Kate's Motel

What you don't know about your bedspread won't hurt you.

We Need To Discuss The Impact You’re Having On The Lobby Restroom.

Hotel Tip #37

It’s a common thing in an Interstate Hotel to have weary travelers come bursting through the lobby doors in a mad dash to the restroom. This is fine. We at the Front Desk completely understand that you’ve probably been on the road with a driver that refuses to stop for any reason other than death or possibly dismemberment and your bladder can only take so much abuse before it starts to rebel against you and cause you extreme embarrassment.

There are, however, some courtesy rules that you should probably know before you step a single toe into my lobby restroom.

If you happened to miss the sign outside the restroom door declaring the proceeding room to be of the unisex variety, you should certainly be aware of this fact once you lock the door behind you. (And please, DO lock the door. Housekeepers aren’t famous for being able to speak English and they don’t, as a rule, always knock before trying to enter through an unlocked door.) Unisex restrooms means that the person that sat on that toilet before you was most likely of the opposite sex, and the person after you most likely will be also.

We have now established the definition of a unisex restroom. Pay attention.

Men:
When you use my lobby restroom to break the seal, please have some common courtesy and lower the lid/flush the toilet/aim correctly. This has nothing to do with the feminist movement or I Am Woman Hear Me Roar. I can tell you from first hand experience that walking into the restroom and being greeted with the stench of a stranger’s urine all over the toilet lid and the floor, and hoping that the toilet doesn’t clog from the gummy film that has formed inside the bowl because said stranger didn’t flush when he made use of the facilities over 5 hours ago is NOT one of those happy smells that beings back memories of childhood. It makes me want to vomit and kick you out of my hotel. No soup for you.

Women:
It’s a fact of life that Aunt Flo will visit you once every 28-32 days. Most of you have timed her visits so precisely that you are adequately prepared for her ugly face. Sometimes, however, there are accidents. I understand this. Should you have an accident anywhere near the vicinity of my lobby restroom, please understand that I do not have a Hazmat suit on hand to remove the soiled panties that you left stuffed behind the commode, and you should either place them in the provided trash can or put them in your pocket. I watched a gore-filled horror flick last night that was less terrifying than the thought of being within 20 feet of your nasty undergarments.

As with all hotel courtesy rules, these are optional to follow.

But please be warned that should you choose to follow your own path, it’s a very likely possibility that you will be the subject of a popular internet blog.

Choose wisely.

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November 28, 2009 Posted by | advice | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Silence! I Keel You!

I’m not saying that my upstairs neighbors are terrorists just because they are Muslim. That would be racist, unfair, and just plain mean. In fact, I’m not saying they are terrorists at all. Not trying to get anyone red flagged here.

In the spirit of being innocent until proven guilty, I’m just going to lay out the facts and let people decide for themselves. And for humor’s sake, I’m going to refer to the couple as Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Fact 1:
Mr. and Mrs. Smith live in a one bedroom apartment on the third floor. They have no children. Doo and I are still trying to decide if Mrs. Smith is pregnant or if she just really has an oddly shaped midsection. (I do realize that not everyone can be shaped as perfectly as Elizabeth Hurley.) If she IS indeed pregnant, I’m going to have to be a bit weirded out and I’ll tell you why. Mrs. Smith is in the same age group as my mother. Somewhere between 45 and 65. Mr. Smith is at most in his mid-20’s.

I get the whole cougar thing. There are just some lines that shouldn’t be crossed.

Cougars look like Ivana Trump and Courtney Cox and they have enough money from their alimony to avoid the tribulations of apartment living.

Fact 2:
They are awake and in a hurry at all hours of the day and night. I know this because I was awakened this morning at 4:45am to the sound of slamming doors and rapid heavy footfalls leading from the bedroom to the kitchen and back again several times.

Random jumping up and down above the exact spot where the light fixture hangs over our dining room table. Running from the bedroom to the kitchen for no apparent reason other than I will occasionally hear their smoke detector going off. (PS: Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Smith for burning whatever you cooked the other day and opening your balcony door to air out your apartment. I was enjoying the fresh, cool, autumn air with my own windows open that day and the aroma of your unintentionally (or not) blackened curry rice invaded my apartment like a healthy whiff of Agent Orange.)

Fact 3:
They tried to get me to sell them Doo’s Jeep. Now, I totally get bad credit. My own is not spectacular. And avoiding creditors by obtaining a vehicle through personal means could possibly be a good idea, if said vehicle is actually for sale. But there is a name for people that take away someone else’s only mode of transportation because they don’t have one of their own. Those people are called carjackers.

I’m just sayin’.

So I don’t have any hard evidence that my upstairs neighbors are terrorists. Sure, they listen to music that reminds me of the end of Moulin Rouge, and Mr. Smith just kinda has the sort of face that makes a man want to punch him right in the kisser, but I’m really beginning to believe that they aren’t terrorists. They’re just assholes.

November 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

To Write Love On Her Arms

People who have never suffered from real depression don’t understand. In fact, that’s probably the best way to know that you’ve never been seriously depressed and you should count yourself extremely lucky.

Real depression is a road that no one should have to go down, but over 131 million people do, every single day of their lives. The worst part is that over 2/3 of those people go down that road by themselves. They never find help, they never see the light at the end of their tunnel, and most often they end with substance abuse or worse, suicide.

Depression Road is what I imagine that Hell is like. Your own personal Hell. If someone was able to turn depression into a weapon of war, the human race would be obliterated. It’s lonely, it’s dark, there are monsters, and if you’re there, you can’t find a way out.

I know depression.

I know heartbreak.

I know anger, sadness, fear, humility, and guilt.

I also know courage.

The thing is, I don’t feel courageous. I’m told I am by everyone that knows me, but I don’t always see it in myself. Every single day, I’m bombarded with guilt. It’s all my fault. I have failed both of my children. One of them, so badly that I don’t have him anymore. The other one, I failed in that I wasn’t there for him when he apparently needed me the most. I’ve failed my family. I’ve failed myself.

It’s easier to fall back to that depression than it is to pull myself out of it. It’s easier to eat a half pint of cream cheese icing and sleep for hours than it is to get up and get dressed and go outside to do something. It’s easier to swallow that entire bottle of Oxycontin than it is to live with the hurt, betrayal, and heartbreak. The hardest part of all is finding help. That’s the humiliating part.

What depressed people don’t realize though (and it’s not their fault, the depression doesn’t allow them to see), is that finding help isn’t really that hard at all. You are NOT alone. You DON’T deserve this, and you CAN fix it all. You CAN start over.

Today is To Write Love On Her Arms Day. To Write Love On Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery. www.twloha.com

When I picked out Carlton’s parents, when I signed the adoption papers relinquishing my rights as his parent, when I left the hospital without the baby I’d just given birth to, I knew I had done the right thing. I was just a few steps lower than what I thought rock-bottom was.

I can tell you with complete honesty, that if I’d not asked for help…I would have been six feet under, three years ago.

You are loved. Find help.

911
1-800-SUICIDE (NATIONAL HOPELINE NETWORK)
www.self-injury.com (S.A.F.E. Alternatives)
1-800-799-SAFE (NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HELPLINE)

I write LOVE on my arms today. If you stand still long enough, I will write LOVE on yours, too.

I love you.

November 13, 2009 Posted by | advice | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Single-Handedly, I Have Fought My Way Into This Hopeless Situation

There have been many nights that I’ve prayed myself to sleep, asking just what it is that I’m doing wrong. If I just knew what it was that I was doing to make everything keep turning out exactly the way it should if I WANTED to be miserable and live just on the wrong side of the welfare eligibility requirements, then maybe I could change it and start working for something better.

Dear God,
I’m screwing it up.
Please send reinforcements.

Love,
Kate

How often have you found yourself backed into a corner, tears streaming, wondering how you could have possibly ended up in this situation, how could any “loving” God let something this horrible and life-changing happen to you? If God REALLY loved me as the bible says, WHY WHY WHY would He let me get into a situation where the only way out is complete and total heartbreak?

Is it any wonder that so many people have decided that they don’t believe in God anymore? It’s so easy to feel betrayed. Let down. Prayers aren’t answered and help never comes.

The thing is…shit happens. You have two options. Sit and wallow in it; poor, pitiful me, everyone look at me and tell me how sorry you are for me. Or you can get up and go wash the shit off. Smells bad, fix it.

I found out this morning that Ryan may have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I can hear your thoughts right now: “OMGWTF KATE?!?!?!? How could that impossibly sweet 9 year old boy have Post Traumatic Stress?!??? What in God’s Holy Name could have happened to him that would have caused something like this, AND YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT IT?????????”

I know. I’ve been agonizing over the same thing. I just don’t know what could have caused it. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even realize that the symptoms of PTSD that he was suffering from were actually symptoms of something. I honestly just thought that those were his quirks. His inability to remember what I said 5 minutes ago. His extreme outbursts of anger. His night terrors. His extreme fear of bounce houses and merry-go-rounds or anything else that has even a remote possibility of physical harm to his body. The child doesn’t even want to go anywhere near a fairground. It took forever to convince him that it was okay to climb onto the top bunk of his bunk bed.

All children are afraid of things. All children don’t do their homework sometimes and all children try to get out of brushing their teeth. Why should I think that these issues could be caused by a much more serious problem? It’s easy to see why I didn’t know.

All I DID know is that SOMETHING was wrong, so about 4 months ago I started him in therapy. He was evaluated by a psychologist who determined that Ryan, despite his I.Q. of 121, was a depressed child. A loner. Difficulty making and maintaining friendships with children his own age. She recommended us to a therapist.

Until today, I wasn’t even sure that therapy was helping. Ryan just wasn’t opening up. I figured he had the therapist snowed, just like I’m positive he has every adult that’s ever met him snowed. She thought he was the cutest, sweetest child to ever grace the planet with his presence.

But he said something this morning during the session that made all the pieces of the puzzle that is his mind, fit.

“Doo scares me.”

Stop.

I know how that looks.

A more accurate word for him to have used is ‘startles’.

But it’s not just Doo. Anyone can startle Ryan. If Ryan is doing something that he is totally engrossed in, such as watching cartoons, playing a video game, or coloring a picture, he is completely in his own world. I could have been standing there for 10 minutes and say in a normal tone of voice, “Ryan can you come and help me with something?” and Ryan will jump out of his skin 10 feet into the air. Then he’ll scream at me that I scared him, sometimes getting teary eyed.

When I explained to the therapist that’s what he meant, I could see the light go on in her face. We talked, set up another appointment, and I took Ryan to school.

So this afternoon, I decided to explain to Ryan, in terms that he could understand, what the matter was. I explained the difference between conscious and subconscious mind, and that his subconscious was keeping him from doing things that all children love to do. Because he’s not getting to do those things, he’s not happy. His subconscious is afraid of everything. And I MEAN EVERYTHING. His subconscious makes him shut down when he thinks that something is too hard for him to do, rather than allowing him to TRY. I felt that by explaining these things to him, he would be able to better control some of it because now he would know more about what’s going on.

After our little talk, Ryan said, “So um, now we’re going to make my subconsious stop taking over my body?”

I’m glad that he does have a basic concept…
God doesn’t “let” bad things happen.

He allows it so that you will learn.

You made it out on the other side, didn’t you?

November 11, 2009 Posted by | advice | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Best Thing About Me Is You.

I had previously decided that Andy was going to be referred to from here on out as “The Cable Guy”. While that is highly comical for me, since he works for the cable company and it’s fun to joke that I’m only with him for the free cable, the nickname just doesn’t work for me anymore. Andy is “Doo”.
Backstory:
Fifteen years ago during my high school years, we lived in an awesome neighborhood that was just outside the city limits. The individual lots were huge, averaging 2.5 acres each so that it wasn’t really possible to string two cans together between the 2nd floor windows of each house and pretend you had an actual walkie talkie. We had privacy. Not long after we moved into our house, building commenced on the lot next door to us. A family was moving in. It was interesting to me that I knew the boy. We were in the same grade at the same school. Not really friends, but we were aware of each other. His name was Andy. My hetero lifemate Liz and I tried once to get him to come over to my house one afternoon when we saw him outside raking leaves, but I think he must have been afraid of us. He dropped the rake and ran inside without even speaking.

When I turned 16 and got my first car, it was arranged between our parents that we would ride to school together each morning and home together on some afternoons. It worked fine until I totalled my poor Ford Tempo on the rear bumper of a 1938 pickup truck made out of cast iron. That’s another sad story best saved for another day. After my car was no longer in commission, my new carpooling friend, Andy, managed to get himself a Bronco. (I secretly thought it was hot.) He’d bring me home sometimes, but because he was also taking home his good friend John, and John was apparently more important than some silly girl, Andy made me sit in the back seat. (Coincidentally, that’s when I am ashamed to admit that I learned all the words to Shaggy’s Boombastic song. Andy listened to it on his car stereo set to repeat all the way home from school.)

My senior year, I never went to prom. I wanted to go SO BADLY. But I refused to be silently pitied for being the girl that no one would ask out because yeah she’s nice and all and she’s not UGLY per se but she’s not exactly hot either and she’s way more fun to be friends with and I don’t want her to get the wrong idea if I ask her to be my date so there’s no way I’m going to the prom with her. I had tortured myself plenty by attending all the homecoming dances and watching everyone else dance with their guys and slowly dripping into a suicidal state because it seemed like the only guy NOT dancing with someone was the unibrow kid with the weird last name.

Mom told me I should ask the boy next door. I couldn’t ask HIM!! HE had to ask me!! I told mom he had a girlfriend. Turns out Andy never went to that prom, either.

We left high school and our lives separated. He’d moved in with a girlfriend, and I was on my way to becoming a mother. Before we’d blinked good, 10 years had passed. We both had children. We’d both been through some SERIOUSLY hard trials. We both had joined Myspace.

“What does ANY of this have to do with his nickname being Doo?”

Nothing. I just wanted to tell you. 😛

I found out that no one called him Andy anymore. He had matured to Andrew. There was no way I was calling him Andrew. He was Andy to me. But when the impossibly sweet 2 year old daughter of Andy’s roomates began calling him ‘Doo’ because she couldn’t say ‘Andrew’, I knew it was going to stick. And it has.

Doo works hard at the cable company to take care of me and Ryan, Doo reminds me that stuff needs to be done around the house and I try not to forget to do it because I like when Doo is happy but sometimes I can’t help it, Doo makes me laugh, and Doo loves me good. Even though Doo sometimes does things that I want to be mad at him for, like using ALL of my expensive cinnamon and replacing it with craft purpose cinnamon because he wanted to make cinnamon toast, I love him so good right back.  And I think Doo owes me a prom date.

Now Ryan needs a name.

 

November 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

If You Weren’t So Stupid, I Could Tell You How Stupid You Are.

Stupid Hotel Question of the Day:

(Guest, pointing to the elevator)
“Is the third floor up there?”

Last time I checked, it was.  But it’s entirely possible that someone came and took it.  You know how those gypsies are…

November 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

When Childhood Dies, Its Corpses Are Called Adults.

When I was a little girl I loved spending the night with my grandma.  She lived right down the road from us, and I could walk or ride my bicycle to her house.  When I was too young to go there by myself, mom would take me and pick me up early the next morning.  One of my very fondest memories of these slumber parties is that at bedtime, after I’d donned my nightclothes, my beloved grandmother would lay in the bed with me and tell me bedtime stories.  Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, all the really good ones.  I loved it.  Just my super-fun grandma and me, making memories.

Last Saturday night, The Cable Guy made some spectacular strawberry daiquiris. (The Cable Guy = Andy) The offspring had already gone to bed for the night, having crashed hard into a sugar coma from the Halloween festivities, and we just wanted to relax.  A daiquiri for each of us.

That night as I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep, (The Cable Guy always falls asleep so much faster than I do, almost like he has nothing worth stressing over to keep him awake.  I’m jealous of this.) I could smell The Cable Guy’s breath.  It wasn’t overpowering, so I didn’t get nauseous or anything; I could just smell it.

“Sonofabitch,” I said.  I was immediately transported down memory lane to my bedtime stories with my beloved grandmother.  The Cable Guy’s breath was the same as hers.

She was toasted every single time.

And here, all my life, I thought we were having tea parties.  I didn’t know there was tea in my cup and Jim Beam in hers.

November 5, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 12 Comments

With An Apple I Will Astonish Paris

The Fresh Beat Band and The Imagination Movers are quickly moving up to overtake The Wiggles and Yo Gabba Gabba on my list of truly annoying kids shows.  I could live in peaceful splendor for the rest of my life if these shows were cancelled and the actors never found another job for all eternity.  I’m selfish that way.

I tried out a new recipe yesterday that I feel obligated to share.  It’s so easy and it’s so good, my child who hates all foods loves this delicacy .  On top of that, it’s perfect for the coming holiday season.

Cinnamon Apples
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ cup firmly packed lt. brown sugar
2 lbs apples, peeled, cored, sliced thin

– Combine cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and apples in a large ziploc bag.  Close securely and shake well until all apple pieces are coated.
– In medium saucepan, cook apple mixture with 2 tbsp water and 1 tbsp butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally 10-12 mins or until apples are tender.

Serve alone or over vanilla ice cream!

I love the smell of apples and cinnamon in my kitchen, and I have to tell you guys…Glade ain’t got nuthin’ on this stuff!

 

November 4, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

There’s Nothing You Can Do. O Discordia!

Since being a mother doesn’t come with a “how-to” guide, I have decided to take it upon myself to make one.  Not sure about you, but I, for one, am exhausted from trying to figure out what to do next because the previous solution no longer applies.

I understand that these are normal problems that every parent goes through at some point or another with their children.  But what do I do when the normal solutions for these problems no longer apply?

This is what I’ve learned:

Problem: Your child screams like he’s being torn in half by the boogeyman himself from his bedroom 10 minutes after you’ve turned off the lights for bedtime.  Upon hurting yourself because you ran on your tiptoes across your second floor apartment, you discover that a giant flying cockroach has made its way into the apartment.  You’re a little scared of it yourself, so killing it is probably going to give you nightmares, but you try anyway because it’s highly important to remain “Goddess of Everything” in your child’s eyes.  Said cockroach avoids you with the greatest of ease, mocking your existence.  Cockroach is lost between the bookshelf and the wall, thereby nullifying any chance you had of killing the damned thing.

Solution: Short of tearing apart the wall and possibly finding other creepy crawlies that would put you in therapy, there is nothing you can do.  Lie to the child and tell them it’s gone forever into the elusive Wall Dimension, and hope they fall asleep within the next 12 hours.

Sidenote: Andy commented that he’d never seen two people be so afraid of a bug.  I enlightened him that the Cockroach’s ultimate goal is to get me to kill myself by trying to get away from it.  I couldn’t help it.  It might have flown at my face.  And then all would have been lost.

Problem: You’ve gone against your better judgment and entered the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes.  The grand prize is one MILLION dollars. Muaahahahaha.  Because your child loves to drop the mail into the outgoing mailbox by the front office, you hand him your sweepstakes entry envelope on the way to school one morning.  He notices the grand prize is one MILLION dollars.  Muaahahahaha.  After telling you that he is POSITIVE that you are going to win, his only request on spending the winnings is……….to buy a BOX of cereal as opposed to a BAG of cereal.

Solution: There is nothing you can do.  Buy the child a box of cereal and shut your mouth.

Problem: You are very grateful that you were able to find an apartment that offered TWO bathrooms instead of one, because we all know that men are funny bathroom creatures and have very private rituals that must be observed with the utmost care while they are making use of their bathroom time, and even if there are only two people living in a dwelling, sooner or later they’re both going to have to go to the bathroom at the same time.  While the male of the species is performing ungodly tasks in the master bathroom, you make use of your child’s bathroom.  You notice the wastebasket (that you just cleaned out that morning) is now full to overflowing with tiny wadded up pieces of toilet paper.  Upon closer inspection, you discover that the wadded up pieces of toilet paper are actually ‘poop covered’ wadded up pieces of toilet paper.  This would explain the bare cardboard tube that hangs from the paper dispenser.  You use your amazingly accurate reasoning skills to deduce that it must have been the offspring.

Solution: There is nothing you can do.  Remind the child of the importance of flushing used toilet paper and pray they remember your sage advice next time.

Ultimately, there seems to be nothing you can do.  Whatever you did was all you COULD do.  When it comes to parenting, being a mom, being a dad, even just being the babysitter sometimes, there is no guide book.

All we can do is use common sense, ask for help, and never give up.  I think that’s the most important part…never give up.

November 3, 2009 Posted by | advice | , , , , | 6 Comments

Say Thank You Right Now Or You’ll Be Sorry…

I want to share with you what I found in my inbox this morning.

“Kate, in your dealing with others, if you haven’t already noticed: hoping for, expecting, or even asking for a simple ‘Thank You’ is often way out of the question. And quite frankly, bad form.

But that’s all right because, in a manner of speaking, ‘Thank You’s’ are my turf.  And I never miss one.

Your Faithful Servant,
The Universe”

Think back to the last time someone told you to “say thank you.”  If you’re like me, you have a family member that is famous for giving out guilt trips free of charge to anyone that is unlucky enough to have answered the phone because the caller id didn’t register that person’s name.

(Don’t crucify me, you know as well as I do that you avoid that one person because you just don’t want to hear about all the new ailments and illnesses, what they’re going to die from this week, and how sorry everyone needs to feel for them because they don’t have anyone to take care of them when all they really want is someone to wait on them hand and foot.  Every family has one of these people, whether they choose to claim them or not.)

My point is those are the consequences for demanding a Thank You.  You come across as uppity, self-centered, and greedy.  People start avoiding you.  Before you know it, you’ve lost a friend or two.  They’ll whisper and gossip behind your back and all you did to deserve it was expect some verbal appreciation for your efforts.

Let’s flip this card.

Someone did something for you and you DIDN’T say thank you.  Rest assured that it’s highly unlikely that person (or anyone they know) will ever do anything for you again without some payment required.  People don’t like to be taken advantage of.  Besides that, wronged folks have long memories and longer phone books.  They WILL tell your mutual acquaintances that you didn’t even say “thank you”.

Ouch.  Outcasted.

The best way to avoid both of these situations seems to be grossly apparent.  Say thank you when someone does something nice for you and yours.  It doesn’t hurt anyone.  It doesn’t cost anything.

If you want to receive daily Notes From the Universe, log onto http://www.tut.com and sign up for the daily newsletter.  I promise you’ll love it like I do.

November 2, 2009 Posted by | advice | , , , | 8 Comments