The Crazy-Radar (cradar?)

3 08 2009

Being that I have a diagnosable mental illness, I feel fairly certain that I can spot crazy people in a reasonable time span.  Being crazy is kind of like being part of an elite club with special decoder rings or something.  Normal people don’t pick up on the signs right away.

To catch up you noobs – I have obsessive compulsive disorder and I enjoy a relatively normal life due to medication.  Now – I said relatively.  That means I make a lot of allowances for the crazy in my life.  I have routines that make the crazy feel a little better while not really doing anyone any harm.  It’s just how I do it so that I’m not spreading crazy all over the neighborhood grocery store. This morning I was halfway convinced that my medication was evil, but I keep reminding myself that it’s better to take it and feel a little crappy than to be in the grips of The Routine.

( isn’t giving me any good synonyms for being nuts, so I’ll make do.)

The internet is a treasure trove of the mentally ill.  Typical people can be found too and more and more are joining this virtual world.  Sometimes typical people even mistake crazy people for having all their ducks in a row.  Um, unless the person with ducks is OCD – then the ducks will be in strict formation.  Today, my husband is one of those people.

Being he lives with me, he’s pretty used to thinking things that are bonkers are absolutely normal.  He sent me a link to this blog basically saying  QFT! (quoted for truth) and when I looked, my crazy-radar redlined.  Honey, that person is a nut.  I’m talking cuckoo – like batshit crazy tinfoil hat nuts.  Sure, there’s room for him on the internet just like there’s room for me on the internet and I do respect his opinion.  Really, he has some good points.  It’s just most people think linearly instead of in a scatter dispersion pattern.  If you rant without connecting the dots, people are going to think you believe that the aliens are shitting in your Cheerios and the only way to keep the terrorists from reading your thoughts is to write them on your walls. People with atypical thought patterns see relationships in things that don’t have anything to do with the other.  The logical next step is that if you rant about things that have nothing to do with the other, people will consider you to be fucked up.

I see a lot of crazy people on the internet.  Not so many honest to God OCD people (it’s like a favorite for people who think having a mental illness may be cool) but you do paranoia bookcoversee a lot of different flavors of unhinged.  It’s always hard to talk to them though because most flavors of nuts don’t know they’re nuts.  They honestly believe they’re normal and everyone is either like them, stupid, or unenlightened. You first have to identify the mental minefields then tread very carefully.  Otherwise, you’re one of them.

If you want to read a good book on paranoia – this one is great.

From one crazy blogger to another – if you want to blend in, start drawing thought maps.  It’s like a flowchart of ideas.  This way you can objectively look at a real object (the paper) and think “the price of tea in China really doesn’t have anything to do with that.”   I have to remind myself constantly to stay on topic.  I need a tattoo on my forearm of the tangent symbol.


Deep Thoughts

9 07 2009

Hopefully I have at least 5 deep thoughts for you tonight.

1.  It’s impossible to own a human being but we use “ownership” pronouns constantly.  My kids.  My mom.  Your dad.  Our parents.  My husband.  We simply lease relationships with people until we are seperated.

2.  On the other hand, the law sees animals as property.   Not all animals are meat on the hoof… but still we “own” our companion animals.

3.  Being at the dentist at 8 am is not my idea of fun.  However, the children’s dentist is really cool and they give “candy air” to the kids.  It makes them very funny for about an hour, especially when it starts to wear off.  Alyssa says “Mommy, my feet tickle all by themselves!”

4.  6 oz birds should not be able to rule your life, but somehow, Pete and Cami certainly think they own me.  They’ll have to fight Spooks, Ernie, and Abbie for ownership.  Nola’s happy just being my friend and Calista is interested in the flavor of my chapstick. I need to remind them that they only reason they aren’t food is because they’ll never be big enough to stuff.

5.  My The kids who live in my house have an absolutely 0% chance of being normal.  Ever.  Their mom’s idea of fun is to freak up the makeup, strap on the camera, go to the aquarium and remind the freak-sized spider crabs that they taste good with butter and take pictures of the shocked faces.  It works even better when you have about 6 adorable kids with you who look absolutely innocent.  The oldest gets to hold the camera.

6.  Bonus thought!  No matter how odd my life is, I’m still shocked that the local supermarket is giving away a free watermelon with every purchase.  Things you don’t expect from your cashier:  would you like a free watermelon?  A what?  A watermelon.  Say that again.  WATERMELON.  It’s free – pick one up on your way out.

7.  Bonus thought!  Every single person I know objectifies my “ghetto bootie” and I kind of like it.  One of my friends who is from Haiti said “you know your daddy ain’t white, right?”  the very first time we met.  Not-so-secretly, I love that.  It’s like the only physical feature I have that seperates me from the crowd of average height, average weight, pink toned women.

Time to pick one of my three new books and get in the tub.  I should be able to sleep in tomorrow, thankyouJesus!  I get to choose from Laurell K. Hamilton, Michael Palmer, and Catherine Coulter’s TailSpin.  The first two are guaranteed to rock.  The last one is not so sure… I’m about to reevaluate my love of Ms. Coulter.  The last few have been just exploiting her bestseller name.  I’ll keep TABLP updated on THAT relationship.

How not to use Jedi mind tricks

2 07 2009

I’ve only been pulled over once in my driving career.

That’s not to say, I haven’t been carefully prepared on how to react when being pulled over or that I have a symbiotic relationship with the local police.  Neither is true.  I just am not blessed with the ability to have normal things happen to me. It must be genetic, because neither my brother nor sister can get in trouble for normal things either.

I had taken my sister to the hospital for complications with her pregnancy.  She was going into labor way too soon – like months too soon – and was in a ton of pain.  So my dad watched my nephew and I took Shaun’s car to escort Sister to the hospital.

This was soon after we had gotten my two youngest who were 2 and 3 at the time (they were born in the same year) and traded in my Grand Am for my gas-guzzling American SUV, which could hold two car seats.  Yeah – you try to put two car seats in a Grand Am.

Now, you have to remember that Shaun and I were not planning on adopting toddlers.  The agency had their ages wrong in the file, so we had to trick out some of our old gear to compensate.  This includes one of my bookbags that has this print on it:  Gun, c.1982 Print by Andy Warhol This bag is the perfect diaper bag – plenty of pockets, easy to carry, has a very sturdy quick release clasp on it, is lined with waterproof material, and the entire front velcroes down so the crap doesn’t fall out if you drop it. It just has pictures of .38 pistols all over it.

My sister calls, I head out and pick up my bag, which I kept my ID and keys in because there’s no reason to carry two bags especially when you have TWO toddlers.  I didn’t even think about it.  I tossed it in the back of Shaun’s car – a black Honda Accord that looks like every single black Honda Accord in the world – and went to get Sister.

We did the hospital thing, where they did what they could and got her out of pain, and then we walked (she waddled) out to the car.  Toss the bag in the back, while listening to her bitch about needing nicotine and food, and get the car on the road.

As we leave the hospital parking lot, we picked up a tail.  It was an all black city cruiser.  It’s ok, I tell myself, they’re everywhere. This is kind of a rough part of town.  I’ll just drive extra safe.  A mile down the road, we pulled in to the Taco Bell and the cruiser pulled into a hotel parking lot across the street.

This is when Sister says “something’s going on.  I’ll bet you a dollar they’re calling in the plates right now while we’re getting drive through.”  My sister is much more experienced in police matters than I am, but I took the bet anyways.  We got our food and took a left out of the Taco Bell and pulled into the left turning lane to get on the road that takes us back to the interstate. I even used my turn signals.

Sure as hell, the cruiser pulled into the lane behind us and as soon as we made the left turn, the blue lights came on.  Sister says “you didn’t do anything wrong, they’re looking for something or someone.  I hope my Taco Bell doesn’t get cold.”

I roll down the window, place my hands on the steering wheel, and look straight ahead until the officer arrives.  (See, I’ve been trained for this.)  Sister sits calmly, hands in plain sight on top of her tummy.

There are several rules when you get pulled over.  Always keep your hands in sight.  Always call the officer sir or ma’am.  Don’t talk his ear off or offer excuses.  Don’t say that you know or are related to so-and-so who works at so-and-so city office.  Don’t get out of the car unless he tells you to.  Don’t move for the console, the dashboard, under the seat or for a bag without asking for permission.  Tell the truth (lies are too easy to uncover and by this point the cop already knows.)  Got it?  Got it.

The officer walked up like you see in the movies, one hand on his holster with his gun side facing away from the car so that he’s standing kinda sideways, the other holding a flash light, and stops right next to the B column of the car.  Tall, skinny dude about my age.  He looked a little stressed out, from what I could tell with the light in my face and only being able to see him from my driver’s side mirror.  He shone the light around in the car and asked me for my license and the registration on the car.

I said “my license is in the bag in the seat behind me, and I’m not sure where the registration is – this isn’t my car.  Do you mind if we look?”

“Do you have any weapons in the vehicle, ma’am?”

“No, sir.”  At this point my sister reaches into the back seat, picks up my bag, and sets it in my lap.  There is a point in high stress situations where shit just gets ridiculous, and here it was.  I have a so-called diaper bag covered with an Andy Warhol print of .38 pistols (which is the only gun I have registered in my name) in my lap, a nervous cop, a pregnant lady in the car, no idea where the registration this damn clone of a car is, and cooling tacos in the center console.

I ripped open the velcro on the bag, pulled out my wallet, and handed the license to the cop.  Then I sent a silent “thank you” to God that I had on a hoodie and my freshly-inked arson tattoo was covered.  He shone his light on my license and said “is this your valid address?”

“Yes sir.”

“Ms. Dollins, have you ever been in trouble before?”

“No sir, this is actually the first time I’ve EVER been pulled over.”

This is when my sister pipes up.  “Sir, what’s going on?  As you can see, I’m pregnant and I went into labor too soon so my sister took my to the hospital.”  My sister looks a lot more innocent than she is. I look a lot less innocent than I am.

He shone the light in on her, who is sitting with the paperwork for the car – service records, owner’s manual, receipts for the brake job my dad did a few weeks before – and said “we’ve received a report that a black Honda Accord was stolen from the hospital parking lot.  Did you locate the registration?”

I look at her for confirmation and tell him, that no – we have no idea where the registration is.  Sister held up the receipt for the brake job and said “we have this.  It shows that her husband paid for service on this car not too long ago.”

He asked who the car belonged to and I told him that it belonged to my husband and confirmed that he has the same last name and lives at the same address that I do.  “I’ll be back in a few minutes, ladies.  Please stay in the car.”

As soon as we see he’s gotten back in the cruiser we both bust out laughing and Sister demanded her dollar.  I told her that I wasn’t taking her pregnant ass anywhere else, if this was the kind of shit she gets into.  In just a few hours, I’ve transformed from a cute yet non-traditional foster parent of two into a gun-toting, tattoo wielding, car thief!

He came back and handed me back my license and said “you two stay out of trouble tonight, you hear me?”  We laughed and said yessir, we were going straight home.  He laughed and told us we were free to go.  I cranked the car and we left, Sister digging into the Taco Bell bag.

Half-way through that taco, we pulled up to a road-block manned by 8 cruisers and a couple of the fancy-schmancy police SUVs with the light bars in the grills.  There are cops all over the road, and since I’ve already got my wallet in my lap, I have my ID ready. Sister has tossed the gun-diaper-bag in the back seat.

It’s our turn to get searched and the cop – a shorter, bearded man – shines the flashlight through the car and spots my sister chowing down on her taco (seriously, cops don’t phase my sister) and cracks up laughing.  I said…

No, seriously, I didn’t even think before I said it.  I am just THIS geeky.

“This is not the black Honda Accord you are looking for.”

My sister choked on her taco and the cop looked at me kinda funny.  I explained that we’d already been pulled over about the stolen car and asked if he’d like to see my ID.  He told me it was ok, then shined the light on my damn diaper bag in the back seat.  “With a bag like that, it’s no wonder you don’t get pulled over more often.”  By this time a couple of other cops had come up to join in the laughter and they all agreed and waved us through. My sister was already on the phone telling everyone we knew that her sister was an armed car theif who used Jedi mind-tricks on the police.

Thankfully, we made it home without being stopped again, where my sister gleefully told my dad that for once SHE was the good child.  Now, with her help, this story has become a regular in the list of “shit Cyndi did” that gets told to every new person who encounters the family right along the time in school that I unintentionally beat up a fat kid.  Thanks, Sister.


24 06 2009



Things They Should Tell You Before You’re On Your Own

Today has been a perfect storm of the kids acting out.  This has happened before – it’s not abnormal that the kids have behaviors related to abuse and neglect that we try to work through as they come up.  Normally, we make sure the child is safe from harm, call the caseworker, write up an incident report and then address it at home and in therapy.  For two years, this is how it goes.

But after finalization, there are no caseworker calls, no incident reports, no one person who can say on the phone “this is not unexpected and here’s how we work through it with the other kids who do this.”  It’s a support system that one day just disappears.

Thank God that the kids are still in therapy.  My therapy seems to be this two  cigarette a day habit I’ve picked up.  Shaun called the kids’ treatment center and they gave him some pointers on what to do for today and we’re going to try and get a family therapy appt for tomorrow.

So, here’s what happened.  This morning I wake up to the smell of smoke and Ethan is hiding something in his bed.  As soon as I make sure nothing is on fire, I ask him what he’s doing.  “I’m about to get back in bed and go to sleep.”  Um, no you weren’t.  I’m not stupid, bucko.

The kids know my routine – nothing is going to happen until I’m halfway into my first cup of coffee.  So, I get it and sit down, and I hear the girlchild saying “let me lay on top of you and tell you a secret.”  The oldest boy is going “no, I only wanted to tickle your feet!”  She says “But I have to lay on top of you and give you kisses and tell you secrets!”  This alone makes me want to cry.

We discussed good touch/bad touch for the zillionth time and talked about the kinds of girls who laid on top of people to give kisses and if it was appropriate for a 5 year old girl to be that kind of girl.  Hoochie Mamas and Stupid Girls get talked about quite a bit in our house too.

Then I separate them into their rooms and then I start to smell smoke again.  Match smoke.  I walk out and the oldest is in the kitchen pretending to play with the magnets on the fridge.  My nose traces the matches to an end table in the sunroom.  I hold them up and ask who lit the matches.  The oldest tells me the youngest did it, but the youngest has been in bed since I caught him stealing and lying to me.  I play along: so where did E put the matches that burned?  In the trashcan.  I look, and sure as shit, there are about 15 burned matches in there.

So, I go ask E.  Did you light matches?  Yes… he mumbles and makes square face.  How many?  Just one, then one with the red tip wouldn’t work so I put them back.  Ok, this fits with the story I’ve alreayd figured out in my head.

Before I woke up this morning E and L snuck out to the sunroom with a box of kitchen matches and tried to light one up.  It quickly went out because with the AC and the ceiling fan in there, you couldn’t light a zippo if you were standing in a puddle of gasoline.  They tried another and it didn’t light at all, then they heard me so they disposed of the evidence and ran back to their stations.

Then, after A was in trouble and E was still in his room, L snuck back out in the sunroom and started try trying again.  My bloodhound nose perked up and I caught him disposing of the evidence.

Add all this to the encopresis that has been flaring up again, and mommy needs another cigarette.  L is back in diapers full time again because he keeps pooping his pants.  Night, day, busy times, not busy times.  Is it a physical problem or does it have to do with the Oppositional Defiant Disorder or the ADHD?

Looking on the internet, all of these problems are fairly common but what’s getting to me is that my support system (that actually knows what they’re talking about) is gone.  The moral support system sees the kids as “damaged goods.”   I hope the therapists have something to tell us that will help.

I’m not Catholic, but St. Jude, Patron Saint of Lost Causes – here’s a prayer coming your way.