This weekend I spoke to an angel, I will call her "Wings"... I talked with her today for about an hour. And I now have a sudden calm that has come over me. I am more relieved than I have been in almost four (4) years. This weight that has been lifted off of my shoulders has been the most self rewarding thing to me in a long time.
I must digress to explain a bit... My nephew, Alexander was born August 7, 2002. He grew his own wings and flew to heaven on August 8, 2002. Through the years I was not privy to knowing the actual cause of his death. My feuding relationship with my sister has been more important to her than to tell me how her son, my nephew lost his young life. Going to his funeral was one of the worst memorable moments of my own life. My flight came in after his calling hours, so I stayed with other family and made it a point to go to the church prior to anyone else arriving for the service. I was then able to spend my own time with him and wish him well in his after-life much to soon. He was a beautiful child, he looked like a porcelain baby. Underneath his gown you would never know that he had been cut open for an emergency open-heart surgery. He was in peace. And to see that calm over him was a sombering moment. While the entire situation was heartbreaking and very sad, I believe that he grew his wings for a reason. That reason was so he didn't need to go through his entire life having a health condition with the inevitable numerous open heart surgeries in his youth and young adult life. My father grew up that way and it left many questions with me thinking that my father isn't the only one to succumb to heart conditions in my family.
Once other friends and family members showed up to the church I stepped back and really didn't say much to my sister or my family as I was pretty much written off (read the link above). I had been telling myself that I was there for Alex and I was totally ok with that. I had to be there for him. The immediate families on both sides where called to a different area where there was a prayer said and the casket was closed. I was not invited to attend in that ceremony for the family, however I watched. I was not there to make a spectacle, so I stood back watching and in tears. I probably left a few tears on his christening gown he was buried in. That was good enough for me. During the church service I was numb listening to the Pastor talk. I couldn't believe we as a family were burying another infant. There was a dedication made to Alex by his Grandpa M. He played I Can Only Imagine by MercyMe (the link provided is not the rendition by MercyMe-- I couldn't find a downloadable one to provide). I have not listened to this song until this very moment and it still rips through my heart to go back to those memories.
When I called Wings I was very scared as I asked for her mother and brother, Alexander's father, before asking her for her help. I explained to her who I was and why I was calling. I told her how long I have been married, that I have a daughter and would love to have more children provided I know what happened with Alex. I explained our mutual relationship to Alex and as we are approaching the 4th year of his death I just simply need to know. Wings went on to tell me that she does not like me sister and it is a mutual understanding. She also said that she would be more than happy to tell me how Alexander had passed on. Wings went on to tell me that she would not tell me to spite my sister, but as a responsible adult she thinks it would be prudent for me to know as well. I immediately started to cry. I was overwhelmed with many emotions that are indescribable. All I could think to myself is that I AM FINALLY GOING TO KNOW!!! What a sigh of relief.
She told me that Alex was born with a defect in his heart. Pardon my lack of medical knowledge here... The valve connecting the two sections of the heart exchanging oxygen was the size of a pin. That is why they had to send him Flight For Life to a Level 3 hospital for immediate open heart surgery. They performed the surgery on him and he did very well. Once he was in recovery he suffered cardiac arrest. I know hearing such painful news shouldn't be something to celebrate. But I know that I can finally start to move on.
When I go back home to Wisconsin before the end of the year I will go to the Division of Vital Records and do some genealogy research to find his death certificate. Being since I am not closely enough related, parent, grandparent or sibling I am unable to apply for a certificate. So I will need to take a few hours out of my day to research the exact medical terminology. But now when I go to the doctor I can finally stop talking like a blubbering idiot and tell him something.
I truly want to thank Wings from the bottom of my aching heart for telling me. We had a nice conversation. I have known her older brother for years as I graduated high school with him so we were able to talk about her other family members. She has family that lives near me in Ohio and I told her the next time she was in town I could meet her somewhere for lunch or coffee. We had a connection. My gratitude to Wings can never be expressed in words. However I can say that I can sleep soundly knowing some truth(s).
Again, thank you Wings... I can never repay you for your thoughtfulness and consideration to me and my family.
Posted by "Jet" at 3:47 PM on Sunday, July 30, 2006
I saw this article and thought it would be worth sharing.... I remember some of these sports moments so some are nice to re-live and others are not.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Detroit Lions
1998 NFL Thanksgiving Game
Referee: Phil Luckett
A referee is always ribbed about his questionable vision, but for NFL official Phil Luckett, it was one of his other four senses that malfunctioned during an overtime coin toss. Steelers running back Jerome Bettis distinctly called “tails” and his declaration was heard through field audio. But when the coin landed with “tails” facing up, Luckett awarded the ball to the Detroit Lions.
Outcome: The Steelers kicked off in overtime and never saw the ball again. Detroit would drive down the field and kick the game-winning 42-yard field goal.
Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers
1998 NFL Wild Card Game
Referee: Gerald Austin
In San Francisco 49ers lore, there are two last-second, heroic touchdown receptions simply known as The Catch and The Catch II -- the latter of which should never have happened. Down by four points, the 49ers moved into Packer territory with less than one minute remaining. On a second-down play, Jerry Rice made a reception on a short crossing route and fumbled. Replays showed that the ball had slipped from Rice’s grasp before either of his knees had made contact with the ground, but the official ruled that Rice was down prior to losing control of the ball.
Outcome: The 49ers completed the comeback as quarterback Steve Young picked out Terrell Owens between five Packer defenders on a miraculous 25-yard touchdown with three seconds left.
Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees
Referee: Tim McClelland
If being the first baseball player to attain 3,000 hits, 300 home runs, 600 doubles, 100 triples, 1,500 runs batted in, and 200 stolen bases isn’t enough to be remembered for, how about a terrific temper tantrum? When third baseman George Brett of the Royals gave his team a 5-4 lead with a ninth-inning two-run home run, Yankees manager Billy Martin protested to the home plate umpire, Tim McClelland, that Brett had more than 18 inches of pine tar on his bat. After a quick measure, McClelland signaled Brett out and awarded the Yankees a victory. Brett stormed out of the dugout and had to be physically restrained from a face-to-face confrontation with McClelland.
Outcome: The Royals obviously felt robbed and protested. American League President Lee MacPhail upheld their objection, stating that an umpire could only remove the bat from the game and could not call the batter out. The remainder of the game was to be completed later in the season, beginning after Brett’s home run. The Royals would hold on for a 5-4 victory.
Atlanta Braves vs. Minnesota Twins
1991 World Series
Referee: Drew Coble
Bigger isn’t always better, but in Game Two of the 1991 World Series, Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek proved a case where it was. After Braves hitter Ron Gant singled, he took a wide turn as he rounded first base. The Twins' fielders took note of this and relayed back to first, where Gant returned safely, but slightly off balance. The 250-pound Hrbek applied a pretty fierce tag, essentially pushing the 170-pound Gant off the bag. First base umpire Drew Coble claimed that Gant’s momentum pulled him off the base and called him out.
Outcome: Gant and manager Bobby Cox vehemently protested to no avail. The Braves lost Game Two by one run and would drop the Series in seven games.
Utah Jazz vs. Chicago Bulls
1998 NBA Finals
Referees: Dick Bavetta, Dan Crawford, Hue Hollins
Michael Jordan is widely considered one of the best guards in NBA history. Armed with an explosive first step and an impeccable ability to change direction at will, Jordan could always create space for his shot. But in the 1998 Finals, with his Chicago Bulls down by one point to the hometown Utah Jazz and with less than 10 seconds remaining, Jordan clearly pushed off defender Bryon Russell’s thigh for a clean look at the basket. Russell fell to the ground and Jordan easily drained the 20-foot jumper.
Outcome: Since the Jazz failed to score on their next and final possession, Jordan’s shot proved to be the clinching shot of the series and is now one of the most memorable moments in NBA Finals history.
Number 5 Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees
1996 American League Championship Series
Referee: Rich Garcia
Before Steve Bartman, there was Jeffrey Maier. While both of these passionate fans sat near the live boundaries of play and interfered, Maier was the one who helped his own team. In the bottom of the eighth inning during Game One, the Bronx Bombers were trailing 4-3. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter launched a fly ball that was going to bounce off the top of the right field wall, just inches short of a home run, but Maier stuck his glove out and helped the ball over the fence. Although right field umpire Rich Garcia rushed down the line to get a better view of the play, he missed the fan interference and ruled it a home run.
Outcome: Orioles right fielder Tony Tarasco was rightfully irate. Riding the momentum from the lucky play, the Yanks took Game One in extra innings and advanced in five games.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Dallas Stars
1999 Stanley Cup Final
Referee: Bryan Lewis, NHL Supervisor of Officials
Sometimes the right decision is a tough decision, and in Game Six of the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals between the Dallas Stars and the Buffalo Sabres, the referees lacked the guts to make the correct ruling. In the third overtime, just 23 seconds short of the longest game in Finals history, Brett Hull’s skate was clearly in the crease as the game-winning goal was scored. The rule stated that a player could not be in the crease unless the puck was already there, and Hull was undoubtedly there prior to the puck’s arrival. As the Stars poured onto the ice to celebrate, the refs briefly reviewed the play and let it stand.
Outcome: The Sabres protested in their locker room, but the murky explanation handed down by Bryan Lewis was not agreeable. Shortly after the incident, the NHL would dismiss the much-maligned “skate in the crease” rule.
Argentina vs. England
1986 World Cup Quarter-Finals
Referee: Ali Bin Nasser
They say the first time is the one you remember. For Argentinean soccer player Diego Maradona, his first goal against rival England would be the one every soccer fan would remember for life. As he challenged English goalkeeper Peter Shilton for a floating ball, he raised his hand over his head to punch the ball into the net. His nearby teammates didn't flinch, assuming the goal would be disallowed. But referee Ali Bin Nasser didn’t see the blatant handball and the Argentinean players rushed Maradona to sell the scene.
Outcome: Maradona would strike again three minutes later, leading Argentina to a 2-1 victory. They later captured their second-ever World Cup.
Roy Jones Jr. vs. Park Si Hun
1988 Seoul Summer Olympics
Referees: Bob Kasule of Uganda, Alberto Duran of Uruguay and Hiouad Larbi of Morocco
Sometimes a play is too close to call and a judge is forced into a split-second decision. On the other end of the refereeing spectrum are barefaced blunders. Three boxing judges from the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics are guilty of the latter: They awarded South Korean Park Si Hun a Gold Medal victory in front of his home crowd over Roy Jones Jr., even though the American treated him like a piñata. Jones Jr. landed 54 more punches, displaying uncanny hand speed. He would have knocked out Hun had the fight lasted any longer than three rounds, but the judges still awarded Hun a 3-2 decision.
Outcome: Jones Jr. became a Silver medalist and was perversely awarded the Val Baker award, given to the Olympics’ top boxer, while bribery conspiracies were kindled. The three judges who decided in favor of Hun were suspended, but after a lengthy International Olympic Committee investigation that concluded in 1997, no evidence of foul play was uncovered.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Kansas City Royals
1985 World Series
Referee: Don Denkinger
Missouri’s “Show-Me State” nickname derives from the people’s devotion to believing only what they can see. But in the Show-Me Series, a World Series matchup between Missouri’s two baseball teams, a certain umpire lacked vision. In Game Six, behind 3-2 in the series, trailing 1-0 in the game, and down to what appeared to be their last three outs in the ninth inning, the Royals received some help from first base umpire Don Denkinger. Jorge Orta of the Royals nubbed a slow roller on the infield grass, which was handled by first baseman Jack Clark. He picked it up and tossed it to pitcher Todd Worrell, who was covering first base. Although Worrell beat Orta by a step, Denkinger called him safe.
Outcome: The Royals rallied in the ninth inning to win Game Six and would bludgeon the Cardinals by a score of 11-0 in the seventh and deciding game.
Tags: Sports, Referee, Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions, Phil Luckett, NFL, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers, Gerald Austin, Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees, Tim McClelland, Baseball, Atlanta Braves, Minnesota Twins, Drew Coble, Utah Jazz, Chicago Bulls, Dick Bavetta, Dan Crawford, Hue Hollins, Buffalo Sabres, Dallas Stars, Bryan Lewis, Argentina, England, Hockey, Roy Jones Jr, Park Si Hun, 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, Boxing, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Don Denkinger
http://en.wikipedia.org - Phil Luckett
http://en.wikipedia.org - Green Bay
http://en.wikipedia.org - George Brett
http://en.wikipedia.org - NBA Finals Game 6
http://en.wikipedia.org - Jeffrey Maier
http://en.wikipedia.org - Roy Jones
http://en.wikipedia.org - Don Denkinger
www.youtube.com - Green Bay
www.youtube.com - Michael Jordan
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com - pine tar
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com - Diego Maradona
Posted by "Jet" at 8:21 PM on Tuesday, July 25, 2006
This afternoon Em and I went to see Monster House. It was a cute and fun family scary movie. I will admit some parts scared Em. She jumped up in my lap trying to get into the fetal position at 5. She did ask to go home, but I held her hand and rubbed her arm and told her that it was just a movie and everything would be ok. So if you want to take your young children I would think twice.
There were some funny parts geared towards adults as usual and I would recommend it for a fun evening away in the cool air conditioning to spend with your family.
Posted by "Jet" at 10:27 PM on Sunday, July 23, 2006
Posted by "Jet" at 12:09 AM on Friday, July 21, 2006
Posted by "Jet" at 11:23 PM on Saturday, July 15, 2006
I have been trying to figure out how to write this for the past few weeks... and I figured I just should come out with it. As some of you, my readers, know I have an awful relationship with my mother. I haven't spoken with her in nearly a year. It has been quite the unhealthy relationship since 1998 and I do not see it getting better any time soon. For those of you, who are not up to date, please look here.
To be exact, I have not talked to my mother since my birthday, last September. She corresponded with me via letter and a box of my childhood projects from elementary school along with a gift for Em.
Some of you may immediately think that I am awful and that I will need my mother. I admit that I do need my mother, but I can not look to her for help. She seeks solace in my pain. I have been going through many personal situation in my life that would generally require the nurturing of a mother. Instead I look to my friends to the love and support that I need.
If you have read the link provided you will see that my mother has written some hurtful things towards both me and my daughter. As I mentioned I can take much criticism, but once you talk derogitory about my child my maternal instincts kick in and you best watch out! I found my mother, the woman that carried me in her womb for 9 months and raised me with morals, respect, courage, and love quickly became expendable. I can not let my child be exposed to such hate and negativity. I never told my mom that I didn't want her to cease contact with me or my family. I just ignored her. She hasn't picked up the phone to call me, which is fine, because I don't want to get the follow-up call about her long distance bill.
For Valentine's Day and Easter she sent Em cards in the mail. For Valentine's Day I threw it away and for Easter I had someone at work write "no longer at this address" or "return to sender" or something of that sort. I thought if there was someone else's handwriting on it that she would think I "moved". I guess trying to be sneaky didn't work!
On a Saturday morning, the mailman rang my doorbell and I was cleaning and not very presentable to anyone knocking on my door. So I didn't answer it. He drove off and I grabbed what was delivered to my doorstep. For Em's birthday my mother had my niece send Em a card. Now I will tell you that my niece's mother, my sister would never send Em a card. I know my mother put this sweet innocent 5 year old up to it. If my niece wanted to send Em a card, her mother should have sent it. So I get this massive card delivered to my doorstep... One of those $10 cards or something, which are about 3 feet tall. What a waste of money if you ask me.
I look at this waste of $5 to send this thing and see my niece's handwriting with Em's name on the envelope and my mother's return address and her writing for my address. I think to myself that my mother does not deserve to send anything to my daughter. She has no right to try to communicate with her. I found my mother to be way out of line. So I went to the post office during my lunch hour and did something that I never thought I could do. I put a cross mark on my address with the words "refuse" above it. It was so hard for me to do, but I have to make a point and do what is best for my child. The postmaster was a bit confused as to why I wanted to send it back, but I persisted and he took the envelope from me... Thankfully!
Two days later I go to my mother-in-laws (MIL) to pick up Em after work and she tells me that my mom called her that afternoon and my mom "spoke" to her for about 30 minutes. The funny thing is the weekend before Em's birthday I had asked her if my mother has ever tried to call her and she called within the same week... I asked my MIL what my mother had to say. And of course my MIL told me she wasn't really able to get a word in edgewise. Like that surprises me?? My mom could call and you would be able to set the phone down and intermittently pick it up and say "yeah", "uh huh", "oh really" and she'd never know you weren't "really" there. My MIL said that my mother told me I need to find God. I am a very evil and "messed" up person. I guess she was crying because she wants to know Em. Well I hate to tell you, sending a card twice a year to my child won't help you establish a relationship with my child. She started in again about me treating Em like a showpiece. My mom was doing her psycho deal of crying then when my MIL would get a word in edgewise she'd stop like a light switch. My MIL tried talking and my mom always changed the subject matter from me to my sister. Like I am non-existent, which to a point I am not to her. Apparently during the conversation my MIL said my mom could send the envelope to her house and my MIL would e-mail my mom pictures of Em. While she truly didn't understand where I stood, she obliged. I totally understand though. She loves her grandchildren. She's a grandmother and I am sure she didn't want to keep the joys she shares with Em from my mother. After talking to my MIL my mom never sent back the envelope nor provided her e-mail address to send pictures her way. Once time passed she figured my mother was playing games-- doesn't surprise me. And after all of these years she "believes" me about my mom. It was nice for her to understand as I have considered her my non-birth mother for quite some time.
The next business day I called an attorney that I knew from back home that worked with me on an injury lawsuit 10 years ago. I knew he wouldn't be able to help me, but I knew he would know of someone that would be able to help me out. He referred me to a friend of his, "Pete". I called "Pete's" law firm and left him a message. He called me back a few hours later. I sort of tried to explain my situation to him without him having to be a shrink on top of being an attorney. I basically told him that I want to get a restraining order against my mother. I want her to have ZERO contact with my child. I have control of what goes on in her life and I want to shelter her from the "evils" that prevail in her life. He said with her being so far away it may be unnecessary. I told him, I'd like to go through with it. He advised me to send a letter to her explaining to her that I want no contact with her. He's hoping it will stir the proverbial "shit pot" and she'd sort of harass me or us to start court proceedings. I mean I am willing to spend nearly $1,000 to keep her, my own mother, away from me. I told "Pete" that I didn't want to give her the time of day in the form of a letter. So that day I wrote the following:
Mom or Mother—
I am writing you to ask that you cease contact with my family and me. Please do not mail, call or e-mail nothing. Do not seek information regarding us from any third party. If you can not abide by my wishes, I will file a restraining order against you.
You can write or say whatever you want about me. I have thick skin and can handle it. But, you wrote yourself out of Emily’s life with your last letter you wrote to me at Christmas. Not to mention giving me back projects I did while in school. There’s a subliminal message there and I got it loud and clear. You crossed a line and as a mother I must do what is in my child’s best interest. I simply can not continue this fighting with you. It has affected my health and well being and life is too short to be miserable.
I want nothing more to get along with you and for you to be a part of my life, but I can’t expose myself to the situations that arise between us. I have needed you in my life, but am just not able to turn to you for anything as you seek solace in my pain.
So until this situation is resolved or Em is old enough to tell me she wants to see you I will have to say goodbye.
It has been nearly two weeks since I wrote this letter and my feelings haven't changed one bit. My question is, do you think I may be too harsh? Do you think that I should send it? Do you think that I make total sense about my child?
Posted by "Jet" at 10:41 PM on Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Today I went into the office to get some things done from when I called in "sick" on Friday. I will digress for a moment... For my hubby's birthday party I was very ill, but pushed through it. For the following week I wanted to call in sick every single day just to relax and try to sleep off my illness. Work prevented me to from doing it. I was so busy I couldn't call off knowing that I had stuff to finish for the following day. This past weekend my hubby was able to get the weekend off. I then decided that I was going to enjoy the day with him on Friday. I had an appointment I had to go to early in the morning and the rest of the day/weekend was ours. I recieved a phone call on Saturday that changed my plans to go back to the office on Monday morning to Tuesday morning.
So I figured I would be a good employee and come in the office and get my work done from Friday. Em and I hopped into my SUV and drove to my office. I told Em as we got onto the elevator that she would have to be good and play so I could get my work done. I sit down at my desk and begin to check e-mails, faxes, and voicemails. I have quite a few faxes to tend to. I have a FedEx package containing a contract I need to execute for the Department of Transportation.
Em starts off trying to entertain herself with her baby... I continue to work, she gets bored. She then starts pulling papers off of my printer interrupting my "flow" of work. I give her some paper and some of my highlighters to "color". She drew me her "Bean People". I love them! They were so colorful in yellow, pink, blue, orange and green. Then she was moving around my chairs trying to re-organize things. There's not much I can change, but um, ok...
It was evident that the silence was driving her nuts. I thought it was cute how she tried absolutley everything to keep her boredom level at a minimum. You never really realize the problem solving skills of a child. That is what makes them a true blessing.
Posted by "Jet" at 6:55 PM on Sunday, July 09, 2006
Today we met up with some friends from Michigan to go to the Toledo Zoo. We met up with Val, Luke and Val's three children.
I met Val through my blog as we have some things in common. She lives close to us so we decided to meet and we now have the start of a blooming friendship. We were finally able to meet her long distance boyfriend at my hubby's birthday party. Today we were able to get together with both families to have a good time.
We had sooo much fun. It was a late start as we had prior engagements in the morning. The girls quickly became best of friends giggling and whispering amongst one another. The Toledo Zoo is very pretty, however we didn't see a whole heck of a lot of animals. The landscape and views were very nice though I must say.
We saw, the "Dragon" exhibit which featured most animals with Dragon in their name, polar bears, penguins, cheetas, wolves, and beavers to name a few.
Once we were tired and hungry, we left the Zoo and went to dinner to Chili's. We sat there with our children BS'ing about everything under the sun.
I can't wait to get together again to have a bit of fun!! Thanks Luke and Val!!
Posted by "Jet" at 8:53 PM on Saturday, July 08, 2006
Posted by "Jet" at 7:01 AM on Friday, July 07, 2006
Here are some pictures from Em's birthday. I am a bad, bad mom for forgetting to post these sooner!
Posted by "Jet" at 9:30 PM on Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Beyond the Declaration of Independence and stating the obvious reasons...
The Fourth means family, food, fun, friends, parades and fireworks. Ever since I have lived in the glorious state of Ohio the Fourth means desperation and longing. The celebration of our freedom in Ohio pales by comparison to back home in Wisconsin.
While growing up I danced for 7 years doing jazz, tap and ballet. The dance studio I was a member of used to be in our annual parade. So all of the kids of the studio would participate in the parade. We would walk the 4 miles and dance intermittently. It was a lot of fun. To see the spectators sitting on tree lawns waving and clapping. I then fell tired of dancing and moved on...
I picked up playing an instrument in middle school and quickly became the proverbial "band geek". I started to play the clarinet then was asked to play the oboe. I was asked to be a member of a marching band locally for children my age. It was a summer gig and would bring me closer with others within the several schools in my community. It became a quick obsession of mine. I enjoyed going to the practices and the discipline involved. I was a member of the Racine Lighthouse Brigade both Junior and Senior depending on which grade I was in. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. We did several parades from May through August. It was so much fun. We traveled through South Eastern Wisconsin and participated in many competitions and did pretty well. I played my oboe for concert competitions and my clarinet while marching.
In our hometown parade when we would march for Memorial Day and the 4th of July. Heel-to-toe, in straight lines, keeping on the same foot to maintain uniformity as a group. We recieved standing ovations, cheers, whistling and clapping and it boosted our egos. It made us feel like we made a difference. Marching became part of my own Americana.
Now that I am "old" I can't be in a marching band or dance. There aren't any parades in Ohio that I have heard about in my 7 years of residing here. I long for those days... I want to lay blankets down on the grass sit and sweat to "death" from the heat. See the floats, Miss whatever city I live in, local bands, marching bands, our first responder vehicles, and etc.
After the parade we'd either stop at a friends house along the parade course and eat drink and be merry. Or we would go home take a nap and cook out beer brats, hamburgers, hot dogs, corn and all of the side dishes you can think of.
Once we were done cooking out we would unbutton our shorts and relax until dusk. We would head down to the waterfront and find a rock on the breakwater, blanket on the grass, or sit on the hood of our cars. Those were my days of summer. You could smell the 4th of July. And that is my smell of home during the summer.
Living here, in the Cleveland area, has been bland and depressing. I would love for my daughter to experience the 4th of July the way I used too...
I will continue my annual search to find something to give me the feeling semi-close to come without having to go back as I would love to create my own traditions in my new home state.
That is now my mission... To make our own holiday traditions with what is offered to me here. Wish me luck!
Posted by "Jet" at 12:00 AM on Monday, July 03, 2006
I watch Extreme Makeover: Home Editon on occasion... I came across a headline, No Happy Ending for This Family's Extreme Makeover Home Edition, on Netscape.com yesterday afternoon that apalled me.
As a fan of the show I clicked the link... And I read the following...
No Happy Ending for This Family's Extreme Makeover Home Edition
June 29, 2006
On Easter Sunday 2005, ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition aired an especially poignant episode. Five children, ages 14-21, from the Higgins family were orphaned. A couple from their church, with three children of their own, took them in. The result was 10 people living in cramped quarters.
The show finds families like these and, in the course of a week, rebuilds their home from scratch. The process is edited into a one-hour episode. In the beginning, we are told the tale of woe in as heart-tugging a fashion as possible. Also factoring prominently in every beginning segment are the horrible living conditions and the heroic nature of the people who are flourishing despite the hardship. Then the family is whisked off to a vacation, the house is razed and rebuilt, and the ending segment is the presentation of the house to the always overwhelmed family.
The ending segment is designed to be as heart-tugging as the first. The rebuilt home is always astonishingly beautiful and completely furnished. In the Easter Sunday special, the rebuilt home had nine bedrooms, including one for each child. The show also paid off the mortgage.
The Higgins' happy ending did not last. The family that took them in asked them to leave the beautiful nine-bedroom home because it did not belong to the Higgins.
The eldest child, Charles Higgins, who is also legal guardian for the minor children, contacted the producers of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, who could not help. Apparently the 24-page single spaced contract did not give the Higgins any right to the home built as a result of their tragedy. It did, however, give ABC the rights to their story and the episode was rebroadcast complete with happy ending after the Higgins children were already evicted.
As is often the case when good contracts go bad, the Higgins children sued both the couple that had evicted them and the various companies involved in making the show. The claims against the companies involved in making the show centered around the promise to provide them a home.
In a published decision yesterday, the California Court of Appeal ruled yesterday that the portion of the contract that required arbitration was unenforceable because it was both procedurally and substantively unconscionable. The Higgins will now be able to take their case through to a full-blown jury trial.
Admittedly, I was practically in tears while reading this story, much like how I am while watching the last 15 minutes of every show. I watch the show when I can as I do not like to be in hysterics. It's a feel-good type show knowing that there potentially is a light at the end of the tunnel.
These children were taken in by a family of their church and while these reports are one-sided. We all know their are two sides to each coin. From my own personal opinion the family took these children out expecting a hand-out from charity. They finally got it at the expense of the loss of the childrens parents. Once the family got what they wanted, they kicked the orphans out!! Now I realize this is speculation, but what else do I have to work off of?!
I did a websearch to see what else has been written about this story and found this article from TV.com:
I think this case has the potential to get very ugly. I wish these children the best. All they want is a roof over their heads and to be together. And I would assume that ABC with as caring as Ty and the rest of his crew are during the filiming of the show that they would try to help these kids out.
Orphans sue Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
By Lila Holland - TV.com
The popular reality series, which renovates the homes of families in need, is facing a lawsuit from five siblings who received gifts and a new home from the show this February.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has been sued by a family of five orphans who claim that they were denied the new home promised to them by producers of the show.
The five Higgins children lost both of their parents in early 2004 when their mother died of breast cancer and their father of heart failure. The orphans were later taken into the home of the Leomitis family, who were acquainted with the Higgins clan through church.
After ABC producers learned of the children's misfortune, they stepped in to replace the Leomitis home with a nine-bedroom mansion. They also showered the Leomitis and Higgins families with gifts such as cars, computers, stereos, and groceries. Pardee Homes--the company that built the new house--paid off the mortgage in full, but allowed the Leomitises to retain the property's title.
According to the Higgins family, the trouble began immediately after construction of the house and production of the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episode concluded. The Leomitises allegedly launched "an orchestrated campaign" to drive the Higgins children out of their new home by battering them with verbal insults, racial epithets, and physical abuse. By the end of March, the Higginses had moved out of the Leomitis abode, and are currently scattered among the houses of other friends.
In a complaint filed Wednesday, the Higgins children claim that the Leomitis family used the orphans to increase their chances of being chosen to appear on the show. They also accused ABC of fraud and breach of contract. "We were promised a new home," says eldest sibling Charles Higgins II. "They broke that promise."
The network will not respond to questions about the lawsuit, but did release a statement saying, "It is important to note that the episode was about the rebuilding of the Leomitis family's existing home to accommodate the inclusion of the five Higgins siblings, whom the Leomitis had invited into their lives following the death of their parents."
Patrick Mesisca, lawyer for the Higginses, acknowledges that ABC never made a written promise to the children, but believes that the network's statements and actions were promise enough.
The weirdest thing about this is I tried looking up the "story" about this family on ABC.com and there was no mention of Episode 18 anywhere. It has disappeared to ABC, much like I think they want this lawsuit to do.
Posted by "Jet" at 11:33 AM on Sunday, July 02, 2006