Friday, October 23, 2009


I’ve tended to blog about my feelings more than about specific issues. Today there is an issue I want to share with you – one of the many hassles and, dare I say it, prejudices that custodial grandparents have to deal with.
I sometimes travel overseas for business, and I have friends in three other countries. I’d like to take him with me, should a trip come up at a time he can be out of school. He also has a great grandfather who is Canadian, and will be buried in Canada when that time comes. Joe is approaching 90, and his health is failing. All of these things, along with a heartfelt desire to show him more of the world prompted me to apply for a passport (for Austin) some two months ago.
Today, the State Department sent a letter informing me that I must have a court order allowing me to travel with Austin. Now, my custody documents not only provide me with the ability to “make all decisions regarding the care and welfare” of the child, but they also impart important responsibilities. I am responsible for his medical care and all decisions, all financial obligations, etc. But I need to go back to the judge to take him on a Disney Cruise for vacation? (pardon me please, but WTF????)
I’m still in debt to my attorney for the custody. I get no child support, no assistance for his expenses. I have day care, cub scouts, soccer, school fees, clothes, furniture, and day to day activities, all of which are now my responsibility. The judge OBVIOUSLY thinks I am a responsible individual. I am a home owner (well, along with the mortgage co I am)… I have a job that I am unlikely to leave, not to mention a fricking private zoo…. And now I get to have another grand or more added to my legal debt. Because some jackass at the State Department thinks that having full custody of this child means everything OTHER than traveling with him. By the time I manage to get this sorted there will be no money for a damned cruise. And I am feeling a tad defeated.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


There are days when everything is so… right. When the sun has the right amount of shine, when the wind feels soft, when we just feel good.

And then there are days like this. I would not trade the opportunity to raise my grandson for anything in the world. Except for one thing. His mother (my daughter)’s wake up and regained (or maybe gained to begin with) ability to be a fully functioning woman and mother. If I had that, I’d be able to give up raising him. Much of the time, I can separate the two. In fact, I can shove my fear in a corner and ignore it. Mostly.

Then there are days like this one. When I discover that she has posted on some trashbag’s FaceBook page “Earth to baby daddy. Pregnant Girl here. “ There was more but why drag on a painful moment. I don’t know if I feel more like banging my head into a brick wall or just sliding down it for a good cry.

Austin was my first grandchild. Gracie, who has been adopted by a wonderful couple in FL was my second. There was a third, but they were aborted before I knew. (not that that child hasn’t been thrown in my face repeatedly) and now it seems there may be a fourth.

A friend of mine recommended that when I deal with my daughter, I should ask myself, What Would Jesus Do. I nearly came out of my skin on that one. WTF? That kind of thinking contributed to this to begin with! I tried so hard to help her every time she had a problem that I helped to keep her from learning how to be responsible. For those of you who are blessed to have never had to deal with an addict, there are a few things you need to know.




4. They blame everyone and everything but themselves.

5. They steal

6. Then they steal again

7. They are adept at making others accept blame or responsibility for their transgressions

8. They are the most charming people on earth


10. Did you get that folks? THEY LIE.

So What Would Jesus Do? Hell if I know. I keep asking, but so far I’m not doing such a good job at listening. I have, however, listened to the kind people at ALANON and NARANON. And I know that even though it might FEEL like I should let her come home, that I will not be doing HER a bit of good. Not to mention the damage to ME or most especially, to Austin. So today, when I got the email “Please mom, I have learned all the lessons in the world and I just can’t do any better than this, please let me come home I promise it will be different” I deleted the email with no reply.

And I feel like a dirtbag.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Best Boy in the World

I really must start using the recording program on my iPhone. I had this story all mapped out in my half sleep last night. Now my waking (haha) brain is behind the 8 ball.

I have a giant eraser. It’s just like the ones we used in school, pink, rectangular with angled ends. (keep this tidbit tucked away for a few moments)

This weekend, Austin and I participated in the Cub Scout Family camping trip. Now, we live in Atlanta, so camping in the early fall is usually a lovely thing. However, all those prayers to end the three year drought have come to fruition over the last 3 weeks, and we have had record rainfall. Combine that with an uncharacteristic early freeze, and you have a less than lovely weekend for a campout. It was 31 degrees when we woke Sunday morning. Austin was fine with it, but then he slept in my expensive, REI-good-to-30-below-sleeping bag. I did not. My feet were blocks of ice and my head, back and neck were stuck at an unnatural angle. I was not a happy camper. (yay, I’ve been waiting for a chance to say that!!!) The trip was great for the boys, and that’s really why we parents do it, so I’ll count the weekend as a win. We spent hours clearing up the tent and etc, spreading them all over the basement to dry. Our clothes were hosed off before we washed them (twice). All in all, we were both tired when we finally made it to bed late Sunday. Monday came along, and after working I rushed to the County Commissioner’s office to ask for funding to fix our neighborhood dam. Managed to make it to school in time to pick up Austin from the after school program (THANK GOD FOR ASP!!!!) and we merrily went home to make dinner.

Well, not really. Austin was grumpy, had a bad day in class, and I still had the headache that began Friday afternoon. We managed to get homework done, and dinner on the table. (I love leftovers, don’t you?) By then, I’m feeling faintly nauseous, and figure it’s a good time to get the dogs out for a walk, hoping the cool air will clear my mind and help get rid of the headache that half a bottle of advil, a handful of Tylenol and some allergy tabs have not yet hindered.

NOT the best idea. By the time we got back, I’m seeing sparks in my peripheral vision, and can smell something odd. (Verging on a full blown migraine). Austin ran full tilt into the bathroom yelling about something, and found me doubled over near the toilet. “Noni, Noni what’s wrong???” I told him I was ok, just had a bad headache. He left, then came right back. “Guess what I found Noni!” Now, what I WANTED to say was “get the hell out of here, I am dying, can you not leave me be for a minute to puke in peace?” Luckily, I managed, “hmm, no idea, can you give me a hint?” I’m watching those sparks all over the place now. He pulls up the giant eraser, and says, “Where does it hurt Noni? I’m going to erase it!!!” I showed him, and he began gently “erasing” my headache. When he was done, I stumbled to my bed, and the boy brought me a cup of water, two chewable vitamins, an ice pack, and a get well card that he just drew. He stood there and made me take the vitamins, drink all the water, then put the ice pack on my eye. (packing it gently around the pick that was IN my eye) Then he climbed into bed next to me and read me a story. I am telling you, I felt the pain drift away during that story! Then he carefully climbed out of my bed, brushed his teeth, and went to his own bed.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday Morning

I’m sitting in my office – it’s Thursday morning and I should be working. But my brain is struggling to unwrap itself from my anger and frustration.

I’m raising my grandson, Austin. Austin is 7, and he is truly wonderful, a gift from God. Yesterday he had to come to work with me – the county we live in was badly flooded on Monday, and the schools were closed for two days. He left a note for me on my office whiteboard: “don’t sped money on me exsept for a litesaber” “thak you very much, thak you SO much!”

Can I tell you that reading that makes me want to cry? It does. Partly for joy, and partly because it highlights his mother (my daughter)’s illness and selfishness. I am so damn angry at her that I can hardly think of her without feeling my blood pressure rise. So lately I do my damndest NOT to think of her. At times that makes me feel like a total shit-heel. Today I am aware that it is only self preservation and that I have every right to preserve myself. Unfortunately I took a glance at her FaceBook page BEFORE I remembered the whole self preservation thing. She has a new dog. And is desperate to get back together with her boyfriend, whom she wants to have a family with. This is the same “person” who was with her when she last showed up at my house. In the middle of the day. When I am normally at work. To “pick up her stuff”. When they left, some of MY stuff magically disappeared. My new saw. Never even out of the box, in fact, not yet completely paid for. Guess I don’t really need to replace the molding in my house after all. There is no more jewelry to disappear. No more cash in the house, no left over prescription drugs, no iPod, no new XM radio that I hadn’t been able to have installed yet. No Wii, no Guitar Hero….. What there IS in my house, is 5, yes FIVE, flipping cats (only one of which is mine) 2 dogs (also mine) and a parrot (NOT mine). And one boy. One wonderful, sweet, smart, handsome boy. Who hasn’t seen or heard from his “mother” since school started. Oh – wait – there WERE those two or three phone calls and a scattering of texts. Yeah – in which he was told that I stole him from her. Yeah – that’s me, the thief.

My next story was SUPPOSED to be about the beginning of this part of my life – but instead you got a rant from an angry woman….Maybe we will just start from here and see if you want to join me on my journey to raise Austin and get past my bitterness and disappointment in my daughter.

And just maybe, I might manage to find happiness and peace along the way!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

More Crap You Didn't Know about me....

1. I am the black sheep of my family. Not only was I the first one to
get divorced, I liked it so much I did it TWICE. But the real
reason.... I am the lone moderate in a very red family. They are close
to disowning me.

2. I am the hottest grandmother you will ever meet. (just ask me, I'll tell you!)

3. I am afraid of the water. That is the real reason I learned how to
dive. However, I think I might have saltwater in my veins now and I
really, REALLY miss the ocean.

4. When I am nervous or worried, I catch myself counting EVERYTHING. It drives me nuts.

5. I usually love my job. And I am damn good at it.

6. I am privileged to have the best friends in the world, some of whom I have never met face to face.

7. I would rather be outdoors than in, on just about any day of the year. Lack of sun makes me sad.

8. Green is my favorite scent. Yes, I said scent. Go outside in the spring, when the sun warms the trees... Or deep in the woods on a summer day. That scent... it's green.

9. I hate it when I am wrong or when I don't know the answer.

10. This summer I plan to take classes in water painting and photography. (instead I spent it in court)

11. I sing so badly the choir won't let me join. ;-)

12. I absolutely DETEST green peas. It makes me gag to see one on my plate, and I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would willingly put then in their mouth!

13. I think spiders are fascinating, but having one ON me completely freaks me out.

14. I am secretly thrilled that Bonnie lets me pet her. (Bonnie is our red-lored parrot)

15. I think my dog Maggie is smarter than many people I've met. Sam, however, rides the short-bus.

16. I once worked at a pay by the hour hotel. As a maid. THAT was the worst job I ever had!

17. When I was 10 years old, I lived in Germany. And I accidentally stole a marble from a store in the town we lived in. For years, I had nightmares that the German police would arrest me for it.

18. I would love to go back to college. I will never, ever know as much as I want to know about all the things I am interested in.

19. When I grow up I want to be Wyn.

20. I am very uncomfortable in crowds, and for years, I suffered panic attacks when I had to be in one. I still don't like it when people I don't know touch me, but if I know you I will hug you nearly every time I see you.

21. My IQ is high enough to be in MENSA, but I have made some of the stupidest mistakes imaginable!

22. It drives me nuts that the 63% of eligible voters this election were a record turn out. And of those 63%, I bet half of them had no idea who was running for any office other than President. How do you
people think we got in this mess? So many are so quick to point at politicians, but WE elected them!

23. I love chocolate so much that I would bathe in it if I thought I could get away with it.

24. I think Pink absolutely rocks.

25. I still miss my son. Every single day.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Begining...

I've been requested to blog about my adventures raising my grandson, and I think that's a great idea. Below is a story I published last year on his birthday on another site - and is a great starting point for my...

Tales of Austin, the boy wonder!

Seven years ago today, my daughter called me when I was just walking in the door of my office. MOOOOMMM, (she was wailing) I think it's time! I asked if she was sure (there had been a few episodes of early labor and some later false labor) and told her I'd be there as soon as I could get back home. Oh, I sounded so calm! In reality, I was flinging my purse in one direction, laptop in another and had dropped my coffee. I was 37 years old, and about to be a grandmother. I closed my phone, promptly puked in the trash can, and sat in my chair to gather my thoughts. (just for a second…) then I grabbed the trash can and ran to the bathroom. In those days (still I worked in a gorgeous office, and we had BIG containers of mouthwash in the ladies room.

I was very grateful for that mouthwash.

When I made it back to my desk, the office Faery had gathered my belongings together and was waiting with a fresh cup of coffee, and sent me on my way. I still miss that office Faery!!!

I live in the North West corner of "The Greater Atlanta Metro Area". Jennifer had chosen to deliver in a hospital in the North EAST corner of said metro area. It was 29 miles of morning rush hour. Jennifer has NO pain tolerance. I am a maniac driver on a GOOD day. And at that time, I drove a big SUV. Let's just say that the trip that day is STILL legendary among Cobb, Fulton and Gwinnett's finest and leave it at that.

When we finally got to the hospital, the doc said she was just beginning labor, but that she wasn't ready to be admitted yet. All it took was one look and the doc decided maybe we could try a little dose of pitocin rather than sending us home. We walked all over that bleeping hospital… and eventually it was decided that it was time to admit. Before long, Jennifer's step father was there, Christian arrived with his parents, and I sat down for the first time since I got out of the truck. Things moved pretty fast from that point, and I was good to go until it was time for her epidural. That is one grotesque pop when they push that shot! Jenn was a trooper, but it was obvious the pain was more than she could handle, I'm glad she accepted the medication. Let me tell you, being in the delivery room when you are NOT the one delivering is MUCH better!

I won't share too much of the delivery, Jenn would be ever so thrilled with me.

When Austin was born, I held my breath. Here he was! I so wanted to hold him, to touch my grandson. My GRANDSON! What a little miracle, what and absolutely amazing thing! But I stayed back a bit – trying to give his parents some room. (This was really hard for me. But I did it)

The nurses brought him to the warming bed to clean him up and I called his name. He turned his head to me! That amazed me, and frankly, the nurses too. Jennifer laughed – she pointed out I'd been talking to him every day for months, of COURSE he knew my voice!

And that was when I saw it. My perfect baby grandson was retracting. It's a sign there are issues with breathing, it's common in cardiac babies. And I had seen it before. Then I saw the look on the nurse's face as she turned to pick up the phone. I don't know how I got there so fast but I whispered "what's wrong"? "Oh nothing" she said… "bullshit" I replied, "he is retracting, what's going on?" They called for ICU, and I nearly lost my mind right there in the room. That is a hard thing to do when you are struggling to keep your daughter from seeing what's happening, and you know that being calm is the best choice. Jennifer was scared to death, Christian looked like he'd been hit by a bus and had no clue what the hell was going on. The Doc didn't have much to say, just tried to reassure us that Austin was going to be ok. Jenn was afraid to let them take Austin and insisted I go too. Well, they of course wouldn't let me in the ICU right away, so I stood in front of the doors, desperately hoping they would come back and say they'd made a mistake and he was fine.

They didn't.

I wanted to be outside, but my legs wouldn't carry me, so I slid down the wall and lost it. I didn't give a damn about the rest of the crap in my life, all I could think was "Why? HOW could this be happening again?" I was struggling to control myself, and failing miserably. I called my parents – my father answered. He could hear me crying and I know that freaked him out – déjà vu for him as well as me. "I'm on the way" he said. "Tell me where to come." God I needed my dad… But I told him to wait until we knew what was going on. Just hearing his voice helped.

Much of the next few days is a blur – Austin spent three days in ICU, and ultimately he is healthy and whole. Some babies don't transition well, and he was one of them. His heart is fine, his lungs (trust me on this one!) are healthy. But that was a VERY long three days and I am glad it is all over and far in the past.

Today, I'm thinking about that day. Today Austin is 7. He hangs in that balance of baby and young man… and would be SO unamused that I still see my baby grandson in his face! (so let's not tell him, OK?) He is such a wonder! I love seeing his mom in him, and even more, seeing myself in his eyes. (If he was going to inherit a feature from me, at least it was my best one!)

Guitar Hero Legends of Rock is in the trunk of my car. Yeah, it's too old for him, but he wants it. This one has two guitar controllers, so he and his mom can play together. He has been asking for it for 6 months. He has looked all over the house trying to find his birthday presents – still has no idea what he is getting. Last night we baked cupcakes for his class. He is so excited today! I've been singing Happy Birthday to him for a week. He is not amused when I sing "You look like a monkey, and you smell like one too" lol. Poor kid has a lunatic for a Noni….

And his Noni absolutely ADORES him.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Welcome to Noni's House!

I'm laughing as I sit here, attempting to post my maiden blog... It is that nervous kind of half laugh that is designed to gain an extra moment of thought, as if I were onstage.


Noni's House is the name for the business I have had in the back of my mind for years. While I have come to understand that it is not something possible in the foreseeable future, I will always hold on to the hope and wish of it. Noni (Non-ee) is what my grandson calls me, a play on the traditional Irish Nonnie (No- nee) (for grandmother)

Noni's House, as I envision it, is a "play" house aimed at special needs children. I can see it in one of the older antebellum homes that are so common in the older parts of Atlanta. Each room would have a different theme, with completely different activities, ranging from the kitchen, where children would participate in cookie baking, to the attic, with trunks and trunks of dress up clothing, to the reading room, complete with rocking chairs and a story book reading Grandma or Grandpa, to the gardens outside, in various stages of planting. Noni's House would be a place where children could go to forget about what they CAN'T do, and learn about what they CAN do. And parents would have the option of participating, or spending time in the parlor in personal quiet time, or even, (for an added fee) leaving and having some time to themselves.

Unfortunately, the cost to staff such a facility, let alone have it set up and insured, puts this dream out of reach at the moment.

But someday......In the meantime, there is truly no telling what you might find me writing about here, from politics to science, from flowers to liquor, and everything in between!