Okay......so I live on the second floor of a luxury apartment. We have a swimming pool, which we used yesterday and oldest boy got fried. Burnt, boiled, cooked: frankly he looked like a lobster. I, being the mostly Irish part of the gene pool knew what sunburn is all about. Husband and younger son look like ice cream sandwiches when sans clothing. That's the Choctaw half. Nope, older boy decided he was going to fry, even his poor eyes were red. Dad didn't quite know what to do, so the Irish half, who spent most of my life hiding from the sun (and still manage to get sun burnt!) popped said boy into a cool bath, gave him an antihistamine, and laid him down under a fan while still wet. He said I was a great mom, knew just what to do, thanks mom, love you.......and then barfed all over me. Not once, but three times. Wow!!! He says he really feels better now!! Back to the land of the living, and I'm in the shower. Amazingly, I caught it all...... 

And that was yesterday. 

So, here I am sitting on my balcony, and all I really want to do is lay on the couch ALL DAY and not see PS3. Won't happen.....but maybe I can demand a little mommy-time on the tele for a "boring documentary". I did so yesterday, and the boys stared as if their brains were melting through a documentary with Carl Sagan. Okay....I admit, he's a little dry. 

I find it interesting that because of where I live (next to the apartment complex garage) I feel like James Stewart in Hitchcock's "Rear Window". I see the same couple leave every morning, who apparently manage a Korean store of some sort, as they always bring home a bag of groceries with the label in Korean, and leave Korean newspapers by the trashcan. (No one puts the trash in the can, as there is an odd sign that says "Do not put trash in here".) Every morning, the male half of the Korean equation walks around the car analyzing it for any dings or scratches, and the female half waits to go to work. They won't be back until late tonight, but either way they  march to their car or home like they've been trained to do the goosestep. Interesting people, they never smile, never talk to each other, and never divert from their schedule. 

Then there's the guy who wears a visor all the time, has scraggly hair, is overweight from too much beer, tanned as can be, and usually sits by the pool. That's his schedule....sometimes he must go to work, but I never see it. 

There's the 22 year old ex-Social Worker who is now a pre-school teacher and her boyfriend who has TBI. His High School experience was cut short by a friend who was drinking. He was the passenger, but yeah! he is starting to learn to stand. 

The husband who always hid on the balcony from his wife.....who now lives without wife, and smiles much more. She took the dog. 

The lady who has the yellow lab, who has no social skills (dog not woman), who unfortunately was the casualty of divorce. What do I know? Maybe she's happy about it......but she lives for ice cream sundaes and take out food. Every day, every trip back and forth. Her kids visit on weekends. She just bought a folding table to eat at. 

The kids are the most interesting, every weekend, the same astounding amount of kids come in to visit and leave late Sunday night. Sunday is the worst day at the pool, as everyone is trying to squeeze the last few hours out of the weekend. Most are drunk, and very friendly......it's Texas.....since there is always a woman (or two) who have their hair perfectly coiffed and fully clothed, makeup AND loads of jewelry. They simply dangle their pedicured toes in the shallow end of the water, and I have no idea how they keep from melting. But talk to them: and you've got the southern drawl hanging as heavy as their perfume. 

There's the two apartments with new babies too.......I never see the mothers or the babies, but the grandparents constantly visit bearing gifts. Decked to the nines, and Grandpa usually has to remove his Doctor's coat.....here they come, with bags of goodies, and often times food. 

The single gentleman who has a preened to the hilt yellow Cocker Spaniel.......the dog actually wears a rain coat and little booties if the weather is bad. I swear my dog must laugh at him as he passes by. He simply will NOT go out in the rain, won't cross the threshold, and that's all he has to say on the matter. 

I wish I could say that I'm more like Grace Kelly in this scenario, all decked out beautifully and speaking with perfect allure. But no.....I'm Jimmy Stewart, and I can probably tell you about everyone in my corner of the world. If Grace Kelly was here, she'd agree that I need to stop watching from my balcony. 

All I can say is that I've realized that most people don't have a perfectly smarmy life. The people who drive too fast have each found at least one steel pole in the parking garage. Most people look like their dogs, and that's an entirely different subject altogether. In TX, if you don't pay your rent, some people come from the "outside" and put all of your belongings into trash bags, and set them next to the can that says "Don't put trash in here." Most people are never home as they are at work, and the other half are asleep as they work for the medical community and usually work nights. It's a regular rotation that I've come to know, and find strangely reassuring. 

It's Texas......Dallas, TX......and a completely different planet from WA or UT. 


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    Shelly Dowen-Johnson

    I am currently traveling with my husband across the United States, due to the nature of the work he does. 

    I am the mother of two boys, one who has recently been diagnosed with Early Onset Childhood Schizophrenia (Schizoaffective Disorder). 

    It appears the Dowen family gene sequencing contributes much more than the darling dimples both boys have inherited!  But, as always, with love, tender care and support....we will thrive! 


    June 2012
    May 2012
    April 2012