Never underestimate the love and drive of a mother with a mission…

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See that little table dohicky thing? Yeah, that’s mine. Its my hit history on a site called MTurk.com. Its a place run by Amazon that allows you to do little (or big) “hits” that get you paid. Some of the hits are as small as $0.01 each and some – for those heavily qualified individuals – are into the $30 range. Since I’m just a wee-normal human being with little to no measurable skills, I tend to stick with the $0.10 (with bonus) that have you transcribing grocery receipts. So, why am I doing this? Because I am a mother with a mission.

Every year, and I do mean every year, I miss out on Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales because they fall before my pay day. Not this year. This year Black Friday may be before my pay day, but Cyber Monday isn’t. With the MTurk program, I can let all my “earnings” sit in my Amazon Payments account and come Black Friday and Cyber Monday use them as I see fit. That means, with any luck the boys will be getting a new tv for their room. I’ve done the math. If I make at least $2 per day I will have well over $250 sitting in my Amazon account by Black Friday. With even MORE luck I’ll have more and I’ll be able to snag two tvs. I have a tv in my room, but if I managed to score a decent tv for a good price and had the money I could replace mine and give the currently existing one to Esmae for her room. But, we’ll just have to wait and see on that. Regardless, I am a mother on a mission to earn as much money as I possibly can between now and Black Friday.

The best part is? Since I type about 80wpm I can blow through 20 receipts fairly easy…so barring any unforseen circumstances I don’t think I’ll have much of a problem meeting my goals. Wish me luck!

By Christi Marie Line Posted in Blog

“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it” – Salvador Dali

I’ve been so busy lately. Its back to school time. YAY! You will never, unless you’re a parent, understand that moment you realize that you have less than a week until your child hops back on that yellow cheese wagon and leaves for those few precious hours. Its not that you don’t love your child…its just that for those few moments you’re surrounded by one less set of arms, ears, legs, eyes, and etc that wants, needs, and craves your attention. Granted, I still have little Esmae at home, but she is an angel who is perfectly content just cuddling up to a good movie or a nap. Oh, naps….how I long for one. Oh wait, its 11:47pm…it should be bedtime, not naptime.

PicsArt_1406691012281I started work on the boys’ third floor bedroom this month. When we moved into the house, the boys knew that the third floor was going to be their room. There is, after all…two of them. However, I didnt even want to begin on the work until Jakobe started showing signs that he would be able to navigate the third floor stairs on his own. They are pretty steep, and with his low tone and braces they can be rather difficult. However, since moving in, in December he has made pretty good progress and is starting to show signs that he is ready.  I thought we were NEVER going to settle on a design. Do you have ANY idea how difficult it can be to get two boys, age 12 and 3, to decide on a decor that they can both not only agree with but grow with? Oi vey. Don’t get me started. We finally decided on a comic book theme.

PicsArt_1406691083375The next thing we had a problem with was deciding on a color. Brown. Blue. Red. Yellow. Green. Can someone please shoot me? I finally decided to grab what paint colors I already had on hand and went to work on creating a brand new color just for them. There was NO WAY I was going to let them continue fighting. What I ended up with is a color that I am calling “Gotham Gray” It has a purple tint that you will see constantly in comic books, yet a gray tint under certain light. Yes, I said purple. Oddly, though…its a masculine purple. Even more odd….BOTH the boys liked it. Of course, neither of them helped actually paint the room…but, I’ll pick the battles I know I can win. After all, someone has to watch the kiddos while I work, right?

A mother’s to-do list is never done.

PicsArt_1406691199280From there it was a matter of adding the comic books. Does anyone want to take a guess on how many comic books one mother would need to fill two entire walls that are 15ft wide and about 8-9ft tall? I’ll tell you how many. 32. That’s 29 full page comics and the rest cut into “fillers” for the gaps in between the pages so that it has a “scattered” effect. Do you want to know how many bottles of mod podge it took me to get this effect? 5-16oz bottles. I have paid a total of $65 to create this effect to their room. Not bad, eh? Especially since I used paint that I already had and any kind of decent accent wallpaper would have cost well over that. What really killed me was the pain to my back, legs, and neck creating this look. However, they love it. Sadly, though…again…a mother’s work is never done.

PicsArt_1406691317207Being the thrifty and poor mother that I am, there was NO WAY I was going to buy new furniture for their room. Not only can I not afford it, but most the furniture out there would be boring in this room. This is where my creativity comes in. You see that piece of furniture right there? That is a salvaged hutch off of an old entertainment center. With some sanding, priming, painting,  mod podging, and a board cut to the appropriate size for a shelf…the boys now have a custom desk. I plan to do similar things with their dressers and maybe even their night stand. So…for the cost of mod podge, comics, and eventually a polycrylic coat on it all…they will have a 100% custom bedroom suit perfectly suited for both of their taste and personalities. I don’t expect to spend anymore than maybe another $100-120 on their room total (I’ll make sure to give ya an exact estimate on my “design on a dime” later) and hope to be done with the room completely by the time Jakobe’s birthday rolls around October 8th.

And I’ve already started considering a design theme for Esmae’s future bedroom.
As I said…a mother’s work is never done.

Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it. – Jane Wagner

DSCF0497Yesterday was supposed to be a day of celebration and family fun. Key phrase here was “supposed to be”. As I promised the kids, we went downtown for the fireworks display. Jakobe didn’t really want to to, but honestly….my other two children miss out on so much because we live in prison to his autism. They needed this….so we went. We started out walking around a bit. It was packed, as expected. After that we ended up at the War Memorial. We found a nice cozy spot with few people around us. The kids had a blast. The boys were wrestling and playing and little Esmae was enamored with playing with the grass. It was all smiles. All fun. But it wouldn’t last. Our night went downhill quickly once we ended up leaving our cozy little spot to meet up with Jakobe and Esmae’s family.

DSCF0502It all started with Jakobe. He didn’t want to see his daddy. He wanted to see his grandma, but not his daddy. He kept saying no, no, no, no daddy. No daddy. But I forced him to go anyway. After all….if we were all in the same area why not spend the holiday as some sort of a family unit, right? We ended up on the 9th floor of a parking garage in perfect location to see the fireworks display from Regions tower. Sadly, though, Jakobe was in full fledge meltdown quickly after arriving. First there was the non-family member person of the group who told Jakobe he needed to stop crying because there was no reason to cry. Then apparently Jakobe’s meltdown started bothering a select family member. During the entire time we were up there she was coming up to Cheryl (grandma – because by this time Jakobe only wanted mamaw) telling her that we needed to do something. Take him for a walk. Leave. Etc. This broke my heart. Yes, my child was in meltdown. Yes, my child is autistic and special needs. Yes, he was hurting. Yes, he was bothering her. Maybe it made me a bad mother, but we decided to stay. Why? Because living with a child with autism sometimes means we are living in a prison. Our whole lives are consumed with having to adjust according to his needs.

DSCF0527Unless you live with a special needs child, you will never understand what it is like. The meltdown that they saw last night is typical. I deal with it every day, and normally I have no help in dealing with it. Last night I did because grandma stepped in…but at the same time I was reminded that we aren’t a “normal” family…and that people truly do take their “normal” little lives for granted. They don’t have to deal with what I do. They don’t have to deal with the constant worry about what is going to happen. They don’t have to worry about pissing off other families who can’t understand that we deserve to live. Malachi, Esmae, and I really don’t live. Not truly live. We needed last night. We needed some normalcy…and it was ruined. I was accused of “torturing” my child, and maybe I was…and maybe that makes me a bad mom. But if that is the case I was only a bad mom to Jakobe. I was, however, a wonderful mother to the two children that so many times go without for their brother. Malachi and Esmae got to enjoy fireworks…Esmae truly for the first time as she wasn’t even a month old last 4th. Her giggles and squeels were priceless.

By Christi Marie Line Posted in Blog

My life sometimes feels like my own version of “Days of Our Lives” only more bipolar and with more extreme plot twists.

No one can deny that I’ve had a rough life. I survived almost seven years of being sexually raped and sodomized. I survived having lost both parents before my 20th birthday, one to suicide one to medical malpractice. I survived several years of domestic abuse. I survived cancer. I survived homelessness. I survive every day that I battle the PTSD that has resulted from the life I was given. Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING could have prepared me for today. And I do mean nothing. And nothing could have made me hate my mother more than I do now, and quite thankful that she is not around because if she was it wouldn’t be pretty.

It all started this afternoon. I was having a nice conversation with my Aunt Terri…one of the few family members that I talk to and truly adore. She had a call coming on on call waiting. It was the Vigo County Sheriffs Department. Vigo County is not only where I was born, but where the majority of my family resides. After some time had passed, I called her back being the nosey busy body that I am to find out what was going on. She is, after all, my window to being able to keep tabs on my family. We may not want to be in each others life for the most part, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care enough to make sure they are all well. Anywho, they were looking for my mother. Say what? My mother has been deceased since 1983 when she chose to kill herself on a lethal combination of pills out in California. No one never really knew why she did it other than being a mentally ill woman who had struggled with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia (for the record, I had to google that cause I had NO IDEA how to spell it properly). As far as I knew she had long since been lost and forgotten in a distant memory where she deserved to stay. She may have been mentally ill and not in her “right mind” but the stories I had heard over the years left me feeling as if she would never have been someone I wanted to know.

So, they contacted my aunt. Her name is Terri B. She happened to marry my Uncle Billy and taking his last name she ended up having the same name as my mother, Terry B. (Random knowledge: both my parents were named Terry. Mother: Terry Lee, Father: Terry Lynn…how odd is that?) The sheriff in Vigo County was working on a cold case (murder) from back in 1980 where my mother was listed as an alibi to the main suspect and apparently the sheriff is suspicious regarding the facts. They weren’t able to divulge much to my aunt, but I’m under the understanding that either A.) My mother lied for this “boyfriend” or B.) She helped participate in this murder. As if this initial shock wasn’t bad enough….my mother and father were married in 1980, and I was born in 1981.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend to know what my mother did or didn’t do, but I do know that her history speaks for itself. I would not be the first child born in a marriage in which the child did not belong to her husband. My half-brother is a perfect example of such situation. So, what am I supposed to think? The woman who gave me life had a history of spreading her legs like butter and had admitted to the authorities that she had a “bf” in 1980, and a husband. Is my daddy my father?

Now, don’t get me wrong. My dad will ALWAYS be my dad, and I will NEVER speak otherwise. He was the best dad he could be, and he loved me unconditionally until the day he was stolen from me. But, is he my biological father? I couldn’t help myself for venturing there. I called my Aunt Connie (fathers sister) I loathe calling her. She’s always full of negativity. I could have been this. I could have done that. I have so much wasted talent and I’d be so much prettier if I’d stop with all the tattoos, makeup, and hair dye. Blah, blah, blah. My first question to her: “did my dad have a DNA test done on me when I was a baby?” Her reaction startled me. Her first response wasnt a yes or a no. It was “Your dad will always be your dad.” and after a short time she added “But as far as I know, no.” Why would she respond like that at first? I explained to her what was going on, and the conversation quickly ended.

I called DDC to find out what it would take to find out since my father has passed away. I would need DNA swabs from both of his surviving blood sisters to recreate his genetics to compare to mine. When I called Aunt Connie back to ask her if her and Aunt Cathy would be willing to contribute I was made to feel like I was not only a horrendous human being, but also insane for not letting the past die. If my dad was or wasn’t my dad why would it matter? Because it MATTERS. At least, I think it does.

DDC is sending me a test kit for free in the event they agree and I want to pay the $324 fee it costs to have this type of test done. I still don’t know if I want to, but I like the idea of having the option should I decide its what I need. At the end of the day, I know who my daddy is/was regardless of whether or not I share his genetic code. Can I handle knowing the truth? What if I’m not his biological daughter and my real father is a murderer or some other unknown man out there? I have some serious soul searching to do about the situation.

After spending some time with the best friend to calm down, I had errands to do. I took Jakobe to Lenscrafters to repair/adjust his glasses, got my hair cut, and then went to Walmart to get some grocery shopping done. Let’s just say my day did not improve at Walmart. I should have known not to go on a food stamp day, but we needed necessities and some other stuff that we just couldn’t get if we went to a simple grocery store. They were packed. With only a few lines open and dozens of people shopping the lines were atrocious. By the time it was my turn to check out little Esmae had, had enough. She was screaming at the top of her lungs. All she wanted was to be held, and I understand that…but there’s not a lot I can do about that when I’m trying to check out. I turn my body away from her briefly to sign a check, and when I turn back around what do I see? A Walmart employee with her arms around my child.

EXCUSE ME?!?!?!?!?! Unless my child is falling out of the cart (she was fully strapped in) there is NO REASON for you to touch my child. None. Zip. Zilch. Period. End of discussion! I was beyond livid. She is fighting a viral infection right now. I don’t know where that employee has been. Even if you remove the fact that her immune system is compromised right now, who in their right mind thinks its a-ok to touch someone else’s child without permission? Isn’t it common sense in today’s age that its a big NO NO? I, of course, asked to speak to a manager. They send a CSM who then in turn paged the assistant store manager. You’d think he would do something, right? Nope. He acted like I was crazy, overreacting, and dismissed me. When the employee who touched my child started arguing with me? Did he do anything? Nope again. Still dismissive. About the ONLY thing that he said that explained anything was mentioning that he had no children so he couldn’t understand what it means to be a parent. Was I satisfied? Absolutely not. I called the wonderful 1-800-WALMART number to file a formal complaint and the person I spoke with agreed that I was NOT in the wrong and they were going to escalate the case to both the district and regional manager. Let’s see how that goes. I hope to hear something within the next few days. We’ll see.

So, here I am. Typing this entry…not knowing who will read it or even who will care. Watching Doctor Who and trying to keep my mind off of things. I think I’m probably going to delve into some art tonight. I haven’t touched my art much since I decided to stop marketing and promoting myself anymore. Mostly because I didn’t feel obligated and because I legit just needed a break…but now…I need my art more than ever. If only to clear my mind and find a little peace for a while.

 

By Christi Marie Line Posted in Blog

When something is missing in your life, it usually turns out to be someone. – Robert Brault

I, for the most part, am the epitome of a single mom. No husband. No boyfriend. No real thoughts to change either in the immediate future. After all, how would I fit dating into an already hectic schedule? Not to mention a full time relationship? Relationships come with a lot of complications, obligations, and more often than not drama.

I do miss that “I miss you” text in the early morning while I’m sleeping…or a simple “thinking about you” from time to time. I miss feeling like I mean something to someone other than my kids, and having someone to share my life and/or responsibilities with. I miss the companionship as well as the physical and intellectual intimacy. But I’ve stayed single for 19 months now, out of choice.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of pursuers. Most of which annoyed the piss out of me more than anything else, and for the most part there seems to be an overwelming number of men out there that tend to believe that just because I have three kids I must spread my legs like butter. Yeah…uhmm…no. My children are the product of relationships that were long term, not from some random one night stand that brought me a “baby daddy”.

However, with all that said, I’m not going to sit here and say that I haven’t had ANYONE turn my head. There was one guy. Another “J”. Oh, what is with me and men whose name starts with “J”? I honestly believe that me and “J” would be good for each other. But, despite my little crush, and his apparent fondness of me (at one time at least), we aren’t an item. Nor do I see us becoming an item anytime soon if at all. Maybe its a lack of understanding or a break down of communication, but we can’t seem to ever be on the same page. Either he has been fighting “baby mama drama”, I’m dealing with “baby daddy drama”, or a long list of other obstacles such as money, distance, and/or just scheduling conflicts in general.

In a lot of ways, I just always felt like he didn’t think I was good enough for him…and this probably has a lot more to do with my own insecurities than it ever did truth, but that’s always how I felt. I can’t just up and drop everything due to my family obligations with Jakobe’s strict schedule of therapies and doctors appointments, but I always tried to make plans with him only for there to be a complete breakdown in the schedule. It kind of felt as though I always made the effort and it went unnoticed. Its okay, though, cause I know the “right” guy will eventually come along and break down my walls.

Several people have told me I need to get out there and get back into the dating scene, but quite honestly, I’m just not into it. I’ve had exactly ONE man peak my interest in 19 months. O-N-E. And, well…you see how far that has went, right?  Plus, I have to think of the kids. I DO NOT want men in and out of their life. I seen the devastation it can cause. When Jason left, my oldest was heartbroken. Not just seeing the damage that was caused to his mother, but because he, himself, was damaged.  Jason showed us true pain. Jason showed us true misery. Jason almost destroyed us all. Why would I give someone the chance to do it all over again? Just because there is a small chance it wont happen? Is that a risk I’m willing to take? Maybe, but only if it feels “right”.

Anyway, moving on…I had to rush Esmae to an emergency doctors visit today. She woke up entirely cranky and downright miserable. By mid-afternoon she had developed a low grade temp and a rash. The rash quickly spread, and by the time her visit with her grandma had ended I was running her to the doctor. The rash started in the feet and moved up to her thighs…then her stomach….and her arms. By the time I got her to the doctor It was on her neck and shoulders. She has a viral infection of unknown origin that produced viral exanthem and double ear infections. My poor lil miserable girl is now on tylenol for comfort, benadryl for helping alleviate symptoms of the rash, and amoxycillin (spelling?) for the infection. If her condition does not improve by Friday I have to take her back in.

At the pharmacy, my faith in humanity was restored. No, seriously. I’m broke. Like really broke. I think I have a total of four cents to my name right now since I’m not receiving child support and it isn’t pay day. The pharmacist informed me that Esmae’s insurance will not cover benadryl prior to the age of 4, and with me being broke I told her to re-shelve it because I just didn’t have the money. I knew she needed it, but I just didn’t have it. I sat there crying, waiting for her scripts, wishing so desperately that I could pay for her meds right then and there. She is rarely sick, but the one time she was I couldn’t help her. Someone stepped in and paid for her scripts for me. I lost it. I bawled my eyes out, and I had to have said thank you fifty times through those tears. But that’s not where the story ends. A complete stranger…someone I had NEVER met before grabbed my hand, placed money inside of it, told me not to argue and to go get the kids and me something to eat and enjoy ourselves. As I looked down into my hand there was a fifty dollar bill. They walked away before I could even say thank you, but I hope they realize how thankful I really am. Payday is tomorrow, thankfully…so we were only hurting in that very moment, but they made my kiddos very happy as I treated them both to what they love most…pizza. So, dear stranger…if you ever read this entry. Thank you so very much for your kindness, and I promise if I am ever in a position to pay it forward, however I can, I will.

By Christi Marie Line Posted in Blog