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Momo Fali's: February 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hear Me, Touch Me

My six year old son has always dealt with sensory issues. He was in occupational therapy for years because of problems eating foods with certain textures and for his mental battle with being touched. As far as touch goes, he's now on the opposite end of the sensory spectrum and can't seem to keep his hands off anyone showing bare skin.

But there is another issue that the therapists don't know how to deal with. He gags. A lot.

Now I'm not talking about gagging when he doesn't like how mashed potatoes feel in his mouth. We've moved past that. I'm talking about gagging when a bike helmet strap rests under his chin, or when he's wearing a turtleneck, or when he's in a wedding and is supposed to wear a bow-tie. One time he was a ring bearer and wouldn't wear the tuxedo tie, jacket OR vest. We couldn't even button up his shirt. He came down the aisle resembling Eric Estrada, minus the chest hair.

When he has a cold it's even worse, as he proved the other day during his quarterly hearing test.

At the ENT's office, the audiologist had put my son in a sound-proof room and placed large headphones on his ears. These were the same headphones he's worn many times before...but, the other times he didn't have a cold.

Never mind that it was Fat Tuesday and my kid arrived at the doctor's office wearing FIVE beaded necklaces around his neck. He likes to keep me guessing about what will really bother him, so I didn't see it coming when the pressure from the headphones made him start gagging.

I could see him through a window and I quickly ran into the room and took the headphones off, as he began pulling on the collars of his shirt and undershirt, trying hard to get them away from his neck. I started unbuttoning his oxford to remove it as I explained to the audiologist what was going on.

We then tried putting the headphones on and letting the wires run down his back, thinking it could've been those wires touching his chin or neck that bothered him. No go. He gagged again and pulled on his undershirt collar, so I took that off too.

We finally figured out that he was okay doing a test with ear buds instead of the big headphones, but I had to hold all the wires behind his head so they weren' t touching him in any way.

And in the middle of the hearing test his other sensory issue...his love of bare skin...reared its ugly head.

There I was with my hands full of wires, staring down at my half-naked kid who couldn't hear a word I I helplessly watched him rub his own nipples.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Catholic Cliffs Notes - Ash Wednesday

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I said I don't talk about religion? Well, scratch that. I saw a lot of comments on the internet last night from people who were confused by Lent. Never fear! Momo is here! Here to set you heathens straight.

Let's start with Ash Wednesday, because's today, and if you see people walking around with ashes on their foreheads, you won't just think they need to bathe.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Roman Catholic church, which is the 40 day period of preparation before Easter. For those of you who think Catholics can't count and say, "You people drink too much! There are 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter!", that's because Sundays don't count. It's kind of like kissing your grandma, in that you probably kissed her first, but you don't consider her your first kiss. Some things just don't count.

Ash Wednesday is a day of fast. Many Catholics will take the money that they would have spent on food and give it to the poor. Though, you know...recession. The act of fasting allows us to begin this period of reflection with a clean slate. It is a form of penance for our sins. It also makes most of us grumpy and gives us bad breath.

At Ash Wednesday Mass, the priest, or deacon or someone else authorized to do so, will take ashes made from burning the palms from last year's Palm Sunday Mass and put a cross on the congregant's forehead and say, "Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

This is to remind us to shape up real quick-like before St. Peter meets us at the pearly gates and says, "Sorry 'bout your luck."

So for 40 days and nights we reflect. We think about our sins, we fast, we pray, we give alms and we repent. A lot of Catholics offer up sacrifices. I am giving up chocolate. Mm-hmm. That's right. Just when the Girl Scout cookies get delivered too. This is why my Fat Tuesday dessert consisted of chocolate molten lava cake with ice cream and Reese's Cups on top. What?

When it gets hard to when your husband eats an entire sleeve of Thin Mints in your remember Christ's ultimate sacrifice, think about how you have sinned against Him and try not to smack your husband. Then you can offer up that you didn't eat the chocolate AND you didn't smack your husband. That's a Catholic two-fer.

If you see someone with ashes on their forehead today (including me) now you will know why. We are reminding ourselves that we won't be on this earth forever and we need to be sorry for our sins. It may not hurt you to remind yourself of that as well. Catholic or not, you can't deny that life is short and good morals aren't so bad.

So, if you see us, we don't care if you stare at our ashes, but don't get close enough to smell our breath. Fair warning.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009


There comes a point as an insomniac where you learn to live with a lack of sleep. You become accustomed to needing a cup of coffee to get you through the afternoon, but not before you have tried drinking tea because everyone who knows anything about insomnia knows you shouldn't drink coffee in the middle of the day. I digress.

I digress because I'm typing this at such a level of exhaustion that my brain convinced me (albeit for a split second, but still...) that maybe I could prop my eyelids open with toothpicks. I also briefly considered creating my own Red Bull eyedrops.

Since Tuesday (it's Sunday night now...I think it's Sunday), I have slept a total of 19 hours. That's 19 hours in five nights if my mind is working right, which it isn't. All I know is that it's less than four resting hours a day if you average it, and you have no idea how long it took me to do that math.

Once upon a time, I used to climb in bed at 10:00 p.m., fall asleep within a minute, and stay that way until 6:45 a.m. Almost nine blissful hours of sleep every night. That was before kids. That was when my only responsibility was me.

Seeing as how my responsibilities have greatly increased, I have learned to live a slumberless life. A life in which I stumble about like a drunk half the time. It's not easy, but I manage. It is one of many sacrifices that I've made as a parent, and because I love my kids my zombie-like state is worth it.

But seriously, where did I put those toothpicks?

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Time Me

I was born long after my siblings. By the time I came into this world, my three older sisters were just starting to explore it. It was 1971 and they were 16, 15 and 13. Can you say, "Hippies"? Good. They had a terrarium in their bedroom and I'm pretty sure they weren't growing ferns.

Thankfully I had cousins who were older than me, but not so much older that they wouldn't engage in games of kickball, tag, and my personal favorite..."football, football, who's got the football?" We made that one up. Don't ask.

We all gathered together at my Grandma's house at least three times a week. There were Nerf-basketball tournaments, endless games of Monopoly, and one heck of a lot of laughs. And every single Thursday my Grandma let us order pizza. Need I even say it? Thursdays at Gram's house were the best.

There were usually seven cousins there on various days throughout the week, but one of us never had to leave when it was time to go home.

My cousin, Kevin, had a form of muscular dystrophy and he lived at my Grandma's house so she could take care of him while his mom worked. We never really noticed Kevin's disability. I mean, there was the whole thing about him not walking...but if it weren't for that, we wouldn't have been able to have wheelchair races in the backyard.

Kevin was a sports enthusiast like none I have ever known. He knew every player and their stats, on every team, college or professional, in every sport. He also had an incredible sense of humor.

The combination of the two would reveal itself once in a while and he would ask his sister and me to run up the street to a market and buy baseball cards for him. Those were the Pete Rose years, so we made a lot of trips.

We never wanted to go though. So Kevin would bribe us by giving us the bubble gum that came with the cards. When we tired of that, he tried something different.

Knowing how competitive we were, he would tell us that he would time us to see if we could get there and back within 10 minutes. He would start counting backward and we would fly up the street.

It never failed that as we were breathlessly running back in the front door of Gram's house, baseball cards in hand, he would say, "...three, two...Oh! You guys just made it!" It took us a long time to figure out his scam. We were some smart kids.

Last night when I was tucking my son in bed he asked me to get a toy he had left downstairs. He said, "Let's see if you can get it in three seconds."

Now we don't live in a mansion, but I am also not the Bionic Woman. I replied, "I can't go downstairs to get your toy and be back up here in three seconds."

He smiled and said, "Let's see."

As I started to descend the steps I heard him say, "Three, two...". I grabbed his toy, went back upstairs and walked into his room just as he said, " You did it!"

Kevin died in 1991, not long after his 29th birthday. But, darn if he isn't still scamming me.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Red Tape

It has been a stressful week here at the Casa de Fali. My husband has been working 16 hour days, and both of us are playing a large part in the organization and execution of a charity event which stretches through this upcoming weekend. On top of that our kids are being shipped off, to two different locations on Friday and Saturday too. That alone takes a whole lot of planning. If they aren't on my list, I'll likely forget to pack one of them.

But the reason I am exceptionally on edge right now is because of a nightmare of epic proportions. A bad dream full of red-tape, labeled with words like "effective dates", "claim forms", and "benefits". And let me tell you, they don't put that little skull and crossbones on Rx bottles for nothing.

Now I am not one to complain too much about health insurance. I had two premature babies, and have a son who has had nine surgeries and lots of hospitalizations. My daughter's bill from her stint in the NICU was $135,000. Not one to be son's combination of services has put him well over that figure.

We will never put into health insurance what we have taken out.

That may not give me any right to complain, but it also puts me in a position where I know a lot of the ins and outs of the industry. And it is one messed up industry.

February has put our family in a sort of insurance limbo, and we are not a group of people who can afford to be in that situation. We have been somewhere between COBRA benefits through my husband's former employer and having an exception made to our effective date with his new one.

While all this has been up in the air we have continued to need prescriptions. My son desperately needs his reflux medication, he and I both take something for asthma, and my daughter came down with strep throat. In the past two weeks, we have paid our pharmacy nearly $700.00, fully expecting to be reimbursed.

We were, in the sense that yesterday nearly half of that was applied to the deductible on our new plan. But the reflux medicine my son desperately needs? The one that he has to have in order to not throw up every day? The one that costs $388.00 a month? It's not covered at all.

Not only are we out that money, but now we get to go playing around with G.I. medications until we find something that works comparably well. The cocktail he's on now took over a year, and a LOT of screaming (by both of us) to come up with...and now we throw that recipe right out the window and start over.

That is why our system is flawed. This kid is six years old and doesn't deserve to be in pain, or vomit every day when there is something out there that will stop it from happening. His parents shouldn't have to go bankrupt to provide it for him either.

So if you don't know where to find me, just look for the mom banging her head against the wall. Though I won't bang it hard enough that I'll need to use my health insurance. You can be sure of that.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Drama King

We were sitting in a restaurant last night enjoying a family dinner, when my six year old son heard a song he liked. As he often does (especially at church when the choir is singing), he cocked his head back, opened his mouth and began to lip sync. Though it doesn't look as much like lip syncing, as it does an open-mouthed howl minus the sound.

I turned to him and rhetorically asked, "You sure do like to be dramatic, don't you?"

He then gave his eyes a big roll, threw up his hands and sighed deeply before asking, "What's dramatic mean?"

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Thursday, February 12, 2009


I don't personally know the majority of people who read this blog. I don't know where you live or your real names. So it goes without saying that I don't know your religious beliefs. With the exception of a few of you, who I know can't eat bacon.

I don't know your beliefs and I don't really care. I tend not to judge people because I feel that in the end, the judging will be done by someone slightly more powerful than Momo Fali. I think all human beings are flawed, including me, and that's why I never write about religion. Except for today.

Something happened yesterday that I can't really describe in any other way than to say I was slapped in the face and then kicked in the shins by God Himself.

I have a reader, named Alison, who hasn't been around here much lately. It may be that she's tired of my writing, but a more likely reason is that she just had her colon removed because of Crohn's Disease. Oh, and she has Lupus too.

So the slap came in the form of a comment from Alison on my post in which I was complaining about my ongoing sinus infection.

A month ago, when Alison was desperately in need of medicine and was dealing with insurance atrocities, she asked her readers to pray (not for her) but for the woman at the pharmaceutical company because she might be "stymied and frustrated" in her job. Yeah, she's that nice.

The kick in the shins came when I found a brown, tattered, piece of paper laying on my living room floor. I picked it up to find an old Dr. Abby article I cut out over a decade ago. It's been on the side of my refrigerator ever since...exactly right where I never see it. But there it was on the floor of a different room where I needed to pick it up and look at it. How it got there, I will never know.

Things to be Thankful For

-Be thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means you have enough to eat.
-Be thankful for the mess you clean up after a party because it means you have been surrounded by friends.
-Be thankful for the taxes you pay because it means you're employed.
-Be thankful that your lawn needs mowing and your windows need fixing because it means you have a home.
-Be thankful for your heating bill because it means you are warm.
-Be thankful for the laundry because it means you have clothes to wear.
-Be thankful for the space you find at the far end of the parking lot because it means you can walk.
-Be thankful for the lady who sings off-key behind you in church because it means you can hear.
-Be thankful when people complain about the government because it means we have freedom of speech.
-Be thankful for the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means you're alive.

Me? I'm thankful that I can still recognize grace when I see it.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Somewhere around mid-December my husband brought home a nasty cold. After two days of sniffling and sneezing he was better. For my son, and for me, this cold turned into a sinus infection and we both have been through three rounds of antibiotics to get rid of it. My boy is finally better, but the last two days have left me feeling even worse.

I am typing this with a raging headache, which is a frequent occurrence. I have to use an inhaler before I exercise thanks to my asthma and I take medication and use two different nose-sprays and a rinse for my sinus problems. I am sick. A lot.

I am also a klutz. I have broken the same ankle three times. That stuff they say about the bone getting stronger after it breaks? Not true. I have suffered two concussions and now keep prescriptions in my cabinet for dizziness and nausea.

My ailments over the years have ranged from adhesions from my two c-sections (ow), to pleurisy (more ow), to meningitis (mostest ow). I had meningitis, I can say mostest if I want to.

I once played a board game with two of my sisters where they had to guess the answer I would give to certain questions. One of the questions was, "How many days a year are you sick?" One sister answered 300 and the other one wrote down 350. They were both wrong. My answer was 365.

At the beginning of 2009, my husband said he was going to start a journal to keep track of all my illnesses. Last night, I called him at work and said, "Go ahead and put down that today, on top of my lingering sinus infection, I had dizziness and a sore throat".

He replied, "I stopped keeping track. I figure it's easier to write down the days you are well." That's how often I am sick. I didn't even make it a month-and-a-half before he gave up.

My poor health probably just boils down to stress and insomnia, but you know what boys and girls? It's getting old. I am sick of being sick.

I wish they could give me a pill for that.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Soul Mates

The kids were sitting at the table the other day, reading messages on little candy hearts, when my son asked my daughter a question. She didn't know the answer, so she asked me, "Mom, what's a soul mate?"

I replied, "Well, it's when two things are meant to be together. Like with me and Daddy. It's love like no other love, and nothing can ever come between you."

She thought for a second about how to properly relay this information to her little brother, then she turned to him and said, "It's like how our dog feels about her bowl of food."

And just like that, I went from someone's soul mate to just another piece of meat.

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Friday, February 6, 2009

The Winking Lizard

My husband, the kids and I recently ate dinner at a local tavern called, The Winking Lizard. This restaurant is well-known for its buttery popcorn that you serve up yourself out of a giant popper (which the kids love), and also for its World Beer Tour (which the adults enjoy).

They also have a very large, glass-enclosed area where they house a live lizard. Not some pansy gecko, but a big creature the size of a tree limb. Needless to say, my six year old son was quite interested in it.

But I didn't quite grasp his excitement, because I didn't see it coming when he came back to the table after using the restroom, and loudly announced to our table and to a roomful of patrons, "Hey Dad! I just went to the bathroom and I saw the big lizard!"

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Hot as a Pistol"

Let me set the record straight right here at the outset, I am not a goodie-two-shoes. I like loud music, I like beer. And when it comes to addiction, I have a long and sordid history with chocolate.

But I am not a national champion. I am not a role model to millions of children, and even if I were, I doubt my indulgence in Corona and Dove Bars would bring my image crashing down. Though, I would probably get some flack for Cadbury Creme Eggs and the occasional Schlitz.

When is it going to be okay for me to tell my children they can look up to an athlete? Ever? Performance enhancing drugs (also widely known as cheating), recreational drugs, infidelity, outlandish salaries and yet always asking for more money...the greed, corruption and excess is not okay.

It is not okay, because Billy down at swim club is watching you, Michael Phelps. And, now? Billy's mom is not real pleased. "What, Billy? Oh, him? That's your idol, and that there is his bong."

I can keep my kids from watching trash television, I can keep my daughter from listening to Britney Spears, but now am I supposed to ban them from the Olympics too? For those of you who say Michael Phelps is just a regular guy having fun, that's bunk. He is not a pop-star, he's an athlete. He's an American superstar. If he didn't want kids to look up to him, he shouldn't have gone and won eight gold medals.

Which is why this guy has been, and will always be, my hero. This guy, all his teammates, and especially his coach. This is the person I will tell my children to look up to. Someone who never complains, someone who gives it his all, and someone who probably won't be passing a peace pipe anytime soon.

Watch the whole thing. It will make your day. Warning: Tissues required.


Monday, February 2, 2009


We all know there are many forms of art. You may not always appreciate what other people put in that category, but there is someone who does...even if only the artist.

In my opinion, one of the finest forms of art is humor. You may not enjoy nodding along to a literary classic, or tilting your head to gaze upon a masterpiece, or scratching your chin in quiet contemplation as you listen to "Georges Bizet's Suite No. 1", but everyone loves a good laugh. If you've ever cracked up at a Yo' Mama joke, consider yourself a connoisseur.

And in its purest and most natural state, humor comes in the form of sarcasm. Self-deprecating sarcasm is even better.

Our good friend, David, is storing quite a few filing cabinets in his garage, and half the contents of those cabinets just happen to belong to my husband. Last night, he sent us this e-mail.

What's the most fun about having a billion file cabinets in the garage? Oh, probably just the surprise and adventure of what awaits me when I get out to my car in the morning, all grouchy and not wanting to go to work...and I see this! And I just laugh and laugh, just starts me off on the right foot and I know it's gonna be a super day.

For the record, there's about an inch of ice under that snow. So, because my husband is kind and supportive, he wrote back...

I'm on the floor laughing, seriously.

And then David replied...

Yeah... it's good stuff. Wednesday morning it was even more fun when my car wouldn't go forward or reverse but would go sideways right into my neighbors yard. And then got stuck there. And then when I tried to get out and revved the tires really hard I dug a 12 inch deep 3 foot long mud hole in said neighbors yard and got stuck even more. I was just laughing and laughing; mud and snow and cold and ice and my suit and tie and briefcase all mixed together in one happy bunch of goodness in my neighbor's yard with salt and cat litter trying to get that goofy car out of there. Wow. Good times. Finally got it out of her yard this morning.

And that right there? Boys and girls, that is a master of his art form.

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