Saturday, October 3, 2015

Their Names Matter....

        When the volume of the world around us is ear-splitting, the silence of the stigma we face daily, is deafening. It is proven with the way we treat those that have suffered before us. By the looks we avert and  the absence of our questions. The disregard we pass on to the past. Who were these people? What were their lives like? What were their names?

         Questions that Jon Crispin and his amazing website Willard Suitcases makes us pause and think about. Questions that need to be asked and in some small way, answered.  Willard Suitcases is a record of these people's lives  through the contents of their personal suitcases. With four hundred suitcases ranging from 1910 to the 1960's it is an open and honest depiction into the lives of the patients that called Willard Psychiatric Center home.

        A few days ago I stumbled upon Jon Crispin's work and realized that he had held a mirror to my face. What I found there was something that not only could I not turn away from  but needed to see. It is a window into the past. The past of people much like me and you. People that suffered from the silence of stigma and in many ways, although they are long gone from this earth, still suffer from the affects of it. I saw these people through the eyes of an amazing photographer who showed us their lovingly packed away belongings, the little bits and pieces of their forgotten lives, the soft whispers of their past. I saw their talents as an artist, a leather worker, a budding author, an academic. I saw their dreams and their faces smiling back at me in black and white and sepia tones. At some point, unbeknownst to myself, these pictures of simple suitcases filled with their clandestine contents stopped being something to view out of curiousity and became something very personal to me. I read some of their thoughts, gathered minute traces of their lives, and in doing so found myself lying there somewhere beneath the satin shoes, little carved terriers, books written in German, old records, letters written by loved ones,  blackened shoe polish, matching Bakelite hair brushes, and brightly colored embroidery string. These patients were not silent ghosts that lurked the halls invisible and forgotten. They were people. They were you and me.  I could have been them if I were born in their time. One of those suitcases could have been mine...One of those notebooks could have had my name scrawled across the top in pencil.

       Difference being, that my full name can be printed and photographed and their's can not. Not because they weren't real people. Not because they aren't worthy of such an overlooked privilege, but because they were mental patients and  because of the New York patient privacy laws, their full names are forever redacted. Many of them have numbers on their tombstones instead of names as if their lives did not matter. As if they did not have talents, loved ones, aspirations, or dreams. As if they were simply cogs in a wheel. Nondescript.  Unmentionable. Undesirables, graceless, faceless and nameless because they suffered. Their voices, or in this case names, remain silent. Much like the creator and photographer of the Willard Suitcases site, I feel this is unacceptable.

 Their names matter.

       The sterilization and sanitation of the ignored and forgotten has become all too familiar. The turning of a blind eye to things we do not understand or the shame we dole out onto things that make us feel uncomfortable. These hauntingly beautiful photos speak of a person's life as the individual. Not just as the inmates of an asylum scrubbed raw and washed clean only to become indiscernible from each other. These people had families, friends, lives, and dreams. Lives that don't simply disappear just because they were institutionalized. Having lived in Willard Psychiatric Center in no way makes them any less remarkable, less talented, or less human than anyone else.

       I applaud Jon Crispin and his site for giving these people  their dignity and individuality back and for showing us the humanity the world has stripped away from them for far too long. For showing us the human face behind the diagnoses. For reminding people that mental illness sufferers are not any less unique and individual than anyone else.

In closing:
      Their names should be allowed to be said, printed, and remembered. They deserve to be heard in death as they should have been in life. They should have their names on their grave markers above their bodies. They deserve to be seen. We have to stand not just for their names but by their names because it is not just  taking a stand for these remarkable people, it is taking a stand for all of those that came before them and for all of us that have come after. They deserve better.

      I have never been to New York. I have never visited Willard, but that doesn't change my opinion on doing what is right. These remarkable people deserve to be recognized for the people they were and the lives that they lived and should not be allowed to fade away from history slowly and deliberately, simply because they suffered from mental illness.

Please take a a few minutes to look at Jon Crispin's site  Willard Suitcases and leave him a message of support for his remarkable work in keeping these people's memories alive and in the public eye.

And if the story of these people has touched you in any way, please check out these links to help support the cause of giving back these wonderful souls the rights to their names.

For a more detailed look at Willard Psychiatric Center and it's suitcases story click here to purchase:
The Lives They Left Behind:Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic by Darby Penney.

For more information and updates on what is being done to restore the name rights to the former patients of Willard Psychiatric Center, please check out The Willard Cemetery Memorial Project.

For New York residents that want to get involved, Legislation for The Willard Cemetery Memorial Project.

For more information on the patients of Willard Psychiatric Center, check out The Inmates of Willard by Linda S. Stuhler and a link to her book The Inmates of Willard 1870-1900 a Genealogy Resource.

Their names matter. They always did, and they always will.

Neurotic Nelly

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


It has occurred to me that I have not changed anything on my blog in about year. I have this thing where I have to rearrange my furniture about every three months or things seem dirty and stale. I guess this is my way of rearranging my furniture in blog form. I have a new blog post coming up that I am really excited to share with you guys but I just couldn't stand to post it in the old format. It somehow felt...well dirty and stale. I even made myself change the description because even though the old description was me trying to be inspirational, it somehow seemed to lack the fact that I am a severe OCD sufferer with a sense of humor. (I am not claiming it is a sense of humor everyone else gets, but it a sense of humor of some kind.) Speaking of titles and descriptions,  it really irritates me that the title has to be on the side and  can not placed in the middle. It also frustrates me that I had to put the three dots to separate the "by Neurotic Nelly" because it was all stuck together. Ugh.

I'm just not going to look at it. I refuse to be beaten by Blogger's refusal to make titles go where they are supposed to. This me ignoring it.....after three hours of fiddleling with it and slowly driving myself insane.

I hope you guys like the update and that it is easier to read. Please ignore the fact that my cat's ear seems to have become some odd superhero ear that stretches all the way to the left side. I have the worst luck in figuring out how to make the background fit perfectly. Everyone has a cross to bear...never having a background that fits correctly is mine. What can ya do? I'm just not going to look at it....I am not going to even mention how long I fiddeled with the background. We don't have enough time to go through all that. It was too painful to relive...(place various excuses here).

My new post should be posted in the next few days. I hope you all have a great rest of the week and please let me know how you feel about my blog changes, unless it is about my cat's ear. Just don't look at it and it will go away. That's how I am dealing with it currently...

Neurotic Nelly

Friday, September 25, 2015

It Might Have Been Hobbs.....

                    Last night, I returned from my four mile walk, thirsty. As I opened my refrigerator I noted a pitcher of fresh tea, a half gallon of milk, and a mysterious shiny brown flat Lego piece just haphazardly laying on the shelf. Now as a parent of two boys, I have run across some odd things in my fridge that don't belong. A slinky, a pair of foam hulk hands, a ball, peanut butter, a half eaten cookie dried and gross just to name a few. My oldest likes to put the little rubber holder for my e-cigarette on the back inside of the fridge to mess with me because it is a suction cup....but these things have happened over the years not recently. The Lego placement was new. Mind you, my kids are now thirteen and almost nine. So, I asked each of them separately who put it there. After the foam hulk hands incident, I no longer ask why because kids are weird and there is absolutely no answer they could possibly give you that would make any kind of sense. It isn't really important why there was a Lego in my fridge. It doesn't stop time and open up a parallel universe. I just like to know for sanity's sake, who put it there, because otherwise I am going to think I did it. Like the time I put the block of cheese on top of the refrigerator instead of inside the refrigerator. I just want to make sure I am not sleepwalking or losing what little sanity I have left now that I am homeschooling two children. I know it wasn't my husband and I am certain it wasn't me unless I truly am a sleepwalker, and since I have never woke up in the bathtub after eating a cat food sandwich, I am fairly confident I am not. That leaves the two other humans in this house.

Neither child "claims" to have done it. I tried the parental eyeballing while asking politely. My oldest laughed a bit, something he does when he might be telling me a story. He claims it because my face is funny when I do that. I claim it is because he is a bad liar. My youngest however, offered up fanciful explanations on who could be responsible. His answer? The cats.

Let me just give you a rundown of my four cats my youngest has named as suspects, for a moment.

Higgins is a two year old slightly crossed eyed cat that spends his days laying on homework but only as you try to work on it. He is lovable and funny albeit slightly stupid. I love him but he is not the brightest cat I have ever seen. He isn't completely innocent as he plays with stolen goods. He loves playing with balls but only the balls he has shredded off of my favorite pair of house slippers last year. He plays with them right in front of me too unabashed and unashamed.

Lola is Higgins's sister. She is smarter, goofier, and squshily fat. When she is not catching and eating flies and then throwing them back up in neat tidy piles around the house for me to clean,  she can be found laying around on her back like an overstuffed burrito on my youngest's computer chair. She too is not completely honest as she demands you to sit on the chair with half of your butt hanging off because she has claimed this particular chair as hers and refuses to leave it even if you really need to sit down.

Then there is Marley, who is an outside light orange cat we took in before we moved. He is sweet and very much a lap cat although he has some serious boundary issues. He likes to lay on your face when you lie down, possibly in an effort to suffocate you in your sleep. He has a chubby face though, which makes him irresistible even if does he has a disturbing habit of forcing you to make eye contact while he poops in the litter box....ew.

 And finally that leaves the last suspect, Hobbs. Hobbs is my 13 year old dark orange, great and wonderful, gelatinous ball of flab and fur that insists on being petted constantly especially by strangers that come to the door. He Loves boxes and children and sleeping on your head like a hat. He occasionally tries to eat your hair, has an affinity for licking grocery bags and plastic shower curtains, meows with a meow that can only be described as sounding like an 80 year old woman with a smokers cough, drinks with his paw like a princess, and has an addiction to yogurt and amaretto coffee creamer. Which he does only when you are not looking because even though he weighs twenty two pounds he is somehow very sneaky. He also makes it a point to swipe the inside side of the litter box lid instead of covering his own poo because he feels the rules just don't apply to him.

I mean, none of these cats seem like putting a Lego in the fridge is beyond their pattern of behavior. I might even consider it as a strong possibility if the fact that cats don't have opposable thumbs didn't keep getting in the way.... Sure they are sneaky, and rude, and selfish but that is all cats.

I don't know does this face seem guilty to you?

On second thought, it might have been Hobbs.....

Neurotic Nelly

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Right Choice...

         I have begun to dread bedtime for my kids and the morning time right before we have to leave the house. Waiting to see if anxiety is going to plague my youngest child and make it impossible for him to go to school. I had once thought that having the same diagnoses and issues would make it easier for me to know how handle this.  I now know better. What I have learned through all of this is I now see both sides of the coin. I see what is like to be the parent of a child with extreme anxiety but I also know what it is like to suffer from the extreme anxiety my child suffers from. Neither side is pleasant. I thought it would make it simpler to deal with. That it would offer some unforeseen help in this matter. That I would have a better handle on things because I can relate. It was supposed to make this easier. It doesn't. What I have found, is that I think it in some ways makes it harder. I do not have the luxury of pretending I don't know what he is going through. I do know and it guts me every single day.

The decisions I have to make are  like a weight hanging over my head, threatening to crash down on me at any moment. Do I make him go to school through his horrid panic attacks or do I give in? When do I make this decision? What do I do with the disapproval of others thoughts on the matter (the school) that don't have to look at his tiny little face welling up with tears and agony? How do I wade through all of the over emotion and mental baggage while still holding my child's hand as I plaster on a brave face and not get frustrated because I do not have the answers I once thought I would have? How do I do the right thing when I am often unsure of what the right thing is? It feels like every decision I make is of monumental importance and yet has perilous consequences all at the same time. What if I make the wrong choice and it causes more anxiety? What if I home school but it damages his future to be productive because he becomes unable to leave the house at all? What if I force him to go to regular school and it scars him further? What if? What if? What if? Which do I choose? What is the lesser of the two evils?

Where as I am more than comfortable talking about my thirty two year struggle with my OCD, I am left paralyzed by my son's. Frozen with the fear of the things he will go through and the struggles he will have to deal with. I know the suffering too well, too intimately to pretend it does not affect him the way it does. I am crazy not naive. I am frustrated by my lack of being able to help him with something I have immense experience in. It is a great irony that I should know so much about my OCD and yet feel completely helpless on how to help him with his. I am afraid of the anxiety stealing away parts of his life. Small bits at first like it did with me. So small one doesn't pay much attention until it is too late. A day or two of school. Then a few weeks, then months. Having to drop out because you have missed so much or are too overwhelmed to walk out the front door. The slow but deliberate taking of dreams. The loss of going to college, the loss of going out freely in public, the inability to finish any trade school and get a license. The taking of the ability to work part time and then eventually the ability to work at all. The loss of being able to leave the house without a great amount of discomfort and stress.  The gross amount of time it took from me, pilfered from my existence, stole out from underneath my clinched hands as I tried so desperately to hold onto it, is not what I want for anyone let alone my own child....I don't think even then, I really appreciated the extent of anxiety''s hunger. It is always waiting, it is never full. Once it gets a taste of your dreams, hopes, and desires it becomes a ravenous beast, devouring everything in it's path.

I go on and try and portray positivity to my son. I make his lunches for school each night and hold back the tears of feeling completely defeated. Will he even be able to get to eat this today? Will he even be able to smile again in the mornings? I miss that. His smile before heading off to school with his friends. Anxiety has stolen that from me as well but even more, it has stolen it from him and that is unacceptable.

We have made appointments for more therapy beyond the school therapist, because the school therapist is not able to help him like he needs, but there is a wait. One for almost a month away and one for an actual month away and I can't help but wonder what we are supposed to do in the mean time. Do we keep going on like there isn't a big pink thieving elephant in the room taking up space in our lives and grasping away bits and pieces of my son's life? Do we just keep calling the school and saying he had a panic attack and couldn't make it in again? I feel so helpless, so stupid, so unprepared. He needs more than what he has right this second and he needs it yesterday, not a month away. What happens when the negative self talk starts in? Because it will. Is he going to think badly of himself because he has this? Is he going to hate himself and think of himself as weak or broken like I did at his age? How do I combat that? How do I stop that from happening to him as we wait for more time pass before we can get the help he needs?

 I have been open and honest with him and told him he is like me, we will do this together, he can do it, and how much I love him and yet I feel like a complete failure as a parent. Your one job as a parent is to protect your child and be there for them. To be their champion. The only thing I am the champion of right now is a bunch of unanswered questions and a whole bunch of fears that somehow either path I choose to help him is fraught with disaster. I just need someone to tell me what to do...which is the right path....because there is too much riding on has to be the right one.

 Monday he had a two and half hour long panic attack at school and they did not let him go home. I am over this. I have decided to pull him out and have him home schooled for the rest of this year as we get him the help he needs. We can try regular school again next year but he can't go to regular school, which is his biggest trigger, if he doesn't have the therapy and support he needs to get through it. I just hope I am making the right choice for him. I hope I am doing right by him not only as his mother but as a fellow anxiety OCD sufferer. I hope I am picking the right path for him to take.....because it is all about him and what works for him and what helps him. Everyone else's opinion, including the school's, at this point has lost it's validity and is background noise to me. I must do what I feel is best. Just please, please, please God, let this be the right choice....

Neurotic Nelly

Friday, August 28, 2015

What About Our Asses?

I am now afraid of the toilet...and it is all  my mother's fault.

Two weeks ago while my husband was cleaning out the garage he asked me to come downstairs and look at a little friend he found. By words such as little and friend I was under the impression that this little friend would be something cute and well, little. What I saw, however, ran a chill in my bones. He motioned me to the sewer drain and proclaimed that something adorable was inside. This is the point where I should have realized my husband loves animals a little too much.....It was not some tiny little mouse, or a playful puppy, or a tiny kitten. No, when he removed the drain cover what popped out was a beady little eyed monster that kept washing it's face in sewer water. This was not friendly, this was not cute, this was a rather large sewer rat.

My pulse quickened. My mouth became dry. I could feel the icy fingers of my OCD niggling in the back of my neck. "Isn't it cute?" he said.

Oh, sure, sure it was. If by cute you mean cute like the Bubonic Plague, Weil's Disease, Rat Bite Fever, or Hanta Virus cute. If you mean cute like tearing off your own arm with your own teeth rather than touch anything it has ever touched as cute then yeah, it's cute alright. I am sure people that got the Black Death just thought these creatures were truly adorable. I know I felt all warm and fuzzy as it made eye contact with me, watching me watching it, as it cleaned it's disease covered hands with it's disease covered face.

And I may have possibly screamed (not going to confirm or deny) as it decided to go back into the pipe it so hideously came out of and back into whatever sewer system it dwells in. I felt better after it was gone. I felt safer and cleaner.

But then, I mention this whole incident to my mother because I now question my husband's sanity a tiny bit and she mentions that sewer rats can climb out your toilet.... .... .....I am just going to pause here a minute and compose myself while letting that little "I probably didn't need to fucking know because ignorance is bliss" factoid sink in.

My reaction was that of a total nuclear meltdown. I begged her to explain to me why she felt the need to share this little nugget of information with me knowing how truly fucked up in the head I am. I mean, I have been hovering my pasty white rearend over the toilet for thirty six years in my own houses and never once have I ever had a second thought about whether or not I could be hovering over a rat washing it's face in poop water. Did I need to know this? Fear welled up in my voice. Panic set in. I immediately went into the bathroom and shut the toilet lid. The last thing I needed was to be thinking that beady eyed bastard was walking around in my house somewhere after it took a Sunday stroll through my toilet pipes only to munch on my face while I was asleep. Assuming I will ever truly sleep again...

I was told it can't happen to me because I have cats but let's be real for a second, I know my cats. I have had them for years. I have watched them as creepy crawly spiders have run across the floor and they were to busy licking their own butt to give a damn. They saw said spiders, they just didn't care. They won't even get up off of the couch for a treat. They expect you to bring it to them. They are so lazy you could leave the house for six hours, come back and they would still be in the same spot napping. Maybe someone else's cats would be a deterrent. Not my cats. They are lazy fat asses. I love them to pieces but it is the truth.

I get that there are rodents, I know there are such things as sewer rats, I am not judging. We are all God's creatures. I just prefer that some of God's creatures stay the fuck away from where I sleep, eat, and poop. I don't think I am asking too much. I mean, I don't pop up in his little rat house unannounced washing my face with his poo water now do I? It's common courtesy. That is all I am saying.

 Pooping will never be safe for me again....Great just great.

And finally, just as I got these images out of my mind after a week of obsessing and deflecting my new found terror of the commode, I go on facebook and my dear friend, who I had not told the rat story to, had felt the need to post an article about how easy it is for a rat to crawl out of your toilet. Seriously????? Is there some kind of rat in the shitter conspiracy I am unaware of? Did she too find an "adorable little friend" in her drain? Because if so, I think I am going to just start pooping in the yard. I don't need this kind of anxiety in my life....

I mean, we can put a man on the moon but nobody has figured out in the 400 years of having toilets how to create one that prevents Cinderella's little helpers from getting into your house and biting your ass?  Am I the only one a little freaked out about this?  What about our asses, people? Who is protecting our asses???!!!????

If I ever lift that lid and see one of these evil disease spreading bastards looking up at me I am going to burn my house down, starting with the toilet. I am not even kidding. I can go back to pooping like it is the 1300's. I can find a bucket like that crazy hobo my mother saw last year copping a squat by a junked out car on the side of the road as she drove downtown. We all  thought he was gross and crazy but maybe just maybe he once had a toilet and lifted it's lid only to be bit on the ass. Maybe he's not the crazy one.  Maybe we are, playing poop russian roulette every time we sit down unawares and unconcerned on the porcelain throne. Eh? Eh?

I mean if you think about it, the only thing that could possibly keep a rat from coming out of your toilet is the lid that we all take for granted as a seat because it is implied that is what the lid is for. And as times have changed we made the lid out of cheap light plastic so it is more sleek and stylish instead of the first lids created out of heavy wood. Now I ask you, if a rat can hold it's breath for fifteen minutes, can tread water for three days, can survive a fall from five stories, can swim a half a mile in the open sea, can dive 100 feet underwater, can crawl vertically along walls, and can chew through aluminum sheeting, plaster, wood, rubber, and concrete block.....are we actually naive enough to believe a thin light weight lid made of plastic is going to keep them  from crawling out of your toilet...yeah, right, sure it is. I don't know about you but I no longer feel safe in my own bathroom.

I am now afraid of the toilet.....and I just want to thank my Mom. Thanks Mom. I needed to be just that much crazier.

Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Shit Day and A Piss Pot.....

Well today is going to be a shit day.....

I was going to write on Tuesday like usual but life got in the way, as it often does, and more stress has decided to take up residence in my life. I am trying to breathe.....I am not sure I am doing it right. I mean, it looks like I am breathing but I don't feel any better about it. I think I am breathing through all of this but between my clenched teeth and white knuckles, I am not so sure...I may just be drowning and am too busy paddling the waves of stress to realize it. Can you actually drown from stress? If you don't hear from me on Tuesday, I guess we will have an answer to that....Hopefully I will find a life jacket soon.

I think people sometimes get irritated with me because I am a positive thinker. I can understand that the glass is always half full can be an annoying concept. But reality is, that I can not afford to dwell in my misery with no hope of salvation. No hope of a light at the end of the tunnel. No hope that things will eventually work themselves out. I have to believe that, because if I didn't I would not be able to get out of bed in the morning and face, obvious shit days like today is going to be. I need hope to keep fighting. I wish more people could understand that. I am positive not because I am a positive person but because I have to be to survive.  I was not born a ray of sunshine, I will myself to be a ray of sunshine because beneath this happy looking exterior I am a boiling pot of over pressurized stress. I am simply trying to continue to hold the walls around me up. Granted my walls are currently held together with chewed bubble gum, used tape, and wet newspapers but I am a firm believer in working with what you are given. And I was given recyclable refuse.

Again, I am confronted with the same ole, same ole issue of people thinking I am dealing well because I appear to be dealing well. Well, I am not dealing well. I am just really good at faking it and I would love to let my hair down and just fall apart at the knees but I have responsibilities, and kids, and shit to do today so I do not have the luxury of full nuclear meltdown this morning. I am not sure anyone would understand if I lost it right now and locked myself in my crappy closet sized bathroom and shut out the world for a few minutes while I ball my eyes out, anyway. I need sleep. I need a break. I need a good old cry.......I don't have time for that right now though. I guess losing my complete composure will just have to wait. What I wouldn't give for the fairy God mother to be real so she could turn that sewer rat I saw in my basement drain into a a beautiful white horse so I could ride away. I don't have a pumpkin to make into a carriage but I think I saw a half rotted peach in the back of my fridge this morning. She's a fairy so surely she could make something you could ride in out of that...

If I were still in Texas, I would say that I don't have a pot to piss in nor a window to throw it out of but there seems to be an over abundance of piss in my life right now. I don't have money for a pot to piss in but  I can't have this much piss and not have one so maybe I just have a cheap hand me down pot that smells of  old bologna and asbestos that used to belong to my great great grandfather and I am unaware of it........I am pretty sure this is too much piss for one person. Clearly someone else is pissing in my pot uninvited and unannounced....How rude. They could at least have the decency to rent it from me first.

Yes, today is going to be a shit day and I accept that but because I strive to see the positive side in things, I am going to see this piss pot as half full of shit instead of half empty...although, I am uncertain if that is actually a positive thing to want...

Till next Tuesday my friends, I hope today is treating you far better than it is treating me,
Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Blow Out The Candles and Laugh Out Loud....

Monday was my 36th birthday and my mom's 57th. We celebrated on Saturday at her house.

My mom picked out the candles.....

Birthdays mean a lot to most people but for me it is deeper because I get to share mine with one of the strongest women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I am honored to share that special day with her.

It started on Friday night when we decided to try and dye our eyelashes at home. My advice is don't....Redheads have blonde/red eyelashes and it makes us look like we don't have any. Mascara is nice but there tends to be gaps near the root where the mascara won't get. We tried the dye and other than thinking I may have blinded myself, I saw no difference except where the dye had gotten on my skin. My mother had a slightly better outcome but I didn't feel the feeling of chemicals in my eyeball was worth it. I think we will just get it done professionally next time...

Then when went to the store to get me a new dress. Every woman should have at least one fancy outfit for special occasions and none of my old dresses fit anymore. We found really great deals and I got out of there fairly cheap.

After makeup and doing my hair we left to go to our chosen restaurant....we picked the wrong one. It took 45 mins to get our cokes. The waitresses were really busy so I wasn't upset about it but after another twenty minutes I was starting to wonder if the kitchen area that all the waitresses kept going back to was actually the Bermuda Triangle of wait staff. We were given spinach dip that resembled something scraped off of the windshield. It tasted so strongly of onions that I had to resist the urge to expel it from my mouth with such force it would have ended up on my mother's forehead, I forced myself to swallow this offending spinach. I almost didn't make it. I thought I was going to die. I was not so secretly hoping that the rest of the food would be better.

Then after an hour and a half our food order came. Well, more accurately my mother's food order came. Mine had apparently been given to another table on accident and they ate it. The manager came over to apologize profusely and offer my meal for free. He acted as if the people of the table had stolen my sandwich. I wasn't too worried about it, I mean if someone has given my plate to another table I sure hope they eat it after they breathed all over it because I sure as hell am not going to.

Thirty minutes later my food arrives. My only regret is that someone else wasn't there to have "stolen" my second sandwich. It was terrible. It tasted as if someone had drenched it in pickle juice. I later found out my mayo may have been separating. The manager came over to ask me how it was and he had so much hope in his eyes I lied to him and told him it was great.....I just couldn't do it. I could not tell him that I would have rather went out to the parking lot and licked the tar off the tires of my car rather than finish this sandwich. This free sandwich....beggars can't be choosers.

So I ate half of it just out of hunger and we left. It was so funny. I rarely get upset at hiccups like this. I do however laugh my ass off. I mean as far as birthday dinners go it was pretty bad. But it was the company I had rather than the food I ate and I was happy to have just spent the day with my mom. To talk to my mom. To laugh about my bad luck with food with my mom.

We then had cake at mom's with the rest of the family and opened gifts. I got some cool things and I was really excited to get my new fangled cheese grater........Moral of the story is always appreciate the good things you have, especially the people, and learn to laugh at the small stuff. It isn't important and it makes for great story telling. Just blow out the candles and make a wish and laugh out loud.

I also learned that with my dress on sale and my meal being free, I am a cheap date, so there is always that. :)

With sincerest regards,
Neurotic Nelly