Kate's Motel

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

The Six List of New Year’s Resolutions

The Six List is a list of six categorically related items. What makes them related, or how they are related, is entirely up to moi.
Why six? Cause 4 isn’t enough, five is so cliché, and ten would be just pretentious (I love this word).

Instead of making resolutions that I know I can’t follow through with, I think it would be so much easier to make a list that I know I can live with, and that way I won’t feel like warmed up shit when June rolls around and I haven’t done anything that I said I was going to do.

6. Give up a vice.
Smoking, drinking, overeating, prostitution…these are apparently the vices that the do-gooders of the world are talking about when they tell you to give it up.  All I have to say to that is:  My vices could be a whole lot worse.

I’ve never sold my son’s Playstation to pay for weed, and I’m pretty sure that no sexual favor has ever been exchanged for monetary gifts or otherwise.

This year I resolve to only smoke after I’ve overeaten AND had a nice stiff mojito with my meal.

5. Take better care of yourself.
You mean I’m going to have to join a gym or give up my Cokes?  This is not an option.  I’ve tried cutting out the sugar in my diet.  It was not a pretty time in my life.  The Coca-cola keeps me sane, and you alive.

For the safety of the entire planet, I resolve to drink more Coke.

4. Read more.
I’ve read the entire Stephen King collection (some twice), almost all of the classics, Anne Rice, Lemony Snicket, J.K. Rowlings, The Brothers Grimm, Nora Roberts (in my younger days), John McCammon, The Twilight series, Dean Koontz, and countless books on the metaphysical side of life.

This year I resolve to progress to adding a biography here and there.  Something on Willy Wonka, maybe.

3. Swearing less.
What the fuck?  How am I supposed to accurately convey my anger at the idiots that come through this hotel if I can’t swear?  I guess it’s not acceptable for everyone at all times, but it’s not like I go into church to tell the preacher that I think he’s an asshole for not even remembering my dad’s name when dad was in the hospital having heart surgery.  Don’t ask me for a picture of my dad because you can’t seem to place the name.  Fuck you.

But I didn’t say that out loud.

This year, I resolve to drop the F-bomb less than 20 times a day.

2. Being more decisive and standing up for myself.
I think I got that covered.  I resolve to continue telling the people that talk to me as if I’m no smarter than Corky, exactly where they can go and what they can do with their self-imposed, guilt-soothing bullshit.

1.Learning how to do something new.
Something that most of you don’t know about me…I played piano for 20 years before I had Ryan, and had to learn to live with playing Fur Elise with a toddler tinkling at the top of the keyboard for the duration of the song.  When I asked Ryan last month if he wanted me to teach him how to play the piano, he informed me that he already knew.

K: “Well when did you learn?”
R: “I was born knowing.”

He gets that smartassedness from me.  He gets the know-it-all personality from his father.

For the year of 2010, I resolve to learn how to counteract my son’s smartass answers with even better smartass answers of my own.

Cross your fingers, the year’s almost up.

December 30, 2009 Posted by | advice | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life is painful, nasty, and short. In my case it’s only been painful and nasty.

Woke up with a raging headache.
Ran into the corner of the kitchen counter.
Argued with Ryan on the importance of not falling asleep while standing up.
Spilled one Goody powder on the floor.
Choked on the other one.
Ran out of pineapple cream cheese half a bagel too early.
Ten minutes late getting Ryan to school for free breakfast.
Found out the hard way that Ryan can’t get out of the car at the lunchroom (which we pass on the way to the designated drop-off point), he must get out of the car on the polar opposite side of the school and walk all the way back.
Remembered immediately why I don’t like the teachers at Ryan’s school.
The blinker on the jeep is broken again. It worked yesterday.
Waited for endless agonizing minutes for the three teenage girls that live on the third floor to take their time coming down the steps; they somehow knew that I had to go to the bathroom and wanted to see if they could make me piss myself.
Aunt Flo is a dirty, dirty bitch. She tricked me into making me think she was gone for another month. Surprise.
Out of toilet paper.

I’m going back to bed before it can get any worse.

December 14, 2009 Posted by | advice | , , , , , | 1 Comment

There Is Always One More Imbecile Than You Counted On.

Tip of the Day:
You know your PMS is out of control when you start to cry to the Walmart Vision Center lady because she called to remind you of your son’s eye appointment that you forgot about.

It’s not my fault.

Today was a difficult day.

I have to hand it to Doo, he took us out to eat and made me feel better. Nothing like a fat, juicy steak and the best Key Lime pie you ever had to take your troubles away.

So here’s the million dollar question: What do you do when someone in your life literally does everything in their power to make you as miserable as humanly possible? Putting them OUT of your life isn’t possible for the next nine years or so, and killing them is illegal. But it seems that this person has made it their life’s mission to make sure that you suffer tremendously for crimes that you didn’t even commit, JUST because they feel that you have somehow wronged them.

In my defense, I have raised my child with only the help from my parents and now Doo for the last 9 years. It’s not been easy. What parenting job ever is? I never badmouthed The Sperm Donor in front of Ryan, I never denied what little visitation was requested by The Sperm Donor, and I never asked the Sperm Donor for more money. Not even when I was reduced to working three days a week at $7.50 an hour. There’s no love lost between me and The Sperm Donor, but I’ll not have Ryan blame me for his father’s sins.

Ryan will find out what kind of person The Sperm donor is soon enough without my help.

December 7, 2009 Posted by | advice | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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.

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

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