Today is Jeff”s birthday, Happy Birthday brother!  I am so very proud of the great father, awesome  person and all-around good guy you are..  We had our doubts when you were two and happily smearing the contents of your diaper on the walls, and  that time you chased me around the house with a hammer made me wonder too.

Conflict resolution is probably been one of Jeff’s strongest attributes ” I’m just gonna kick ass and ask questions later,” was his motto for many years. Underneath this hot-headed, ex- marine with a flair for storytelling that would make the most stoic person wet their pants, is the most compassionate, caring and strongest people I know.

  Over this last year especially, I witnessed his selfless love for his family and his ability to do the right thing without hesitation.  I am so proud to call him my brother and I am sure today Dad is giving him that silent “man-nod” – “well- done, keep doing it .” I think the cleaner is pretty proud as we all are. Lots of love from the Big Sky!

Taking Care of Business With One Eye Open- Part One

Well this has been an eventful two weeks and the first time I’ve sat down at the computer, although I had big plans to write every day  and make some deadlines.  I think Cutbank may be a little stuffy for me.  “Sniff, sniff”

Next time when I write my bio for them it should run like this :  Kim Storment recently graduated with an MFA in “Life, the Long way around,” with a minor in backpacking, child rearing and Greyhound bus travel.  She can be found west of the Continental Divide balancing an impressive amount of plates on her arm or at the school bus stop in her Hello Kitty pajamas.  She is currently working on her chapbook, Poems Lost in the Bathroom and paid all her student loans last year, suckers.

I did get my Erma Bombeck entry in on time. (Yay!) and by the grace of God and my Mom, I was able to fly to Syracuse to be with my family as my Dad underwent some intense heart surgery.  He’s such a tough guy.  He had a massive heart attack on Valentine’s Day and my Mom was in Florida vacationing when she got the call to get home.  My Mom is one of those rare creatures who find airports delightful.  She once told me that she could spend days at an airport just people watching.   Ergo, she will volunteer her seat in order to score free plane tickets.   Obviously, she didn’t bump on her way home although she confided to me that she did have plans to bump on every connection because it was Winter Break in Florida.  She’s a smart, Irish cookie.

So the next day of Dad’s internment my brother Joe calls and  reassured me that he is ok.   Being so far away I often get a bit emotional,( hysterical )  but the sound of my brother Jeff bellowing in the background, “He took a crap and ate two dinners!”  eased my mind considerably.  Also the fact that Dad had lied to Mom about the results of his cardiologist appointment in November, prompted her to mutter “When he gets home , I’m gonna kill him, myself.”  Yes, I was relieved when I heard that too.  They have been married for 44 years, and raised 4 kids, no illusions.  They could not be more different from the sun and the moon but held it together when people were divorcing left and right.  In fact, that day, Dad told Mom,  ” You better keep working,”  as he was watching the Syracuse game and eating his lunch and  telling everyone how much he likes spinach.   He’s lucky he didn’t have prong marks in his forehead.

No one was more surprised than I, when Joe called Friday morning  and said, “Catch the next flight out, it’s not looking too great,  he has to have emergency surgery.”  It was 7 am and I was in a fog, getting the kids ready for school and trying to arrange childcare.  If not for my neighbors and good friends stepping up to the challenge at the last minute I would have been a basket case, or more of one.  Definitely, God was working miracles all over as I ran around my house like a chicken with my head cut off- looking up flights, writing notes and phone numbers, cancelling appointments  and doing the dishes.  ( I know, really?)   Kim and Beth, there is nothing in this world that can convey the gratitude and esteem I hold the two of you! Not only did you take care of my children at the last-minute, but you chauffeured them to all their events and sent me pictures every nite. Bless you.

The phone rang again, my brother Billy, my exact opposite and probably the most strained relationship out of all three brothers.   After all, I was the Queen bee for a short 13 months before he was born so I stole his ice cream for the next five years and while he got caught doing the right thing most of the time, I just plain got caught every time.  Billy gave me the update to which I promptly bitched ” I wish I  knew sooner, I could have caught the eight o’clock flight.” ( If I lived in the Pacific and had wings.)   To his credit, all he said was ” We just found out ourselves!” Billy ended up saving the day.  Fortunately, he has been snowplowing the best heart surgeon’s driveway for a number of years, so he texted him and this kind, humble and considerate man came in on a Saturday morning to operate on my father and has been  at the ICU every morning monitoring  his progress for the last 13 days.  Miracle #4 .  More to come ….

The Time is Write!

I love that scene in the movie Overboard, where Goldie Hawn’s character speaks to her once-abused butler Albert and he says ,” Most people only experience life from the perspective of their station. You have been given a rare and precious gift of living an entirely different life, what you do with that gift is up to you.”
I feel like that right now. I am bubbling with anticipation and plans because I’m not a waitress for 2 1/2 weeks. Never in my adult sober life have I had the luxury of time to write. People have been asking me what I am going to do. Well here is a short list. I want to write a book. I will not wear black (all black uniforms at work.) I will clean my own kitchen. The rest of my time I will be seated here working passionately. Wish me luck people. By the way, Erma Bombeck humour contest ends Feb. 14th also submissions to Cutbank, a literary journal are being accepted until Feb. 28th. You can look those both up online. I am so grateful to God as to how often do they take 2 weeks to dig up a kitchen to repair the pipes? I am convinced it is a divine gift and I will treat it that way. Today I will do all the tedious chores that I use to procrastinate writing and Monday as I wave my children onto the bus, I’ll be here peck, peck, peck. Ahh Life is good!

Dealing with Demons

Ahh! the snowplows are busy and we have about 5 feet of fresh paw paw. I went to work and watched the flakes fall steadily all day out the window overlooking the Clark Fork River. Stark but amazing.

My day was like a lunar eclipse, Now that I think about it my whole life has been a strange, bright light sort of way. On my profile, I state myself as a mother, writer, waitress and child of God.  I do that out of respect for how God lifted me out of a disintegrating life of addiction and guilt.  Religion, beliefs, values, they are all very personal and I’m not selling anything, but miracles have happened in my life and I can’t deny that so I give credit where credit is due. Call it what you want, but let the higher power that created unique you, take the wheel for awhile in your life.  You will be amazed.

There is a flip side when you put your trust in God.  He asks you to love your enemies and forgive the people that have done you harm and give testimony when he puts people in your path that need Him to lift the weight off their backs.  Yeah, there’s no going it alone.  You can try but it is long, scary way around and its really @#%^ hard.

Be humble and be strong in your faith because when miracles occur in your life, (and they will).  It’s like Satan pricks up his ears and sees the waves you are making in the fight between the Light and Dark and attacks you.

Today I could have used a bottle of wine and a pack of smokes and a righteous old buzz.  I had a nightmare, first in a long time, and then no one would get out of bed.  My teenager usually wakes up at 6 to do her thing and she got out of bed at 7;15 to catch the bus.  She was in a delightful (banshee) mood.  I almost let her walk out the door in her Converse while screaming,”I’m not gonna miss the bus!” But then I calmly said, you might want to wear your boots. Three feet of snow fell last night. I got the other one out of bed, also sleepy but a little less time-pressured, put her on the bus and went to work.

I  prayed for this young kid, there’s a bigger wider world of chemicals that will just suck all the meaning out of your life and I asked my friends to pray for him too because he was going through those changes in life where you become a slave to something that’s just going to take you to the boneyard and fast.  So thankfully he’s working on lifting himself out of this with all the help he can get and I believe that whatever it is that is weighing your soul down can be cured with a miracle from God. If we believe.

So I get home, reheat some spaghetti and I try to figure out what do I do with my teen.  My youngest and I paint and I talk with my kids ” Please don’t ever leave the house like that again.I have to go be happy and light-hearted all day and try to find crackers with no wheat while acting like I care.”

She lights up and says “Oh yeah, Dad texted me again.”

My youngest says “Whose dad?’

I say ‘ Your dad.” In the past seven years, he texted  Jesse twice, in the past six weeks. I don’t know what they say, I’m not discouraging any contact, I just pretended he was dead (in my head of course.)  In real life when they asked about him I just said he does love him in his own way and that he was sick. They stopped asking awhile ago.

This kind of man needs to wear a warning label.  You know the type and if you don’t, count yourself blessed. Here’s the short list, Jail, house arrest, felony escape, extradition, pregnant, cheater., breaks into my house, pregnant again, leaves, moves, never calls, no child support. In my alcoholic and drug- addled mind,  the absolute love of my life. I’m no angel either, this was a result of my choices too.  Nothing short of a miracle would have ever gotten me out of that mess.

I thought about my day today and that this was my attack.  Because I testified to this 20 year old , that there is a better life and that you can be happy without a drink in your hand, the devil has an ulterior motive ( like poison) and calls after 7 years. Talk about getting your number dialed.

Well I texted a short, nice message about ” Maybe you can call on their birthdays, or just keep doing what you’ve been doing, (nothing) God bless and I forgive you and I hope you forgive me.” I don’t think we will be hearing from him anytime soon or maybe he can send a card to them on their birthdays.  One day at a time. Yeah, I’ll pray for him too.



Procrastinating resolutions

I believe the Chinese new year starts on January 23rd.  It’s the Year of the Dragon, apropro in the whirlwind of the holidaze.  I have just started on my resolutions.  It takes thought and planning to figure out what are my hopes and steps to success. Thinking ,mapping out my route, which starts with a typing course. Entrancing!

After that, ditch this Droid Eris,=. I can actually run and find a payphone and make a call in the time it takes me to tap and flick and then call people twice.  That thing is going to put me in a rubber room.

Speaking of rubber rooms I accidently took Jesse to a psychiatrist.  After a few uncomfortable moments, he asked,”Why are you here?”  My daughter stared at me as I bumbled out my mistake.

“You don’t deal with sleep disorders,” I asked.  “It said that on your web page.”

“No, I don’t.”  he said.

“Ok we are out of here!” we piled out the door all at once. I love when that happens. Please help us, we can’t even make an exit properly, this has been happening for 15 years.

“Don’t come back!” he yelled in a cheery voice. .

“I might,” I muttered under my breath as McKenna spotted a bathroom.  Kids of all ages like to wash their hands, but not in their own house.

So Jesse is at Sydnie’s, bemoaning her fate.

Fun Fact:  There are three Friday the 13ths in the year 2012 and they are all 13 weeks apart .  Thirteen is also my softball jersey number, Hmmm.  Well, back to the bucket list, onward thorugh the fog and the Chinese New Year starts!

I’d like the sound of waves crashing on the beach to be piped into my rubber room.

Have a wonderful Tuesday and thank you MLK – leaders of your caliber and wisdom are so often laid  to rest way too soon!



The “L” word

There I was getting coffee, and the boss comes by and says “I love you.” Now I understand he doesn’t love me like that,( and he doesn’t drink coffee,) but I left him hanging, and just walked away.  It was an awkward moment and I’m trying to wrap my head around the logic without laughing my ass off.  Comparably it would be like saying ” I love you,” to your grocery store clerk or mailman.
I love lots of people, my children, my close friends, I feel I am very loving (at times- I’m not exactly a  lovefest.) But, the only ones who hear “I love you ,” on a regular basis are my kids. Back when I was drinking I said it a lot. “I love you man, let’s have another shot,” to a complete stranger-forgivable in those days.
Nowadays, saying “I love you,” is like ringing the death knoll. For instance, my last relationship we held off on saying the “L” word for at least 2 1/2 years.  Suddenly there it was- peppering most of our conversations and instead of showing each other that we truly cared about one another, we just zipped out a quick “I love you, gotta go…” and from there, downhill very quickly, three months, DOA.

So – am I getting fired?  Probably right after I post this blog, but that’s only if someone reads it. In any case, I see myself as a guinea pig for a new management style- tell your employees that you love them- Fail.  The next day I am at the coffee station, boss comes by and says, “I am very fond of you.”

I yell after him , “Oh very fond of you, I love working here!” so loudly people all over the kitchen stare.  I hear someone say “ass-kisser.”  I don’t care.  I consider that slate wiped clean.  Awkwardness gone, all is well with the world.
So when is it appropriate to say the “L” word?
1. When you are burying anyone’s pet.
2. To your family and best friend that knows you wet
the bed until you were eleven.
3. To your spouse, if you still feel that way, not because you didn’t put away the groceries.
4. When someone brings you coffee in bed.

5.  When it looks like someone needs to hear it.
Perhaps that may have been going through this person’s mind, when they gave me the shout out and I left them hanging like a piece of garlic on the windowsill. In that event, thank you and I appreciate your generosity with the “L” word.  I apologize for not saying it back and I have run through various things I could have done or said and still have been sincere.  “Me too!  Thank you! Right back at ya!”  Hindsight is 20/20 for a reason.

My name is kstormy and if you’re  reading this blog, I like you a real lot.

When the Right Person comes along at the wrong time…

We have all been there when the wrong person comes at the right  time, they leave scars on our hearts that make us tougher, stronger and usually wiser.  What happens when the right person comes along at the wrong time?  How does that balance out for the harmony of all.  I’ll be reflecting on that this holiday season as I wish my best friend all the happiness he deserves.  He deserves a lot, so treat him well world.

Angel Christmas

"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so, some have unwittingly entertained angels" Hebrew13:2

Black Friday has come and gone, and my credit card has seen more daylight lately than some equatorial tribes.  This year has been interesting and I try not to panic when I notice the subtle changes in my workplace.  They cut back on hours, the holiday rush is not so savage, but my hopes remain high that we can recover the real meaning of Christmas amidst the negativity.

For some of us, it has been easier than others.  I have had to struggle to clothe, feed and make a loving home for my children and I. Their dad is somewhere working  under the table.  That’s alright, we have adjusted to this.  I think I have it easier than some. I’m working at a job that is fulfilling my families needs.  I am grateful.    The main industry in the state has changed drastically in the last twenty years. In fact, I’m not really sure what it is anymore.  That guy bagging your groceries may be missing three fingers because he is an out of work logger.   We survive harsh winters and work as hard as we can in order to enjoy the immense beauty of this place and hopefully get a few days to explore our own backyard as much as the tourists.  ( Whom we welcome with open arms and wave and smile when they leave.) Thank you, come again.

My black Friday started late.  I no longer wish to shop in a frenzy get to the store and find out that I should have pitched a tent in front of Best Buy two days ago.  I do use this time to stock up on clothes, boots, socks and all the essentials we need in this winter wonderland.  I do the best I can and try to remember that there are children out there that don’t have socks or a special toy and we get an angel every year.  The real meaning of Christmas is hanging on those trees and for every child that is blessed with a secret Santa it sends a message that they matter, that someone cares.  That compassion is what warms up the heart when the gloominess sets in, and the beauty of it is that is spreads like a fire.

Many years ago, my oldest child and her newborn sister were on that tree.  I will never forget the kindness that was shown to us that Christmas – a large amount of new toys and clothes were delivered to my doorstep.  My children never knew how close Santa came to missing our house.  Since then, it’s a family tradition to do the same for another child, be their angel and give them more than what they asked for. On these tags, we read girl age 7 needs coat and socks and likes Barbies.  I’ll swipe that card again to get her the latest Barbie and a couple of outfits too, something frivolous that lets that child know that she/he matters that someone does care.  A lot.  That’s what keeps me warm this holiday season.  I expect to see a number of bare angel trees out there this year as we pull together to keep Christmas alive in the hearts of all children, even the big ones.

Are You Ready to Be A Parent?

There should be a test for everyone that thinks about having children.  It is a simple quiz but based on reality, so those parents that think they will hike 10 miles into the wilderness to restock their cloth diaper pail for their week-long trip into the back country are prepared for a three hour hike to the outhouse at the main trailhead.

HIke in January

Mad Hiker

  • Do you like to sleep?  Do you like to share your bed with a two -foot tall child that spreads out like a pinwheel? Is four inches of bed space enough for you?
  • When walking are you used to dodging, tripping or falling over as your child will stop, swerve and crash into you for the next twenty years?
  • Do you like paper? Lots of beautiful precious drawings will be heading your way and God help you if you get busted throwing one out.
  • Do you like to be critiqued on your cooking?  “I don’t like this,” is a song even Rachel Ray would hear every night. Unless it is in a box with a toy inside, they won’t eat it.
  • Do you like to use the bathroom in private? For the first few years, that might not happen.  The worse part is that you might get used to having an audience and will use the restroom as your family meeting place. Lovely, huh?
  • How about public tantrums? Are you willing to throw one yourself, just to show your child how ridiculous it is?  Are you willing to leave a shopping cart full of much needed groceries in order to take your screaming child home, and hear the applause of the other shoppers as you leave?
  • Are you ready for statements like,” You look like you are going to have a baby” directed towards yourself or complete strangers that (you guessed it) are not pregnant.
  • Can you find a bathroom anywhere and immediately?
  • Do you like to talk on the phone?  That is the universal signal to all children that they need to talk to you right now. Or better yet, it is the best time to see if they really can fly off the bunk bed.
  • Are you mentally prepared to find only 2 pairs of matching socks out of 50?
  • If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are totally ready for the ups and downs of being a parent, because at the end of it all, the good outweighs the bad.  Feel free to add any more great and grating scenarios. Remember, kids like it when their parents laugh and laugh often.