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Today is Jeff”s birthday, Happy Birthday brother!  I am so very proud of the great father, awesome  person and all-around good guy you are..  We had our doubts when you were two and happily smearing the contents of your diaper on the walls, and  that time you chased me around the house with a hammer made me wonder too.

Conflict resolution is probably been one of Jeff’s strongest attributes ” I’m just gonna kick ass and ask questions later,” was his motto for many years. Underneath this hot-headed, ex- marine with a flair for storytelling that would make the most stoic person wet their pants, is the most compassionate, caring and strongest people I know.

  Over this last year especially, I witnessed his selfless love for his family and his ability to do the right thing without hesitation.  I am so proud to call him my brother and I am sure today Dad is giving him that silent “man-nod” – “well- done, keep doing it .” I think the cleaner is pretty proud as we all are. Lots of love from the Big Sky!

Taking Care of Business With One Eye Open- Part One

Well this has been an eventful two weeks and the first time I’ve sat down at the computer, although I had big plans to write every day  and make some deadlines.  I think Cutbank may be a little stuffy for me.  “Sniff, sniff”

Next time when I write my bio for them it should run like this :  Kim Storment recently graduated with an MFA in “Life, the Long way around,” with a minor in backpacking, child rearing and Greyhound bus travel.  She can be found west of the Continental Divide balancing an impressive amount of plates on her arm or at the school bus stop in her Hello Kitty pajamas.  She is currently working on her chapbook, Poems Lost in the Bathroom and paid all her student loans last year, suckers.

I did get my Erma Bombeck entry in on time. (Yay!) and by the grace of God and my Mom, I was able to fly to Syracuse to be with my family as my Dad underwent some intense heart surgery.  He’s such a tough guy.  He had a massive heart attack on Valentine’s Day and my Mom was in Florida vacationing when she got the call to get home.  My Mom is one of those rare creatures who find airports delightful.  She once told me that she could spend days at an airport just people watching.   Ergo, she will volunteer her seat in order to score free plane tickets.   Obviously, she didn’t bump on her way home although she confided to me that she did have plans to bump on every connection because it was Winter Break in Florida.  She’s a smart, Irish cookie.

So the next day of Dad’s internment my brother Joe calls and  reassured me that he is ok.   Being so far away I often get a bit emotional,( hysterical )  but the sound of my brother Jeff bellowing in the background, “He took a crap and ate two dinners!”  eased my mind considerably.  Also the fact that Dad had lied to Mom about the results of his cardiologist appointment in November, prompted her to mutter “When he gets home , I’m gonna kill him, myself.”  Yes, I was relieved when I heard that too.  They have been married for 44 years, and raised 4 kids, no illusions.  They could not be more different from the sun and the moon but held it together when people were divorcing left and right.  In fact, that day, Dad told Mom,  ” You better keep working,”  as he was watching the Syracuse game and eating his lunch and  telling everyone how much he likes spinach.   He’s lucky he didn’t have prong marks in his forehead.

No one was more surprised than I, when Joe called Friday morning  and said, “Catch the next flight out, it’s not looking too great,  he has to have emergency surgery.”  It was 7 am and I was in a fog, getting the kids ready for school and trying to arrange childcare.  If not for my neighbors and good friends stepping up to the challenge at the last minute I would have been a basket case, or more of one.  Definitely, God was working miracles all over as I ran around my house like a chicken with my head cut off- looking up flights, writing notes and phone numbers, cancelling appointments  and doing the dishes.  ( I know, really?)   Kim and Beth, there is nothing in this world that can convey the gratitude and esteem I hold the two of you! Not only did you take care of my children at the last-minute, but you chauffeured them to all their events and sent me pictures every nite. Bless you.

The phone rang again, my brother Billy, my exact opposite and probably the most strained relationship out of all three brothers.   After all, I was the Queen bee for a short 13 months before he was born so I stole his ice cream for the next five years and while he got caught doing the right thing most of the time, I just plain got caught every time.  Billy gave me the update to which I promptly bitched ” I wish I  knew sooner, I could have caught the eight o’clock flight.” ( If I lived in the Pacific and had wings.)   To his credit, all he said was ” We just found out ourselves!” Billy ended up saving the day.  Fortunately, he has been snowplowing the best heart surgeon’s driveway for a number of years, so he texted him and this kind, humble and considerate man came in on a Saturday morning to operate on my father and has been  at the ICU every morning monitoring  his progress for the last 13 days.  Miracle #4 .  More to come ….

The Time is Write!

I love that scene in the movie Overboard, where Goldie Hawn’s character speaks to her once-abused butler Albert and he says ,” Most people only experience life from the perspective of their station. You have been given a rare and precious gift of living an entirely different life, what you do with that gift is up to you.”
I feel like that right now. I am bubbling with anticipation and plans because I’m not a waitress for 2 1/2 weeks. Never in my adult sober life have I had the luxury of time to write. People have been asking me what I am going to do. Well here is a short list. I want to write a book. I will not wear black (all black uniforms at work.) I will clean my own kitchen. The rest of my time I will be seated here working passionately. Wish me luck people. By the way, Erma Bombeck humour contest ends Feb. 14th also submissions to Cutbank, a literary journal are being accepted until Feb. 28th. You can look those both up online. I am so grateful to God as to how often do they take 2 weeks to dig up a kitchen to repair the pipes? I am convinced it is a divine gift and I will treat it that way. Today I will do all the tedious chores that I use to procrastinate writing and Monday as I wave my children onto the bus, I’ll be here peck, peck, peck. Ahh Life is good!

Dealing with Demons

Ahh! the snowplows are busy and we have about 5 feet of fresh paw paw. I went to work and watched the flakes fall steadily all day out the window overlooking the Clark Fork River. Stark but amazing.

My day was like a lunar eclipse, Now that I think about it my whole life has been a strange, bright light sort of way. On my profile, I state myself as a mother, writer, waitress and child of God.  I do that out of respect for how God lifted me out of a disintegrating life of addiction and guilt.  Religion, beliefs, values, they are all very personal and I’m not selling anything, but miracles have happened in my life and I can’t deny that so I give credit where credit is due. Call it what you want, but let the higher power that created unique you, take the wheel for awhile in your life.  You will be amazed.

There is a flip side when you put your trust in God.  He asks you to love your enemies and forgive the people that have done you harm and give testimony when he puts people in your path that need Him to lift the weight off their backs.  Yeah, there’s no going it alone.  You can try but it is long, scary way around and its really @#%^ hard.

Be humble and be strong in your faith because when miracles occur in your life, (and they will).  It’s like Satan pricks up his ears and sees the waves you are making in the fight between the Light and Dark and attacks you.

Today I could have used a bottle of wine and a pack of smokes and a righteous old buzz.  I had a nightmare, first in a long time, and then no one would get out of bed.  My teenager usually wakes up at 6 to do her thing and she got out of bed at 7;15 to catch the bus.  She was in a delightful (banshee) mood.  I almost let her walk out the door in her Converse while screaming,”I’m not gonna miss the bus!” But then I calmly said, you might want to wear your boots. Three feet of snow fell last night. I got the other one out of bed, also sleepy but a little less time-pressured, put her on the bus and went to work.

I  prayed for this young kid, there’s a bigger wider world of chemicals that will just suck all the meaning out of your life and I asked my friends to pray for him too because he was going through those changes in life where you become a slave to something that’s just going to take you to the boneyard and fast.  So thankfully he’s working on lifting himself out of this with all the help he can get and I believe that whatever it is that is weighing your soul down can be cured with a miracle from God. If we believe.

So I get home, reheat some spaghetti and I try to figure out what do I do with my teen.  My youngest and I paint and I talk with my kids ” Please don’t ever leave the house like that again.I have to go be happy and light-hearted all day and try to find crackers with no wheat while acting like I care.”

She lights up and says “Oh yeah, Dad texted me again.”

My youngest says “Whose dad?’

I say ‘ Your dad.” In the past seven years, he texted  Jesse twice, in the past six weeks. I don’t know what they say, I’m not discouraging any contact, I just pretended he was dead (in my head of course.)  In real life when they asked about him I just said he does love him in his own way and that he was sick. They stopped asking awhile ago.

This kind of man needs to wear a warning label.  You know the type and if you don’t, count yourself blessed. Here’s the short list, Jail, house arrest, felony escape, extradition, pregnant, cheater., breaks into my house, pregnant again, leaves, moves, never calls, no child support. In my alcoholic and drug- addled mind,  the absolute love of my life. I’m no angel either, this was a result of my choices too.  Nothing short of a miracle would have ever gotten me out of that mess.

I thought about my day today and that this was my attack.  Because I testified to this 20 year old , that there is a better life and that you can be happy without a drink in your hand, the devil has an ulterior motive ( like poison) and calls after 7 years. Talk about getting your number dialed.

Well I texted a short, nice message about ” Maybe you can call on their birthdays, or just keep doing what you’ve been doing, (nothing) God bless and I forgive you and I hope you forgive me.” I don’t think we will be hearing from him anytime soon or maybe he can send a card to them on their birthdays.  One day at a time. Yeah, I’ll pray for him too.



Procrastinating resolutions

I believe the Chinese new year starts on January 23rd.  It’s the Year of the Dragon, apropro in the whirlwind of the holidaze.  I have just started on my resolutions.  It takes thought and planning to figure out what are my hopes and steps to success. Thinking ,mapping out my route, which starts with a typing course. Entrancing!

After that, ditch this Droid Eris,=. I can actually run and find a payphone and make a call in the time it takes me to tap and flick and then call people twice.  That thing is going to put me in a rubber room.

Speaking of rubber rooms I accidently took Jesse to a psychiatrist.  After a few uncomfortable moments, he asked,”Why are you here?”  My daughter stared at me as I bumbled out my mistake.

“You don’t deal with sleep disorders,” I asked.  “It said that on your web page.”

“No, I don’t.”  he said.

“Ok we are out of here!” we piled out the door all at once. I love when that happens. Please help us, we can’t even make an exit properly, this has been happening for 15 years.

“Don’t come back!” he yelled in a cheery voice. .

“I might,” I muttered under my breath as McKenna spotted a bathroom.  Kids of all ages like to wash their hands, but not in their own house.

So Jesse is at Sydnie’s, bemoaning her fate.

Fun Fact:  There are three Friday the 13ths in the year 2012 and they are all 13 weeks apart .  Thirteen is also my softball jersey number, Hmmm.  Well, back to the bucket list, onward thorugh the fog and the Chinese New Year starts!

I’d like the sound of waves crashing on the beach to be piped into my rubber room.

Have a wonderful Tuesday and thank you MLK – leaders of your caliber and wisdom are so often laid  to rest way too soon!



When the Right Person comes along at the wrong time…

We have all been there when the wrong person comes at the right  time, they leave scars on our hearts that make us tougher, stronger and usually wiser.  What happens when the right person comes along at the wrong time?  How does that balance out for the harmony of all.  I’ll be reflecting on that this holiday season as I wish my best friend all the happiness he deserves.  He deserves a lot, so treat him well world.

Never a Dull Moment

So Jesse started 8th grade with a broken foot, crutches and a boot, not a cast.  People think you are faking with a 20 pound boot, apparently.  I calmly and quietly freaked out over the knowledge that Jesse did A Lot around the house  for me and now I was working a 24 hour shift at the beck and call of a thirteen year- old in addition to the seven -year old and the lack of communication from Keeley, “I lost my phone again, a month ago, and oh, I’m in Oklahoma.”

There are so many things that we take for granted, like “Take out the trash, Go get your sister, Please grab that last bag of groceries..” the list goes on and on of the little things our kids do for us as they get older.  Jesse is solid for being responsible and mature( most of the time) and I am in awe of the way she handled having her leg broken, starting the eighth grade, and turning thirteen in the space of a couple of weeks.

I would have been a sobbing, pathetic mess and I was at times.   I surprised myself with  nursing skills.  A long resume of ” Would you like cream with your coffee?” helped me to be a decent caregiver and we iced and elevated and we concentrated on the things that we had going right. The list is unending, but simple.  A home, our quirky little family, a job, a car.. you get my drift.  I quit complaining as often because I watched  Jesse crutch into middle school with a 40 pound backpack for the past  eight weeks. She was like Rudy going into the tunnel at Notre Dame.

Les was equally amazing and supportive.  He always says “That’s why there’s two of us.” I am so thankful.  He  joined us at the doctor’s office every time to cheer for the basketball girl who got sidelined by a skateboard.  He makes me laugh when I want to scream.

Jesse has been off the crutches and the boot for a couple of weeks now, but still is under strict instructions not to run or pivot.  She limps but has healed enough to do three hours of trick or treating the other night with her girlfriends and race through a haunted house.  Whoops.

Now she asks me to go get her backpack and I have to stop myself from automatically going down the hallway and bringing it to her.  She is used to my willingness to be her servant and has questioned my loyalty on more than one occasion, but most of all, she has earned my admiration for getting through the tough times by looking forward.

Things are almost back to normal.  She is back to prowling the mall, not taking out the trash and fetching  her sister by standing right next to me and bellowing her name.   I find myself wanting to tuck her in at night (NOT! she says) and going in for more hugs despite the teenage disdain.  That’s ok.  Keeley had a long-boarding accident on a chunk of sidewalk- no broken bones, but has located her cellphone and moved back to this side of the Mississippi.

At thirteen, I remember caravaning((see below) down Chaffee Ave. with a city bus right behind us.  No helmets, no pads, no fear, some blood.  By the time McKenna turns teen, I will have a full head of snow-white hair and soft pastels will illuminate my padded room.  Bring Halloween candy, the kids count theirs.

Caravaning- an eighties practice of balancing 2 people at the top of a steep hill with their butts on a skateboard and their heels on the other persons’ skateboard and locking hands, leaning to the side and kissing any exposed skin or common sense goodbye.

Where is Main Street and How can I get There?

I have been watching the occupation of Wall Street and I am heartened at the unity of all these different people coming together.  I am hopeful that this will bring a global change.  Balance, equality, communication.  Living by values.

In my world, Homer Simpson is to be envied.   He owns his own home.  I’m a waitress, mom, forever renter and a writer.  I carve my writing life with a kitchen timer. I feel blessed to have what I have and I try to give.  It’s a tithe, my time, my money , my attention to matters outside of myself.  They are organizing or unorganizing as they say, occupations all over the United States.  Who are they? I don’t know.  They are not victims.  They are empowered by the first ammendmant and they are giving voice to general dissatisfaction of giant corporate interest.  I am proud that I live in a country where people can do this  I am also ashamed that a country can have such an imbalance  of resources. They are victims.

Change is electrifying, a shift of energy between powers and this shift is creating energy, forming alliances and working for the good of all, I hope and pray. Change is also terrifying for some of us, fear of the unknown, fear of trusting ourselves and our safety net of the present.  Change requires sacrifice, cooperation and faith.

Faith is huge in my life.  I hold fast to faith that this change will be better for all. That is why they are there.  That is why I continue to pray and pay attention to the 99%.  It is important to pass on a world where we act to make a positive change in a peaceful way. It is essential that our children believe and value everyone’s life and their actions and impacts.

One minute

When I am dead and gone to this world and my children are gathered in an overheated and overpaid lawyer’s office, salivating over the decor of my home which I lovingly refer to as Early American Garage Sale.  I have instructed  the lawyers to look into each of my children’s expectant, yet sorrowful, faces and say, “One minute.”

Twenty minutes later, they can divy up the  contents of my life, a collection of rocks, baby teeth and stonewashed jeans. Let’s not forget the giant bag of mismatched socks we gathered and decorated as a pumpkin for Halloween.

Over the years, in the space of a “One minute..” I have been able to highlight my hair and then run to the salon to fix it, try on 7 outfits with accessories  just in case I have somewhere to go,( besides, work, the grocery store or the mall.) I have been able to clean my car, watch an informercial on lint cleaners.  You get my drift.  When I ask, ” Set the table or brush your teeth or stop texting  at the table, please. ”

“One minute, ” my teenage daughter will respond as if the weight of unloading the dishwasher was a comet thrown from space.

“Justa sec,” my seven-year old will say. And roll her eyes.

Yes, I have a wish to go out like Liz Taylor, 15 minutes late to her own funeral, having the last laugh.  This morning as both daughter’s were calling me from separate rooms, I was tossing the clothes into the hamper and running around the kitchen, “One minute!”  I yelled.  Hmm… The apple doesn’t fall from the tree.