there that he had a daughter and she was amazing. He loved that little girl so much!

Over the years...

We went back to visit for holidays. Logan and Belle were buddies. Loopy and Ben became good friends. They were both amazing guitar players and would sit out in the garage in Buchanan and record music together. One year we stopped on the way up and bought an acoustic guitar to leave in MI so they could play together. We had an old school "Friends Thanksgiving" dinner one year. We would all sit in the kitchen drinking coffee while the kids played together.The boys would laugh and shake their heads watching me and April talk a million miles an hour and finish echother's sentences, usually without actually talking. 

I got phone calls from either April or Ben when things were great and sometimes not so great. I was so sad when they got divorced. They really were made for eachother. But they had their reasons and I respected that. Ben continued to be an amazing dad. Annabelle worshiped the ground he walked on. The 3 of them still did things as a family and kept a good relationship even when Ben wasn't making the best choices. 

What do you mean "missing"?

On the very bad day when I found out he was missing I didn't want to believe it. Something was very wrong. I had known for months that something wasn't right because he stopped responding to me online. But NOW he really was missing. I got a picture of him circulating on facebook. I was in constant contact with April trying to piece it all together. My phone and message boxes were blowing up for 2 weeks straight with questions and people telling me when they saw him last or ideas of where people should go look. I even sent emails to RingLing Bros. every day because he mentioned joining the circus to help pay child support. 

The call...

April is a texter. Knowing that if my phone rings and her name pops up it would not be good, I didn't want to answer that call. I didn't want to know for sure that the search was over. It was April's mom Debbie. They found Ben dead on his mom's property holding a shot gun. My heart sank. I wanted to instantly be teleported to my best friend's side. The decision to wait here for the autopsy results and funeral arrangements was not an easy one. It was not a question of if I should go. Loopy said "you have to go. When do you leave?" 

Surreal weekend.

I thought that it would be more "Real" once I got there. Working on the picture boards, holding my now 7yr old god-daughter, listening to her stories about her dad, hearing 1st hand from the woman that found his body... Nothing seemed real. I had to stop often to remind myself that we were talking about BEN. The adorable young kid that begged me to 'let' him marry my best friend. The one that proudly introduced me to his daughter. Now I was sitting in this kitchen discussing his autopsy and funeral. I found myself in a room of friends and family remembering his life and mourning his death. It still isn't real. In my mind I think I separated the Benji I knew from the Ben who died. Someday I might put those two people together and it will be real. Me and April are both waiting for that day to come. I think it will suck.

A Stellar Week!!

I knew I forgot something..

First, Breakfast with Daddy!
The weekend before I went to Michigan we had some good ol' fashion Florida fun playing putt putt golf. Everything was moving so fast that week that I forgot to share some of the pictures. Mini-golf with young kids is like mini golfing with excited puppies. Its hard to keep them focused and keeping score is really a lost cause.

 Before starting the golf game, it's important to heed the warnings from signage. Such as wear flats, uneven surfaces... bla bla bla

 It's hard to be serious about starting our golf game when there is so much cool stuff to see!

Loves pirates

 Once we got started they were all OVER the place.Kendal needed to sit in the middle of the the green EVERY time and also find a place for her dinosaurs to watch.

Logan was balancing on the little bricks and fell down and scraped his knee on this hole. We had to make a quick getaway and received free passes for next time since we didn't get to finish. Score.. maybe when we go back we'll try the 'advanced coarse' and see how that goes.

Freedom weekend #1

This weekend was filled with nothing but stuff we like. There was no chance that Dad would get called into work and he certainly had no desire to go get some things done at the office because it was quiet in the house. Loopy is already more calm, relaxed and willing to participate in family functions. Saturday we went for a bike ride, a park, and Halloween costume shopping for Kendal. Sunday we had a birthday party at the local art studio. Loopy willingly went with us and helped the kids glaze their artwork. 

Nick and Logan painting their trucks

Daddy and Kendal painting a monster

.Later that night. I was relaxing and read a letter on THIS BLOG site. It was very fitting for the week. You can read the rest of it HERE. But my favorite quote from the letter was this: 
"And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don't want but fear the alternative worse. People simply empty out. They are bodies with fearful and obedient minds. The color leaves the eye. The voice becomes ugly. And the body. The hair. The fingernails. The shoes. Everything does."
I hate that anyone has to do a job that doesn't make them happy. Its a sad reality but one that CAN change.

A week to unwind...

Monday I had my follow up podiatrist visit. My broken bone is healing and I was advised to wear the boot for another week. I didn't really do that so much, cause frankly its gross, stinky, and there is an unidentified funk in the bottom. BUT I stopped going for bike rides for the rest of the week. That counts as something, right? 

This family was spot on with "kid-isms'' all week.. Loopy even made the list a couple times. Would you like to hear some? Sure you would!! Which is your favorite?

1. Just overheard in the other room.
Loopy: No, Don't put that by your neck.
Kendal: Oh pwease, but I really love this.
Loopy: No, Don't, its sharp.. and deadly!
Kendal: but dad!
Logan: Oooh, lemme see what is sharp and deadly!

2. Loopy: Even Simon Bar Sinister, the most evil super villain of all time, still tests his diabolical machines. (Underdog reference)

3. Sitting at the table having dinner discussing how our days went. Kendal comes skipping into the room jumps into the chair and said "Hey, What's up Fuckers!?" I am hoping it still has something to do with Frogs..

4. Watching the kids play Indiana Jones in the back yard.. in their underwear. It involves, climbing on the outside of the swing-set, golf, running, lava, and coloring smiley faces on rocks... There is now sword fighting with shovels. Bets on who cries first?

5. Logan: Oh CRAP!
Me: What's the problem and don't talk like that.
Logan: no, really I found Kendal's poop..
Me: What? Where!?
Logan: In the potty!
Me: Kendal! That's awesome, why didn't you tell me?
Logan: Maybe she wanted to surprise you..
Kendal: Don't you love the surprises mom?
Me: Yes?

6. Teacher conferences on Thursday went great. Logan is smart, we knew that. He is easily distracted, we knew that. Overall a great report. When I got home Kendal was crying because that toenail she smashed with a ceramic elephant this summer finally started to fall off. She thinks her toe is broken. Logan was sad because he didn't get to see it. So I showed him and he ran to his room crying. Guess he didn't really want to see it after-all. Later that night she was visited by the "Midnight Nurse Fairy" to fix it up a bit.

7. Kendal learned to reprogram the contacts in my phone... sorry Tehgan..

Loopy, Kendal, and I met up with Uncle Chris for lunch at River Grill one day, I went for coffee with Adriana by myself and even late night coffee with Scott. Loopy had time to hit band practice twice this week and he also got a massage.

Last night was the highlight of  my week. We went to see The Rocky Horror Show. Nothing says classy entertainment more than a couple hundred people in fishnets and corsets pelvic thrusting to the Time Warp!
Our MC for the evening. 
Calling all Rocky Virgins!

This is what it looks like... 
Janet, Slut.

And I'll leave you with this:

Oh yeah

I should mention something about the apparent hurricane out in the ocean... Hurricane Sandy is here. 

Coming Soon!

An ESSENTIAL coffee date with friends I haven't seen in months.
Loopy starts his NEW job on Monday along with some other great opportunities for him.
My parents will be in town on Saturday for a few days.
More kid-isms guaranteed. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

And now back to our regularly scheduled blog.

I got distracted.

Its time to get back to the grind around here. I am having a hard time doing the regular every day stuff that makes the household run smoothly. There is laundry everywhere. I have lost track of what was clean and what was dirty. The floors are in serious need of some scrubbing and it will take me a month to sort all these toys. Maybe this is what it feels like to be 'down'. I am generally a very happy person and I have every reason to be ecstatic right now. SO I will get my head out of the sand an plow forward. If only blogging magically cleaned the house. 

Sunday night

Loopy and the kids picked me up at the airport. Logan came running down the hallway and gave me a big hug. Kendal was super relieved to have found me. After talking to her a bit I figured out that she was under the impression I had left to go shopping at the Halloween store to get her monster costume. Poor girl was wondering what took me so long. AND I didn't bring back a costume. Oops. Loopy was just relieved that I was able to get Kendal to pee in a public restroom. 

We were hungry and needed a break from all the traveling and decided to hit Downtown Disney. It was crazy busy and an hour wait for Rainforest Cafe'. Luckily we know better. 1/2 the people that put in a reservation leave when they are told their kids will be sad and hungry for yet another 2 hours before food hits the table. We also know that we had an hour to roam and do fun stuff before they called our name. Kendal spotted the Muppet figurines she's been talking about and Logan found a tram toy.

Kendal and Daddy on the carousel. 

Better than a roller coaster?

Happy to not be on the carousel, they make him "feel spinny''

Logan's ceasar salad was 'too spicy' so he had to wait a little longer for them to make a special salad just for him. Someday he won't be this picky, right?

He then fell asleep in said salad

Even though we ate in the elephant room. Its really loud in there!

The kids were sleeping before we even left Disney property.

Monday, way less yuck than usual.

Monday was like any other day. (Except that Loopy was starting his last week at ACI.) I tried to get motivated to clean the house, do the laundry and everything else that needed to be done. The depressed feeling was looming over me making it hard to get moving. I got Kendal to put some clothes on. She chose the new handmade dress from my friend Jamie. We went outside to do some swinging and blow bubbles. Its hard to be sad and blow bubbles! 

Back of Dress. So cute!

Tuesday and Wednesday...

Went by without incedent and were also pretty typical. There were a couple highlights and kidisms. Like when I had this conversation with Kendal...
Kendal: I need to take a bath
Me: Why?
Kendal: This zebra said my butt is stinky
Me: Well we have to get Logan first. 
Kendal: Are you sure? Its pretty stinky though.
Me: Yup.
Kendal: Oh nuts.
Or when Loopy came home for lunch one day with a huge box of stuff from work. It was good to see that smile. I had missed that smile.
Kendal talked to Aunt Kris on the phone for a REALLY long time. I have NO idea what they were talking about but it was really funny and incredibly cute. I am grateful for technology so my kids can enjoy even far away family. And who knew Kendal was a phone talker?!


Reality was starting to set in that Loopy was ALMOST done and the mood was much lighter around the house. Things that used to annoy us or cause us to yell at the kids just didn't matter. I even found this sort of funny. EVEN though we were late to a coffee date with Adriana..

Next weeks potty training lesson "how much toilet paper is too much?" This is a good example of "Too Much"!!

This is also too much. Also no, elephant doesn't need more toilet paper.


This day was taking a REALLY long time. We manged to get though the day and pass the time by sleeping until almost noon and then going shopping for a new hair dryer and stopping at Dunkin Donuts where we had this winner of a lesson in potty training. It is important to cover all the bases!
Kendal: Mom, your purse feels cold, would you like me to pee on it for you?
Me: No, please don't.
Kendal: But it would warm it right up!
Me: We don't make things warm by peeing on them. That's not ok. 
Kendal: Really?
Yes, really! Also this explains a few things. Glad we cleared that up before it became more serious. Me and Kendal went to get Logan from school. She pouted because she didn't have her blankets with her. They must have felt cold this morning and needed some warming up, cause they were in the washer. After picking up Logan we got home...
Me: Logan, please get your uniform off my bathroom floor and put it in the laundry basket.
Logan: (unintelligible whiny noise) 
Me: Just go
Logan walking past with an armful of clothes: Mom, I really like you, but sometimes you make me do really boring things.
Me: Well, I'm glad you still like me anyway.
Finally it was time to go meet Loopy for his last time leaving "The Bad Place" We were all super excited to get it over with and move on. We threw a little celebration in the parking lot with whooping and hollering  Man that felt great. Loopy said giving his phone, VPN, and pass key back was like having the shackles removed. He took his belongings (keyboard, mouse) and walked out of "prison". Here he is with Logan moments after being released...

We had some dinner, got cleaned up, dropped the kids off, and went out to celebrate with friends.

Some of the people who came to the Freedom Party. Since I knew Loopy wouldn't be given a party, lunch, or even a card I figured we had to do it right with the people we love! And HERE THEY ARE!!

"Thinking of you"

After I took the first picture someone yelled "show em how you feel" or something to that effect.. and this group of adults spontaneously flipped the bird, some two handed. I love our friends!! After I took the picture someone said "title this one thinking of you on the blog!" I am not sure who said it.(From the look on Karry's face, it was her and surprised it was out loud) Either way, consider it done folks!

Here's some more pics of the night. I was sorta drunk after this, so sorry there aren't very many..

I LOVE Ian's excited face!

Loopy was inducted into the Survivors Club.


We heard the most amazing stories of freedom and what life is like on the outside. I am so grateful that the survivors were there. They calmed Loopy's nerves by talking about things like "Training", "Time to learn" and "advance notice of up to two weeks before being moved to a new project" I felt for the people that are still there. I was angry all over again hearing the lies they are told every day. Hearing that people got written up for commenting on things written on my facebook wall. The list goes on and I could totally write an entire part 5.. I asked when the anger wears off and was told that a year later its still simmering for some, but it will fade. I am so very thankful for freedom from it all! Everyone told me how happy and relaxed Loopy looks and sounds. How he's got the biggest smile they've ever seen. I am glad its back because THAT is the man I fell in love with. 

Next week... 

Things will be so different soon. I am excited for the changes and welcome them with open arms. But next week we'll be relaxing as a family. Just letting the dust settle and enjoying each other. Cheers everyone!!