That’s right. We’re the Joneses. If you’re trying to keep up with us? Aim higher.
I think there are two ways that people start personal blogs like this one. The first one is, a person makes a plan, chooses a topic, sets it up, makes it pretty, gets it all in place, and launches it. The second way is my way. I thought, Hey, I’d like to have a blog! So I got on the trusty ole’ computer and threw together a blog and started writing. I gave no thought to anything, really, except the writing itself.
So as No Points for Style has gained readers and become more important for me and my emotional well-being, I thought, Hmmm…maybe I could spiff it up? Perhaps I’ll do a little of the pretty? And now that the blog isn’t something newcomers can easily read from beginning to end, I probably need an introductory page. So, although a full redesign is still in the future (I’m doing it myself, folks. That’s right; I’m diving right into the code. If I’m not back in 2 weeks, send in a rescue team.), here, for your reading pleasure (or pain; your choice), is everything you need to know about Carter and me and our family.
I’ll introduce the people in the order in which I met them. I met me first.
I’m Adrienne and I live a life of leisure. Truly, the luxury knows no bounds. For instance, we own two couches. I pretty much lounge on them all day and all night.
Oh, wait, before we continue with the people, you have to see where I live. There is nothing like the sky in Albuquerque.
This is the view from my office window. It takes my breath away. Those are the Sandia Mountains, which is why pretty much everything here is called Sandia something or other. My dad works for Sandia Laboratories, my mom worked for Sandia Hospice for several years, I went to Sandia High School, and Brian and I used to be members of Sandia Presbyterian Church.
Here’s me in 1988. When I was a teenager, the vent fan in my bathroom would get so clogged with hairspray, my mom had to take the whole thing apart and clean it with shampoo every 2 or 3 months. The ozone layer directly above my parents’ house is just the tiniest bit thinner than in other places. True story.
You haven’t really met me until you know that I like to read, and not just blogs. I like books, the kind with covers and words on paper. Do not tell me that such a thing will not exist in the future. That will make me cry and why would you want that?
You also don’t really know me until you know that I’m a slob. Not a hoarder or a pack rat, but an ordinary old slob. Single exception? My books. I like to arrange them and look at them when I’m not reading them. These shelves are not jammed nearly as full as the ones upstairs in my office, so I can keep them pretty.
I like tattoos. I have lots of them. (People who haven’t seen me since high school are choking and sputtering right now. Breathe, my friends. I was 30 before I learned to fly my freak flag, but it was in me all the time. In me, I tell you.)
I own this kick ass lamp. I know you’re jealous. I’m sorry, but I can’t help you with that.
This is Jacob, the boy who made me a mother. Isn’t he the handsomest thing? Aha, but what you can’t tell is that he is pretty much the world’s funniest person. No, really. When he’s on stage, the actor who delivers lines after him always gets a raw deal.
When he was four years old, Jacob was waiting in line at the bank with his dad. Picture it: people doing banking business, which is Very Serious Shit, speaking in hushed tones and observing all kinds of social conventions that Jacob hadn’t learned yet. He had a question, so he spoke up, nice and loud. “Daddy, Jesus doesn’t want us to eat our poop, does he?”
Here is Abbie, my only girl, and how I managed to produce such a devastatingly gorgeous creature I’ll never know. However, don’t even look at my girl if your intentions are not honorable. She has a dad, a stepdad, four* brothers, and me, and every one of us is quite willing to take you out to the parking lot and use harsh language on you if we have any suspicion that you are a member of the Not Nice People Tribe. Understand me? Good.
*By the way, you will only meet three of those brothers here. She and Jacob have a much older half-brother, their dad’s eldest son.
Abbie was such a fiercely independent and stubborn baby, she potty trained herself. One day right around her second birthday, she tugged on her diaper and said, “No, no backu! No mo’ backu!” I told her she could wear panties if she put all her pee and poop in the potty. She had exactly 3 accidents in the following week and never had another one.
I had Jacob in December 1993 and Abbie in December 1995, and their dad and I split on July 4, 1997. (Side bonus? Independence Day has a whole new meaning for me.) How did I get to be divorced with two babies at the ripe old age of 26? I would consider telling you those stories if they didn’t make me sound like a complete ass. (Edited to add: Ass or no ass, you can read those stories here.)
I was single for a few years, and then I met this guy:
That’s Brian and he is the bomb. For one thing, while I am living my life of leisure, he is working his ass off. He’s up and out the door to work before I even turn over and scratch my ass. He works himself to the bone all day at a job I don’t even understand (laser something-or-other), then comes home and doesn’t even complain about my sloppy ways. Also, he doesn’t mind if we eat spaghetti for dinner four times a week.
But the best thing about him? He’s even crabbier than I am. No, really! Back when he used to sell suits for a living, most of his coworkers were middle-aged gay men. They used to say to him, “How is it possible that you’re not gay? You’re such a bitch!” And it’s totally true.
Also? He sometimes makes quilts, but he does it in the garage because it’s manlier that way. I mean, come on. How could I not love this man?
We met in February, 2000 and we married in August, 2000. That was a stupid, stupid, stupid decision. Thank God it panned out because I would look like an even bigger ass than with the first divorce if it hadn’t.
Aha! But he came with this person:
That’s my stepson Spencer. If you see him on wheels (any kind: bike, skateboard, rip stick, whatever), get out of the way. He is a fiend on wheels. But the most important thing to know about Spencer? Best brother ever. Really. It can be pretty difficult to be Carter’s brother, but Spencer is amazing with him.
When Jacob and Abbie were little, my mom always kept Superman pajamas for them to sleep in when they spent the night at her house. The first time Spencer spent the night at my folks’ house (he was not quite 3), she found the pair that would fit him, put them on him, and attached the cape. He zoomed around the house for a few minutes, chasing the other kids and giggling, but suddenly he came to his dad, teary and sad. “Daddy, my cape is broken!” I’ll be darned if he wasn’t right. That kid couldn’t fly a bit.
That’s our wedding picture. Jacob was 6, Abbie was 4, and Spencer had turned 3 just 2 weeks before the wedding. Isn’t that picture sweet? When I see it I always think, “You people have no idea the shit storm that’s coming.” And it’s a good thing we didn’t know; otherwise we’d have said to hell with that! and run for the hills.
But in the beginning, it was all sweetness and light. And how could it have been otherwise? We were so very in love, and look at those gorgeous children!
On our first family vacation, Brian and I were complimented several times on our children’s excellent behavior. The irony is almost too painful to admit, but I was so proud of myself for the way those kids handled themselves. I had much to learn, but my teacher hadn’t yet arrived.
Two years after our wedding, on July 24, 2002, Carter joined our family. Our lives, which were already pretty complicated what with blending families (10,000% more challenging than we’d imagined it would be) and job and financial difficulties, turned into a nightmare. If you don’t know his story, it’s mostly what this blog is about. Carter has issues.
He screamed all day and night, but does that me he wasn’t cute? Oh no it does not!
These days, he’s a pretty good sport when we want to play the Dress Up Carter game.
He smiled, but rarely. He didn’t laugh. We tried to maintain our senses of humor by referring to him privately as The Little Fucker. Jacob’s nickname was Tooter; Spencer was Froggy; Abbie was Sweetie Petey Pie. And Carter was The Little Fucker. My dad liked to say that first child or twelfth, Carter was destined to be someone’s last child.
The screaming was hard on them. Brian’s and my relationships with Jacob, Abbie, and Spencer were changed forever. Damaged. The destructive force of a child’s disabilities on his or her siblings, parents, and all the relationships in the family is indescribable. We can never return to them all that they lost. I hope that someday, they will understand that we would have done for them everything that we have done for Carter.
Jacob and Carter still play the drums, but Spencer has moved on to the trombone. I love that because the trombone is so fun. For me, I mean. Also, it freaks out the dogs and that’s funny.
The big dog is Lolly. With the exception of a severe excess of enthusiasm, she’s the perfect dog. All our dogs love the whole family, but they all have some favorite people. For Lolly, it’s Jacob and me. She’s my companion. I would take her everywhere I go if she didn’t get motion sick and barf all over the car. She’s approximately as dangerous as a newborn kitten, but she looks scary and when I walk her people swing wide around us. Near as we can tell, she’s a shar pei/hound cross. We adopted her two years ago when she was about a year old.
The pug is Doodle. She’s dumb. How dumb? Well, for one thing, she eats rocks. We’re constantly digging them out of her mouth and trying to convince her to eat proper chews, but we’re fighting a losing battle. I fear her teeth will be gone by the time she’s 6 years old. I have never met such a wacky dog. She’s like a tiny, furry humor machine. We got her when she was a pup from a local breeder. She loves Brian and Abbie the best.
Oh, by the way? Here’s an extremely condensed version of my dog lecture: There are only two places to get a dog. You can either adopt from a shelter or buy from a reputable breeder. Spay or neuter your animals, and never, ever support puppy mills or irresponsible breeders.
And then there’s Blossom. We adopted her just about six months ago, but at 8 she’s the oldest in the pack. Lolly and Doodle love their people but are also bonded to each other. Not so for Blossom; she’s all about the people. She is a fluffy ball of love. Wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, she’s never further away than about 4 feet. She’s also a big fan of Spencer and Carter.
You’ve met everyone who lives here, but I want to introduce two more.
That woman in the front is my friend Kim. Why is she dancing in a tool shed? I can’t answer that. I don’t drink and rarely understand the drunk of the species. We’ve been friends for over 20 years but she doesn’t read my blog. Payback is a bitch.
This is my grandma, Margery Mae Jones. I just thought you should know that I come by my smart-ass ways and doofy sense of humor honestly. Yesterday, I found out how much I love her. My sister Erin (who is her primary care provider) is out of town, and Grandma was in terrible pain from constipation. Erin talked me through a manual disimpaction. Does that sound bad? In reality, it’s so, so much worse. But after it was all over she felt something like a billion times better, so totally worth it.
My Twitter friend @GeekyLindsay awarded me this Best Granddaughter of the Century trophy, so of course I’m very proud. Also, glad that Erin will be here to do it next time.
This is my family, and these are some of our stories.