I’m Too Tired For Turkey


Here we are on the eve of Turkey Day – the day in which we Americans suck down pounds of fowl and carbohydrates in an attempt to remember all those things for which we are grateful. Thanksgiving has long been my number one as far as holidays go.(I venture to guess most of those with a fondness for food feel the same.) What’s not to love? It’s the gateway to the holiday baking season. Usually, Thanksgiving revs me up and I cannot wait to get my Martha on. But this year, I’m just not feeling it. My Martha hand is limp.

Why? Though we’re currently in a giant medical wait-and-see zone with the Nugget and I have a gazillion things to be thankful for in regards to getting us to this point, I’m not sure why the Turkey Day love isn’t spewing out of me. Maybe because it’s been a rough few months and though I’ve roasted my pie pumpkins (Damn right I make those pies from scratch- crust and all.) and my rolls are rising (Yes, I make those too. Nothing tastes as good as handmade artistry –according to Martha.) I still can’t get into the turkey spirit. Ultimately, I think I’m just too damn tired. In the interest of trying to get to the root of the issue, I decided to make a list and put my finger on why I was so tired but my list just kept growing.

I’m tired of hearing tests. (He can’t hear the beep. He’s got one ear and he’s 2. Let it go lady!)

I’m tired of having our days dictated by therapies and doctor appointments.

I’m tired of pouring my energy into therapies and seeing no results.

I’m tired of diagnosises.

I’m tired of worrying.

I’m tired of my football team sucking. (I’m looking at you Eagles. You’re always hard to love but this is ridiculous.)

I’m tired of snot flowing freely in my home. (For real, someone always has a cold lately.) 

I’m tired of my weird neighbor doing things in the middle of the night- and by doing things I mean I’m pretty sure he’s hiding bodies. (Ok, maybe I’m just tired on this one because I’m up in the night spying out the window on my weird neighbor -but it’s my civic duty thought right? You’re right. I need a job.)

I’m tired of living in a home with three languages and yet still, no one listens to me. (I scream in Turkish, I yell in English, I sign. Nothing. Nada.)

I’m tired of chasing a two-foot graffiti artist with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.(I’ve yet to identify a surface that he has not tagged. PS – Magic Eraser doesn’t work on white carpet.)

I’m tired of temper tantrums. (And no, I’m not going to disclose if those are mine or the Nuggets.)

I’m tired of stupid people. (Why are they everywhere and who gave them all such free reign on the interweb? I feel like their numbers are growing exponentially lately. Perhaps Donald Trump can create a registry for them. )

I’m tired of politics. (Your hate filled rhetoric is destroying us, you morons. Grow up.)

I’m tired of the hate that is taking over this world.(Suck it up and get along. I blame the push to remove Coke from our diets. Back in the 70’s we had a Coke, we taught the world to sing. It was all good.)

I’m tired of religion. More specifically, I’m tired of people being asshats in the name of religion. (If you’re going to be an asshat, be an asshat. You don’t need any help from God. And P.S., he knows when you’re being an asshat, did you ever think about that?)

Yes, I’m tired but I’ve got hope because I believe in Turkey Day Miracles. See, I know myself well enough to know that a day or two in the kitchen, dusted in flour (gluten free now as we had to add that to our list of issues – nothing’s easy) and glowing with turkey juice, I’ll feel better.Thanksgiving-Chef-VintageGraphicsFairy1 (1)

Later in the day after I’ve added a pound of pie and a gallon of wine to my short frame, I’ll feel awash in happiness and my tiredness will subside.

By Friday I will deck my halls to the musical stylings of Big Bird singing Frosty while Charlie Brown plays on the T.V. (We’ve been learning to sign Christmas carols too so Nugget won’t be left out. When you sign a carol it’s like instant choreography and who doesn’t love choreography?)

Saturday I will brave the stupid people and venture out shopping, only to return home to the welcoming arms of leftover turkey and Amazon.com where I will buy the things I wanted to buy but was deterred from by the stupid people. By Sunday, I will nap in the recliner while watching crappy football (Safe from disappointment after having watched the Eagles lose on Thanksgiving) warm under the weight of a napping Nugget and a snuggling Midget as a fire glows and my newly decked halls twinkle.

I’m tired but I will be better after these four days off because as my new patron saint Wendy Williams says, “The ocean, after all, is not about stability but about change. Change is normal. Everything changes all the time.And of course, she’s right. I might be tired now but things will change. Things will even out and the worries will fade (or change). I don’t have much hope for that whole stupid people thing  though, but then again, you never know.

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My Mama’s Boys Will Be Just Fine

When it was first suggested my Nugget add an occupational therapist to his entourage, I was hesitant. I’m not going to lie, until recently I thought occupational therapists were therapists you sought when you’d made a horrific err in choosing your career and needed a little guidance finding a more suitable occupation. (You see it too now don’t you?) Wasn’t two a bit young to make a career decision. I now know better but they really should change the name.

Last week, thanks to the Nugget’s ever growing barrage of medical anomalies, we added occupational therapy to our list of things to do  between developmental therapy, sign language and speech therapy. (For reals, we’re on the light side of things. I don’t know how some parents do it. Thank God they come to our house.) Our initial meeting, like all the others, consisted of a litany of questions about Nugget’s behaviors, development, habits, preferences and home life. As I described our daily grind it became rather clear that the development of both my boys has been strikingly similar, especially in that they are strikingly attached to me. It hit me. I HAVE CREATED TWO GIANT MAMA’S BOYS! While some might be dismayed by such a realization, I simply say…nicely done Margaret.

Now I can’t take all the credit for my little sultans being so attached to their mother. As Turks, they are genetic predisposed to this kind of all-encompassing mother love. Turks are, by nature, a culture of mama’s boys. To the foreign world they may appear to be badasses but in the comfort of their own borders their mommies are still kissing their booboos.

When I taught in Turkey, every day the lunchroom would be filled with mothers feeding lunch to their sons. True story. I’m not talking about little boys either- these were middle schoolers allowing their mommies to cut their meat and feed them bite by bite. Mothers would wait by the fence until the kids headed to lunch whereupon numerous boys would receive piping hot, home cooked lunches delivered to them by their doting mothers. The girls, more interested in gossip, academics and independence, took care of themselves. I once witnessed an entire soccer team of mothers holding food on the sidelines and as each player ran by, they were fed a bite by mom. Disturbing? Yes, but a bit enticing.

A few years ago there was a Turkish commercial, which showed an office full of men working in cubicles glancing lovingly at the photos on their desks. Moments later, their Turkish mothers appeared in each man’s cubicle serving tea, wiping crumbs and cleaning. The camera then reveals the photos on the desks are photos of the men with their mothers. Ahhhhh. As the mother of a Turk, what’s not to love?

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I plan to keep these apron strings tight for the long haul. Thanks to those Turk genes, I should have no problem.

Will I be selecting their professions? Of course. I’ve got my retirement to consider. If one of my boys does something stupid like following his passion instead of the money, who will I live with? I’ll be forced to become a Walmart greeter and I’m too surly for that.

Will I be selecting geographic locals? Duh. These boys are my ticket out of cold weather. It can’t be left to them to choose where their mother would like to live. Only I hold that answer.

Will I be choosing their spouses? I think you know that answer. I can’t risk my sons being sucked in by some skank ass ho or a gold digging, mother-hating manipulator. Rest assured boys, Mommy’s got this.

Over the years when I’ve heard girlfriends complain of domineering mother-in-laws (Apparently, mothers with sons only are the worst. Go figure.) I’ve listened sympathetically and tried to understand. It’s hard to get any skin in the mother-in-law game when yours can only visit via a 19 hour flight but is scared of airplanes. (Nicely done again Margaret.) But any more, when I hear of controlling mother-in-laws coming between husband and wife, inserting a mother’s power to make the husband choose her over his wife, I’m enthralled. Please…tell me more. How does this happen? I must know. I will need this knowledge later…

One of my charming girlfriends I like to call the Mouth of the South often tells me, “You got to stop this crap or you’re gonna be stuck with those tittie babies forever.” Your lips to God’s ears I say. Though that whole tittie baby title is a bit off putting.

Yes,  I have created two mother-loving, old school, Turkish mama’s boys and I could not be more proud. I will continue to cultivate this until I head to the grave (The grave upon which I expect my sons to throw themselves and weep for days upon my death.) Relax, they too will become badass Turks some day, thanks to me. But even when they are grown-up badasses, mommy will still be number one. I’m doing every thing I can now to make   sure of that.

Me and one of my darling boys

Oh God, I Think I’m Turning Into Andy Rooney…

The inter-web is becoming a cesspool of stupidity and I think it’s time we break up. In the past months, I’ve doubted our relationship often. I find the inter-web controlling and incredibly annoying. Using that criteria, if it were a man he’d have been ditched long ago. If my addiction to the local mom’s buy/sell/trade group and Pinterest (How did I ever make dinner before? No really, how?) were not so strong, I’d unplug and never look back. But alas, I just can’t say goodbye. Ours is definitely a dysfunctional relationship.

In the past few months the inter-web has served me well with my Nugget struggles. Out there in the ether that is the web, I have met amazing parents who have walked my path and told me what to expect after surgery, what brand of hearing aid is best and when to stop listening to doctors and trust my gut. Likewise I’ve been able to offer big cyber hugs to anxious moms with babies awaiting kidney surgery and reassurance to distraught parents who were just handed their own Microtian. In that vein it’s really amazing.

But that, dear reader, is such a small bit of positivity in a growing area of UGH. When did we start using the internet as the main vehicle for bitching and whining? People of the inter-web can find something to complain about in even the most mundane and innocent posting. Post a photo of a puppy with a kid and you’ll quickly be schooled on dog cruelty or child endangerment. Post a photo of food and you’ll hear about unhealthy choices or starving children suffering while you gorge. No matter what you photo you post, you are bound to piss someone off and they will absolutely need to tell you about it. UGH! (I seldom post photos because I’m offensive enough with the written word.)

Then there’s the fake news that really riles up old people and the uber religious who are looking to be offended. Last week a few elderly Facebookers posted about U.S. public schools forcing kids to say Muslim prayers and each poster was adamant this was true. Oh reeeeeeally. Having recently worked in public schools and having a child in public school I ask, where is your evidence old people? ‘Cause I ain’t seen nuthin. Furthermore, I never even saw that when I taught in Turkey – a Muslim nation. Hmmmmmmmmmm…

Next up there was a post, by the same crew of old people, that “Obama is pulling Fixer-Upper off the air because the hosts share their Christianity.” Fo real old people? Tell me you don’t actually believe that the President of the U.S.of A. sits around watching HGTV looking for the rare prayer? (PS – I think it’s been sufficiently demonstrated repeatedly everywhere but on FoxNews that he’s a Christian too…but what evs.) If Barry O is watching Fixer-Upper, I think he’d be far more concerned with the fact that there is always an unexpected expense at the midpoint of the show which the buyers ALWAYS agree to. Come on now. Who believes this? (I’m not a fan. It’s the Turk. He’s a HGTV junkie. I’m only a collateral viewer.)

All of this brings us to the current war on Christmas. (Note it old people, it’s not real.) My Jewish friends and Muslim family members are way better at celebrating Christmas than I, a life-long lapsed Catholic. The only war on Christmas I’ve seen is the war on stores opening for Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving and premature hall decking. Both of those are wars I can get behind. Please stop posting memes that say “I’m going to be offensive and say Merry Christmas this year. Are you?” Nobody cares. Even my mother-in-law who cannot speak a word of English and thinks Christmas is December 31st, says Merry Christmas. I’ve got Jewish friends who send me Christmas cards. This is all ridiculous. If you want to say something offensive, call me. I can teach you how to be offensive in 2 languages. You’re welcome.

Oh, and as for this red Starbuck’s cups crap? Shut the hell up. It’s stupid. Amen.

Ultimately the web is a bunch of neighborhoods and if you know the neighborhood, you know what to expect there. If you want to avoid riff-raff, (I’m looking at you Facebook,) just stay in your neighborhood where the worst you’ll have to deal with is the nosy neighbor. (PS- I’ve recently realized in our real-life neighborhood I’m the nosy neighbor. I’m just a step away from throwing my hair up in curlers and donning a fuzzy robe when I spy out my kitchen window over a cup of coffee. I need a job.)

A few weeks ago the Nugget came home from Grandma’s with a new toy, a Chuck Norris action figure circa 1983. Though his karate chops are slower and his leg no longer has the rubber band for a kung-fu kick, he’s found a place as protector in our home. He sits by the front door at night, travels to work in the Turk’s briefcase occasionally and even made an unsuspecting trip to second grade in a backpack. We’re seriously considering getting rid of our Turkish nazar (evil eyes) and using Chuck to protect us from bad juju. So I’ve decided to harness the protection of Chuck as I surf the web. Though I know the real Chuck is now one of the crazies intent on believing in the war on Christmas and protesting the non-existence of Muslim prayers in public schools, I’m choosing to remember Chuck as he was – a truth seeking badass. Together, 1983 Chuck and I will ignore the crazies and travel the web together and as we encounter those offended by red cups we will say, “Chuck be with you.”


Musings From My Bi-Cultural World

I’m not a very good American. Fine patriots like Donald Trump and Sarah Palin would probably label me an over-educated Liberal, Socialist. (Full disclosure, I’m more Libertarian than Liberal. Back in 2011 I ran a solid campaign to become Ronn Paul’s VP but the bastard never called me. Perhaps he felt my stance on immigration was a bit harsh.) The only flag I’ve ever owned is the one they passed out to family members at my husband’s naturalization ceremony, unless you count that Springsteen bandanna I procured down the Jersey shore on a bad hair day back in ‘98. I vote in every election but only out of my Jedi-like sense of duty not my sense of patriotism. My husband has been an America for two years now and he’s miles ahead of me in the race to be a good American.

I think the problem is that I find a good majority of my countrymen quite off-putting which results in my laissez faire patriotism. How can one be overjoyed to come from a people who created three-pound hamburgers available to you in the comforts of your car with a 900 oz. soda on the side? (Diet soda, of course.) We are the people who created Wal-Mart, fast food and obesity. (See that connection?)

For the love of God, we are the people whose current top presidential candidates consist of a reality show jackass, a surgeon who thinks if the kindergarteners at Sandy Hook had charged the gunman they’d be here today and the wife of a former president. Really? This is the best we’ve got? Oh Americans, you make it easy to get down on you.

But then, just when I get down on my people, something happens to show me the half-full side of the glass.

Last week, a good family friend in Turkey, someone my husband has known all of his life, died. Ali was 39. He came home from work with a tight chest and a shooting pain in his arm. He went in to lie down and was dead an hour later. You, my American reader, know from that brief description that Ali was having a heart attack. You know in that situation you do not lie down. You pop an aspirin and get your ass to the ER, STAT. But Ali was in Turkey where the above is not a commonly known practice for one with those symptoms. You know how to treat a heart attack because in America, whether you want it or not, we look out for your well-being.

You know if you’re on fire you stop, drop and roll.

You know that you should exercise daily and brush after every meal.

You know that if you eat too much sugar you are at risk for diabetes.

You know that if you eat only those 3-pound burgers and 900 oz. sodas you will probably need to know how to treat a heart attack.

Why do you know these things? Because we have a ridiculous number of organizations that educate the masses on issues of health and safety. Starting in elementary school you learn these things and if you missed it, you can catch it on a TV commercial. (In that same vein, we all also know what do to in the case of 4-hour erection. Thank you advertisers.) We know these things because everyone’s health and well-being is important to us in America. Even if you take your health for granted (insert comment on 900 oz. soda again), we are still going to take care of you.

Countless times on this journey of ours with the Nugget our Turkish family has commented on how different things are going to be for him because he is in America. Oh, we know. The advances here are amazing. (2 months ago they literally took my baby’s kidney out of his body through a 4-inch slot, reconstructed it, shoved it back in and it works. Whaaaaat?) Early Intervention resources will hopefully bring my little one-eared wonder up to speed with other kids his age by the time he gets to kindergarten. Audiology gave us his gazillion dollar hearing aid to test-drive for three months before we had to fork over a dime. (When I was in labor with Number One Son in Turkey, we had to pay in-full for the birth before we were allowed onto the maternity ward. Fun Fact: the hearing aid costs 4 times more than Number One’s birth.)

All stupid insurance and big pharma issues aside, why is medical care so much better here than in Turkey and other nations? I think it’s because Americans have a fight unlike any others. We see a problem and we need to fix it. We don’t accept answers without facts. We know things can be better and fight to make it so. Once we’ve solved the problem, we want to educate you so you can be better too because in the end, we look out for our countrymen, even if we don’t like them.

When the doctor determined, in Ali’s apartment, that a 39-year-old died of a heart attack, it was accepted and he was buried in traditional Muslim fashion 24-hours later. No autopsy. No more questions were asked. Ali was dead and that was that. That’s how things go in Turkey. I’ve seen it often.

But that is not how it works in America. Questions would be asked and answers demanded. Tests would be run and evidence pored over. And in the end, those answers would be used to help others.

Through our many, many trials with the Nugget, my mother-in-law has always said, “Margaret can handle it. She is American.” Full disclosure, it has honked me off more than once but I think now I get it. She’s right. I can handle it because I’m going to find answers. I’m going to get the facts and I’m going to work to fix things. I’m going to fight because I’m an American. So maybe I am a crappy patriot but maybe I am not such a crappy American after all. (Insert snaps in the z formation and a head toss as I drop the mic and walk off.)

Riveter at work on Consolidated bomber, Consolidated Aircraft Corp., Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Howard R Hollem for the Farm Security Administration, October 1942. Credit Line: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-fsac-1a34953.
Riveter at work on Consolidated bomber, Consolidated Aircraft Corp., Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Howard R Hollem for the Farm Security Administration, October 1942. Credit Line: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-fsac-1a34953.