Friday, December 22, 2017


I’d said to my sister Kayla, “One of these times is going to be the last time.” What I didn’t realize when I said it was that it was going to be the last time.  I’d been through this before, more times that I could remember.  I’d gotten numb to the calls; I no longer panicked.  I’d distanced myself from it in order to protect my heart.  
Loving an addict is hard.  Watching someone powerless to the thing that is slowly killing them is excruciating.    It’s frustrating.  It’s maddening.  It’s devastating. 
My mom and I didn’t have the traditional mother-daughter relationship.  She was just a child of 14 years old when I was born and in many ways, she never grew up past that.  When I was a little girl, as with most children, my mom could do no wrong.  As I grew up, though, it was obvious that our roles were reversed.  I was the mother, she was my child.  There were times that she resented that role.  But despite that being the nature of our relationship, she always had a mother’s love for me.  I could do no wrong in her eyes either.  
There were a lot of things that happened to me as a child that I could have grown up using as a crutch to make excuses for myself.  My mother was young.  We moved.  A LOT.  There were many men in and out of her life.  Many were very abusive to her.  Some were to me as well.  At nine years old, I found myself being largely responsible for the care of my two year old sister.  Drinking and partying took precedence.  But, as I said before, my mother ALWAYS loved us.  She just didn’t have the skills to do the “mom thing.” I knew that.  I loved her just the same.  And growing up the way I did made me into the person that I am today – good things and bad. 
Mom let Kayla go to live with her grandmother when she was five.  She let me live with my Aunt Marilyn off and on for three years, and then move to Illinois to live with my dad when I was fifteen. To someone on the outside, it may appear that she just gave up.  But to me, especially now that I have my own children, I see that it was the most motherly thing she could have done.  I don’t know what her thought process was when she made these decisions, but I do know that Kayla and I were both well taken care of and cared for, likely in a way that she never would have been able to do.  I know it wasn’t easy on her. She often questioned letting Kayla go.  But ultimately, she did what was best for us.  That’s a mother’s love. 
I won’t sugar coat anything though.  Just because she’s gone now, doesn’t mean that the truth isn’t still the truth.  The last 20 years have been taxing.  I have made countless trips to both Indiana and Kentucky when she’s been sick, sometimes near death.  I’ve taken her to the ER.  I’ve sat with her in the ICU.  I’ve watched her go through detox.  I’ve sat and listened as she lied to doctors telling them, “I only drink a little.”  I’ve dumped bottles of vodka down her sink.  I’ve bought her groceries to encourage her to eat.  I’ve been supportive when she’d stop drinking and understanding when she started again.  I wasn’t fighting her battle, so it wasn’t my place to judge.  But it still made me angry.  Sometimes it made me cold.  Once, after she screamed at me in the Evansville hospital for “treating her like a child” I told her to walk back to Paducah and left her alone in her room for several hours. 
But it was always in the back of my mind, “One of these times is going to be the last time.” But, it doesn’t matter if you know it’scoming, you can never be prepared.  My mom was only 57.  You don’t expect to lose your parent so early when they are only 14 years older than you.  I will miss her terribly.  But I won’t miss the worry – is she eating, how much is she drinking, is someone hurting her? The last few times I’d gone to visit her, it was clear that things weren’t going well.  It was heartbreaking, but I’d gotten to the point that I’d stopped nagging her about it.  She was already trying to hide her drinking from me (at least the amount) and I didn’t want her to be ashamed of who she was.  She was an alcoholic.  But she was also my mother, my child, and my friend - and I hate that I can’t pick up the phone and call her anymore.  This time was the last time.

Kathleen “Katie” Vargocko Huffman
September 8, 1960-December 5, 2017

Monday, September 9, 2013

Torn & a Cat Story

I don't want to post on here for the sake of posting on here if I don't really have anything to say, but I don't really have anything to say.

I'm going to put up a post similar to last year's post about Emily doing the Step Out Walk for the American Diabetes Association again. I have some awesome friends - and she's already met her goal of $200 after only about a week of my incessant Facebook posting ;-) But, if you still want to donate, please do. She was at 300% of her goal last year. Would be awesome to do again.

Oh... I do have a story. A cat story.  Many of you know about the woman down the block who stole my baby Oreo - then was told that she had them and she won't give him back.  Well, a few weeks ago, Cody brought home a stray kitten. It was really skinny, but friendly. So, I left it on the deck and started feeding it. After about a week, I bought it a collar, as I figured it was here to stay. Last week, some kid had picked it up and was standing in front of the Oreo snatching woman's house with the kitten. Cody went down there and got him. Tonight, kitten comes inside (we let him in one in awhile) WEARING A DIFFERENT COLLAR!  What the hell, people?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Oh, Hey, I Remember You!

I guess it's a good thing this is a Sloth blog since I seem to be holding up that end of the deal - at least on the blogging end of my life.

So, my last entry was at the end of May.

Since then, well, the calendar says it's Summer, but it's really only felt like it for about a week. (Then again, I don't get outside much - which is the reason for the lack of blogging. All I do is work and drive to dance. ;-) )

We went to Fort Walton Beach for dance nationals/vacation. It was beautiful....even though it was like a scene from the Friends episode when they go to Barbados. It rained. A lot. The beach was closed 5 out of the 8 days we were there. There was flooding. But it was still better than Illinois.

The biggest news this Summer was that Andrew graduated from Basic in July. We are very proud of him!  He'll graduate AIT in a few weeks -and is looking forward to his time to pass so that he can go full time. He really enjoys the Army life.

The news we don't want to talk about is that Cody and Melissa are about to start their senior years. That's all I have to say. I don't want to talk about it.

Sydney, Emily, and Sophia have August off of dance. It's kind of weird. I don't think we had a full month off last year. It's kind of nice. I think we're all exhausted. But in September, they all start back up. All three girls are on the team now (Sophia will be on the "mini-team" - just one competition, but she's very excited.)

That's about it. Greg and I are boring. We don't have anything to report.

For a "What I Did On My Summer Vacation" report, this is pretty dry. You can see all of my apparently annoying palm tree pictures on Instagram though. ;-)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sloth Family Newsletter


She is doing fantastic with her pump. 90% of her sugars have been under 200 and I'd say that a good 75% are within target. As a result, I"m certain that my blood pressure has gone down.  She just finished 6th grade. She missed nearly 60 days of school. I'm glad to put that year behind us. 
She just had her first dance competition a few weeks ago. We got to put make up and eyelashes and dresses on her without complaint! Her team did a fantastic job and even scored a high gold on their jazz dance, which I thought was pretty darned impressive. They looked great!

Cody... is still 17. On those days that I want to just scream, I try to remember that we're in a way better place than we were a year ago. Now that the class of 2013 has graduated, I think that means he's a senior now. I'm not sure how I feel about that - but probably not for the reasons you think - the "baby growing up" stuff - I mean, yeah, there's that, but there's more. We'll just leave it at, I hope he grows up a lot in the next year. ;-)

Sydney just finished her freshman year. She'll start driver's ed in the fall. I think I may actually be looking forward to that though. With her dance schedule, she'll have her 50 hours of driving in by Christmas. She has one more competition this year (nationals), but has had a fantastic regional season. Her team is doing really well and her lyrical solo placed first in her division at 3 out of 4 of the competitions we've been to. She got a (partial) scholarship to Fuzion dance camp (ironically, from the competition where she did NOT place first lol). She also auditioned for the Rockette Summer Intensive and was accepted to that. 

Fia is all four year old. Ornery and full of drama. She got to go to a mock preschool this Spring at the high school, so now she's super excited to start preschool in the Fall. She (and Sydney & Emmy) have recital next week, so she's very excited about that. 

Melissa must be super busy, because I have no idea what she's been up to. ;-) I know she's taking vocal lessons at Millikin and was part of another Decatur Park District production this Spring.  I missed it b/c of a dance competition and Greg missed it because of Snowpocolypse 2013. She's also going to be a senior and Greg doesn't want to talk about it. ;-)

Andrew is at basic training right now. He joined the Army Reserves on April 30th. We're very proud of him - and Greg cannot wait until he can start hearing from him more often. (He did get a letter a week or so ago. Made his day.) 

Molly...well, she's always into the trash, but at least I don't have to spend 3 or 4 days a week chasing her down the street. ;-)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Dance Recital Tips - Redux

I'm reposting last year's REAL tips for recital without the forward because none of that stuff was related to recital, nor is it relevant this year. (Thank God!!)

So, here we go...

#1 Your child is a preshush snowflake. We know this.  So is the person's child beside yours. Remember that. Everyone wants to to see their child perform. As a result, please refrain from the following behaviors:

  • Stressing yourself out as if recital is an audition for the Joffrey Ballet.  It's not. And even if it was, it's the child's audition. Not yours.
  • Yelling at your child and then yelling at them for crying because their eyes will be red on stage.
  • Standing in front of people during the performance, thereby obstructing the view of someone else's preshush little snowflake.
  • Talking during the performance. Just because you aren't interested, doesn't mean the person beside you isn't.
  • Criticizing another child.  You don't know if their parents are sitting next to you.
#2 Respect the dance teachers and staff.  
  • They will be busy. Do not take this time to ask if Little Suzy did a good job or if there will be dance class next Thursday.
  • Do not ask the photographer (if there is one)  to take special pictures for you. He/She is also very busy.  There is a picture day for these kinds of requests.

  • If you want to watch the dances, have a seat. Standing at the side of the stage is rude. It distracts from the dance, especially if your child is very young.  Buy a ticket and sit down. Many parents have to run back and forth between costume changes. It's part of the experience. Embrace it. 
#3 This relates to the first item. The recital is more than your child's class. There will be many, many numbers performing as there are many children involved. 
  • Your child's dances will not be the first few numbers so that you can "get out of there."
  • Allowing your child to watch the older kids will fill them with wonder and develop a deeper love for the art.  (Trust me on this.)
  • If you must leave, do so quietly, without making a scene.
  • Yes, it may take 2-2.5 hours for the recital to be finished. Enjoy it. These children have worked hard for many months to put on a good show for you.
#4 Things that I shouldn't have to say, but...
  • Please refrain from using profanity in front of the children. It may be ok for you, but it may not for the kid standing next to you.
  • Turn off your phone. No one cares that you're so important that you have to take a call in the middle of a performance.  It's rude.  And if you must take a call, go outside.
  • Applaud for everyone.
  • Thank the teachers for teaching your children.
Of course, they can't really put this stuff into a parent note.  But it would make things easier on everyone if they could. ;-)

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Emily and her dad went to the pump class in February...wait...let me back this up.

When she was dx last June, we were told she had to wait 6 months to get a pump. This is bullshit. Since then, I've connected with other parents of diabetic children who tell me their child left the hospital with one. That wasn't a doctor rule, that was an insurance rule. 

In December, we started had been six months. She had an endo appt. in January. They also told us that the 6 month rule was bogus. (If you know anything of her struggles with this damned disease, you'll know why I'm pissed off.)  Her dad took her to the pump info class in February. We had a pump selected. They needed 30 days of blood sugar logs...and then she went into the hospital. We'll call March a wash. But somewhere in there, I managed to send those logs to the pump company who then tells us that the insurance wants 30 MORE days...because they aren't sure if she's diabetic??? WTF...So...I send the 30 more days

THEN...the insurance denies it b/c they won't buy it directly through the company. We had to go through their distributor. So....they call me.

 That  rep calls back for my payment info. Long insurance story short, it should have been covered 100%. I tell her how to fix this. She grumps about it, tells me she'll call on Monday. On Tuesday, I called her, she said "oh, they won't accept it." So, I told her to have a nice day, I'd be taking my business elsewhere. (She was wrong BTW...they could have and should have fixed this. She was lazy and didn't want to do her job.)

I filled out the paperwork for the 2nd choice pump. Within 24 hours, the rep was calling me. Told me the insurance issue would not be an issue. She emailed me files that I needed to return. I did. Within 48 hours...the pump is being shipped. (and covered 100%) Medtronic has excellent customer service. Excellent.

Emily has a saline class to learn to use it on May 10. She has to go back after that to do the insulin class. As she's been running over 400 all week with high ketones... I'm ready to do this. I think she needs continuous short acting insulin. I'm very excited.  I hope that a continuous glucose monitor will be her next step. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I Really Suck At Blogging

Because...really... are any of you even still reading this? You know, besides the Russians?

  •  I missed Emily's birthday post. Um, sorry. She's 12 now though. 
  • We're going back to the doctor for the 454,498th time today. High sugar, ketones. Oh...and her eye is red and swollen again. I don't even want to talk about it.
  • The dog doesn't get out a lot these days. She goes right to the van for a ride if she does anyway. She's useless for blog material.
  • Dance - well, I posted that rant on FB yesterday. Here's the summary: Chill the hell out.  If you've even read 1/4 of this blog, you know that it's important in our family, but please... it's not life. And this is coming from a parent of a kid who'd like to try to dance in college/teach dance, etc. But these competitions are for fun. No one is going to give a rat's ass what you scored at Podunk Regional in the Intermediate Division at one of 231 competitions going on that weekend when you're interviewing or auditioning for a job. You can tell the neighbors or grandma whatever you want. Oh, wait, I wasn't going to rant again. Dammit. I need to chill the hell out too.
  • Oh... this is news. My baby is taking his ACT & PSAE today. The PSAE is required for graduation. Why we are even talking about THAT is beyond me. He's just in kindergarten. Or 11th grade. Shut up. I don't want to talk about that either. Of course, tonight, when he's acting 17... I'll be like, "why are you not grown and out of the house yet?" because teenage boys are assholes. I love him, but it's true.

That's enough for today.

*reminder - you have one month left to buy me pretty things for my birthday.