Saturday, September 5, 2015

Don't Call Me Blanche DuBois

I am a huge proponent of being an organ donor.  I have no use for my body after I am gone please use any of it to save someone else’s life.  ANY OF IT!  Eyeballs – heart whatever.  Take it.  Not going to need it anymore.

A while ago a former business partner of my father’s came back into my life via Facebook.  I have vague memories of him from when I lived in New Jersey for two reasons – 1. He was very patient with me as a four/five year old and 2. His last name is Pugaczewski – hard to forget someone with that last name.

I found out through FB that his wife was in need of a kidney.  They were looking for a living donor.  Pleading with people to just get tested to even see if they were a match.  I thought about it.  I prayed about it.  Don’t know why the idea was so unnerving.  But I decide I could do it.  I would see if I was a match.  I mean we have two kidneys – I don’t need both.

I went to Chad to talk about it and was surprised at how adamant he was that I NOT do it.  His reasoning was fair.  Zachary only has one kidney.  He was born with a multicystic kidney so it never functioned and at this point in his life it has been reabsorbed by his body.  It was a fluke that we even caught it. I was considered a high risk pregnancy based on a previous miscarriage so I was going for sonograms all the time.  The OB was concerned with Z’s head but it turned out his head is great – it was his kidney.  I freaked at the time hearing the news.  But it turns out we really don’t need two kidneys – one works just fine.  And we only use a small percentage of the one anyway.  Z’s urologist said that while we needed to be smart, like probably avoiding contact sports like football and boxing where he is more likely to injure his one good kidney, but we did not need to make him spend his life indoors not participating. 

Chad asked what if something happens to Z’s kidney and HE needs a transplant?  Family will be the closest match.  I talked to my Dad about it and he was the exact same way.  I was surprised by both of their reactions.  I completely understand it but surprised.

I found myself wondering if they would have reacted the same way with a different living transplant - liver transplant (where they can take a partial sample) or bone marrow transplant.  Or if it had been someone we were really close to – family or friend – rather than a distant acquaintance for my dad or complete stranger to Chad.

I then went to this place: what if I am not a match for Z and neither is anyone in our family but we find ourselves in a place where he needs a kidney?  We become the ones on Facebook desperately reaching out to the cyber world for someone to just get tested.  Just see if you are even a match.  Watching our son’s life hang on the chance of someone willing to step up.  How can I expect someone to be braver than me?  How can I rely on people to save my son if I am not capable of doing it for someone else?

I fully support and understand Chad’s feelings on Carolyn’s situation and do not disagree with his reasoning.  This post isn’t about that decision in particular.  It is more about talking the talk and walking the walk when it comes to helping people.  Or even “paying it forward” karma like. I believe in karma to the extent that you get what you put out there – if you are a good and generous person, you will have a good life.  Not because you earn points but because you face life with a good attitude.  I love the stories about people who come out of the blue from the most unexpected places and change lives with their selflessness.  Who give of themselves because it is the good and decent thing to do and it helps someone that really needs it.

Writing a check to St. Jude’s or running a race for Miracle League is not the same thing to me.  It is giving but it is not me digging down deep and giving meaningfully.  How can I expect my children to help change the world when all I do is pull out my checkbook?  I want them to experience what it means to make a difference in a person’s life and I don’t want them to rely or wait on someone else to make a difference in theirs.

For the past several Lents, I have wanted us as a family to pick a volunteer opportunity to do together.  I had used the excuse they Ry was too young to truly have a part but she is now 7 - plenty old enough to help out at some places.  But we haven't done anything.  We are too busy.  We are too tired.  Nothing is convenient.

We, the Martin family, have too much to offer to not help.  So while I am not saying we are all donating organs this year, I hope that we do step it up and get out, get involved, and make a difference.  I hope that at Easter Mass this year I am proud of our Lenten devotion.  And that God forbid there comes a time where Z needs a kidney or something tragic hits our family, I want to know that I am not asking of others what I would not myself do.

Epilogue:  Carolyn Pugaczewski did receive a kidney and is doing well thanks to a living donor.  Z plays soccer and karate.  Karate is different than boxing right?  So much for avoiding full contact sports.  

Friday, September 4, 2015

Pinch of Melody...Dash of Lyric

I was asked what draws me to a song – the music or the lyrics.  My first thought was “ummmm of course the lyrics!” I mean that is what makes a song special right – the words?  How they speak to you?  How they give pause in your brain to make way for pure emotion:

“The sacred simplicity of you by my side.” Vienna Teng  (these words made me sigh and shiver all at the same time)

Yet there is the melody.  Can I like a song for its lyrics if the tune is bad? I mean I have liked songs with bad lyrics because the music was good.  And usually I don’t catch the lyrics on the first listen – it is only after time or if I make a point of trying to listen that I understand the lyrics.  Logically then it would be the music.  So then maybe it is the music that first catches my attention but the lyrics that make it a favorite?

In an effort to answer the question, I looked at my MK Random playlist to see if there is a pattern to why these songs are important to me.

The list presented another reason other than notes or lyrics.  Association.  Several songs on my list are there because of why I heard them – introduced by Chad.  There is a song that is on there just because it is Rylee’s “sparkle” song and it makes me so happy to hear it because it makes her so happy to hear it.  There is a song on the list because I heard it on a favorite TV show during a climactic moment. The list also has songs because I like how the music makes me feel.  Free.  Or happy.  Or sad.  Or iintrospective. Still other songs have lyrics make me think of someone, some time, or take me somewhere.

 It seems I can’t answer why I am drawn to a song or why I choose to listen again.  I suspect there is no right answer – no consistent answer – no one answer - at least for me there isn’t.  I know there are songs that pull me in completely.  I know there are songs I want to stand up and dance to each time I hear them.  I know there are songs that make me ache in every fiber of me.  Just don’t know why.  Just don’t know that it matters. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Too Bad Its Not Dessert - I Understand Ice Cream

I write this not as a political comment or even an opinion on whether he is a deserter or not – it is more of an overarching comment on the idea/scenario of deserting.

Recently the US traded three Gitmo prisoners for a US soldier (and since I promised that this was not a political post, I won’t go into how much I disagree with this move.)  The soldier, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, has been going through a reintegration process and having medical and mental examinations.   However while he may be unaware of all the press surrounding his release, the rest of us are quite aware.

The whole scenario is full of controversy:

  • Why would the make a swap now it puts our overseas soldiers in danger
  • Why was Congress not consulted before the swap
  • His fellow soldiers say he walked off the base that night he disappeared so he is a deserter
While the first point is one I have some opinions on, it is the third that actually inspired this post.

Why does any soldier that is serving on foreign soil especially in hostile territory desert?  Where are they going to go???  It is not like they can live forever in the desert.  They can’t just hitch a ride to the airport and fly back to the US.  I do not understand this concept.  How is walking away from the military and going AWOL in a foreign hostile country better than staying and telling your commander you quit. 

OOOOOHHHHKAAAY – I know it doesn’t really work that way.  You can’t quit just like that but can you stay on the run in Afghanistan forever?

I am not trying to make light of any of anything our soldiers go through who are serving a tour in some of the most hostile environments.  I can’t imagine the toll it takes on a person mentally, emotionally, and physically to be away from loved ones, in constant danger, and not able being to ever relax.  I just genuinely do not understand how running into enemy territory is even considered a solution.  Is it that things have gotten so bad that you don’t think clearly?  Is it that maybe it isn’t as difficult as I think to get home when you run away in Iraq?

I am just perplexed.  When we get updates on the news about the situation and how it seems everyone is mad at Sgt Bergdahl (as well as Obama) my mind just goes to that why would he do it?

I recognize that I will probably never get an answer to my question.  I also will concede that perhaps I am looking for a simple answer to an incredibly complex situation.  One that I thank God that I have never been in…

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ce que l'enfer?

On Monday, Rylee greets me with nonsense babble, “Blahsee SheShe Mwah Mwah.”  I make a funny face at her and tell her she is too silly.  She then continues with this strange speech.

I then ask her what we should have for dinner and she responds with “Ploopie Plah Goo RooRoo.”  Fighting my irritation, I tell her that I do not understand what she is saying.

She then informs me that it is Speak Only in French Day.

I laugh and tell her that neither of us speak French.  She then whispers “that’s why you make it up!”


Monday, June 23, 2014

Yes She Does Z!

Ry still watches Nick Jr and Disney Jr a little bit but Z is long over it and done with it.  He tolerates his sister watching because he has no other choice when it is her turn to pick a TV show.  The other night however I truly was amused by his reaction.

Disney Jr. has this short that the runs in between shows about a little girl who has to pee.  I kid you not:

The premise is always the same with each little episode that Nina doesn’t go to the bathroom when her mom asks and Nina waits until it is an emergency and it is horrible timing because they are at the top of a mountain in a full snow suit type of thing.

When the latest one came on, Z huffed, stood up, shook his head and walked away from the TV.  He was so agitated!  I asked what the deal was and he said “I thought this was supposed to be educational shows but she is clearly not learning anything!”  I was confused for a second thinking he was talking about Ry but then he continued “She says at the end of each episode ‘Now I know – don’t wait to go’ but then in the next episode she WAITS again!  She obviously doesn’t really know!”

Seeing that I am not an award winning mom, I am shaking from holding in my giggles at his irritation.

“I can’t even watch it is so ridiculous that she doesn’t get it.  She does need to go -- go away!”

Bwaaaaaa haaaahaaa!!  I agree Z!

Thursday, June 19, 2014


I considered calling this post The Latest Sign of the Apocalypse.  I am just so flabbergasted I can't wrap my brain around it.  My colleague sent me a link to the latest app:

So this idea has raised one MILLION (had to capitalize that word and now I am going to repeat it) MILLION dollars.  I think what has me so fritz is that someone said hey let’s see if we can create and app that only sends the word Yo to folks.  It took a total of 8 hrs to create.  Was this person a genius?  A lucky bastard?  A drunken dare taker?

To compound my perplexion (made that word up – can I get a million dollars?) people are really downloading this app – over 50,000 people – AND there is a million dollars in funding.  So I begin wondering who is downloading and who is funding?  Geniuses? Lucky bastards?  Drunks??

I get that I am not an innovator or entrepreneur and that I am not going to be world famous or rich for my contributions to society but really.  There is someone out there that made money off sending the word Yo.  My co-workers and I look at each other like where did we go wrong?   There are some pretty cool ideas out there – like the person that took every piece of IKEA stock and cross referenced it with various cars and came up with an app that can tell you based on your car which boxes you can fit in your car and how to fit them in there.  Then sold it to IKEA and made a few bucks or so.  Such a practical idea that our office is like I TOTALLY should have come up with that.  Then Yo rolls around and we are stunned.  We’ll continue to drive a hideous commute to work every day so that we can sit inside and make money to pay for the house we are never in or dream of the vacations we never take because we didn’t think to create an app that says Yo.

What does the success of the app say about the people that created the app?
What does the success of the app say about the people downloading the app?
What does the success of the app say about the people funding of the app?
What does the success of the app say about society?
What does the success of the app say about me?

Society…truly I don’t think it is that BIG of a thing to say society is crumbling or we are a society of geniuses that are lucky bastards that drink.  But makes you pause and wonder doesn’t it?!

And what does it say about me?  Nothing really other than it explains why I created the word perplexion.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Half Way Done

I really don’t like when people say – “Oh it goes by so fast” or “Time flies” – it is so very annoying. But I say those things too because I really don’t know what else to say.  And because it is true.  It sucks but it is still true.  I frequently use my stock catch phrase “Life is like a roll of toilet paper – the closer to the end you get the quicker it goes.”

Z turned 9 a few months ago.  It sounds weird to say out loud.  My son is 9.  I have a nine year old.  Z has been a part of my life for nine years.  After going through all the iterations of my son is 9 – I thought – holy crap we are half way through the time we get with him.  I mean when he turns 18 my guess is he’ll go to college and once he steps out of the door that is it.  Our lives will never be the same – his, Chad and mine, and even Rylee – because even when he does come home, he will be “visiting” because his life will be elsewhere as it should be.

How can this sweet beautiful boy only be a part of our lives for nine more years?  How can I only get nine more years of snuggles, smiles, and those giant blue eyes blinking at me from behind the glasses?  How do I only get nine more years of watching him mature, discover, and grow?!  It really isn’t fair.  The idea of letting him go makes my heart break.

I am completely aware that this was part of the deal when I signed on to be a parent.  I KNOW OK!!!  I get it – from the minute he was born it was our responsibility to start teaching him how to be an individual that is self-sufficient and capable on his own making the world better and brighter.  I know that each milestone he has had – from rolling over, to walking, to learning to write his name – has been a benchmark that pulls him a little further away from needing his parents.  Doesn’t take away the fact that it makes me so very sad.  I can’t imagine him not coming down in the middle of the night to tell me he has a bad dream or talking for hours about Pok√©mon or Minecraft.  I find myself sometimes looking up the stair towards his room and imagining what it will feel like when he is not up there.  Only nine more years.

Rumor is that in a few years, I will be claiming that time is not moving fast enough to get my teenager out of the house and into college.  That when he turns 13 or so the drama, the mood swings, the attitude will all convince me that 18 years is plenty and that I won’t cry the day he walks out the door for college but instead will do a happy dance and start counting down the days until Ry is gone too.  OK maybe? Probably? I guess I will feel that way but that is for a future blog post.  In this one, I still want to hold him tighter and remind him every chance I get that I love him and am proud of him.

This week on the radio station I listen to, the DJs were talking about the last song they had downloaded.  The final one was a song called Light by Sleeping At Last.  Now I listen to an alternative rock station (alternative rock-ish – doesn’t play indie rock but more like main stream rock but no Justin Bieber or Katy Perry) so I was expecting something along those lines.  Um no.  People I CRIED on my drive into work!  CRIED from a song.  Seriously.
LIGHT by Sleeping At Last
may these words be the first
to find your ears.
the world is brighter than the sun
now that you’re here.
though your eyes will need some time to adjust
to the overwhelming light surrounding us,
i’ll give you everything i have.
i’ll teach you everything i know.
i promise i’ll do better.
i will always hold you close,
but i will learn to let you go.
i promise i’ll do better.
i will soften every edge,
i’ll hold the world to its best,
and i’ll do better.
with every heartbeat i have left
i will defend your every breath,
and i’ll do better.
’cause you are loved.
you are loved more than you know.
i hereby pledge all of my days
to prove it so.
though your heart is far too young to realize
the unimaginable light you hold inside,
i’ll give you everything i have.
i’ll teach you everything i know.
i promise i’ll do better.
i will always hold you close,
but i will learn to let you go.
i promise i’ll do better.
i will rearrange the stars,
pull ‘em down to where you are.
i promise, i’ll do better.
with every heartbeat i have left,
i’ll defend your every breath.
i promise i’ll do better.
i will soften every edge,
hold the world to its best.
i promise i’ll do better.
with every heartbeat i have left,
i’ll defend your every breath,
(i’ll do better.)
“I will always hold you close, but I will learn to let you go.”  UGH.  Do I have to?

Please go take a listen if you want a good sentimental cry…unless your kid is a teenager. Then you can go listen and laugh at the ridiculousness of it and knowingly shake your head and say just you wait.  Right now…I can wait.  I love you Zachary James higher than any number you can count.  You are always in my heart.