About hthrcarvell

I decided to be brave and start telling my stories. My goal is to write a post a week of at least 750 words. I hope you enjoy what I have to say. I am a wife, mother, daughter, student, sister, co-worker, friend, and tattoo lover. I fancy myself not so much a writer but more a story teller. I have lived a banal life with bits of fantastic around the edges.

Family Planning with Foster Care

As of Thursday we will be officially done with our foster care classes, 30 hours of discussion on discipline, loss, grief, strength, and needs. We have filled out every piece of paper known to man, and when finished with that stack of paper, we were handed new stacks to fill out. We filled out profiles of our family, discussing how we live our lives and who makes our decisions. Do we have any communicable diseases or a jail history? Our marriage license, my divorce papers, social security cards, driver’s license, health forms, FBI checks, and insurance forms have been turned in. However, as time consuming as the classes have been, the hard part is just beginning.

Sometime in the not-so-distant future, a social worker will come to our house to interview us and make sure our house is a safe and healthy environment. They will make sure that our smoke detectors work and check to make sure that medication is under lock and key. We will sit down to talk and I will inwardly fret that we have framed horror movie posters in our living room. While we have pleasant conversation, I will fight the desire to blurt out, “Please know that I don’t approve of murder and the wearing of a mask made from human skin. We just really like Rob Zombie.” On my fireplace is a painting done by Selena that says, “There was a hand in the darkness and it held a knife.” I will quickly explain that it is the opening line from a book that I found to be beautiful and I am not a knife enthusiast. Still, the home visit isn’t the hardest part.

Once our paperwork is stamped with a big red approved, we wait for a phone call. At some point a child will need a family and they will call us to see if we should be that family. On what I can only assume is the worst day of that child’s life, we will meet. They may be scared, angry, or confused, and it will be our jobs to put them at ease. To give them structure and support. Hopefully we will bond and make a difference in a child’s life. Perhaps the child will need a forever family and we can be that for them. But in the here and now, all we can do is wait.

Carvell and I talk about our “faux baby” sometimes. We wonder if it will be a boy or a girl. After a lifetime of female children we have a difficult time imagining life with a boy. We wonder if they will be a different race than us and make plans to be mindful of cultural differences. We talk about football season and how different it will be with me trying to care for another person in the stands. That may seem like a silly thing to wonder about, but football consumes us from August to December. We eagerly anticipate adding to our family while also fearing other aspects of foster care. How do you parent another person’s child while also absorbing them into your family? We know there will be visits with the birth parents and then the emotional fallout from those visits. We are mindful of court dates that may not go in the way that we think is best for the child. We are unable to plan for our life with a new child because we know nothing about them, not their sex, age, interest, motivations, needs, or wants. Our “faux baby” is a concept that is waiting to become a reality. When you are expecting a child through pregnancy you have nine or so months to plan and dream, but when you want to adopt through foster care you can only wait until the moment you receive your first phone call. Still, I don’t believe this will be the hardest part.

My concern is I don’t know what will be the hardest part. Will it be the dealing with a system that is heavy with problems? Will it be the time, energy, and changes to our family structure? Will it be the emotional and physical issues that can come from abuse or neglect? There are more questions than answers and I am someone who likes answers. I can worry an issue until it is a twisted knot, loops turning in on each other until it is a maze that cannot be undone. While I struggle and worry about what happens next there are also things that I know for sure: In Kentucky there are approximately 6,800 children in the foster care system and my family can help at least one of those children.

 

 

Taking a Moment to Enjoy Small Things or I Was a Sad Crazy Bitch Lady Yesterday and Today Will Be Better

Yesterday was ugly for me. I was sad and angry. I was stressed and hurt. So today I am going to take a minute to think and be grateful for things that make me happy.

  1. I am grateful for pink blooms on trees that litter the ground after a storm. That shit is pretty.
  2. The trees at the health department are starting to bud. I will forever find it funny that the trees there can give me such joy. Beautiful trees, vaccinations for children, and STD tests: That place has everything.
  3. Blue Candy. I think it is safe to say that blue candies are the best, and while I understand “blue coconut” may not be a real flavor it is still the best. I know this to be true because there are far less of them in any bag of candy. The manufactures know and are holding out on us.
  4. Diet Coke. Let me make this clear I do not drink Diet Coke to take off pounds. I do not drink it to counter act my calorie intake. I know it rots your insides, but damn if it doesn’t have a great chemical burn.
  5. The color gray.
  6. Wearing brown and black together. Social norms be damned I think it is fine.
  7. My sister and I when we find someone or something that bugs us and we than become consumed by it.
  8. Wax cubes of smells are the greatest invention ever.
  9. Low rumbly thunder.
  10. Adding to my collection of clothes I wish I had on Pinterest. I would be so put together if I lived in that Pinterest board.
  11. The “Ask a Mortician” series on YouTube is the gift I will leave you with. I am Oprah like that. Go to that link and take on the greatness. Go.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTCg6PGaOkM

The Rocket Ship Slide

I remember it to be impossibly tall, metal, and of course red, white, and blue. The metal bars were painted blue but the glint of the metal always showed though where weather and children had taken their toll on the paint’s luster. The rocket ship slide at the local park was a thing of beauty and glory, and climbing into the ship and ascending the levels was scary, exhilarating, and suffocating. While basically open air, the top was still cramped and hot, and if two people were on the top plateau then your bodies were wedged together and contorted like child performers in Cirque du Soleil. I remember the sensation of running my fingers over the grooves of carved initials, JT + KB 4-ever, Kiss, ZZ-Top, and hearts etched into the metal, a permanent reminder of summer hood adolescence.

At the park you developed flash friendships: a girl of approximately the same age, dressed in brightly colored shorts and a pair of pink jellies that you coveted. As you climbed one behind each other up the endless staircase to the top of the rocket you swore that you would be friends forever and you told each other secrets, some true and some lies, to impress one another.

“What is your phone number?”

“555-6789”

“555-6789,” repeated over and over so you wouldn’t forget.

“We’ll call each other every night.”

Of course within moments of your new best friend leaving the phone number would leave, as did her name and the memory of her face.

The top of the rocket smelled of sweat, grass, and summer. It wasn’t at all comfortable to be there, but the top landing was much desired, and no amount of begging from the other children would make you give up your spot. There was a hierarchy to who was allowed up, and when you were on top you were queen of the playground. From your vantage point you could see the swings, monkey bars, and the water pipe that ran through the park. In the distance you could hear the carrousel music and the occasional screams from someone on the tilt-a-whirl.  That part of the park cost money and was for more special occasions. At the rocket ship playground we played for free, and hours could be spent pretending to be a tightrope walker on the water pipe.

If or when the decision was made to leave your post at the top of the slide, there was two ways down. You could back out and climb down the stairs, retracing your steps and taking that last little leap to solid dirt. Or you could take the slide, silver and the same temperature as the sun. Choosing to slide was an act of bravery. As you went down the steep slide you had to remember to keep your thighs up as to not burn and scrape off layers of skin. With your hands on the side of the slide you would descend and, depending on your rate of speed, your hands would burn from the friction. You jelly shoes would hit the dirt with an audible thunk and a small dust storm would appear. Your feet were left with dirty hash marks and grit caked in between your toes.

It was summer, youth, simple, and beautiful. I miss that slide and the memories it held.

Things I Know Today (2/13/2014)

  1. It isn’t normal for worry to make you shit your pants.
  2. Everyone has pooped their pants or will, but they don’t talk about it.
  3. Being nice is better than being mean.
  4. Sometimes, being mean seems like the better option.
  5. I am sick of snow.
  6. My scarf is oddly fluffy.
  7. It should be considered totally normal to walk around talking to yourself as long as you aren’t talking about aliens or guns.
  8. My mom once gave me a copy of “Alien Autopsy” as a gift.
  9. If smelling a baby doesn’t lower your blood pressure you need to cuddle a puppy.
  10. I hate feeling like a failure.
  11. I am not a failure.
  12. If after you have smelled a baby and cuddled a puppy you still feel awful I would suggest going to TJ Maxx.

Sound of Music, Haters, and Paris Hilton: The Age of Snark

Disclaimer: This was originally written before Christmas and I had forgotten its existence. Please excuse my delay and the many Christmas references. Thank you, The Management.

Last night I was excited to read that NBC is going to show another live performance similar to what they did with The Sound of Music, and this time it will be Peter Pan. When I originally read that NBC was doing a live version of The Sound of Music the dork in me was all a twitter. I was out of town the night it aired, but I had saved it on my DVR, and I looked forward to getting home Friday night so I could cuddle with Saidee and watch three hours of singing, love, nuns, and Nazi subplots. I just knew that Saidee would love it and I was excited that NBC was trying something different. However, the Thursday it aired live my Facebook and Twitter accounts went crazy. Post after post about how terrible it was and many on Twitter were down right mean to Carrie Underwood. I understand that The Sound of Music is beloved by many, but I did not understand the anger being directed at Carrie Underwood. Let me absolutely promise you she did not take this role lightly. I seriously doubt this was her thought, “I will kill this! I will make everyone forget who fucking Julie Andrews even is!” Chances are it went more like, “This is a great opportunity! I can’t believe NBC is even attempting this.” Sometimes I think we live in a world where we don’t want people to be happy and successful. The snark has gotten out of control.

We can all be snarky and a certain degree of snarky is fine.  There is nothing wrong of being critical of something. I, for instance, can’t stand It’s a Wonderful Life.  The scene where the kid gets hit in his ear upsets me and makes me want to enter the television to rip into the hitter. I know many who love this movie and consider it the official movie of Christmas. I am glad they feel that way. I am happy that they enjoy something so fully and it causes them happiness. I feel that way when I catch The Flintstones Christmas Carol on the Cartoon Network. Just because I don’t enjoy It’s a Wonderful Life doesn’t mean I want to trash it to others. I just make the decision to watch something else that night. It really isn’t complicated at all and there is no reason to be mean about it.

Of course sometimes I fall into a pit of snarky and must climb my way back out using a ladder made of earnest. I am snarky about people who I know have done things and then pretend they didn’t to put a good face on social media. I want to list their transgressions for the world to read, but I can’t because it would be mean spirited and my karma can’t take that kind of hit. I am similarly snarky about people who put up inspirational quotes on Facebook that are obviously meant to tear down others.  I am snarky about that teenage bride, Courtney Stodden, because I can’t find any redeeming qualities to this story and I mourn her lost childhood. I am snarky about Paris Hilton because I feel like she plays dumb as a shtick, and that is bad for women. I am vocally critical about many topics, and others I will defend with every ounce of my size 22/24 (sometimes 26) body.

It may make me a hypocrite, but while I turn my nose up at Paris Hilton, I defend Kim and Kanye and wish them happiness. There is no rhyme or reason to what I decide to be earnest about and what I decide warrants some snark. What I do know is that I feel better about myself when I am earnest. Sometimes it is a fight to be positive, just the other day I said something so snarky that I actually felt the need to repent. Often I lose that fight and come out battered and bruised, but I am going to keep trying. I enjoyed what NBC tried to do and thought that the actors did a great job. I am grateful that Saidee loved it and received both the original movie and the NBC version for Christmas. I am grateful that for days we could hear Saidee singing, “I am sixteen going on seventeen.” So, when it is announced who will play Peter Pan let’s take a minute and commend the actress who will try something new. Be gentle with the words you use, unless NBC picks Paris Hilton to play Peter, if that is the case snark away my friends. Snark away.

What the Duck?

Last night the internet broke due to Phil Robertson being suspended from his family’s television show Duck Dynasty. It seems that Phil was interviewed by GQ and said some pretty distasteful things about homosexuality and the segregated south. Groups complained and A&E placed Phil, the patriarch of this family, on leave. Almost immediately my Facebook and Twitter blew up with posts about free speech, liberals, Bible quotes, and “Save Phil” fan pages. There was also a smattering of “faggots” thrown in as well. I was fascinated and couldn’t look away.

The first thing that popped in my brain was, “Why the hell would Phil do an interview with GQ?” Is Phil sitting in a duck blind covered in camouflage and flipping through the glossy pages of GQ, wondering what the new hot tech item of the week is? I seriously doubt that is the case. My second thought was, “How did Phil not know this was a bait question?” To that one I answered that he probably didn’t care. Then I thought that what the interviewer did was dirty. It was easy and he knew what the answer would be. The entire show is dedicated to this family’s Christian beliefs and home-spun family fun. Phil is a man of a certain age, who grew up in the Deep South before integration; he quotes Bible scripture from memory, and calls himself a redneck. It does not take a leap of logic to assume that Phil may not be down with homosexuality. He is entitled to his opinion and voiced it to that GQ interviewer. Sometimes free speech has a cost.

A&E has suspended Phil with no known date for his return. No one is telling Phil not to speak his mind, he has a large following and preaches and speaks around the country. He has a vast audience that he is more than welcome to speak to regarding his beliefs, both biblical and otherwise. Again, no one is telling Phil not to speak about what he believes. However, Phil is an employee of A&E and they have just as much of a right to suspend an employee. Free speech is not free. He said something and was disciplined by his employer. It happens to people everyday; while discussing this topic with a co-worker my own supervisor said, “No, more Heather.” There are rumors that I can be a bit much. There is no need to “Save Phil” as he is a duck call millionaire with a vast army of supporters. Trust me on this one, Phil will be fine.

In the comments Phil made to the reporter he listed homosexuality as a sin and then jumped to bestiality. “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he tells reporter Drew Magary. “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right (Chicago Tribune).” I would like to again mention, as I have in another blog, there is no jump from homosexuality to bestiality. I looked it up and it is not a thing. Homosexuality is not a gate way drug to loving a horse, it just isn’t. Why people can’t get past this, I will never know.

Phil also had something to say about anal sex, “It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.” I need to take this to a personal place for a minute. I am fearful that Phil doesn’t have a very good imagination or in the very least doesn’t know about the reach around. Nipples are also fair game on both men and women. As a general rule tight feels good to a penis, and an anus is tight. I am 38, have three kids, and pee on myself everyday. It is safe to say that shit is not as tight as it once was. Never in my 23 years of sexual activity have I heard a man say, “Man, I wish it was a little looser.” Phil is heterosexual and would not find homosexual sex to be pleasant just as a homosexual man would look at Kay and think, “Nope, I’ll pass.” This isn’t rocket science. Part of what concerns me is that there is a presumption by some heterosexuals that homosexuality is strictly about sex. It is about love, friendship, companionship, bickering, and compromising just like my “straight” relationship. Sex is important to most relationships, but it isn’t the most important part.

My DVR has every episode of Duck Dynasty on it and I like to watch it as I fall asleep. Trey and I watch it for the mellow vibe and the relationships between the families. I often gripe about Phil to Trey because I think he has a disdain for women. The controversy that surrounds this show right now has nothing to do with free speech as his rights weren’t infringed upon and A&E is well within their right to suspend him. There is no need to “Save Phil,” he knows what he believes in and stands for. I appreciate that this close-knit family has rallied together and released a statement saying they won’t continue without him. Phil said what he did and now has to face the consequences. The words we use have power and they needs to be wielded carefully. What we need is a call to be kind and to think before we speak, which is something I struggle with everyday.

* After I finished writing this, comedian Rob Delaney posted a video explaining the “tight” thing much better than I do. It was funny. I would suggest looking it up.

An Open Letter to Glade

Dear Glade,

I thought we were friends. I thought we really had something, but you went and pulled my favorite fragrance. The 2011 limited edition cinnamon chiffon candles were the most glorious candle you ever released and now I have depleted my stash and only have 2½ candles left.  These candles have been my signature fragrance between the months of October and February since 2011. My home smells deliciously of this frothy cinnamon concoction. The smell is heavy enough that it fills my living area, but light enough that I don’t feel overpowered. As I burn my candles, each passing hour brings me both joy and despair as I know our time is coming to an end.

I have done my research, Glade, and I know that I can buy the oils from a seller on eBay. I know that I can buy bottles of the spray as well, but let’s be clear, it is not the same. I have spent hours sniffing candles to find a scent as fabulous as cinnamon chiffon. I dip my nose into jars of cold wax and inhale deeply trying to match the happiness that your cinnamon chiffon brought me.  The feeling has not yet been replicated. Last night I had a moment of happiness when I smelled The Bath and Body Works candle titled Champaign Toast. For a moment I thought this could be the replacement, but alas, it is still not the glory that is cinnamon chiffon.

Glade, you and I have been friends for years. In my mid-twenties I took great comfort in the banana pear candles I would burn. They had a lovely light sent and filled my little apartment with much joy. As a longtime customer I want you to be aware that people like me exist. We enjoy our routines and are most content when our homes smell fresh and inviting. Perhaps, once you release a fragrance you could also list when the limited edition items will no longer be available, so people like me can create a stockpile much like a doomsday prepper.

Thank you,

Heather Carvell

 

PS: Cashmere Woods is good, Glade, but it just isn’t the same and we both know it.