Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Crack House

Friday, November 03, 2006

Crack House

Time feels fragmented this morning. I start one task but am easily distracted by another. The interior of my house looks like any one of the homes featured on the TV show Cops, on which they use a battering ram to get through the door to reveal a bewildered, bloated, shirtless man on the couch marinating in Budweiser and surrounded by a sea of aluminum cans, cigarette butts, dirty clothes, and stale pizza boxes. Okay, so I'm exaggerating a little. However, it feels that way to a neat freak like me. As I was emptying the refrigerator of the last of its paltry contents and throwing them into the Crock Pot, I attempted to clean up the mess on the kitchen island, a delightful mixture of campaign flyers, junk mail, and miscellaneous smudges of last night's dinner. I next planned on swabbing down Erik's peanut-butter and graham cracker-encrusted high chair. While I was in the middle of my frantic cleaning spree, I heard the dreadfully familiar, rhythmic lurching of the contents of my cat's stomach. In a move rivaled only by Bo and Luke Duke sliding their pert, Wrangler-clad buttocks across the hood of the General Lee, I quickly traversed the kitchen counter and surrounding mess, grabbed generous, fur-covered handfuls of Gracie Kitty, and gently but firmly tossed her toward the hard floor (why do animals choose carpeting to vomit or poop upon?) -- just in time to see her spew mounds of half-digested premium cat food in its own mysterious, cat-generated gravy. There are mornings when it seems I do nothing but clean up vomit and excrement, and this is one of them. Sigh.

Maybe I feel off balance because we were gone last weekend. I don't feel caught up on anything. Last night I ceased working long enough to see an old childhood friend (Dave) compete on the game show Jeopardy. It was really strange seeing someone I used to know chatting with Alex Trebek. Even weirder was that he actually won, and now I have to watch it this evening to see how he does. I sometimes miss the old gang of nerds I used to hang with in high school and college.

Yesterday afternoon Bev came for our at-home therapy session. I am in the process of locating some jumbo-sized beads for Erik to learn to thread onto a string/tubing and a peg board upon her recommendation. It is difficult to choose the perfect toy because (a) I have something very specific pictured in my mind, and (b) the parts of any toy that are round will immediately be taken to the hard floor to be turned into a rolling wheel, instantly negating any educational value of the toy I so carefully purchased. I am in the process of teaching Erik to use both hands for tasks. He did quite well with Play-Doh this morning, but he doesn't often use both of his hands at once. I also worked on learning to kick and balance on one leg. He refused to do it but seemed to enjoy watching me dancing like a spasmodic Rockette. Bev once again mentioned my joining the Local Interagency Coordinating Council, and I am seriously considering it. I think they view us a bit like fresh meat, but in a good way. It's nice to feel wanted. Maybe this is another way I can feel like I am actually doing something for Erik and the kids in this community.

I also feel off balance because I am seriously struggling with Erik's wheel obsession, as it now greatly interferes with our outings. Yesterday I felt a little bit of that old fear of isolation because I realized how difficult it is getting to take him out. After leaving the car and taking a few steps with Erik, I realized I simply couldn't walk him into the building. Every car in the parking lot, the bicycle leaning against the building, and the medical center itself crammed with spinning wheels on wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen carts, office chairs, etc. seemed to call his name in a voice only he can hear, and he began throwing a miniature fit and stomping his feet when I would not let him stop for every distraction. I found it necessary to carry all 24 pounds of squirming, angry little boy. Unfortunately, I am carrying correspondence on letterhead I need to keep pristine and unwrinkled, and wrestling a screaming toddler I am unable to set down on the ground is becoming quite a challenge. Looking professional is also way out of the question. Do I strap him into a stroller? I could, but I have to maneuver through doors with the damn thing and since I am well over 5'5", I have to hunch over to push it along, creating a horrible case of scoliosis and a smattering of bruises from doors slamming shut on various parts of my body. He also leans over precariously against the restraints to grab the wheels as they spin, creating another safety hazard. What a pain. I am praying with every fiber of my being this obsession fades slowly but surely. How is he going to learn to walk in public when he doesn't walk in public?

I just feel off balance. It's not a bad thing. I just need to get my bearings again and feel like things are once again under as much control as they can be. When things change, it takes me a bit to adjust. In the meantime, I guess I'll mop the floor. Nothing cheers a girl up like the smell of Lysol in the morning.

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Here's a true-blue recipe for good, old-fashioned comfort food. I am happy to report this is NOT approved by the American Heart Association.

Nancy's Love Loaves

1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1 lb lean ground beef
2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp prepared mustard

In a bowl, beat the egg and milk. Stir in cheese, oats, onion, and salt. Add beef and mix well with hands. Shape into 8 loaves; place in greased 13 x 9 x 2 in baking dish.

Combine ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard; spoon lovingly over loaves while singing a happy song. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Makes 8 servings. Great with potatoes and veggies.

9 Comments:

Blogger Lisa R said...

I remember after Emma Turned 2 there was a period of time where I wanted to take her no place...THe stroller was not cutting it she wanted to walk and walk slow and check out everything I mean EVERYTHING!!! It could take a good 10mins to get 5 feet from the car. I promise it is going to get easier...I used to pick up myt girlfriends older kids so I could run in places and leave her in teh car with the big girls...Good think it is friday I bet balance is restored :)

11:51 AM  
Blogger Kerry said...

My girlfriend and I would take Michael and her daughter out -- her daughter would walk very nicely, but Michael was in his stroller for fear of him running off! Plus I also got to control the speed upon which we went - and he was a BIG boy. I also loved using all the baskets that came with the stroller too.

I make those loaves too -- Chessy Mini Loaves we call them and we put it in the school cookbook with Brady's name on it last year! They also freeze GREAT.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Kim, Grandma to Ava,ws said...

I don't know what to say. I pray that things get easier for you, Nancy. And thanks for the yummy recipe.

Kim

1:46 PM  
Blogger Kim, Grandma to Ava,ws said...

I don't know what to say. I pray that things get easier for you, Nancy. And thanks for the yummy recipe.

Kim

1:51 PM  
Blogger PASLAY'S FROM IDAHO said...

WOW...NANCY'S LOOOOOVE LOAVES? BRING ON THE CHUBBY!!! :) I WILL BE ADDING THIS ONE TO NANCE'S FAMOUS RECIPES.

GIRL, THE STORIES I COULD TELL YOU ABOUT MY BOYS OR I SHOULD SAY YOUR NEPHEWS! HA!!! HANG IN THERE GIRL! MAYBE WHEN YOU ARE OUT AND ABOUT ERIK COULD CARRY HIS VERY OWN WHEEL AND THEN MAYBE THAT WILL DISTRACT HIM FROM OTHER WHEELS... UNLESS ALL THE WHEELS AROUND HIM START SHOUTING OUT HIS NAME! I DON'T KNOW... I THINK I WOULD JUST LAY ON THE FLOOR OF THE MEDICAL OFFICE AND PLAY WITH THE WHEEL CHAIR WHEELS RIGHT ALONG WITH ERIK... BUT THEN I AM HIS AUNTIE! HANG IN THERE!!! :)

I HOPE THAT THE WEEKEND BRINGS MORE BALANCE AND NORMALCY FOR YOU GIRL!

BIG HUGS!!!

3:05 PM  
Blogger Aspen said...

I too understand the obsessions; Daven has his own set of obsessions. We can’t take him out without trying to spin something, or grab some poor innocent ladies jewelry. Sigh. These, however, aren't safety issues as of yet. Like these ladies said, this may just be a good sign of simple toddler-hood.

Have a fantastic weekend!

3:34 PM  
Blogger kimberley classic said...

I had a husband who beat me, before I left him sfter 10 years. My second husband got cancer, and died just after our first wedding anniversary. Now, I face all sorts of things on a daily basis. To deal with this dreadful situation for your son - in some ways, so easy because it is for your flesh and blood, and in some ways so terribly difficult, because it is your flesh and blood! Keep strong, lady, you seem to know how to cope by instinct!

3:51 PM  
Blogger Teresa & Shawn said...

Hey, I saw Dave on Jeopardy! I even thought to myself that he looked like a really cool guy to be that smart. (You know with the bald head and facial hair and all!)

Hang in there, Nancy. Maybe the wheel obsession won't go away, but you'll figure out what to do. Even if you have to leave the house 2 hours earlier so Erik can check out all the wheels!

4:18 PM  
Blogger Lizard Eater said...

Oh my, this is so funny. I could have written parts of this, especially the cat and those days where you're just cleaning up animal and child messes all day.

Hang in there!

5:47 PM  

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