Paging Mr. Monk…Paging Mr. Adrian Monk…

We’ve all seen kids do it…the rapid eye blinking, the mouth stretching, the seeming inability to stop themselves from reaching out and smacking their sibling for no apparent reason. I bet in about 90% of the situations, these are simply nothing more than little ticks and habits that a child picks up and then mysteriously drops after a few days or weeks.

But what if it’s more?

When I was little, I had a number of these little quirks. I did the eye blinking thing on and off for years. I bit my nails terribly (still do, though to a lesser degree). I rocked and banged my head against a wall as an infant, not unlike some children suffering from autism. I worried about things, which then I thought it was normal, but as an adult, I’ve discovered that it’s not so common for seven year olds to internalize their parent’s financial situation.

Even today, I count letters and syllables of words and sentences in my head. I count them in a pattern like this: numbers

Kinda weird huh?

I’ve stopped doing a lot of these things, but there are still some things that I do that just aren’t normal. I have a burning need to do things equally, so much so that if I try NOT to do it, I dwell on it until I can’t stand it anymore and then I succumb. Luckily for me, most people would never know it and in fact, I’m not sure CareerMom does.

But recently, MLI has started the eye blinking thing. I knew it immediately for what it was, and knew that he needed rest and he needed to know he was doing it, without being reprimanded for it. CareerMom thought he could control it and she scolded him a couple of times before I explained to her that it was completely outside of his control in the long term and that we would just have to let it run its course.

But still, this being the information age and all, I did what everyone does when they need help–I got on the Internet and did a search on eye blinking. I found pretty much what I already knew, but I also found several references to this being just one symptom of Tourette’s.

Now I’m not one to find a illness/syndrome/disease online and apply it to my own situation, but the more I read about it, the more similar some of my “quirks” fit the “mild form of Tourette’s” bill. Many of them are classic Tourette’s, and apparently it’s genetic and far more commonly passed onto boys than girls. Apparently girls more often get OCD and boys get Tourette’s. Since I’m adopted, I don’t know anything about my father’s health, so I can’t do a regressive investigation. But so far, it’s fascinating.

In most cases, and certainly in mine, the child will outgrow the symptoms in the majority of the cases, but I must say that putting a name to my own oddities (even if it’s not the correct diagnosis) sort of puts me at ease and will at least alert me to what I should look out for with my own kids.

But don’t worry, if ever you come to Roswell, GA and we get together for wings or whatever, I won’t go all “What About Bob” on you and start screaming obscenities! Copralia is a very rare symptom…

Course…if I happen to be watching my College Football team when we’re together…(ROLL TIDE!)

Behind every memory…is a Coffee Mug?

If there’s an adult male in your house over the age of 30, it’s a pretty good bet that if Gordon Elliott and the cast of “Doorknock Dinners” were to suddenly show up at your house and go scrounging through your pantry, they’d find a number of unmatched coffee mugs, complete with various pictures, logos, and catch-phrases.

I thought about this as I was emptying the dishwasher and trying to find a place for some of our mugs the other day. Now, CareerMom is an avowed packrat and I’m generally a “tosser” (and not in a British kinda way). I don’t normally get sentimental over knick-knacks so its easy for me to just throw things out.

Knowing this, I was taken aback to discover that, as I was moving the mugs around and trying to decide which ones to keep and which ones to toss out, that more than a few held very strong sentimental value. Like markers in my life, each of them pointed at some very good, or notsogood, time in my life and I was hesitant to get rid of them.

If you’re interested:

IMG_2320I got this mug at the Georgia Renaissance Festival back in 2000. CareerMom and I had just gotten married the fall prior and I had quit a very lucrative contract job (making the same money 9 years ago that I’m making now) so I could move back to Atlanta and get married. I remember that we really didn’t have much spending cash, but I really wanted one of these cool mugs (filled at the time of purchase, with beer) because it was a typically steamy June day and because I really liked the mug. So, CareerMom bought it for me and I’ve treasured it ever since.

IMG_2321I grew up in Alabama, and though I wasn’t lucky enough to go to the U. of Alabama, I will forever be a fan! CareerMom got her B.A. at U. of Texas and did her graduate studies at Georgia Tech. And though we don’t actually use these cups much, they are as much a part of our lives as anything else. I just can’t seem to part with them.


IMG_2322Much like my career, this mug symbolizes the hayday of my single life. I was young, I took contract jobs where I often got to do very fun and different things. One time, I worked for a railroad company planning a large telecommunications rollout. Part of my job was to help complete some maps. This was in the day before everything was on the Internet, so I was poring over what few maps were available via Mapquest, plus some maps we had on a program on disk, trying to figure out where the railroad tracks went across the U.S. The logo on this mug has long since worn off, but the underlying color is still there, shiny and bright. I don’t even remember specifically where I got it; only that it meant something special at the time. Still does really…

IMG_2325…the hell did this come from? It looks like something CareerMom got in a crappy “Thank You” basket at at a baby shower.
It’s outta here!

IMG_2324CareerMom brought this mug, along with a set of platters and such when we got married. I think I’ve seen a similar set at Target on and off over the years. But we pull these mugs out around the Christmas holidays. They are a beautiful green with a snowy scene on them that reminds me of the “Christmas that could be.” We will probably never have a white Christmas here in Atlanta, but like seeing the first leaves drop and feeling that first bite of cool Canadian air in October, these mugs always lift my spirits a bit.

IMG_2323When MLE was born, I wanted to make something people could keep. So, I took this picture of him, one of the very first,  and had a mug made up and sent it to all of our family members. For very obvious reasons, I can never throw this one out. I thought about this cup this morning as I was eating breakfast and MLE came down and asked to sit in my lap. I really love that little guy!

IMG_2327CareerMom brought this and another mug like it back from San Francisco recently. Not that I’m a fan of San Fran mind you, but the mugs are very interesting. The  scenery is raised on the mug making it a very tactile drinking experience. They also hold a LOT of coffee, which is a boon in the mornings when you’re already making umpteen trips up and down the stairs retrieving various things for the kids while trying to get ready. They seem kind of fragile though, so I suspect I’ll break them before I actually tire of them. Since these are relatively new, I’m not sure yet what the memory of these will be in 5 years. Perhaps thinking back of all the time I was able to spend with my boys by myself as she traveled for work. (*whisper* It’s kinda really fun when she’s gone!)

IMG_2326Ah, our old standby coffee mugs. These are our everyday, eat and drink whatever you want outta them, cups. Fruit, teas, coffee…they take them all. They aren’t flashy, but there’s lots of them and they do the job.

It’s kinda like our marriage really. Maybe they’re not the most exciting all the time, but they’re strong, and there whenever you need ’em.

People collect things specifically for the memories they make, but coffee cups are one of those things that you just sort of pick up along the way, no special reason. But, that’s what makes them special. Like the picture on the wall that, in time, you tend to ignore, pulling one of these gems out of the back of the cabinet and reliving the sentiment behind it is special.